Five Technologies Coming Your Way

Last month I attended The New York Times Global Forum hosted by columnist Thomas Friedman (author of The World is Flat).    This was a great day spent listening to luminaries and visionaries describe what’s going to happen in the world over the next two decades.    As an avid Sunday reader of The New York Times, I enjoyed what is best described as seeing the paper come alive on stage.

While I took lots of notes on my iPhone, I want to share five technologies that I learned about that are on the way (well, the fifth one is already here).

  1.  Ingestible Computing  –  You will soon be able to swallow a pill that will do the diagnosis from the inside and send electronically all the data to your doctor.
  2.  Mind Meld – an app under development that will listen to your conversation and send you relevant information.
  3.  Digital Eraser – The ability to erase something from your past is a business opportunity under development.
  4.  Specialized Search –  Instead of going to Google for a general search, narrower search tools will emerge (eg, black polka dot dress is better searched on Pinterest than Google).
  5.  The Sharing Economy –  Uber, AirBnB, and Freewheel are examples of how the internet is connecting people with excess capacity to those who need services.  This is just getting underway and will expand dramatically despite the attempts by taxi companies, hotels, and others who want to monopolize their markets.


I had tweeted the “ingestible computing” technology from the event and thought these others were curious enough to warrant going out via my blog.   The day gave me a lot of ideas for future content with respect to how all this technology can serve to enhance the customer experience.   I look forward to sharing that in future posts!

My Own Personal Nordstrom Story

Most of you have heard the legendary story about how someone returned a set of tires to Nordstrom, which they took back no questions asked.   It’s part of their legacy for legendary service and taking care of the customer.

A few months ago, I went to pick up two pairs of suit pants that were needed for a business trip starting the following day.  After 20 minutes, he asked if they could deliver them to my home later that evening, so I left the store and headed back to my office.  Around 5 pm, I received a phone call from Justin, the now exasperated (and embarrassed) manager who said they have searched everywhere, cannot find the pants, and asked if I could come in by 6 pm to be fitted for two new suits to replace the items they lost.   It was the last thing I needed that day, but what choice did I really have?


I got there at 6 pm and several suits were already in place for me to try on.  The store manager came over and apologized profusely, giving me her card and asking me to have dinner at the café on her.  “But I have ten children and they’re all hungry,” I exclaimed (note:  I was kidding).   “That’s fine, bring ‘em all,” she replied without missing a beat.   I left the store a short while later with two beautiful suits in hand;  they did not charge me for these suits and Justin exclaimed, “this is on us.”


In one sense, I was blown away.  I didn’t ask for or expect to be treated this way.  Yet this is how I would have handled it if in their situation.  And it only served to reinforce to me what is called The Nordstrom Way.  I now had my own personal “can you believe what Nordstrom did” story.


My appreciation for how Justin handled this only got greater when I had two other weird mishaps in the next few weeks.   The Ritz Carlton nearest us in Half Moon Bay is known for their Mothers Day Brunch.  It’s a buffet meant for people who don’t ever go to buffets.  The food was great, but the service was terrible.   And the Ritz Carlton is known for their service.    The manager politely said he would take care of the problem, but it took almost a week to hear back from his boss and get it resolved.     And I won’t go into great detail about Best Buy and the effort it took to get a remote control replaced that was under warrantly.  It took three trips to the store, two visits from the Geek Squad, and over two weeks.

In the hyperfast world of today, how fast you respond to a situation matters just as much as responding in the first place.  The lesson here for each of us is simple.  When something goes wrong for the customer, don’t just fix it.  Fix it fast.


Handled well, a customer’s issue can bond them even more to you and your business.   Handled slowly, a customer’s issue can bubble up into a bunch of negative feelings that forever affect how they perceive your business.


PS.  Justin called several days later to tell me they had found the suit pants and asked when I could come by to pick them up.   “Now you have four suits, and we are again so sorry for the inconvenience.”    Where do you think I’ll be buying clothes from now on?

Speaking | Medflow User Group Meeting 2012

January 8-9, 2012 (Charlotte, NC)


Speaking | Medflow User Group Meeting 2012

Shareef’s Topic: “EHR and the Customer Experience for Your Patients: Thoughts for the Road”


The meeting will focus on two days of sessions geared toward giving you the direction needed to successfully achieve Meaningful Use and receive federal stimulus payments. The meeting will be conducted in a hands-on environment led by knowledgeable members of the Medflow staff as well as members of the eye care community whose practices have achieved Meaningful Use.

The Meeting is open to anyone actively using Medflow EMR; including doctors, administrators, super users, and technicians.

Details at

Book Shareef Mahdavi To Speak

The Best Things in Life…Aren’t Things!

Last month, I experienced an amazing pair of concert  events: 
one to start my week, the other to end it.    More than just great shows, they were rich
enough in customer experience principles to make them worthy of sharing

Last month, I experienced an amazing pair of concert  events:
one to start my week, the other to end it.    More than just great shows, they were rich
enough in customer experience principles to make them worthy of sharing