Interviews with CX Experts

Interviews With CX Experts

CX is the backbone of every business – any CX expert can tell you this. And what better way to learn about CX than from the experts themselves. We’ve interviewed a variety of CX experts from around the world and gathered their valuable insights below.

The Best Way to Learn from Your Customers? Sit Down and Shut Up!

We all like to talk. It’s part of being human. We like to share ideas and concepts. It’s natural.

It’s also a terrible way to learn from your customers.

This may seem obvious. But then why do so many do this wrong?

I was reminded of this in a journey mapping round table I recently led. About 15 to 20 practitioners and vendors participated, going over journey mapping practices, and sharing how we all went about the process. Unfortunately, not all methodologies are created equally.

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Building Customer Empathy: An Interview with Natalie Schneider

Anthem, Inc. is in the middle of customer experience (CX) resurgence. I had the chance to catch up with Natalie Schneider, VP of Customer Experience, to learn more about their efforts to help build customer empathy in their employees.

Tell us a little about what led you to start working on customer experience.

A few years ago we at Anthem realized that our company’s growth was going to have to start coming from consumers—a B2C approach, rather than what we had been doing, which was largely B2B. Once we saw that, we quickly realized that our B2C operations were completely unsatisfactory—it was a kind of “OMG” moment for us, and so we started really investing in customer experience and putting together a team to try to fix what we were lacking.

We had a lot to learn—we hadn’t been looking at things from the customer’s perspective at all, and had a very insular, inside-out perspective. To buy a product on our website the customer had to go through 22 clicks! But we moved the needle. When we started, there were probably fewer than ten associates who even knew what the term Net Promoter Score even meant—three years later and we’ve improved our NPS by double digits, and business leaders talk about it constantly, across the company.

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The Value of Customer Relationship Management: An Interview With Dawn Mergenthaler

Dawn Mergenthaler has been leading CRM marketing teams for healthcare, retail, and Software-as-a-Service companies for over a decade. She works closely with customer experience (CX) professionals to understand the insights gained that can be leveraged for CRM. She’s well-known for partnering cross-functionally to improve the customer’s communication experience across an organization, ultimately working to improve customer experiences and increase sales for an organization.

We caught up with Dawn to provide her insights into how CRM and CX best fit together in an organization.

CRM can mean different things to different organizations. To start off, could you give us a quick explanation how you describe CRM?

Sure. It stands for Customer Relationship Management, and like customer experience, it’s a strategy. CRM uses different initiatives and methodologies than CX to achieve the goals of improving customer experience and increasing sales.

Similar to CX, it involves collecting customer information and data that’s used in a variety of functional areas across an organization to provide a cohesive customer experience. Read more

Heart of the Customer in Expert Interview Series

Something different. I was recently interviewed by Netscout as part of their Expert Interview Series for CIO Brief. A copy is below. Enjoy!

Jim Tincher is the Mapper-In-Chief of HEART OF THE CUSTOMER, where he helps brands understand how hard it is to be their customer. We recently asked for his insight on how businesses can better know their customers and improve their customer experience. Here’s what he shared:

Can you tell us about the mission behind Heart of the Customer? What are your goals?

Our mission is to help change agents transform their organization to fully internalize the voice of their customer and to drive action against that. Our goals are to provide those change agents with the call to action needed to drive change.

How has the way brands engage with customers evolved since you launched your business?

Customer experience is now being taken more seriously. In the last few years we have seen the rise of the customer experience (CX) organization, charged with driving the company to build a customer-centric approach. However, we’re still at a fairly early stage, so methodologies are not yet robust. We’re in a very exciting time, as we are building the tools that will become the standard. Read more

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

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

Q&A with Customer Journey Management Experts

microphone-367581_640In preparation for a series of classes on journey mapping I helped lead through the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), they interviewed a few of us on best practices in journey mapping. The other participants included a few of our partners: Stacy Bolger, Senior Strategic Consulting Director, MaritzCX; Valerie Peck, President/CEO, East Bay Services Group, SuiteCX; and Peter Haid, Director, Touchpoint Dashboard.

It’s a good overview of journey mapping best practices, bringing in a variety of opinions. Enjoy!

http://cxpa.org/blogs/karl-sharicz/2016/10/04/qa-with-customer-journey-management-experts-the-entire-series

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.

Relating to CX

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

Interview with Jim Kalbach

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Jim Kalbach is the recent author of Mapping Experiences. We had a chance to interview him to go deeper on what he has learned about journey maps.  You can see more about his book here.

Along with your other diagrams, journey and experience maps are often used to drive culture change.  What are your tips for using these to engage leadership and change culture?

Jim Kalbach: This first thing to keep in mind is that a diagram won’t provide any answers outright. It doesn’t magically bring change to your organization. Instead, diagrams are conversation pieces that engage others.

Sure, you want to create an artifact that is accurate, reliable and compelling. But to drive change, you’ll need to focus on including others throughout the mapping process. Think verb (mapping) rather than noun (map).

A centerpiece I invariably include in the process is a workshop. With this, you can use your diagram to explore a given experience with a diverse group of stakeholders.

Beyond that, also consider ways to have others in your team participate in the mapping process. For instance, bring them along to customer interviews during your investigation. Or, create a draft diagram together with sticky notes on a whiteboard. The more people involved, the more people will better understand the customer perspective.

In addition, it’s more important that the team has the same knowledge than each person have new knowledge. Otherwise, they will never make the collective decisions needed for change to happen. Maps of an experience are sense-making tools.

In the end, it’s the mapmakers job to also facilitate the conversation, not just create a diagram. Only then can the organization shift its perspective from inside-out to outside-in. Read more