How They Made Their Mark:
Sean McDade, Ph.D

“How They Made Their Mark” is our series of conversations with thought leaders and mark-makers. In this conversation, we speak with:

Sean McDade, Ph.D

Founder and CEO,

PeopleMetrics, Advisor to ImprintCX

Q: What is the number one lesson you have learned during your CX career journey that you use on a regular basis, that you believe all CX professionals should know?

Listening to your customer, ideally in real-time, after interactions with a company provides unfair advantages that most companies do not take advantage of.  Continuously listening (and acting) on customer feedback changes cultures, identifies heroes within organizations that were hidden before, and drives business outcomes, too.  Companies who truly act on customer feedback can save lost customers, expand customer relationships, and identify/recognize employees delivering exceptional experiences.  And companies are just scratching the surface of what can be done with customer feedback – integrating into CRMs, inferring customer feedback via AI, following up on Promoters to get referrals, and so much more.  

Q: What is your best piece of advice for CX leaders to be successful?

Put yourself in the shoes of the customer every day.  Empathize with what they are going through, looking at it from their lens, not yours.  Read as many open-ended customer comments as possible, talk with customers in person, and mystery shop your own company.  Anything that allows you to be the true voice of your customers within your organization.

Q: If you could have one CX superpower, what would it be?

Empathy is the CX superpower and if I could figure out how to help clients hire people who are naturally empathetic, that would be it.  I believe if we could hire for empathy with every customer-facing employee and train them on technical skills, the world would be a better place.

Q: While all customers should be treated well, do you think all customers should be treated exactly the same?

No, customers must be segmented based on their needs and wants.  Some customers are what we call “high impact’ customers, and these have a disproportionate impact on your business.  Think elite frequent flyers on airlines.  Treating someone who flies 200,000 miles a year with an airline the same as someone who flies once a year does not benefit either party.  The frequent flyers rightfully expect perks that someone who flies once a year and, likely based on price, does not.  The CX for both can be great – but it’s based on expectations and delivering on those.

Q: What is the best job you’ve ever had?

My current one!  I love being CEO of PeopleMetrics, a place that helps companies help their customers. 

Q: What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

Cleaning rat cages in a lab at Temple University where they were doing animal research. Taught me gratitude though! 

Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

A teacher of some sort.  I taught classes in graduate school and always enjoyed it.  I’d like to help high school students learn real life skills and entrepreneurs learn how to love themselves and life in general. 

Q: What profession other than your own would you not like to attempt?

Lawyer, I appreciate their value but could never do that work over a long period of time.

Q: Which talent would you most like to have?

Being able to be physically flexible!  I love yoga but there are some poses I can’t get into.

Q: What book changed your life?

“Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand and “The Surrender Experiment” by Michael Singer. 

Q: Who are your favorite writers?

Eckhart Tolle, Michael Singer, Dale Carnegie, Sam Harris, Alan Watts.

Q: What is your motto?

“A healthy person has a thousand wishes, a sick person only one.”

ImprintCX is a modern marketing and customer experience services company that seamlessly combines insights, consulting, and activation into one integrated offering. The company is powered by sophisticated analytics, deep human understanding and design thinking to help organizations develop and deploy retention and lifetime value strategies for their high impact customers. Collectively, the ImprintCX team has developed and lead hundreds of customer experience transformations for Fortune 500 companies such as Mercedes Benz, Honeywell, Pizza Hut and