Michael “wrote the book” on understanding consumers. Literally. Hundreds of thousands of business students have learned about Marketing from his books, including Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, and Being — the most widely used book on the subject in the world.
Michael’s mantra is: We don’t buy products because of what they do. We buy them because of what they mean. He advises global clients on marketing strategies to make them more consumer-centric, and he is currently directing Nielsen’s revamp of its global Brand Health Model. Michael is a Contributor at Forbes.com, where he writes about issues related to consumer behavior, marketing, and retailing. His articles have been cited over 30,000 times, and he is frequently quoted in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, USA Today, and Adweek. His newest book, The New Chameleons: Connecting with Consumers Who Defy Categorization, was published globally by Kogan Page in February 2021.
As a Professor of Marketing (in the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, U.S.A.), a sought-after keynote speaker, and an industry consultant, Michael combines cutting-edge academic theory with actionable real-world strategies. He helps managers get inside the heads of their customers so they can anticipate and satisfy their deepest and most pressing needs – today and tomorrow. An executive at Subaru said it best: “The man is a scholar who is current and street-wise.”
Let’s dive into the interview, shall we?
Hi Michael, What is the biggest misunderstanding about customer experience, in your opinion?
CX doesn’t begin and end at the point of transaction. Marketers need to understand the experience before and after as well – more of a 360-degree view of the holistic relationship between the customer and his/her brands.
What are some of the newer CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
Gamification strategies are a bit overused but still have potential 2. Augmented reality applications can enrich CX immeasurably when properly deployed.
Michael’s tips for improved customer loyalty
What can companies do to improve customer loyalty and retention?
Focus a bit less on customer acquisition and more on strengthening the bond with existing customers. At the end of the day, lifetime customer value is more important than market share. I discuss these issues in my latest book, The New Chameleons:: How to Connect with Consumers Who Defy Categorization.
What do you think is most relevant and why: CSAT (customer satisfaction score), NPS (net promoter score), or CES (customer effort score)?
NPS is often helpful, but all of these measures need to go beyond the superficial aspects of customer interaction.
How can companies better use social media in the era of customer-centricity and personalization?
Companies need to understand how brand communities grow organically, and they need to allow customers to be more proactive in co-creating new product ideas and messages.
What is your opinion on AI-based chatbots to handle customer support?
Affective computing that adjusts messages based upon the customer’s emotional state can be very effective as the technology improves. However, marketers need to do a lot more basic research to identify the ideal platform that customers want to interact with (e.g., voice qualities, gender effects, etc.)
What was the best movie you saw that has come out during this past year?
I have been too busy binge-watching Netflix shows to see any new movies!
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
I look at what I call brand resonance, the extent to which a product/service plays an integral role in helping the customer to enact different role identities.