The Startup Playbook to CX: Sue Duris

The Startup Playbook to CX: Sue Duris


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About Sue Duris

Sue Duris is Co-Founder/Director of Marketing and Customer Experience of M4 Communications, a marketing and customer experience consulting firm that helps organizations build and grow their brands by coaching them how to be customer-centric, advising them on their digital transformation initiatives and collaborating with them to design omnichannel experiences that engage employees and deliver customer value.

Sue received her BA in Economics from the University of Colorado and MBA from the University of California – Irvine. She writes and speaks regularly. Sue also hosts #CXChat, a weekly Twitter chat about all things Customer Experience.

Visit Sue Duris’ company, M4Communications

Follow Sue Duris on LinkedIn 
Follow Sue Duris on Twitter@SueDuris

Follow Worthix on LinkedIn
Follow Worthix on Twitter: @worthix

Follow Mary Drumond on LinkedIn
Follow Mary Drumond on Twitter@drumondmary


with your organization, you know, the key stakeholders and then always making sure that you’re validating with the customer because the last thing you need if the journey, what you think is the journey and it’s not the journey and you have a disconnect between company and customer and believe you me, that is still going on.

[22:01] SD: It’s amazing. IBM, I think it was IBM, just conducted a survey of the top things that are important to customers versus the versus brands and it was a total disconnect. The top three things that the customers wanted were like 10 or lower on the brand side, so there’s still that disconnect. It is still the world looking inside out as opposed to outside. There’s still a lot of work to do, but we’re going, we’re taking the right steps.[22:36MD: So to make this sort of a playbook style where someone can follow one, two, three steps, you create that mvp, right? And once you get that mvp, then you have to listen to your customers so that you can maybe customize and make adjustments as necessary until you finally get a product that’s tractionable, right?

[22:56MD: Once you get tractionable product, you have to continue to listen to your customers and to do so you need to identify your personas, build a customer journey map and make sure that your customer journey map actually represents your customer journey and not your company journey, right. Then at moments to speak to your customers and then use a platform such as survey monkey or some other, uh, you know, do it yourself survey model. Grab one of the methodologies that’s out there and just listen and begin measuring the experience that your customer has with you. Did I get it right? [22:35] SD: You absolutely did, and I’d add another piece on the end and that’s what are you going to do about advocacy? Because I mean, yeah, you’re nurturing the relationship even before they buy from you and you’re helping them move along their journey from retention and then through loyalty, but come up with ways like cocreating products and have them generate content. Have them help you know that what’s that line from Jerry Maguire that that’s crazy. Help me help you, and that’s kind of the mindset of the customer. If you think about it, help me. Help me give me opportunities because I trust you have bought from you, but I want to help you. I want to help you be successful because when you’re successful, we’re all successful. It’s a win win.

[24:32MD: No. We’ve got several examples of startups out there that were built on customer advocacy alone and people talking about them and people recommending them and, and actually generating a virality around, you know, one example that I love is The Skim. I don’t know if you know the skim, it’s kind of like a, just a run through of the news that they send to your mailbox, right? So you don’t have to read the news, you can just read The Skim and you’re totally in the know and they started off as like, you know, too young women just to kind of in an office together as sending things out to a small group and all of a sudden they’re this massive company because people identified with them. And I mean, I feel like at least with the Skim, the base, their customer base are the ones that kind of pushed them forward in that word of mouth and the recommending in, you know, receiving that newsletter and forwarding it to their friends, hey, check this out. You know, get your news in one place. And truly coming from an organic sense of wanting others to be a part of this as well. Right? Like, Hey, I really liked this, come and be a part of this with me. Right. And that’s the kind of advocacy I think that is the most powerful.

[25:49] SD: Oh, absolutely.  [25:54MD: Well, let me ask you about something else. Tell me a little bit about the work that you’re doing on, on two projects that I’ve actually participated in and I love which is CX Accelerator and CX chat on twitter. So CX accelerator on slack and CX chat on twitter. Tell me a little bit about those projects, how they started and why you decided to take this on and you know, maybe somehow try to get the word out there about customer experience and work so closely to help this community.

[26:20] SD: Well, these two projects came out of a need that wasn’t being met. Let’s start with CX chat first because that’s my passion project. Even though cx accelerator, I’m part of a group there. So CX chat, I was doing a prior chat. I was hosting a chat with a colleague on advocacy and we were talking about, well, the advocacy we want to do advocacy with the customer experience. It was kind of kind of both and every time advocacy came up, customer experience came, came up and I was really looking at what resources do we have for customer experience and we don’t. There was a few years ago, a customer experience chat out there, but it went away so we didn’t really have anything in and other than blogs and the customer experience Professionals Association, there wasn’t anything socially. So I saw the need my partner Annette Franz and I were talking about similar things and we just decided let’s partner up.

[27:34] SD: Let’s do this because people have been talking about we don’t have a place to go. So on a social network to talk about customer experience. So cx was born and um, we’re doing smart growth. I still consider CX a niche play. We’re not in the mainstream yet. If you understand customer experience, you’re going to want more customer experience. And that’s, that’s been the goal with CX chat is to get more people in the fold, but do it in a smart way. The accelerator is the brainchild of Nate Brown and he invited me. I met Nate through CX chat and a few other things and we were talking about things. One thing led to another that there really wasn’t a place that customer experience, customer, customer success, customer service training and development, a lot of different customer facing roles could, there was a community for them to talk about things that they were going through, maybe share ideas that they had come up with.

[28:49] SD: How do we move the needle on this? And the thing that I love about cx accelerator is that more people are coming in that really didn’t understand what customer experience is and doing what we’re doing socially that’s moving the needle in a different way that we’re getting people that might’ve been on the edge of maybe customer support, the contact center, and things of that nature to really understand what customer experience is. That in itself is very important because customer experience is not just the customer facing role when you start getting involved in journey mapping in service blueprinting and service design work and things of that nature. It’s the other roles that you need. Those are also key stakeholders to make this beautiful CX machine work well for customers.

[29:47MD: Right. Well that’s great. Well I think we’re out of time for today, but let me ask you something, Sue. If our listeners want to listen to talk to you, hear more of what you have to say and if our listeners want to be a part of CX chat and CX accelerator, how can they find you? How can they reach out? [30:08] SD: Well, as far as CX chat goes, we are a weekly twitter chat every Wednesday at 11:00 AM Pacific Time, 2:00 PM eastern time follow #cxchat. As far as me, I suggest going to is my company and we have a blog. And if you just have a general question about customer experience, I’m happy to answer that.

[30:42MD: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much. We’ll make sure to include that in the episode details for everyone to be able to follow you and thank you so much for being here today, sue and talking about how startups can improve their customer experience and we’ll make sure to follow your work.

[30:59] SD: Well. Great, and thank you for inviting me and inviting me to do this on your podcast and you know I never miss a moment to talk about customer experience and employee experience. It’s just two passion projects of mine. 

[31:18MD: Thank you for listening to Voices of Customer Experience. If you’d like to hear more or get a full podcast summary, visit the episode details page or go to This episode of Voices of Customer Experience was hosted and produced by Mary Drumond, cohosted by James Conrad, and edited by Nic Gomes.

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Mary Drumond

Mary Drumond

Mary Drumond is Chief Marketing Officer at Worthix, the world's first cognitive dialogue technology, and host of the Voices of Customer Experience Podcast. Originally a passion project, the podcast runs weekly and features some of the most influential CX thought-leaders, practitioners and academia on challenges, development and the evolution of CX.



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