Lessons From Leaders At Brands Where CX Is Working

I’m always curious about what makes leaders of customer experience and transformation projects invest in what’s new. Oracle, in its recent “CX FACTOR PROGRAM” has done much of that research for me (and for you). It’s in the form of a dozen interviews with company leaders whose brands are excelling at the customer experience. I was invited to ask questions of the customer experience leaders on their success tactics.

From their answers, we are learning that the better customer experiences are coming from innovation-friendly companies. These firms have steadily improved their ability to focus–and act–on customers’ needs, especially when it means changing the status quo. They’re open to attaining classic outcomes in new ways. To save you several hours, here are some high points that spoke to me. Do listen to at least a couple of the full interviews. They’re fast-paced with no boring parts and they’re expertly guided by Mark Fidelman, CEO of Fanatics Media.


The Walgreen’s interview is with Deepika Pandey. She gives a specific example of reducing friction with mobile ordering by giving customers the option to refill prescriptions by scanning the bottle labels with an app. The rest, as you can imagine, is easy. How long has Walgreen’s been at it? 116 years, 8 of them with an emphasis on customer experience.

My take: Walgreen’s emphasis on listening intently to its customers is spot on. They aren’t just doing ‘low-hanging fruit’ exercises, they’re very focused on creating enterprise and customer value at the same time.


At Clorox, Doug Milliken shares that their focus is on extending the product experience beyond the walls of the store and beyond interactions with the product itself. Digital engagement ideas and tools allow Clorox to connect with customers in fresh and personalized ways. AR/VR/AI and other tech is under scrutiny here, but on a low-risk, low-cost basis. The company is filtering pursuits by looking at strategies which positively affect the customer and the business at the same time. AI, according to Milliken, may offer the earliest promise.

My take: Clorox’s decision to use tech with purpose is smart. In my opinion, too many trials that implement tech for tech’s sake simply fail–and the learning value is extremely low. Start with a customer need, then find the right technologies, processes, and behavior changes (internally). It is the smarter way to play and typically generates better results (and better learning).


Bryan Lobley of Independence Blue Cross says his company is emphasizing front-line tech to produce better experiences for customers. Better means personalized, engaged, and clinically accurate. Makes sense. Exceeding expectations, simplifying  access to services, and encouraging decision-making throughout individual healthcare journeys are Lobley’s guideposts.

My take: Blues are independently run organizations. It’s challenging work to respond quickly to customer requests when you’re also dealing with legacy systems, regulations, and multiple provider networks. Harmonizing the many timelines that drive healthcare is the biggest challenge (For example: buildings and platforms are considered in 5-10 year horizons, regulatory changes happen yearly, roadmaps are continuously updated but most projects are ‘behind’ in healthcare.) Change is harder in this industry than many others.


Mazda is doing things differently. Russell Wager’s approach is to create advocates (at events, in their vehicles, etc.) by giving them smiles. His company emphasizes sales, of course, but more, they truly focus on the ownership experience so that ride after ride, and year after year, the experience stays fresh in customers’ minds. They’ve switched up incentives, given dealers more latitude to ‘do what’s right,’ and emphasized storytelling.

My take: Starting with employees first is smart. It empowers the brand team (and eventually the dealers). Mazda is reigniting its ‘why’ story and using it to help people get closer to the brand. Because story and experience are two sides of the same coin, that’s a smart investment!

These are a few of the dozen Oracle CX Factor videos. Soon, we’ll cover the rest. Remember, you can’t follow everyone’s advice at once. It’s your job as a CX leader to pick the right tools, stories, and approaches. Every company has the potential to reach Point B. For every company, there’s just a different path!

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About the Author

During 25 years in 25 countries with 400+ companies, Mike and his clients have co-created over $1.5 billion in measurable impact with his guidance on their experience and business designs . Under the Storyminers brand, he helps retailers design and deploy Store-of-the-Future initiatives that create new business opportunities and rekindle investor interest. Mike is a top 25 customer experience influencer (as ranked by SAP and MindTouch), a global speaker, and founding member of Global CX Panel and the CXPA.

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