May 29, 2015 / Articles We Like / Strategy

On “Are You Solving the Right Business Problem? Here Are 5 Ways to Get to Your Question Zero”

Are you solving the right problem for your customers? The most strategic leaders we know understand the importance of surfacing their customers’ core issues, and offering the right solutions to address them. That’s why we share this article on a technique practiced by IDEO:  question zero.

Leaders can use the question zero technique to understand what the problem is, why it is the problem, and how you can mobilize resources to solve it. Check out the Fast Company article, written by Ana Andjelic, SVP, Global Strategy Director at Havas LuxHub, Are You Solving the Right Business Problem? Here are 5 Ways to Get to Your Question Zero, for tips on using question zero to get closer to the essence of the core challenge your customers face.

What other strategic thinking techniques do you use to get to your customers’ core issues?

November 30, 2014 / Articles We Like / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation

On “Beyond MVP: 10 tips for creating your Minimum Loveable Product”

Creating a minimum viable product (MVP) is the goal for most new product innovation, and for many of our clients in Silicon Valley. So many decisions go into making an MVP, and balancing those decisions with speed to market is not a small task. With many MVPs failing to leave a lasting impression on customers because their expectations are not met, is there a better way to successfully bring new products to market?

According to Laurence McCahill, yes there is! From a customer experience perspective, the MVP might be an outdated way of thinking about new product innovation. Instead, consider the Minimal Loveable Product (MLP). In the article, Beyond MVP: 10 tips for creating your Minimum Loveable Product, Laurence outlines 10 tips to go from MVP to MLP. In the process, you’ll build a community of users, delight them from the start, and get them talking. The author advocates for design as a critical element, which we love!  Propel the success of your new product by reading this article now.

What’s the greatest challenge you face in creating new products?

November 24, 2014 / Wise Talk Teleconference

The Customer Rules

WISE TALK December 2014: Sue Bethanis hosts Lee Cockerell, a leadership, management and service expert, speaker and author of the new book The Customer Rules:  The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service.

Drawing on extensive experience in the hospitality and entertainment industry, including a stint at Walt Disney World® Resort as Executive Vice President of Operations, Lee shares insights on customer expectations and tips for creating magic in your interactions with customers to win them over and keep them.

Follow him on Twitter: @LeeCockerell

November 5, 2014 / Press Releases

Mariposa Leadership, Inc. Hosts Steve Curtin, Customer Experience Expert and Author

Steve Curtin, a recognized customer service expert and author, will be interviewed by Sue Bethanis, CEO/Founder of Mariposa Leadership, on the popular Wise Talk Leadership Forum for executives on November 20, 2014.

San Francisco, CA – November 1, 2014 – Mariposa Leadership, Inc. is pleased to announce that Steve Curtin, an expert with extensive expertise in the hospitality management industry and author of the new book, Delight Your Customers, will be a guest on Wise Talk, a popular monthly leadership forum for technology executives, on November 20, 2014 at 11am PT/2pm ET.

Download PDF

October 31, 2014 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Delight Your Customers

delightDelight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary
By Steve Curtin

Head: (3 out of 5)
Heart: (5 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (4 out of 5)

Though most businesses seem keen on creating an exceptional customer experience, the customer service experience can still feel lackluster.  At the core of the issue, according to author Steve Curtin, is a failure to distinguish the difference between job function (duties or tasks in a role) and job essence, which is the highest priority – creating a promoter, a delighted customer who is less price sensitive, and positively promotes the business via word-of-mouth. Essence is that little extra something that creates a stand-out interaction for the customer, and is voluntary on the part of the employee. So what can be done to turn an ordinary transaction into an extraordinary one?

Peppered with case studies, this practical book outlines the three truths of exceptional customer service and offers seven simple ways to raise customer service levels. They are based on the premise that in everyday service situations, most customers just want to be acknowledged and appreciated.  Conveying to customers that they matter leaves an impression, turning an ordinary interaction into an extraordinary one, and inspiring customer loyalty.

Leaders interested in increasing the level of customer service in their business to improve their customer experience and generate more loyal customers will want to read this book.  Buy it now.

September 26, 2014 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Customer Experience 3.0

customerexp30Customer Experience 3.0: High-Profit Strategies in the Age of Techno Service
By John A. Goodman

Head: (5 out of 5)
Heart: (3 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (4 out of 5)

A top notch customer experience relies on more than providing great customer service. Customer experience management involves the entire company, setting and managing customer expectations from end-to-end and removing barriers along the way.  Companies also need to be able to quantify their customer experience strategy because as the author likes to cite, if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it.  This book addresses all of this and more.

The content of Customer Experience 3.0 delivers a framework and strategies for creating a successful end-to-end customer experience:

  1. Meet reasonable customer expectations the first time and warn of product limitations.
  2. Make communication channels effortless for customers who want help.
  3. Empower employees to handle customer service issues and allow them to emotionally connect.
  4. Build a full lifecycle Voice of the Customer (VOC) process, with financial analysis.

This book is based on decades of research by the author, John A. Goodman, one of the original pioneers of the customer experience industry. This practical guide addresses many service, marketing and technology myths and offers tips on using the best tools available to enhance the customer experience. Leaders interested in understanding how to create a successful end-to-end customer experience that can be measured and quantified will want to read this book.   Buy it now.

July 30, 2014 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Customer CEO

CustomerCEOCustomer CEO: How to Profit from the Power of Your Customers
By: Chuck Wall

Companies used to be more able to set the terms for engaging with customers.  They created products and customers chose whether or not to buy them at the price the company set. It was a simple transaction.  But in the age of social media, transactions have become 24/7 relationships, recommendations are stronger than branding and the customer is now in the driver’s seat. They decide which companies they want to engage with, and on what terms. Companies must adapt to this new reality.

The short answer is to get to know your customers.  Know their goals, frustrations and obstacles. Understand how you can help improve their lives. The author, Chuck Wall, outlines nine powers (or core needs) that customers possess:


  • The Power of Me
  • The Power of Value
  • The Power of Performance
  • The Power of Heart
  • The Power of Simple
  • The Power of Yes
  • The Power of the Platform
  • The Power of Rebellion
  • The Power of Purpose

These nine powers are the result of more than 100,000 first-hand customer interviews combined with the knowledge a decade of experience as an entrepreneur brings. Companies that engage these nine powers win the hearts, minds and ultimately, revenue.   He also offers a unique “solution” for engaging these nine powers: the Customer Thinking approach, which balances analytics and empathy to improve the customer experience and take the lead in the market.

Filled with real stories of companies embracing the power of their customers, this practical book offers both large and small companies ideas and tools for building long lasting relationships with customers. Leaders who want to create better products, services and experiences for their customers will want to read this book.   Buy it now.

June 27, 2014 / Articles We Like

On: "Charles Eames on Design"

Charles-Eames-400x466In this blog post, Charles Eames on Design, Maria Popova shares one of Eames’ little known interviews. Forty-two years later, the master’s words resonate now more than ever.  He was the forefather of customer-centric innovation and design thinking.

I often say to my team and the leaders I work with, “an idea is only as good as its usefulness.” In this interview, Eames brings home the centrality of customer “need” in design over and over again, and he offers leaders a different way of seeing the world.

Charles & Ray Eames are design heroes of mine, and I favorite Maria Popova (@brainpicker) more than anyone else on Twitter.  I hope you get something out of the interview like I have, and please share your thoughts!

Comment below! Or pose a question via Ask Mariposa.



June 26, 2014 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation

DT for strat innovationDesign Thinking for Strategic Innovation: What They Can’t Teach You at Business or Design School
By Idris Mootee

Head: (5 out of 5)
Heart: (3 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

Executives today will agree that the complexities of doing business have grown exponentially.  Our global world is smaller due to technology that connects us all at the speed of light, driving customer expectations high.  The world’s population consumes natural resources faster than we can replace them, if at all.  Competition in the market is fierce.  Despite all this, most executives have been operating with an outdated management model, one designed for an outdated world.  That’s why this book is a timely and important read for leaders.

Design thinking can be used to make sense of all of this complexity. It connects the dots and drives innovation by allowing us to experiment in the midst of chaos and complexity.  Creative solutions can emerge for complex problems.

This book, written by management guru Idris Mootee, defines design thinking and introduces readers to the applications of it.  As a framework, the author links the application of design thinking tools to eight key challenges most businesses encounter: growth, predictability, change, relevance, extreme competition, standardization, creative culture and strategy and organization.  Each chapter offers tips and thinking points.

Executives interested in a guide for applying design thinking will want to read this book.  Buy it now.

/ Wise Talk Teleconference

Design-Driven Cultures

WISE TALK July 2014: Sue hosts Steve Reynosa, Director of Organizational Development for Citrix Systems. Steve is an evangelist and convert of how design-driven initiatives can reshape a company culture. He brings an insider’s perspective on how a design-driven culture impacts the way human resources approaches process deliverables inside an organization. His tips will help you understand the impact design can have on a business.

Load More Posts