The Customer Experience SmackDown

I have spent over 26 years in IT, much of it, meeting and working with customers. It remains the part of the job I continue to enjoy the most. I get to talk about the products we develop, the technology that goes into them, and the people who build and support them. But the most valuable parts of these meetings include feedback on the customer’s experience, and how we are doing.

This includes things users like, things they don’t, and things we are missing. The more open and transparent we can be on both sides, the better. We can then take that input and channel it back into the right parts of the organization.

The concept of understanding your customer’s experience is not a new one, and goes across just about every organization and company. So much so, a day called “Customer Experience Day” (AKA CXDay) exists for organizations to thank our customers and the teams of people responsible for servicing them.

No surprise, Dell is an active participant and contributor for this globally recognized event most recently celebrated in October. It included over 30 Dell locations, hundreds of customers, and tens of thousands of team members.  In addition to hearing from our users, team members, and executives, we had a special guest who definitely knows a lot about customer experience, John Cena.


Most people know John Cena as a superstar WWE athlete, entertainer, and movie star.  Many also know of John’s extensive philanthropy work, including his Make A Wish Foundation support (over 500 Wishes delivered). But what many people were surprised to see was John’s understanding of the business and organizational side of delivering his audience an amazing customer experience.

You may think what does John Cena’s customers and Dell’s customer have in common? The simple answer is they want to be completely satisfied. Otherwise, customers would find other products and services to spend their time and money on.

John had some awesome advice on how he and the WWE think about customer experience, and he boiled it down to 5 simple points for success:

  1. Know your customer — who is your audience and what do they want to experience
  2. Know your role — what are you responsible for doing and how do you fit in
  3. Know your company’s strategy — what is the objective and how do you measure the success
  4. Ask questions — never stop asking questions…ever
  5. Most important, LOVE your job — if that’s not at the top of the list, you may survive, but you’ll never be great

img_5915I got to spend a few minutes with John Cena prepping for a quick interview for the Dell TV broadcast before his talk. We had a little chit chat about the upcoming interview and the questions we planned to ask. Right before we went on, I sarcastically asked him if he was excited to be here in Hopkinton MA, getting ready to talk to a bunch of geeks, many of which are not part of his core audience. His answer blew me away.

He said was totally looking forward to talking to us and he couldn’t wait to do it. When surprisingly I asked, “why,” said it was because of the opportunity to represent himself and the company he worked for, the WWE. And it’s the part of his job he loves the most.

The fact that it was not in a 20 x 20 ring facing down and opponent armed with a chair didn’t matter. He was there to give us, his audience, a memorable and positive customer experience. Really cool stuff that not only showed how import his audience is, but why he is so good at what he does and why he’s so successful.

It was amazing to meet John and talk to him, and definitely one of the coolest interviews I have ever done.  It was also awesome to not only hear his advice on keeping his customers happy, but learning that, at the end of the day, we really DO do the same thing.

The only difference is that nothing in my job description says “get hit by chair” J

Check out the interview.

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