Bus Driver

Monthly Mash and The Customer as Bus Driver

Welcome to the Monthly Mash, a mashup of tools, tales and tips on customer service and the customer experience from around the blogosphere.


Thoughts on the Customer: The Customer as Bus Driver

In June, I will be a panelist at the Future Stores conference in Seattle, and I was recently perusing a new report put out by the conference organizers. The report, titled the 2014 State of Brick & Mortar Report revealed some interesting facts related to how organizations are adapting to changing customer purchasing behaviors brought on by technology.

A few illuminating stats:

  • 87% of organizations surveyed indicated that they are trying to embrace showrooming as opposed to trying to combat it.
  • 89% of retailers are implementing mobile tablet capabilities to enhance the in-store experience.
  • 58% of companies now have an individual responsible for omnichannel initiatives.

Bus DriverMuch is made nowadays of telling customers what they need, of inventing products and services that consumers do not even know they want. The iPod and iPhone are held up as the prototypical examples. What if Steve Jobs had asked consumers what they wanted?, some ask. Henry Ford’s famous quip about ‘they would have asked for a faster horse’ is inevitably brought into the discussion.

The central point: great companies lead their customers and do not follow them.

But this notion ignores the most fundamental of truths — creating behavior-revolutionizing products or services is extremely rare. In most cases, what customers currently do and think is paramount. As the stats above from the 2014 State of Brick & Mortar Report show, the customer is dictating how wishes to have its brick and mortar experiences, and smart companies are adapting to consumer preferences.

The reality is that for all of the talk of revolutionary product development, the customer still drives the bus most of the time.

Wise leaders remember this, even when they’re listening to their iPod.

The Month in Customer Service Blogging

A collection of the best posts about customer service and the customer experience we read this past month.

  • Making the Customer Experience Easy – If you want to earn customer trust, start by making customer experiences easier. A frustrating story that illustrates the opposite.

Someone Was Listening

Sometimes the most popular post from the previous month; sometimes just the one I liked best.

In our post Customer Experience: How Minor Issues Create a Major Impact, I recounted a recent hotel stay where an accumulation of minor service issues snowballed into a bad brand experience. The post is a cautionary tale about how the small things can really add up.

Photo Credit: vancityhotshots via photopin cc


By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.

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