G-Force Interview: Customer Experience at the Heart of an Adventurer

The journey of a lifetime is this year’s theme at Genesys G-Force, October 4-6 in Miami. Jamie Clarke, adventurer and entrepreneur will be a keynote speaker. Clarke’s journey has been one of adventure, drive, and perseverance scaling the Seven Summits, including Mt. Everest twice, riding camels across The Empty Quarter of Arabia, and creating two successful companies. He inspires audiences with his perspective, which debunks common views on failure and offers strategies for tackling obstacles to reach new levels of success.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Jamie about his life, what it has taught him about customer experience, and what attendees at Genesys G-Force can look forward to hearing in October.

Rachael: The theme of this year’s Genesys G-Force is journey of a lifetime. I think you have lived more than most people in 10 lifetimes. Your view is we are all adventurers. Do you think everyone in their life, professionally or personally, has their Mt. Everest to climb or Arabian desert to cross?

jc_multimediaJamie: I do. But I also think that not everyone knows which mountain to climb or desert to cross. And if you don’t know, it’s disheartening. It’s important to remember: you might not know what mountain to climb, but have faith and patience, and that answer will come to you. It can also be a collection of smaller mountains.  Life can throw things at us that we didn’t choose, that we need to rally behind in a major way. Some things might rock your world, and you need to change direction. So, in the ideal world you get to choose the mountain. Sometimes it’s thrust upon you. Keep searching. Keep learning. Keep exploring, and the answer will come.

Rachael: You describe yourself as “Adventrepreneur.” Define a little more what that means.

Jamie:  It’s a little bit of a silly word, isn’t it? It comes from the notion that the heart of an entrepreneur is the same as the heart of an adventurer—they hold the same beat. It’s an entrepreneur spirit to have if you’re an  launching your own company, or when working inside a larger organization. You have that spirit of exploration, discovery, and excitement. It’s the adventrepreneurial spirit I look for in team members for an expedition, employees to join me in my companies, and even in my vendors and customers. That’s the type of people I learn from, gravitate toward, and I believe are the most successful in life.

Rachael: You are the CEO and co-founder of two retail ventures: The Out There Adventure Centre and LiveOutThere.com. So you can relate to what a lot of attendees at G-Force will be thinking about, customer relationship and lifecycle management. In your experience, what do you see as keys to customer experience success?

Jamie: At every interaction we are relentlessly asking ourselves, “What value can we offer?” What often comes to mind when running a business is we have something to sell. We have investors. I have quarterly reports and revenue targets, margins to take care of, and KPIs that are driving our everyday decision-making as a business.  But what I find really valuable and important, almost part of my mantra, is that as company leaders, we have to think of every interaction: what value are WE offering.  Not in the exchange of money, just the pure offer of value.  I think it’s a mindset. There are a lot of good tactics, but for me it’s more a focus on that customer and what value we are delivering at every interaction. Every interaction counts. The Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is not about a customer’s value to us, but our value to them.

Rachael: Do you think your professional retail success is due to your passion about your products and services? What advice would you give to those who need re-invigorating?

Jamie: When I get bogged down, I try to see past the immediate problem solving that can sap my energy and remind myself of the higher purpose of our offerings. As soon as I remember why we’re doing what we do, it gives me more patience and energy to deal with the problem at hand.  So, if you are feeling bogged down or un-invigorated, touch base with that higher purpose. If it does not exist where you work, maybe it’s time to find a better place to share your talents.

If the higher purpose does exist, but it does not resonate with you and thus re-invigorate you, maybe it’s time to explore a career change. Perhaps change industries or your career path.  These are tough suggestions, I know, but hard decisions are hard for good reason.

Rachael: What do you hope our audience at G-Force takes away from your story?

Jamie: When I see a great speaker I want them to hit two places: my heart and my mind. So when I speak I want the audience to walk away and feel the presentation resonated with interesting ideas, information, and challenging perspectives. I hope everyone in the audience will find a slightly new perspective of customer service as it pertains to the customer journey—which is an adventure in its own right. I will plant some seeds of ideas that grow into something meaningful six to eight to even 10 months from now.

4 Fun Questions From Our Employees

Rachael: Of the seven summits you have climbed, which one would you NOT want to do again? And why.

Jamie: Hahaha, good question.  Everest. It’s not for a lack of love. I love that mountain. Four expeditions to the mountain is enough—there are other mountains to climb now.

Rachael: What is the harder climate to forge: the mountains or the desert?

jc_press_02Jamie: The desert, because of the heat.  The mountains are cold, but with the right food, shelter, water, and gear you can stay warm.  But in the desert there is no getting away from the heat.

Rachael: What is still on your bucket list of adventures to have?

Jamie: I’m not much of a bucket-lister.  Not to place judgment on the bucket list. I am just not as interested in bucket lists or trophy hunting. I’m more interested in acquiring new skills, new experiences, at becoming proficient at something new. Right now, for my family, it’s surfing. I want to learn to proficiently surf. Getting out in the water and understanding wave formation, weather patterns and consistently, and safely riding an 8-footer to shore. I want to do this in a capable way rather than the way I am now:  drinking most of the ocean in the process.

Rachael: I found something in your Wikipedia page and just have to ask if it is true: did you appear as Luke in the 1986 BMX classic, Rad?

Jamie: I did. That’s funny. They shot part of the film in Alberta, Canada and I got a job on the set. My mom suggested the best job is to be an actor, and she had a good point.  So, I weaseled my way into auditions, pretending to be someone I wasn’t, met the director Hal Needham, and was hired. I worked in Alberta, then California. I still keep in touch with Bill Allen, who played the film’s star, Crew Jones—great guy. It was a nutty experience, movie sets. It was a fabulous time.

Hear more from Jamie and all our amazing keynote and breakout sessions speakers at Genesys G-Force. Register today!