Building a customer room at Prudential – an interview with Jason Kapel

A customer room is a fantastic way to communicate just what it’s like to be your customer. Jason Kapel of Prudential discussed their customer room at a CXPA meeting, and I asked him to share his experience with our readers.

How did you come up with the idea of a customer room?

I wanted to get people engaged with the idea of CX—not just hand them another article, or give yet another PowerPoint presentation. I wanted to get people really engaged in the idea. So after reading about a health insurer’s customer room, we built a room of our own and took it to Prudential’s primary employee locations as part of a CX roadshow.

And what is a customer room, exactly?

A customer room is exactly what it sounds like: a room full of information about customers that employees and other visitors can experience in a unique and interactive way. Simple to understand—but complex in how it helps people understand the purpose and usefulness of CX. Read more

Interview with Bob Thomas of the YMCA: Confident Employees Make Satisfied Customers

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Bob, not in the proper uniform

Bob Thomas is the chief experience officer for the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. He is responsible for engaging community members to help them meet their personal goals while ensuring a great Y experience through integrated marketing, membership sales, and healthy living programs including swim lessons, group exercise, personal training, chronic disease prevention, and healthy aging. Prior to joining the Y, Bob held marketing, sales, and sales operations leadership positions at Boston Scientific. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and English from the University of St. Thomas. Bob serves as the chair of the board of The Sheridan Story and actively volunteers at Colonial Church of Edina.

Bob recently led a rollout of new uniforms for the Y’s employees, referred to as team members. The goal was to influence team members to better engage with customers and further increase their pride in the Y brand.  Team branding creates a work environment where every decision and every behavior embodies the specific attributes of the brand. We asked him more about the move to the new uniforms.

You recently led a change to the YMCA team uniforms. Could you tell us a little about the background of the uniforms, and why it was time for a change?

About six years ago, the Y switched from their old, black-and-red logo to a dual-color logo that uses five different color combinations, which was meant to symbolize diversity and flexibility.  The change in logo came with a change in uniform: At the time the decision was made to embrace all of the colors of the new brand, so the uniforms consisted of polo shirts that came in a variety of colors, but were primarily white—which meant they showed dirt, and looked bad even after very little basic wear-and-tear. To add to that, they didn’t fit very well, and team members soon began to express their disappointment with the required uniform.  The uniform became known as the “bowling shirts.” Read more

Every customer experience project is a culture project

Culture is the biggest determinant of effective customer experience. While that’s especially evident in the service space, it’s also true for every other type of company. When your culture focuses more on its own viewpoint than your customers’, you end up with convoluted processes, terrible return policies, and overly-complicated products.

That’s why I was happy to see some of the results from our first-ever journey mapping survey. We’re finalizing the analysis, which will be available soon. So, here’s a teaser about some of the results that are relevant to building a customer-focused culture. Read more

Interview with Steve Eagon of Unitron: Creating a Great Patient Experience

steve-eagonSteve Eagon is the Director of In-Clinic success at Unitron. In his role, he works directly with clinics to directly help them improve their patient experience. Steve and Jim have co-presented at multiple conferences, so we asked him to explain his approach towards building an improved patient experience.

As someone who is very patient-focused in the hearing care industry, what do you see as the most import focus points in building more patient-focused experiences in hearing care?

Hearing care professionals have a ton of knowledge at their fingertips—they have a great deal of education and experience in the field, and know a lot about hearing care. This is a great thing—except when it leads them to overcomplicate matters when they communicate to the patient about their hearing care.

This is a common symptom of the biggest customer experience issue in the hearing care profession today: hearing care professionals do what they think is best without looking through the patients’ eyes to really see their point of view. They’re projecting their own values onto the patient—you hear a lot of “I think the patient this” and “I was always taught that,” a lot of “I” statements. But you can’t truly help the patient until you’ve stepped outside that mindset, and started seeing things through the lens of the patient. Read more

Creating Radical CX Change, the Quiet Way

phone-1742833_640At CXPA events I often run across new attendees with a familiar story. They’re obsessed with customers, and they want to transform their companies to be more customer-focused. They desperately want to change their companies! But they’re not in a customer experience (CX) role.

How, they ask, can they change their company if their company hasn’t given them a CX title?

It’s a great question. It’s always easier if you have the title. If the company cares enough to create a customer experience role, and to trust you in it, that’s a huge head start. It’s still difficult to drive change, but at least you’re beginning with some momentum.

But what if you don’t have a CX role?

I was discussing this very issue at CX Day when our speaker reminded me of the classic Harvard Business Review article Radical Change, the Quiet Way by Debra Meyerson. The article is focused more on confronting such challenges as racism, gender bias, and other workplace issues, and recommends you become a “tempered radical” to make moderate changes in your culture.

While these issues are obviously very serious, these skills also apply to our domain.  Read more

What is the Most Important Contact Center Metric?

metrics2I presented at the ICMI CC Expo last month in Long Beach. It’s always a great conference, and I look forward to it each year.

In the afternoon after my journey mapping workshop I attended a Justin Robbin’s session on metrics. Justin began by asking attendees the most important metric they tracked.

Think about it for a minute. Of everything you look at, which is the single most important item?

The first respondent said, “ASA [Average Speed to Answer],” whereas another followed up with “productivity.” This was followed by “response time,” “commission” and “occupancy.”

Do any of these resonate with you? If so, then you need to rethink your approach. Read more

CX is team sport. Is your whole team playing?

199073871_f559db9436_bYou wouldn’t play soccer without your forwards. You’d never try basketball without guards. So why do so many teams try to win at CX with only a partial team?

At HoC we’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with all kinds of companies: non-profits, retailers, insurance companies, you name it. The one consistency is a tendency to under-invite teams critical to success.

Three specific groups are often left out – IT, HR and those who “don’t get it.”

Let’s start with IT.  I get it. As a former IT leader, I can say we’re not always the most fun to partner with. We can get defensive, or we start “solutioning” before we’ve heard from customers. Read more

Guest Post: We Hold These Truths: Implementing CX Governance

1JFMNQLRE8This guest post comes from Darin Byrne, Senior Director of Professional Services at Wolters Kluwer.

As the summer goes on and the Fourth of July approaches, I’ve found myself thinking once again about the principles that our nation was founded upon. I am reminded that the signing of a document, even one as revered as the Declaration of Independence, was such a decisive point in our history – actually in the history of the world. And I’ve been pondering even more broadly about all of our governing documents, from the Magna Carta to the Constitution: how they came about and how they still affect us today. We agreed amongst ourselves what our goals were, how we would operate as a country, the checks and balances we would put in place to achieve our goals, and then we wrote them down and implemented them, and – even more amazing – we continue to adhere to them today. It really is pretty amazing.

And that, of course, got me thinking about what I do every day. Because, much as we might like it to be true, a bunch of people don’t just show up to work and decide individually what they’re going to do all day—we need guidance in the way of a set of goals and principles. And while a so-called “benevolent dictator” might rule in some companies, the truth is that this is not a sustainable model for a business. In order to achieve your company goals, you have to have guiding principles, an overriding plan, and people to maintain and carry out that plan—that is, governance. Read more

Creating a “Heart-Wired” organization – an interview with Chrisie Scott, VP Marketing at Meridian Health

CAS headshotWhile all customer experience strategies are important, healthcare brings it to a whole new level. Patient experience, and the potential for harm, amps up the significance of customer experience principles, creating literally life-changing outcomes.

That’s why I really enjoyed working with Chrisie Scott, VP Marketing at Meridian Health, a leading and still growing integrated health network in New Jersey. Our work with them will be published as a case study in the forthcoming book Mapping Experiences. After our project I had the chance to interview Chrisie about her organization’s overall approach to customer experience.

She begins by contending that patient or customer experience isn’t so much what you do, but more about who you are and what you value as an organization.  At Meridian, they take a comprehensive approach to experience, collaborating across the organization to create consistent expectations and improvement. “Marketing, nursing, HR, operations, guest relations, and quality are coming together so that our ideas and initiatives are note created in silos,” Chrisie explains. “We’re changing how we approach patients and families and viewing those we serve as true partners. This view is helping us humanize the experience.” This core philosophy influences how Meridian recruits for talent and takes care of team members, how they set expectations for how team members treat and interact with each other, how they respond to consumer inquiries, and how they support front line caregivers who take care of the ultimate customers — patients. Read more