The CX Circle: Insights from The Tipping Point

CX Circle

As part of our CX Circle book club, for the month of August we read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. While the book was published more than 10 years ago, the points that are made are still highly relevant in any business environment today. Read on to see what the TCFCR team thought about Gladwell’s book and how we will take what we learned with us moving forward in the customer service landscape.

Here’s a breakdown of what we learned:

  • Change does not just happen on its own – One of my favorite points that Gladwell made in The Tipping Point was that in order to bring about real change in people, you need to create an environment where these beliefs will grow on their own.  Change, both positive and negative, needs to be nurtured in order to be long-lasting.
  • Investing in people is worth the time – Gladwell reminds us that there are exceptional people all around us.  When you take the time to get to know someone by investing your energy in them, you have the opportunity of being part of their epidemic.  This can also improve your own circumstances, because “emotion is contagious.”
  • Little things can make a big difference – The world is a big place and it can sometimes feel like you can’t make a difference.  Gladwell points out that with just the slightest “push”, it can be tipped.  Businesses should take a step back and think what small “push” they can make to start their own epidemic.
  • Traditional communication may not work anymore, so you have to turn to other methods to create buzz – I rarely watch commercials anymore and I never click on banner ads on websites.  I don’t think I’m unique in this, so how can companies create buzz and get their message out?  Gladwell points out that “the cure for immunity is finding Mavens, Connectors, and Salesmen.”  These unique people who will share their experiences and insights are the ones who will be creating epidemics.  Companies will need to focus more on the user experiences with their products and services so that when a Maven tries your brand, they have nothing but good things to say.

After reading the book, the thing that stuck out as the most interesting for our team were a lot of the different examples that Gladwell uses to communicate his point. If there is one thing for certain, Gladwell certainly does not lack in providing plenty of well thought-out and interesting examples from different disciplines within pop culture studies, history, and sociology. While our team was reading The Tipping Point, we found ourselves bringing up the examples that he provides in the book and talking about how we had not heard about many of these stories before. In his use of varied examples throughout the book, Gladwell allows a wide range of audience members to find their entry point into the overall discussion that he is having about the cultural phenomenon known as “The Tipping Point.” Throughout the book, Gladwell pulls from studies in fields like history, sociology, healthcare, and even throws in some pop culture examples by referencing Sesame Street in order to illustrate for the audience what it takes for a small idea to “tip” and become a sensation. In using so many varied examples, Gladwell was able to present a topic that could have been very dry and uninteresting in an exciting and compelling way. No matter what field your educational or professional background is in, this book has examples that will intrigue, surprise, and educate you.

Coming from a customer experience point of view, one of the most compelling points made in the book was regarding mavens and how these people have such a large amount of influence and play an integral role in the spread of ideas. Gladwell describes mavens as the type of people who naturally want to help others and share their experiences. For example, if Sally (a maven) goes in to get her haircut at Roxy’s Cut and Blow Dry, and has the best hair cut experience of her life, she is going to want to share this news with as many people as she can. Sally may go home, text her girlfriends in the area that they too need to visit Roxy, she may post a review online, or even recommend Roxy any time somebody asks her for a hair salon recommendation. Since Sally is a maven, she is a valuable (almost free) form of marketing for Roxy’s Cut and Blow Dry. By simply delivering exceptional customer service and ensuring that Sally had her needs addressed and left the business feeling great, Roxy has invested in a busy-body maven who will know use word of mouth to spread the positive review and generate more interest/new business for her salon. Now, one thing that Gladwell does touch upon in the book is that there is no true way to discern a maven from a non-maven by simply looking at them. This is why it is important to ensure you deliver a positive customer experience for each and every consumer that comes through your door. You never know when you could have a maven on your hands, and if handled well the return on investment could be more than you ever imagined.

Overall, Gladwell’s The Tipping Point proved to be an interesting and thought-provoking read for the TCFCR team as it allowed us to gain further insight on different types of customers and their power beyond the initial purchase/interaction. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @TCFCR and Like us on Facebook to stay in the loop regarding our next book choice for CX Circle in October. If you have a book you’d like us to choose, reach out and let us know!

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