Over the Hump

On my way to work this morning, I stepped out the front door and was not hit by a wall of heat. I was amazed. We’re currently at 75 degrees. w00t. Beginning of the end for summer heat. Soon I’ll have all the windows to the apartment open again. This makes me happy.

Stevie Steve Andersen, man of the cloth, was out to visit this weekend while attending to matters of God. We visited geek Mecca, fry’s electronics and went out for a couple of dinners. Good times.

The bulk of my weekend was spent reading a book for a project I am on. Not a thick book mind you, just a tough one to get through. Building Great Customer Experiences by Colin Shaw and John Ivens. I agree strongly with the spotlight review on that page. The authors constantly refer to another book they have written, and quote each other excessively. It’s clear they are promoting their own consultancy, but it’s far too much. I felt like I was reading an ad. Also, the subject matter was only given a cursory framework from which to understand and work. They made up some graphics, and had defining philosophies, but over-all, there was no framework guiding the reader through the process, just a bunch of concepts barfed out onto rough chapters. This lead to many instances of repetition and referencing earlier pages.

I understand that Customer Experience Management is a relatively new discipline, but it is badly in need of best practices, and shared terminology and methodology. I read this book hoping to get a solid framework for how to implement CEM into an organization and instead got a lot of anecdotes, iffy statistics, and platitudes. Almost zero practical application work is done despite a lot of examples of their points from real work situations.

It could be that I was looking for the wrong thing though. For people new to CEM, or who need talking points and examples to sell CEM to their bosses, this is a good resource. It sets up the fundamental ideas of CEM well enough and touches on good points like employee satisfaction and engagement, albeit in a rambling disjointed fashion.

My advice to Colin and John would be to fire their editor, back off the constant self promotion, and think of their information in more linear structured way for better presentation in a book. The current “elaborated powerpoint” style of this book is just painful to read for people looking for practical application of CEM ideas.

The project I am on is concerned with CEM, and it’s becoming more and more clear how large its scope will be if done right. I’m not certain that our leadership is aware of how sweeping the changes will be, and how receptive they will be when they find out. We recently went through massive restructuring around a loosely related initiative and I wonder how much momentum we’ll be able to generate.

I’ve been working a lot more since being put on the project, and doing a lot of off hours work. I like it in the sense that it’s a little more brainy and high concept than my other work, but its consuming my free time, which isn’t so cool. I’ve been dreaming about work which is a bad sign. Need to find a way to back off a little bit and relax.

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