Forever Masters Lecture to Feature Customer Experience Expert Bill Price


Forever Masters

From working as Amazon's first worldwide vice president of customer service to gathering world business leaders to share best practices and worst experiences, Bill Price has amassed a wealth of knowledge about customer service, and how to do it right.

Price will provide the second annual St. Ambrose University College of Business Forever Masters public lecture. He will discuss how to address customer experience challenges through best service principals, customer service needs and analytics.

The event begins at 7 p.m., March 6, in the Rogalski Center Ballroom. It is free and open to the public.

Photo of Bill Price

Price is president of Driva Solutions, a customer service consulting firm that has worked with more than 150 clients to balance cost controls and greater customer loyalty. He also is a partner with big data player Antuit, leading its global customer experience and customer service analytics program.

Price was Amazon's first worldwide vice president of customer service; has advised industry leaders such as Apple, Nike, and T-Mobile; and co-authored The Best Service is No Service: Liberating Your Customers From Customer Service, Keep Them Happy, and Control Costs.

His second book, Your Customer Rules! Delivering the Me2B Experiences That Today's Customers Demand, was published in 2015.

Ron Wastyn PhD, chair of the SAU Department of Organizational Leadership, said the need to understand data is growing and has become an emerging topic for students, faculty and staff. "Price's application of data to customer service led us to believe he will be an excellent contributor to this discussion," he said.

The St. Ambrose University College of Business launched Forever Masters in May 2017 to provide ongoing professional training and information to help alumni grow and advance in their careers.

Alumni of SAU graduate degree programs - the H. L. McLaughlin Master of Business Administration, Master of Organizational Leadership, Master of Accounting, and Doctor of Business Administration - are automatic members of the Forever Masters community. They can take part in special events, training and professional advancement programs, and receive relevant information on industry trends, managerial practices and "out of the box" thinking.

Wastyn said the lecture is open to the community and the information Price will share can apply to any business. "Customer service is a timely and important topic, and this lecture should be of interest to everyone," Wastyn added.

Price said the biggest thing companies forget when they discuss customer service is the customer. "They talk about maximizing profits, not about maximizing customer experience."

Yet, family-operated companies such as Nordstrom take a much different approach and often have the highest customer service scores. Price said family-operated companies tend to treat their employees like family and expect employees to treat their customers like family. That opens the door to a more intimate business relationship and allows the company to really discover what customers want and what they want to do.

This customer-centric approach - which Price calls Me2B - remains fairly uncommon.

"What I try to do with my team, with my writing and consulting, is to focus a laser light on the customer, and the customer's experience," Price said.

"What are your customers saying and what are they not saying to you? What are they doing and what are they not doing? Most companies have a really good idea what their customers are doing.... but they don't know what those customers have done with the competition or what they've really said. Customers say a lot of things all the time that are never getting picked up," he added.

Price said there is value in compiling big and little data to find patterns to help improve customer experience. "Even soft data can be quantified," he said.

Price shares his customer service expertise in many roles. He co-founded the 9-country LimeBridge Global Alliance; chairs the 41-company Global Operations Council; has taught in the University of Washington and Stanford MBA programs; and is completing research for his third book.

Prior to working at Amazon, he held senior positions at MCI, ACP, and McKinsey, and served five years as a Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy.

Price earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economic Geography from Dartmouth College and a Masters in Business Administration from Stanford University. He lives in Bellevue WA.

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