Shaun Smith

Over the last 20 years, Shaun has defined much of the thinking and methodology around customer experience. He continues to speak, write, consult and provoke heated debate on the topic. His latest book ‘On Purpose – delivering a branded customer experience people love’ (co-authored with Andy Milligan) has received global recognition for helping brand leaders create stand-out experiences that leave a lasting impression with purpose.

What Shaun Thinks...


  1. Be clear about what you stand for and stick to it – you cannot be all things to all people; that way lies mediocrity. So be clear about what you promise and stick to it.
  1. Take a holistic view of the business – what you stand for, the operational choices you make, the culture you foster, the experience you deliver, and how you deliver it through your people and processes have to work in harmony to mutually support and reinforce the brand. Each element must work with every other in order for the strategy to work. This means that customer experience needs to be viewed holistically.
  1. Don’t gold plate your customer experience – customer experience is a neutral term and does not imply gold-plated service. Ritz-Carlton offers a great customer experience but so too does Premier Inn. Yet their business models and price points are very different and delivered in distinctive ways. Be careful not to upgrade your customer experience beyond the point that target customers want and are willing to pay for.
  1. Treat your customer experience and employee experience as one and the same – it follows then that if your strategy is to be low-cost, innovative and simple, your culture and values must reflect that. If your strategy is to offer premium service then you need the very best people who are highly trained and who want to stay with you long-term
Shaun Smith, Founder of smith&co+, form The Caffeine Partnership


  • Founded Smith+Co in 2002
  • One of the early pioneers of customer experience practice
  • – Books include Managing the Customer Experience, still regarded by many as the definitive text book on CEM and Bold – how to be brave in business and win.
  • Began his career with British Airways as Head of Customer Service, Sales and Marketing Training Worldwide
  • Based in Hong Kong for 11 years consulting to organisations throughout Asia on customer service strategy.
  • Fellow of the Professional Speaking Association and rated one of the top customer experience speakers worldwide


  • Customer insight
  • Executive engagement
  • Brand promise and customer experience design
  • Organisational alignment
  • Customer experience measurement

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