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You know you’re just as excited about diving in to all the good things 2014 has to offer as I am. Right? 

I think it’ll be a year where we’ll see major improvements in the customer experience. What?

I’m an optimist! Hey, when Chris Elliott starts writing about improved airline experiences, either we’re in for some good times … or the world is about to end!

Before we get too optimistic about this year, let’s look back and see what everyone enjoyed reading and learning about last year.

Here are my top 13 posts of 2013, based on overall engagement. (I’m bummed to not include some of the posts I wrote late in the year, but those from earlier clearly had more time and exposure.)

The 12 Essentials of the Customer Experience
In this post, I recap the 12 essentials as detailed in Sean Van Tyne’s and Jeofrey Bean’s book, The Customer Experience Revolution, from executive commitment through continuous improvement.

Jeff Bezos is a CX Dream Come True!
You’ve experienced it. As recently as the Christmas Delivery Debacle of 2013, you saw that Amazon is customer-focused and exemplifies a customer-centric culture. I outline 12 characteristics of that culture in this post.

Customer Service or Customer Experience?
This post answers the question: Are they the same? Hint: The answer is “No.”

A Ton of Scary #CustExp Quotes and Stats
I scoured the web for quotes and stats that ought to scare even the worst skeptics and change their minds about the importance of a great customer experience.

31 Henry Ford Quotes about Leadership and Customer Experience
People love quotes, and Henry Ford is well known for saying some things that are both inspirational and purely spot-on business tips.

American Airlines Responds – Sorta
The Modernization of American Airlines
Wow. Remember this story? American Airline modernizes its brand, i.e., a new look and feel, and claims it’s all about a new and better experience for travelers. Do you feel like the overall experience with American is better today than it was a year ago?

Customer Experience: Humans vs. Technology
Without a doubt, this is a discussion that will continue well into the future: Can technology replace humans to provide a better customer experience?

The 15 Senses of a Great Customer Experience
In this post, I outlined some other senses that come into play to create and deliver a great customer experience.

Employee Engagement Strategy? Nay! Leadership Strategy!
I continue on with my quest to educate that employee engagement is not a strategy. What we should be talking about is a leadership strategy. While employee engagement is a two-way street, what leadership can do is create the right conditions to allow employees to become engaged.

14 Brand Trends of 2014
I’ve outlined the brand trends that Brand Keys proposes for 2014; the list covers a pretty broad spectrum of what lies ahead. Read, rinse, and repeat.

“Sucking Less” is Not a #CX Strategy
This one led to a pretty interesting exchange on CustomerThink, and I’m glad that it got people thinking and debating. If you suck the least in your industry, is that the same as offering the best experience possible for your customers? And is that OK as a customer experience strategy?

14 Ways to Protect Your Brand
This was the final installment of my thoughts on the Starbucks experience and their issues that lead to inconsistencies from store to store. I give my thoughts on how retailers (especially those who license or franchise) can protect their brands and the customer experience.

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What are my takeaways (other than: readers like blog posts with lists)? We have our  work cut out for us! And it’s not just in one area – but in many.

Where do I think we’re headed in 2014? I believe the omnichannel customer experience will be the focus (or dare I say, “buzzword”). But again, that means not focusing on just that one thing – it means focusing on all of the pieces of the customer experience puzzle and getting them right. Being able to deliver a great omnichannel experience is a major undertaking. Before we can get omnichannel right, we need to be able to get one channel right (you know what I mean, get the basics right); otherwise, we’re just rolling out something supremely bad for the sake of saying “we do omnichannel.”

Good luck!

Happy New Year! Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014.

There are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. -Nicholas Butler Murray