How Technology Makes the Customer the Center of the Universe

It seems the Millennial generation – the topic of the last GsD reading survey – continues this week. Well, as least in part. The technological progress so readily lived out by the Millennials has also irreversibly transformed the world of customer service. Which is the topic of the eighth session of the summer term of the 2016 GsD program – a reading survey course. This journey has been a broad overview of some of the recent literature in the field of customer service – and you will quickly see how it connects to Guest Experiences! It’s only an introduction to whet your appetite – the application to the world of Guest Experiences for churches will come in the second summer term!

2016 GsD Summer Term 1: Survey of Customer Experience Literature 201

Text: Customer Experience: What, How, and Why Now

Author: Don Peppers

Synopsis: When it comes to customer experience, Don Peppers is one of the world’s most respected authorities. Over the last twenty years he and co-author Martha Rogers have written a series of best-selling books on the subject, collectively selling over a million copies in 18 languages. Businessweek Magazine called one of their books “the bible of the new marketing,” Accenture listed Don among the “Top 100 Business Intellectuals,” and The Times of London listed him as one of the “Top 50 Business Brains.”

In 2015 Don Peppers capped the list of “Top 25 Customer Experience Leaders” compiled by Satmetrix, based on factors including Klout score, LinkedIn presence, book sales, and “creation of an industry-changing methodology.”

So if you’re looking for advice on how to think about, improve, and deliver a better customer experience, then this is the book for you. Organized as a series of short, easily digested and self-contained essays, it’s packed with concrete examples, suggestions, and inspiring ideas. Read it straight through, or snack on it as you like.


Book Outline

Delivering a better customer experience represents an immense problem to solve. And with every new interactive platform or mobile app, the urgency of solving it only intensifies, as customers become even more informed, even more demanding and impatient. Each of the fourteen chapters below contain five or more short, powerful essays designed to help solve that problem.

  • Technology Drives the Customer Experience Movement
  • Customers Just Want Their Problems Solved
  • Every Customer’s Experience is Personal
  • Eliminate the Friction in Your Customer Experience
  • Deliver a Customer Experience That’s Relevant to Each Customer
  • Seek Out Customer Feedback
  • Personalize the Customer Experience
  • Earn Your Customers’ Trust
  • Let Your Humanity Shine Through
  • It Won’t Be Easy
  • There’s Real Money to be Made
  • How Much is Customer Loyalty Really Worth?
  • Life in the Frictionless Fast Lane
  • Caution: Good Intentions Required

About the author: Don Peppers is an acclaimed author, blogger and keynote speaker. He is also a founding partner of Peppers & Rogers Group, a leading customer-centric management consulting firm.

Recognized for more than 20 years as one of the world’s foremost thought leaders on customer-focused business strategies, Don is a sought-after speaker whose keynote presentations and executive workshops routinely focus on the business issues that today’s global enterprises are grappling with. His strategic advice on customer issues has educated and motivated audiences in over 40 countries on six continents.

Additional Resources: An independent media division of the Peppers and Rogers group has a very helpful website, 1to1media, which serves as a platform and go-to multimedia resource for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and customer service professionals. There you will find a weekly digest, videos, infographics, webinars, white papers, and other resources intended for customer service professionals but very readily transferable to Guest Experience practitioners.

A Quick Comment: While serving on the staffs of two churches, I had the opportunity to begin and complete a certification course in Church Business Management through the auspices of the National Association of Church Business Administration (now called The Church Network). Part of the process involved onsite classes, which for me meant the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. During that time period in the early 90s, I was exposed to the concepts of Don Rogers and Martha Rogers through their book, The One to One Future. While my undergraduate degree in Accounting had exposed me to basic marketing concepts, and my graduate work in Church Communication and Administration had briefly touched on marketing applications for churches, Peppers and Rogers book was an eyeopener, focusing on the customer not as a number but in terms of a relationship that must be built, one individual at a time. The immediate applications for churches were within the stretch of my imagination, but did not take on practical application until a decade later, when I was serving as a consultant for churches in building programs. The hazy memory of the concepts of Don Peppers surfaced again – along with several other books and resources, including the aforementioned 1to1Media site. One that stands out is Extreme Trust, a fascinating and much-marked book based on the increasingly high levels of transparency needed by organizations who want to obtain and retain the trust of their customers.

Customer Experience continues along those same lines: well-written, thoroughly documented, and an enjoyable read that ChurchWorld leaders will find immediately applicable to their Guest Experience efforts.


Guestology – the art and science of knowing and understanding your guests – is a term originated by Bruce Laval of the Walt Disney Company. The use of GsD (Doctor of Guestology) is my tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment that organizations that really want to understand and deliver a WOW Guest Experience need to study the best practices and principles in use today, and then adapt them to the context of their own environment.

If you didn’t get a chance to participate in the 2013 GsD Summer Reading 101 classes, you can begin reading a 10-part session here.

For more reading in the area of Guest Experiences, check out my Essential Guest Experience Library. I am always adding new resources for your learning pleasure!

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