Customer Centric Culture Change

Driving Customer Centric Culture Change

Customer experience is about more than simply offering great service. It’s about ensuring your customers are happy throughout all stages of their experience with your business. If you put your customers and their experiences at the core of your business culture, you can create lasting customer value and loyalty.

By implementing customer centric culture change into your organizational structure, your business can reach its full potential. Jim Tincher, CX expert and founder of Heart of the Customer, shares his tips and experiences below to help you drive customer centricity in your business.

A bad customer experience is like an Iowa radio station

When I was a kid, my rural Iowa hometown got a new radio station. It wanted to be a radio station for everybody, so it would play one song from the eighties, then one from the seventies, the sixties, and so on. The theory was clear: if you play something for everyone, everyone will be happy.

Of course, in the real world, that theory doesn’t actually work. Instead of pleasing everyone, the radio station didn’t make anyone happy. If you’re looking for Electric Avenue, you won’t love it when Sugar Sugar comes on. Whether you prefer modern hits or oldie classics, you’re sure to be disappointed quickly. Like my hometown radio station, pleasing everyone will just frustrate your customers. Read more

John Deere – not your father’s tractor company

John Deere PresentationI was interested in seeing Erin Wallace’s presentation at last week’s CXPA Insights Exchange, but I had no idea just how cool it would be. Her presentation was titled “Easier Said than Done: Move the Needle with Your Customer Experience Strategy,” and showed a very comprehensive approach towards customer experience that we can all learn from.

When I work with clients, I tell them there are 3+2 areas you need to focus on to develop a world-class customer experience program. The first three are an identified leader, as shared vision and governance. Erin nailed all three. She’s obviously the leader of the effort, so didn’t spend a lot of time there. But the strategy and governance were critical.

One difference between John Deere and many companies is their longevity. They’re not just out to win your loyalty today – they want to win your grandchildren’s loyalty. Erin quickly summed up this strategy when she said, “Our goal is to earn customers for generations.” They clearly didn’t just take an Amazon or Zappos strategy and go with it – this is unique to John Deere, and this strategy is critical to their entire program.  Read more

How Wolters Kluwer Financial Services builds a great B2B customer experience – an interview with interim president Pete Koehn

KOEHN_WebsiteImagine a former accountant leading an organization that helps banks manage regulatory compliance.  You might picture a reliance on financial facts and figures making it unlikely for a customer experience program to take root. If so, then you clearly haven’t spent any time with Wolters Kluwer Financial Services.

Pete Koehn is interim president of Wolters Kluwer Financial Services’ Risk, Originations and Compliance business unit. Prior to this position, he served in both finance and operations. But both led him to appreciate the role of engaged customers and employees, and of their dual role in driving results.

Wolters Kluwer Financial Services has been growing rapidly, with some of that growth through acquisition. Shortly after Pete stepped into his current role, his Senior Director of Professional Services Darin Byrne approached him about how customer experience practices could help alleviate any customer service disruptions, while paving the way for even greater growth.

His initial response?  “My immediate question was, ‘Is this a real discipline?’

Darin, a CXPA member, assured him it was, sharing maturity models and best practices, and Pete quickly bought in. Since that time, “We’ve used customer experience as a mantra – let’s understand the voice of the customer. With customer experience in mind, we’ve made changes that have really helped us with this overarching idea of getting our business to act as one.”

Three of those key changes they’ve made are in the area of structure, governance, and culture. Read more

Dan Arielly nails customer empathy

RadarI’m a big fan of Prof. Arielly’s work, such as the book Predictably Irrational, and subscribe to his weekly Q&A.  His response to a question this week offers great advice to us in CX who are trying to create customer empathy.

Dear Dan,

I’m an air-traffic controller at a large airport. I don’t work in the tower but in a remote radar facility about 30 miles away, handling traffic within 50 miles of the airport. As a radar controller, everything is completely abstract. Would being able to actually see the planes I am guiding take off and land generate greater job satisfaction than just seeing targets on a screen?

—Zack

Probably. In many different domains (including moral judgment and empathy), when we present information in increasingly abstract ways, emotions get suppressed, and we care less. So if you plan to stay in this type of job for a while, moving to a tower might well boost your motivation.

But even if you stay put, other changes might increase the perceived meaning of your labor. What if your screen showed how many passengers were on each plane? What if, at landing time, you were told that they were all healthy? What if you were shown some pictures of the people waiting for them at the airport? With such changes, the information you have about the passengers in your care would be more than just a dot, and both your caring and your motivation should increase.

One of the biggest problems we face in customer experience is when employees become disconnected from customers.  I’ve worked in a division before where nobody in product management or marketing had ever met a client, and we had demonstrably the worst customer experience in the marketplace, leading the industry in cancellation rates.

Take his advice to heart – how can you continually share the impact with your employees, turning your customers into human beings, rather than dots on a screen?

 

What really matters in patient experience?

patientTransactional surveys are risky. With so much riding on them, there’s too much temptation to game the system – not just by front-line employees, but by managers as well.

But healthcare brings it to a whole new level. As a part of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals are judged on standardized patient experience scores (called HCAHPS, or Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems), with low scores having significant financial implications. And it’s really impacting healthcare – particularly those organizations with lower scores.

The reactions are interesting to watch. This article is clearly in the anti-survey camp, and it’s over the top.  As one of my clients said, “I’ve heard this over the years, but it was surprising to see it in print.”  Apparently, hospitals have to decide between letting people sleep at night and letting them get infections! One interviewee grudgingly admits that patient experience isn’t completely worthless.

This is a better article, from The Atlantic Journal, forwarded by another client. While it’s still a bit over the top (“Patients can be very satisfied and dead an hour later,”) it does suggest that some hospital leaders are gaming the system. This introduces some lessons for all of us. Read more

Why is Ace Hardware trying to buy my loyalty?

Settergren'sNo neighborhood is complete without the local hardware store. Ours is Settergren’s, an Ace Hardware that’s been in business for over a hundred years.

Like most of it’s compatriots, it’s the anti-Home Depot. You get a good selection at a decent price. But what really matters is the convenience and the really good advice from people with dirt under their fingernails who know what kind of nail to use and can recommend the best caulk for your situation. We stop by there not just to get tools, but to ask for advice on a job or to look for a contractor.

Settergren’s is a neighborhood institution. On a Saturday afternoon it’s crowed with people coming for paint, nails, mulch or a shovel. They’re active in the community and neighbors regularly talk about how much they love Settergren’s.

So it surprised me when they came out with a loyalty program. You earn points by spending money with them which comes back in the form of a card good for $5 in purchases.

Who thought THAT was a good idea? Read more

It’s time to rethink transactional surveys

Greensboro_MarriottAs a CX profession we’re addicted to surveys.  We want to know more about our customers, and a survey is our first response.

A survey by itself is neither good nor bad.  But what we forget is the unintended side effects of our surveys.  Remember – how you survey your customers is another part of your customer experience.  It does no good to learn how you’re doing if the result of your survey is a worse customer experience.

Take my recent stay at the Greensboro Marriott.  It’s a nice hotel, and I probably would have given a 9 or 10 on their survey.  Until I received this email (emphasis theirs – not mine): Read more

woman on phone

Remember, Call Center Agents = Your Brand

woman on phoneHow’s your brand today?

Defining your brand used to be so much easier. In the good old days (for me, the good old days were the 80s), your brand was whatever your advertising said it was. Social media changed all that. Now your brand is whatever your customers say it is. And so your brand is largely determined by your call center agents – those often-ignored people who toil day and night to help your customers solve their problems.

Unfortunately, many companies treat call center agents as replaceable cogs in a system. When one leaves, bring in another and move on. During the downturn you could sometimes get away with this, because you could always find another worker. But every time a disengaged agent focuses more on getting off of the call then actually solving your customer’s problem, it hurts you twice.

First, it hurts your brand. That interaction just had more impact on your customer than your CEO. Your marketing, product development and innovation were all just made ineffectual because of a frustrated call center agent. That’s always been true, but we’ve been able to ignore that – even in the face of social media. Read more

Boardroom

Not ready for customer experience governance? Then you’re not ready for CX

BoardroomAs a passionate customer experience (CX) advocate, I frequently get to meet with companies just beginning their customer experience journey. I can consistently predict their future success when the conversation moves to governance.

Governance is the active involvement of senior leadership to guide the program and knock down barriers on the way to an improved customer experience. We all love the idea of a bottom-up approach, but it’s pretty much impossible to sustain change without customer experience governance.

An effective customer experience program changes how decisions are made.  If you don’t change the decision-making, you really aren’t changing the customer experience. And the most important decisions happen above your pay grade. That’s why you need customer experience governance. Read more

Interview with Laurie Englert – Customer Experience is a Team Sport

Laurie Englert HeadshotA new digital experience can make or break success for a manufacturer.  But what do you do when you discover that many of your customers’ pain points are analog?

That’s the situation that Laurie Englert was in. And the way she answered it was by creating an environment where customer experience is everybody’s job.

Laurie is the VP of Marketing at Milestone AV, a leading manufacturer of audiovisual mounting and display solutions. She is part of the commercial team whose primary customers are the independent dealers and distributors who sell and/or install their products into schools, corporations, hotels, stadiums and basically any other commercial application.

Building a cross-functional customer experience team

Milestone’s customer experience journey began as a web project. Two years ago they began building their digital experience, and Laurie co-created a customer experience team with her VP of IT. Read more