Thomas A. Stewart & Patricia O’Connell

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Authorities on Innovation in Customer Experience; Experts on Connecting Strategy, Value Proposition, and Customer Experience; Pioneers in Measuring and Assessing Customer Satisfaction; Best-selling Authors of “Woo, Wow and Win: Service Design, Strategy and the Art of Customer Delight”

Biography

Customers value experience over price and product – a fact that is changing the rules for how companies win. Starting with the counterintuitive advice that “the customer isn’t always right,” best-selling authors and renowned business experts Thomas A. Stewart and Patricia O’Connell show how companies in every sector and part of the economy can define, design, and deliver differentiating experiences that delight customers – on the customers’ terms.

As a team, they teach organizations how to integrate strategy and service, and how to design empathetic customer experiences that are reliable, repeatable, scalable, and profitable. They guide businesses in looking beyond the borders of their own companies and industries to understand and anticipate customer demands and spur innovation.

Stewart, an influential thought leader on global management, and O’Connell, an expert on customer-centric business strategy, argue that today’s businesses must start by deciding what experience they want their customers to have. In their acclaimed book, “Woo, Wow and Win: Service Design, Strategy and the Art of Customer Delight,” (HarperCollins, November 2016), the duo emphasizes that in an economy dominated by service, the old rules around management and strategy no longer apply. Those rules have been replaced by their “Five Principles of Service Design,” which guide companies in creating experiences that boost their reputation, customer satisfaction, and the bottom line.

As technology continues to transform service delivery and blur the line between products and services, companies need to balance technology’s promise of efficiency and cost-effectiveness with customers’ desires for a personalized, satisfying experience. Stewart and O’Connell build upon years of research on customer experience, service design, and management to help businesses create value for customers and themselves in an omnichannel world.

Currently the executive director of the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM), Stewart previously served as chief marketing and knowledge officer for international consulting firm Booz & Company (now called Strategy&), overseeing the firm’s intellectual agenda, major research projects and strategy + business magazine. Prior to that, he was editor and managing director of Harvard Business Review for six years and is one of the pioneers in the field of intellectual capital. Translating his expertise and passion to the podium, Stewart is a highly sought speaker. He is a 12-time participant in the World Economic Forum, and delivers lectures and seminars across the U.S. and internationally. He holds an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Cass Business School, City University London.

O’Connell collaborates with companies to devise content strategies, develop thought leadership for the C-Suite, and develop customized products and services. Her passion for service design and interest in customer experience stem from a life-long belief that “there’s got to a better way” and a career dedicated to its pursuit. Her publishing career includes stints as a managing editor, a news editor, and most notably, as Management and Leadership Editor at BloombergBusinessweek.com. She wrote, with author Neil Smith, the New York Times best-seller, “How Excellent Companies Avoid Dumb Things: Breaking the Eight Hidden Barriers that Plague Even the Best Businesses.” An award-winning writer and editor, O’Connell is an energetic, engaging speaker and moderator on a variety of business, management, and leadership topics.

Thomas A. Stewart and Patricia O’Connell are available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Videos

Articles

strategy+business logo

The Legacy of IKEA Founder Ingvar Kamprad

February 12, 2018

Woo, Woo, Win: Knowledge Management for Customer Delight (Video)

November 2017

Inc

To Really Wow Your Customers, Do These 4 Things

October 30, 2017

Inc

10 Questions to Diagnose Problems Between You and Your Customers

October 26, 2017

strategy+business logo

Happy 50th Birthday, ATM

June 27, 2017

Wall Street Journal logo

Good News From the Middle Market

May 9, 2017

Minds Worth Meeting

The Art of Customer Delight Part II with Thomas A. Stewart and Patricia O’Connell (Audio)

May 2, 2017

Minds Worth Meeting

The Art of Customer Delight Part I with Thomas A. Stewart and Patricia O’Connell (Audio)

April 25, 2017

ThunderTech logo

Service Design: How Marketers Can Build the Perfect Customer Experience (Audio)

February 27, 2017

The Customer Is Not (Not!) Always Right (Audio)

January 17, 2017

strategy+business logo

How Howard Schultz’s Angel Poised Starbucks for Success

January 10, 2017

MY Customer logo

What Defines a Good Service Culture – and How Can Service Design Help?

January 11, 2017

NCR Silver logo

How to Bake a Superior Customer Experience into Your Business

January 5, 2017

Amazing Business Radio logo

How to Deliver an Exceptional Customer Experience – By Design (Audio)

January 1, 2017

Huffington Post logo

Woo, Wow, and Win: Stewart and O’Connell on Designing Customer Delight

December 2, 2016

Can Service Design Advance Ethical Culture?

December 7, 2016

Shep Hyken logo

How to Manage Customer Emotions

December 2, 2016

Huffington Post logo

9 Transaction Models Shape Your Customer Experience

November 30, 2016

Modern Restaurant Management logo

MRM Talking With: Patricia O’Connell and Thomas A. Stewart, Authors of ‘Woo, Wow, and Win’

November 29, 2016

Linkedin Logo

Black Friday: Making Sure Temporary Employees Are a Bright Spot This Holiday Season

November 25, 2016

strategy+business logo

The Art of Customer Delight

November 2, 2016

New Research Shows the ABCs of Running a Great Sales Force

August 2, 2016

Wall Street Journal logo

Tom Stewart on the Pulse of the Middle Market

June 1, 2016

Three Ways Middle Market Manufacturing Executives Can Drive Profitable Innovations

December 11, 2015

Midsized Companies Occupy a Sweet Spot in the U.S. Economy

October 5, 2015

Inc. logo

The Post-Startup Guide to Innovation

April 2015

middle market growth

Middle Market Now Firing on All Cylinders—National Center

January 20, 2015

The Future of the Mid-market: a Q&A with Thomas Stewart

November 11, 2014

Accelerating Exports in the Middle Market: Global Opportunities for U.S. Firms and Metro Areas

October 30, 2014

CNBC logo

Why the US can take on Germany at its own game

October 29, 2014

A Middle Market Guide to Building and Sustaining Operations Excellence

September 30, 2014

Harvard Business Review logo

Four Types of Leadership Expertise

February 29, 2008

Harvard Business Review logo

Leading Change When Business Is Good

December 2004

Biography

Customers value experience over price and product – a fact that is changing the rules for how companies win. Starting with the counterintuitive advice that “the customer isn’t always right,” best-selling authors and renowned business experts Thomas A. Stewart and Patricia O’Connell show how companies in every sector and part of the economy can define, design, and deliver differentiating experiences that delight customers – on the customers’ terms.

As a team, they teach organizations how to integrate strategy and service, and how to design empathetic customer experiences that are reliable, repeatable, scalable, and profitable. They guide businesses in looking beyond the borders of their own companies and industries to understand and anticipate customer demands and spur innovation.

Stewart, an influential thought leader on global management, and O’Connell, an expert on customer-centric business strategy, argue that today’s businesses must start by deciding what experience they want their customers to have. In their acclaimed book, “Woo, Wow and Win: Service Design, Strategy and the Art of Customer Delight,” (HarperCollins, November 2016), the duo emphasizes that in an economy dominated by service, the old rules around management and strategy no longer apply. Those rules have been replaced by their “Five Principles of Service Design,” which guide companies in creating experiences that boost their reputation, customer satisfaction, and the bottom line.

As technology continues to transform service delivery and blur the line between products and services, companies need to balance technology’s promise of efficiency and cost-effectiveness with customers’ desires for a personalized, satisfying experience. Stewart and O’Connell build upon years of research on customer experience, service design, and management to help businesses create value for customers and themselves in an omnichannel world.

Currently the executive director of the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM), Stewart previously served as chief marketing and knowledge officer for international consulting firm Booz & Company (now called Strategy&), overseeing the firm’s intellectual agenda, major research projects and strategy + business magazine. Prior to that, he was editor and managing director of Harvard Business Review for six years and is one of the pioneers in the field of intellectual capital. Translating his expertise and passion to the podium, Stewart is a highly sought speaker. He is a 12-time participant in the World Economic Forum, and delivers lectures and seminars across the U.S. and internationally. He holds an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Cass Business School, City University London.

O’Connell collaborates with companies to devise content strategies, develop thought leadership for the C-Suite, and develop customized products and services. Her passion for service design and interest in customer experience stem from a life-long belief that “there’s got to a better way” and a career dedicated to its pursuit. Her publishing career includes stints as a managing editor, a news editor, and most notably, as Management and Leadership Editor at BloombergBusinessweek.com. She wrote, with author Neil Smith, the New York Times best-seller, “How Excellent Companies Avoid Dumb Things: Breaking the Eight Hidden Barriers that Plague Even the Best Businesses.” An award-winning writer and editor, O’Connell is an energetic, engaging speaker and moderator on a variety of business, management, and leadership topics.

Thomas A. Stewart and Patricia O’Connell are available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, and advisory/consulting services, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Speech Topics

Woo, Wow, and Win: Designing a Captivating Customer Experience

How do businesses generate the kind of customer loyalty that distinguishes service standouts like Virgin Atlantic, Warby Parker, and Amazon Web Services? Delivering a customer-centric experience demands that you design it from start to finish, at every point of contact. Experiences aren’t just features; designing great experiences doesn’t just mean completing a checklist. To woo, wow, and win customers you must bring your strategy to life in a unique, compelling, top-to-bottom act of imagination and design.

In this presentation based on their best-selling book, Thomas A. Stewart and Patricia O’Connell reveal how to use the Five Principles of Service Design to “woo” with the promise of superior performance, “wow” with an empathetic experience that aligns with your Service Design Archetype, and “win” customer loyalty by delivering on your promise in a way that is repeatable, reliable, scalable, and profitable.

Empathy, Experience, and Expectations in the Age of Digitization and AI

Technology has dramatically expanded consumers’ choices. Automation, artificial intelligence, and digital platforms have made services cheaper and faster and, ironically, have heightened customers’ expectations for a personalized experience. How do businesses ensure that empathy remains at the heart of the experiences they deliver as they increasingly rely on non-human interaction?

In this presentation, customer experience experts Tom Stewart and Patricia O’Connell explore the challenges and opportunities that technology presents for designing and delivering customer experiences that woo, wow, and win. They emphasize how service providers can capitalize on the consistency and cost efficiency of technology to allow their employees to add value when and where it’s most needed in the customer journey.

You’re Never Done: Design Secrets of the Master Service Innovators

The rules and best practices of innovation all come from models developed for products—even the means of measuring success. Services account for 80% of the economy—but many services businesses don’t even think innovation matters to them.

But a new science of innovation around services is emerging, grounded in the principles of service design and delivery and rolling out through industries as diverse as financial services, IT services, retail, hospitality, and even storage-unit leasing. Calling on examples from these and other industries, Tom Stewart and Patricia O’Connell show how you can design innovation capabilities into the very fabric of your business, defending, and extending your advantage over your rivals.

You will learn about four key design-led best practices that apply across the spectrum of businesses:

  • Assume you are never done. “Always be in beta” is the mindset of great service innovators.
  • Set and keep a cadence. Establishing a rhythm of new and improved offerings is especially valuable internally, since nothing concentrates the mind like deliverables and a deadline. Doing so ensures that you have a platform, process, culture, and triggers for innovation.
  • Innovate in the wild. Get out of the lab and into the world of real customers.
  • Invite your customers in – measure both the value customers receive from the innovation process and the contributions they make to it.

Why the Customer Isn’t Always Right: Finding the Right Customer for Your Business

“The customer is always right” isn’t a strategy, but rather a comedy of manners born of shopkeeping etiquette in the first part of the twentieth century that has been played out (and overplayed) since.

The key difference between goods and services is that goods are a fixed thing while services are services are experiential. Service providers must contend with customers who want something more or different than what they paid for: the beer drinker with champagne tastes. You must think through the different offerings you will make to different customers, and design the appropriate service experiences – that is, the ones that meet their expectations and are good for you, too.

Segmentation should start with what’s good for you (and what you’re good at), with the definition of the right customer coming out of that. Tom Stewart and Patricia O’Connell will guide you through:

  • Differentiating between a valued customer and a valuable customer
  • Understanding myths about customer retention
  • Distinguishing between quantity and quality – and knowing what’s right for you.
  • What you can learn from your “wrong” customers
  • What to consider before you say “no” to a customer – or a potential one
  • A “Customer Bestiary:” The Five Different Kinds of Customers

Service-Design Archetypes: Who Are You, and What Companies Inspire You?

Why was Netflix an inspiration for commuter airline SurfAir?  What does online stylist StitchFix have in common with UPS?  The commonalities in the way businesses go to market are more important than the products or services you sell and are more fundamental than the industry you are in. These embodiments of value propositions are what Tom Stewart and Patricia O’Connell call Service Design Archetypes.

Some companies are Trendsetters, like Apple and Warby Parker. Some are Classics, like the Ritz Carlton and Brooks Brothers. Companies of the same type have more to learn from each other than they do from their direct competitors. By understanding your archetype, you can:

  • Recognize which one best embodies the essence of your value proposition. Use this understanding to make that you’re expressing your identity in every customer interaction.
  • Move beyond benchmarking to become inspired by businesses outside your industry.
  • Find fresh, surprising, and useful sources of inspiration, as SurfAir did with Netflix.

Articles

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Books & Research

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Workshops

Stewart and O’Connell offer customized, interactive workshops based on their acclaimed “Woo, Wow, Win” framework. Download a PDF sample of their workshop slides.

LinkedIn Course: Thomas A. Stewart and Patricia O’Connell on Service Design, Strategy and Delivering Customer Delight

Recommendations

Praise for “Woo, Wow, and Win”

“It’s impossible to operate a successful business without mastering your service design, and it’s difficult to master without this book. There is tremendous wisdom and clarity in its pages, making a complex subject both inspiring and immediately useful. ‘Woo, Wow, and Win‘ is an essential, urgent read.”

 – Stan Slap, New York Times

“‘Woo, Wow, and Win: Service Design, Strategy, and the Art of Customer Delight‘ is an insightful, practical, and, yes, often delightful guide to creating services that turn customers into loyal, enthusiastic fans.”

– Nell Minow, Huffington Post

“Here is a long overdue manual for using the cohesiveness and power of design thinking to optimize every interaction your business has with its customers. You’ll not only understand why service design is as important as product design–you’ll have a new perspective on what makes a company unique.”

– Beth Comstock, Former Vice Chair, GE

“‘Woo, Wow, and Win is a roadmap for success in a landscape being rapidly transformed by technology and entrepreneurship.”

    – Steve Case, Chairman and CEO of Revolution

“Tom Stewart’s and Patricia O’Connell’s exceptional book is a convincing testimony to the power of having service strategies that are as unique and differentiated as product strategies. It provides deep insights into how you can develop your customers and retain them with superior service. It’s a must read!”

– Bill George, Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School, author, Discover Your True North

“Two pervasive themes cut across all sectors of the world economy: Everything is digital, and everything is a service. ‘Woo, Wow, and Win’ shows how the discipline of Service Design enables any company to capitalize on these two trends to engage their customers, enlist their employees, and delight their shareholders.”

– Geoffrey Moore, author, Crossing the Chasm and Zone to Win

“‘Woo, Wow, and Win’ provides far and away the most comprehensive advice I have seen for designing and operating service companies. It is a book I hope every leader in every service business reads and acts upon.”

– Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO and author, Change by Design

“This is the book that service business executives have been waiting for. ‘Woo, Wow, and Win’ shows how to make the connection between strategic opportunity, business design, and customer satisfaction. The principles of service design are the pathway to a more profitable future–and happier customers.”

– Ram Charan, Advisor to CEOs and boards and author, The Attacker’s Advantage

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Stewart, Thomas A. & O'Connell, Patricia

Intro Video

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Woo, Wow, Win: Designing a Captivating Customer Experience