Panviva's Picks: Top 25 CX Influencers to Follow

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The results of our research to identify top CX influencers.

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As a leader in the customer experience space, Panviva believes great customer service is everyone's responsibility. To that end, we have identified the Top 25 Customer Experience Influencers to Follow and are sharing their best customer service insights and tips. — Dawn Corrente, Panviva

Panviva believes great customer service is everyone's responsibility—from customer service agents to sales reps to the marketing team all the way to the C-Suite—when you focus on your customers rather than your contracts, the results will follow! As customer experience grows more sophisticated, so do the demands on your employees—focusing on your customer’s success is the best way to secure your company’s place in the myriad of competitive choices and position you and your clients to best represent the messaging you’ve worked so hard to create—your brand!

As a leader in the customer experience space, we think it’s important to surround ourselves with other experts in the field. To that end, we have identified a list of the Top 25 Customer Experience Influencers to Follow. As you read this list, you will extract insights, tips and strategies to guide you on your journey to becoming customer-centric.

Roy Atkinson—Top Influencer in the Service and Support Industry

Roy Atkinson is one of the top influencers in the service and support industry. His body of work—which includes blogs, presentations, research reports, white papers, keynotes and webinars—has earned him an international reputation as a difference-maker and customer experience advocate.

In his current role of senior writer/analyst at HDI, Roy is both the company's in-house subject matter expert on customer experience and their messenger. A certified HDI Support Center Manager, he also holds a Master's Certificate from the prestigious Freeman School of Business at Tulane University.

Follow Roy @RoyAtkinson

Jay Baer—Word of Mouth Marketing Hall of Fame

Convince & Convert founder Jay Baer wears many hats. For starters, he is a 24-year digital expert, a global keynote speaker and an emcee. But there's more—he is also a New York Times best-selling author, a trusted advisor to dozens of brands, an active investor in tech startups and a member of the Word of Mouth Marketing Hall of Fame. What a toolbelt to have at one's disposal!

Jay spent 24 years in digital marketing and customer experience, operates the world’s #1 content marketing blog and is the world's most retweeted person among digital marketers.

Befitting his roots in Arizona, Jay is a tequila collector and maintains a passionate allegiance to the sports teams of his alma mater, the University of Arizona.

Follow Jay @jaybaer

Jeanne Bliss—Customer Experience Practitioner & Pioneer | Cofounder of @CXPA_Assoc

An expert in customer-centric leadership, Jeanne founded CustomerBliss, where she also serves as President. She co-founded the Customer Experience Professionals Association and is a pioneer in the CX industry, having been the first Chief Customer Officer (CCO) at Lands’ End, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker and Allstate. In these roles, she transformed the end customer experience and increased customer loyalty.

Jeanne authored the groundbreaking book Chief Customer Officer, the first of its kind to address the role of the customer leadership executive, which quickly became an international bestseller. She regularly consults C-level executives and has elevated the role of the CCO to one that champions the customer experience and factors it into every business decision.

"Leaders must start taking it personally that customers are departing from their business. They need to care about the ‘math’ between customers in and customers out — because that delta drives growth. They need to make the connection between customer experience improvement and the movement of these metrics," says Jeanne. "Customer Asset Metrics create a way for executives to know and care about the shifting behavior within your customer base, which indicates if their bond with you is growing or shrinking."

Follow Jeanne @JeanneBliss

Megan Burns—Founder and CEO, Experience Enterprises

Megan is an expert in customer and employee experience, culture, change management and human behavior. She spent more than a decade studying what the world’s best companies do differently as an analyst in Forrester’s CX research practice.

“We have to deal with human beings as they are, not as we wish they would be,” stresses Megan. “People—customers and employees—are complex creatures, but the world knows more about how they think, feel and make decisions than ever before. Using those insights to craft a slow, steady, practical plan for change makes it much more likely you'll get the kind of transformation that most companies are looking for.”

Megan was recently named one of the top 15 women influencers in her field, has personally advised leaders at more than half of the Fortune 50 and is often asked to work with C-level executives.

Follow Megan @MeganBurnsCX

Marsha Collier—Founder of the Twitter Customer Service Chat #CustServ

Among the world's foremost e-commerce experts, Marsha Collier has more than one million copies of books in print and is the top-selling eBay author in her field. Her e-commerce advice has appeared in publications such as Martha Stewart Living and Reader’s Digest, and don’t be surprised if you see her on television—as a guest on The View or the Today Show and in her own PBS special, Making Your Fortune Online.

Marsha uses her years of experience to instruct online citizens on selling and marketing and is founder of the Twitter Customer service chat #custserv, where you’ll find her every Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.

Follow Marsha @MarshaCollier

Frank Eliason—Transforming the Customer Experience in a Digital World

A consultant and customer experience leader focused on the future of business, Frank is the author of @YourService and brings disruptive and transformative strategies to revolutionize customer service. He leverages personal stories and incorporates elements of social media to deepen the connections between business and customer while strengthening the company's core business.

Frank has been a difference maker and change agent throughout his career. He delivered first class insight to Zeno by consulting with many Fortune 500 companies. At Citi, he created a consistent customer service platform across its diverse global divisions. He rescued Comcast from a PR crisis by transforming the customer service culture from the ground up, resulting in positive press and employee and customer buy-in.

His advice to our readers? “We have made the world robotic, from our customers to our own employees. Focus on human touch and emotions and that is where you will find success!”

Follow Frank @FrankEliason

Annette Franz—CX Journey Inc. Founder & CEO

Annette's customer-service mantra is to deliver a people-focused organization that puts its customers above shareholders. She believes when customers feel valued and are listened to, the company grows by osmosis and everybody wins.

“Build a people-centric, rather than a customer-centric, culture,” advises Annette. “Employees and customers are both important to the business. The linkage between employee engagement and customer experience has been proven; it's real. If your employees aren't engaged, it will be very difficult for them to delight your customers. So focus on the employee experience first; ensure that employees are happy, satisfied, and engaged, and in return, they'll deliver an experience that will delight your customers.”

As a consultant, speaker, author and host of #CXChat, Annette brings 25+ years’ experience in helping companies transform the customer experience. Her methods transform companies by helping foster an employee culture where the customer experience is the focal point of every business decision—this in turn helps companies drive retention and increase customer satisfaction!

Follow Annette @annettefranz

Linda Harden—Publisher, Contact Center Pipeline

Linda publishes Contact Center Pipeline, which helps companies develop customer solutions and strategies so they can overcome service barriers. Each issue contains insights gleaned from industry experts and leaders. “We’re here to help you overcome service barriers, and develop solutions and strategies to distinguish your company’s customer experience in a competitive marketplace,” says Linda. Her efforts have helped propel Contact Center Pipeline to the industry’s leading instructional journal. Linda encourages readers to share their thoughts with her so she can continue to evolve and improve the end product for her customers.

Linda believes the way we engage with our customers and employees is every bit as important as the products that are manufactured and the services rendered—yet contact center leaders often find themselves up against countless obstacles in the pursuit of delivering a consistent, high-quality customer experience. And as new channels and customer touchpoints are introduced into the mix, those challenges extend from the center to the larger enterprise. It’s unexplored territory for most contact center professionals—and it’s the very reason Contact Center Pipeline was born!

Follow Linda @LindaHardenCCP

Jackie Huba—Best-selling Author of Customer Loyalty Books

Jackie Huba is a best-selling author of four books, three of which are about customer loyalty. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, consultant and Forbes.com contributor. You can read all about her impressive accomplishments on her blog here.

Through her consulting, Jackie has helped leading companies such as Discovery Communications, Whirlpool, Dell and Kraft create more loyalty in their customer base. She was also named as one of the 10 most influential online marketers. Jackie is also helping people build confidence, take risks and live more fearlessly by harnessing the transformative art of drag. She led the first TED Talk to be hosted by a female drag queen.

Follow Jackie @jackiehuba

Shep Hyken—Customer Service and Experience Expert | New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best-selling Author

Shep Hyken—customer service and experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations—is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession.

“CX is a philosophy to be embraced by every employee of an organization, from the CEO to the most recently hired,” advises Shep. “Many people think CX belongs to a department. The best customer-focused organizations know that is not the case. CX is part of everyone’s job. Everyone has a responsibility that can impact the customer’s experience. People may never interact with a customer, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have impact, even if it is behind the scenes.”

Shep’s most requested programs focus on customer service, customer loyalty, internal service, customer relations and the customer experience. Known for high-energy presentations that combine vital business information with entertainment (humor and magic), Shep creates exciting and engaging programs for his audiences.

Follow Shep @Hyken

Peter Lavers—Top Customer Service Influencer

Peter, a specialist in relationship marketing and customer experience management, directs the Customer Management arm of WCL, helping clients develop new and innovative ways to find, engage and satisfy customers. Peter specializes in customer-centered strategy, optimizing customer channels, engaging, managing, involving and training people/stakeholders and orchestrating and implementing customer-driven change. He is an IBM #ThinkMarketing Futurist, Huffington Post Top 100 Customer Service professional, MindTouch Top 50 Customer Success influencer and Business Coach Top 100 Management Expert. He spent his early years with Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motors and he has the following advice:

“Short-termism and silos are the chief enemies of customer experience! Short-termism will distress the market; damage trust; tell customers that you only care if they’re buying; lead to illegal, unethical or counter-cultural behaviors; and inevitably run out of steam because there are only so many tactics that can be deployed (or the bad practice gets exposed!). Silos are the enemy of customer experience because unless there’s perfect collaboration they lead to inconsistent or competing objectives, marketing, service and measurement,” explains Peter. “All too often, it’s the poor customer who ends up having to stitch together the disconnects in their experience.”

Follow Peter @PeterLavers

Charlene Li—New York Times Critically Acclaimed Author

Charlene Li is the Founder and CEO of Altimeter Group and the author of five books, including the New York Times best-seller Open Leadership, and the co-author of the critically acclaimed book Groundswell.

Her latest research focuses on the digital transformation of selling, the elements of customer experience strategy, and how to create a culture of customer obsession. Charlene also publishes books that provide an opportunity to go more deeply into specific topics.

She is a sought-after speaker and advisor to many Fortune 500 companies, a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School, and currently resides in San Francisco with her husband and two children.

Follow Charlene @charleneli

Erica Marois—Manager of ICMI’s Weekly Twitter Chat #ICMIchat

“According to ICMI research, 62% of contact centers believe their organization considers them a cost center. It's time to flip the script,” says Erica, who manages ICMI’s network of 500 community contributors and hosts weekly chats that feature dynamic, interactive discussions with thought leaders and innovators.

“Contact center employees have access to a wealth of knowledge that can fuel improvements across the business,” say Erica. “One straightforward way to leverage that knowledge? Get the contact center involved in producing educational content for customers. While marketing teams most often ‘own’ a brand's digital content, customer service needs to have a stake, too. I believe brands that work collaboratively to educate and empower customers have the best opportunity for success.”

Erica is the program manager for the ICMI Global Contact Center Awards, which recognize excellence in the contact center industry. She also helps with planning and injecting "fun" into company events. In addition, she hosts webinars, coordinates the ICMI book club and publishes the Contact Center Insider newsletter.

Follow Erica @EricaMarois

Flavio Martins—Award-Winning Customer Service Blogger | Customer Service Fanatic

An award-winning blogger and customer service fanatic, Flavio Martins is on a mission to show that organizations can use customer experience as a competitive advantage in the battle to win customer loyalty.

“Really get to know your customers,” stresses Flavio. “When you truly understand your customers, you create tailored service experiences that deliver on the three key elements of exceptional service: results focused processes, empowered agents and data-driven technology.”

Flavio is VP of Operations and Customer Support at DigiCert, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise SSL Certificate Management and PKI technology for security in the Internet of Things. His focus is on helping teams leverage technology with the special human factor to create exceptional and memorable customer experiences.

Follow Flavio @flavmartins

Blake Morgan—Customer Experience Futurist

Blake authored the book More is More: How the Best Companies Go Farther and Work Harder to Create Knock-Your-Socks-Off Customer Experiences. She also teaches in the Rutgers Executive Education MBA program. She is a regular contributor to Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and Hemispheres magazines.

Blake also hosts the Modern Customer Podcast and a weekly customer experience video series on YouTube. She has worked with Ericsson, Intel, Verizon Wireless and many more. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband, daughter and their two dogs.

Her advice to our readers looking to improve the customer experience? "If we personally wouldn't enjoy the product or service offered by our own company, why on earth would we serve it to customers? Know the experience and make it something you would want yourself."

Follow Blake @BlakeMichelleM

Lincoln Murphy—Customer Success Consultant and Keynote Speaker
Lincoln regularly consults with companies to drive growth by focusing on the customer lifecycle from acquisition to retention. His secrets to success are contained within the Customer Success book he authored. His methods teach that company growth happens when companies focus on customer success, mitigate churn and promote scalable expansion.

He has helped transform companies into efficient growth engines that never lose sight of the end customer and their experience. Lincoln is a proponent of the Software as a Service (SaaS) business model and takes advantage of its distribution methods to help drive companies across the finish line.

Follow Lincoln @lincolnmurphy

Greg Ortbach—Digital marketing CX Evangelist | Co-host of #CustServ Chat

Greg’s days are spent networking with clients, immersing himself in their businesses. Clients rave about his ability to coordinate and manage projects, inject effective functionality into a website and deliver ahead of schedule.

Greg was named a top-10 finalist in 2005 for the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award. He also founded webAssist.ca, a web development firm that has received numerous awards. He was named one of the Top 100 Customer Service Pros on Twitter by ICMI's Call Center and a Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pro On Twitter by Huffington Post.

Greg loves to perform onstage at open mic events where he unleashes his creative side.

Follow Greg @GregOrtbach

Stephen Pappas—Customer Experience Connoisseur | Head of North American Operations & Sr. VP at Panviva

As a customer experience enthusiast, Steve is obsessed with helping companies deliver the best experience possible to their customers. As head of Panviva's North America operation and a seasoned business leader, he is focused on growing the company and maintaining Panviva's competitive edge.

“A good customer experience is the minimum level of experience your customers should feel from every employee or interaction, and can be your biggest differentiator,” says Steve. “Remember, many companies are doing their customer journey mapping and trying to deliver good CX, but if your company can operationalize a ‘Beyond Expectations’ approach at every touchpoint—you can reach that world-class level of experience.”

A successful entrepreneur, Steve has built and sold six companies, and regularly writes and speaks on customer experience, technology trends and entrepreneurship. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and boys.

Follow Steve @sxp01

John R Patterson—Founder and President of Progressive Insights

John’s consulting practice helps organizations worldwide consistently deliver great customer service and employee experiences. He is the co-author of three books, including the national best-seller Take Their Breath Away: How Imaginative Service Creates Devoted Customers and Customer Loyalty Guaranteed: Create, Lead, and Sustain Remarkable Customer Service. He also maintains a blog with his co-writer, Chip Bell.

John is a sought-after speaker and workshop leader on a variety of topics. He has over 20 years of executive leadership experience in the hospitality, business services, real estate and financial services industries. He lives in Atlanta with his wife Katie, their two dogs and five kids.

Follow John @johnrpatt

Kathleen Peterson—Founder and Chief Vision Officer of PowerHouse Consulting

An acclaimed consultant and recognized industry visionary, Kathleen believes the call center is the true lifeline of the enterprise and the bedrock on which successful companies are built. She has authored articles in various business publications and her “Rants and Raves” are featured monthly in the Call Center Times online newsletter. As a featured speaker at conferences and Fortune 500 companies, Kathleen has shared her humor, knowledge and experience across the world.

Kathleen brings wit, energy and a wide breadth of experience to all engagements—and in the process, untangles complex problems by challenging business leaders to rethink their view of the call center world.

Follow Kathleen @KMP603

Bill Quiseng— “To earn new customers, don’t try to get inside their heads. Get inside their hearts!”

Bill Quiseng is a speaker, blogger and award-winning writer in customer service for front-line associates and customer service leadership for managers. He also has over thirty years of luxury resort/club management experience.

Bill has been recognized for his customer service and customer experience insight on social media. His accolades include: Huffington Post Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter; Arc Pointe Call Center Solutions Customer Service Most Influential Bloggers; Userlike 11 Gurus of Customer Service; Fonolo Top 10 Tweeters Talking About the Customer Experience and Hootsuite Must-Follow List for Social Customer Service.

Follow Bill @billquiseng

Micah Solomon—Best-selling Author | Consultant | Keynote Speaker

Micah is a regular contributor to Forbes.com and Inc.com and his expertise has been featured in Bloomberg, BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review, ABC, CBS and NBC. Renowned as a thought leader, he is an expert on customer service, company culture, customer experience, innovation, entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship.

Micah's broad expertise touches on hospitality, retail, automotive, business to business, internal customer service, and the patient experience in healthcare, manufacturing, technology, banking, financial services and government.

He travels worldwide and appears at businesses as a keynote speaker and customer experience consultant and author. Micah lives in Seattle, and you can learn more about him here in his blog.

Follow Micah @micahsolomon

Jeff Toister—Nationally Recognized Employee Training Expert | Sought-After Speaker
“Ask your employees to describe what a great customer experience should look like,” says Jeff, a nationally recognized employee training expert and a sought-after speaker. “You'll achieve customer focus when everyone can give a consistently similar answer.”

Jeff has authored several books and more than 140,000 people have taken one of his video-based training courses on LinkedIn Learning. He founded Toister Performance Solutions in 2005 to help companies improve employee performance and develop a service culture. Services provided include customer service vision writing, keynote presentations and employee training. The company is based in San Diego, California, and serves clients worldwide.

Follow Jeff @toister

Adam Toporek—Customer Service Expert | Founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog | Co-host of the Crack the Customer Code Podcast

Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker and frontline trainer who helps organizations get results by thinking differently about customer service. A third-generation entrepreneur, he understands the impact that customer experience has on the bottom line. As the author of Be Your Customer's Hero, the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog, and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast, Adam regularly shares his customer experience and customer service insights with a global audience.

"One of the most powerful strategies for improving CX is to focus on improving the pressure points in your customer journey—those make-or-break touchpoints that have the most emotional significance,” Adam stresses. “Even if you have to do so at the expense of improving the entire journey, making sure you win the big moments will ensure that you win the experience."

Adam is also an angel investor with an interest in entrepreneurs who disrupt the status quo through innovation. He lives in Orlando with his wife, Renee, and their two dogs.

Follow Adam @adamtoporek

Jeremy Watkin—Assimilating People and Technology to Deliver an Awesome Customer Experience

As Head of Quality for FCR, a premier call center staffing agency, Jeremy brings 15+ years of customer service experience to every decision he makes and always keeps the customer experience at the forefront.

His success stems from listening to others and never taking himself too seriously. His best advice for improving your customer experience? “Look no further than your front-line support team,” he says. “Ask your front-line support agents regularly for insights and you'll never be short on ways to take your customer experience to the next level.”

In his free time, Jeremy loves to spend time with his family exploring his home state of Oregon. You’ll also catch him playing guitar, gardening, training for marathons, doing random projects around the house and reading books about customer service.

Follow Jeremy @jtwatkin

Nominate your favorite CX Influencer
Do you know a CX influencer who should be included in our next top picks? Message us on Twitter @Panviva or through email: cfleming@panviva.com to nominate your favorite influencer today!

About Panviva:
Panviva is a content and knowledge-management (KM) system providing on-demand, real-time answers that solve your customers’ most immediate problems. Panviva organizes and manages your content—policies, procedures, technical documentation, FAQs—into simple bites of information that customers can easily understand and customer service reps can easily explain. Panviva provides a better experience for customers because they receive the help they need from your customer service reps faster. It provides a better experience for employees because they have confidence that the information they are providing is current, accurate and timely—allowing for s more time spent caring for the customer rather than hunting for information. Learn more at http://www.panviva.com.

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Dawn Corrente
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