Customer Experience Spotlight: 1-800-Contacts


I had an extremely pleasant interaction with a company today and it hit on a lot of areas that I try to execute personally in my own company interactions. The provider was 1-800-Contacts. About a week ago, I ordered a year’s supply of contact lenses from them, and paid (for the sake of display, I’ll keep the numbers round) about $500 total for 8 boxes. Sadly, after doing some more homework, I found the price to be substantially cheaper through another vendor (let’s say it would have been $300 total with them) whom I’ve also used previously (AC Lens). After a bit more research, I did notice that 1-800-Contacts has a Low Price Guarantee that appeared to be minimally-invasive enough on my time that I’d give it a shot (versus returning the lenses and doing a new order at AC Lens). After a few short minutes, I was on my way to a fairly healthy refund, and I couldn’t be happier about it all!

Here is what impressed me most about the experience:

  • The process was extremely simple, and required no hassle on my end; my rep (Ben – who I’ll share more about momentarily) looked up the price for 8 boxes on the competitor’s site, acknowledged the rate that is quoted there – and did some quick math to figure out exactly how much to refund me
  • The quoted refund amount actually includes the $100 mail-in-rebate that I would have had to execute on my own (a huge savings from the convenience standpoint – I usually only mail in these rebates about half the time because I just forget about it); this is a huge plus
  • Not only did I get a refund on the exact difference in lens prices, but they also (smartly) have a policy in place where they add 2% of the total price in as a special sweetener to the deal; showing that you’re not only willing to beat your competitor’s price, but that you’ll beat it by 2% is definitely putting your money where your mouth is
  • Upon conclusion of the refund (about 5 minutes in total), I asked to be put in touch with a Supervisor so I could offer feedback on Ben and inform them how outstanding of a job he did; and I was immediately transferred and only had to wait around 30 seconds
  • After voicing my feedback, the Supervisor informed me that he would take measures to ensure Ben was recognized amongst his peers in their next team meeting and that 1-800-Contacts has a program in place to ensure these types of feedback are celebrated (peer recognition plays a huge role in employee engagement and motivation for people who are not motivated financially)
  • Finally, I was informed that Ben would be receiving his next lunch paid for by 1-800-Contacts due to the great feedback (for those not as interested in the peer recognition, the “free lunch” certainly helps play to the financial incentives that also motivate and engage employees)

All in all, cheers to 1-800-Contacts for being a great vendor and having a lot of infrastructure to support not only the Customer Experience, but also the Employee Experience. I was truly impressed by their organizational maturity with which they account for ease of operations on both the external (customer) side as well as the internal (employee) side. Now if only more of our companies could be so advanced to have sound processes and programs in place to support this level of excellence!

Til Next Time,


Job Descriptions


I was bouncing around LinkedIn the other day and saw a great piece from Liz Ryan on Job Descriptions. Largely, I think she is spot on with her assessment that job descriptions are totally antiquated and no longer maintain relevance in our new digital age. I have simply come to accept that every position at my company changes monthly, if not daily. Sometimes, you have to be a good task-oriented project manager. Sometimes, you have to be good at cultivating and fostering leadership alignment. Sometimes, you need to be good at listening. Sometimes, you have to know when to stay quiet. Sometimes, you have to know when to speak up. Sometimes, you will be a firefighter. Sometimes, a policeman. Sometimes, you get the picture…

At the end of the day, it would be pointless for me to try and limit my boundaries for any role on my team to a simple job description. Unless that job description says “You’ll probably do a little bit of everything.”

Til Next Time,


March Madness

Happy March Madness, everyone! What a great time for us all to mutually destroy productivity and worry way too much about brackets we know nothing about. Hey – speaking of brackets…

Being from Kansas City originally, THIS is a bracket I can get behind:


image courtesy of

P.S. Gate’s definitely takes the crown in this one. Hands down.

Til Next Time,


Sacred Cows


I am about to start reading a book from a duo of critically acclaimed thought leaders in the Change Management and literary space (Robert Kriegel and David Brandt) called Sacred Cows Make The Best Burgers. I am very excited to see what they share. As many of you know, I am a huge proponent of this whole philosophy that we are at a special time and place in capitalism’s organizational history where we really need to engage in more paradigm shifts in order to maintain the operational efficiency and innovation with which America has been associated since its early existence.

I will keep you all posted on what I learn and I hope it will shine a light on some great stories about how to develop change-driving people and organizations. More to come!

Til Next Time,


Obama & Tech Training

Right on the heels of my quasi-op-ed piece on our president and how a lot of perspective can sure paint a very good (or very bad picture), I found it timely to land on this recent article from TechCrunch.

The article speaks to Obama’s commitment to investment in technology as a means to drive wage increase. You all clearly know my opinions on driving more technology education – so on the surface I’m all for it!

In short:

The White House sees this as an opportunity to boost overall wages, particularly in underserved populations. Obama has announced a plan to fast-track American earnings with a $100 million federal grant-funded technology jobs training initiative called TechHire. This initiative will work with community colleges, universities as well as developer bootcamps and other non-traditional skills training organizations to place Americans in 120,000 open software development, network administration, and cyber security jobs.

The only real issue I see is that the funding seems low. Far be it from me to advocate for more government spending, but $100M is spent as quickly as it is allocated when the government is involved (whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat at the helm in the Oval Office and in Congress). If you want to make this kind of investment, let’s go more directly to the private sector and get some real industry experts (i.e. not the Department of Education) involved. If you took that cash and bankrolled tens if not hundreds of technical skills programs in major metropolitan areas at both corporate leaders (e.g. Cerners of the world) as well as trade programs (e.g. DeVry), you would surely see more immediate lift.

Til Next Time,


Food For Thought: Perspective

Perspective is a beautiful thing. It allows you to shape a story, paint a picture, and develop an image that will last with the recipient. Whether you like it or not, people’s ability to put their “spin” on things is often times what drives some of life’s important decisions. Today’s business climate requires a lot of perspective. As well as the ability to be a consummate storyteller. One of the biggest areas we see these spins is certainly the political landscape. Far be it from me to advocate for Corporate America to start being more political (as it is already fairly political already), but I do think there are probably valuable lessons to be gleaned from the way that politicians and their political machines create (and sometimes, fabricate) stories for public consumption.

Just today, I saw a Facebook post on the indisputable ‘success’ of President Barack Obama. Whether you love him or hate him, these are some pretty powerful numbers. Now – you can make all of the chatter or argument you like – but whether or not a president is directly responsible for things like consumer confidence, the economy, and the state of the union upon entry (and exit), is actually wholly irrelevant at the end of the day. Their legacy will be (generally) markedly judged based on public perception. Which is typically founded based on the perspective with which our media’s paintbrush portrays him.

I will admit that I personally am not the biggest fan, although I’m far from being his biggest hater as well. Take a look though and see what our children’s children’s history books might actually say in his remembrance as the 44th President of this great nation:


Just some food for thought on a Monday…

Til Next Time,