LEFTYA mentor of mine once told me, “if you have trouble solving a problem, try innovating from the opposite direction.”

Jimi Hendrix clearly understood this concept well. Being left handed, he was initially confounded by the lack of available left-handed Fender Stratocaster guitars. His solution was ingenious. Hendrix bought a right-handed version, turned it upside down, and restrung it as a left-handed guitar. Voila! Problem solved. This unique approach only added to his mystique.

Today’s customer experience challenge can be a daunting and complex challenging proposition.

One sure way to sub-optimize customer experience outcomes is to start with a technology solution in mind. Both companies and vendors often take this approach. It’s tempting because there are some really neat things happening in the customer care technology ranks these days.

A more effective solution is to “flip the process over” and solve the customer experience backwards – from the customer viewpoint.  Many organizations are adopting an emerging model that actually begins with the emotion it wants to elicit from its products and customer facing processes.

Some of the most popular emotions under consideration by organizations are “memorable”, “effortless”, and “trust”.  Rowan Trollope, Sr. Vice President and GM of Cisco’s Collaboration Technology group, has instilled that his engineers begin by imagining what a “delightful” product experience would feel like – before any coding begins.

So, how does it work? Once you identify the emotional element, trace customer journeys through your customer lifecycle. At each step, check the emotional state against the actual experience and make adjustments. At times, you can tweak existing processes to produce a better emotional result. In other instances, the adjustments are more challenging. For instance, if an existing process relies on a dated and inflexible technology underpinning.

Steve Jobs was famous for this customer-first approach. Now it’s your turn: For customer experience success, try “flipping” your customer innovation approach.

Discover more about how Cisco’s customer experience offerings can help you innovate and improve customer satisfaction.


Zack Taylor


Cisco Global Collaboration