Customer Experience Vision

CX Vision

Developing a customer experience vision is the first step in pursuing organizational change for the way your business provides services to its customers. Design and implement your future-state CX vision by developing ideas and prioritizing initiatives. A customer experience vision clarifies these aspirations and why they matter to your customers.

Serving Diverse Customers – an Interview with Ghita Worcester, Senior Vice-President of Public Affairs and Marketing, UCare

Aiming for the Heart of their Customers

This is the second in our Aiming for the Hearts of their Customers interview series, with seven Minnesota customer experience leaders sharing their strategy for the coming year. You can see all of the interviews here:

Overview

Imagine leading a customer experience program serving a very diverse population that speaks dozens of languages, has many members new to this country, and many on medical assistance, struggling to raise a family without a stable home. And you’re doing this as a non-profit. That’s the challenge UCare faced when they began formalizing their customer experience program in 2013.

Ghita Worcester, Senior VP of Public Affairs and Marketing, UCare

UCare is a health plan primarily serving members through government programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid and other government assistance programs. Ghita Worcester is the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Marketing at UCare, one of two executive sponsors of their customer experience program.

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Creating a Customer Experience Capability – Interview with Mara Bain, Chief Experience Officer, Western National Insurance

Aiming for the Heart of their Customers

This is the second in our Aiming for the Hearts of their Customers interview series, with seven Minnesota customer experience leaders sharing their strategy for the coming year. You can see all of the interviews here:

Overview

The Western National Insurance Group is a 500-person private company that offers property and casualty insurance. Mara is the company’s Chief Experience Officer, a role she began mid-year. Mara came to Customer Experience through an unusual route, having previously served as their Controller. She has hit the ground running, however, working with teams from throughout the company to create a Customer Experience framework, and launching programs to help further improve an experience that already has many strengths.

Defining Customer Experience

Mara Bain, Chief Experience Officer, Western National Insurance

“We have three customer segments. First are our independent agencies.  We recognize that many key policyholder touch points are controlled by our agents.  By optimizing our agents’ experience with us, we are positively impacting the service they provide our ultimate customer.   Next is our ultimate policyholder, which can be either an individual or a business. Finally, we have our employees as customers.” The employee was unique. While most customer experience programs recognize the employee as a key stakeholder, it is unusual to include them as actual customers.

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Setting the Customer Experience Stage – Interview with Dave Kirsch, CEO of Shipper’s Supply

Aiming for the Heart of their CustomersWe’re starting off 2014 with the interview series Aiming for the Hearts of their Customers. These interviews showcase the current state and 2014 plans for seven customer experience leaders in Minnesota. You can see all of the interviews here:

Overview

Shipper’s Supply is an 85-year-old distributor of everything a manufacturer needs to create a great impression, from the actual shipping supply to the automation equipment needed to package products.

This is the first in the series Aiming for the Hearts of their Customers. I chose Shipper’s Supply to begin the series because they are in the very beginning of their customer experience journey, and serve as a great case study of this phase. CEO Dave Kirsch shared the history behind their approach and how they are beginning their focus.

Building Customer Intelligence

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Aiming for the Hearts of their Customers

Welcome to the new year! To kick things off, I have been fortunate to interview a number of Minnesota customer experience leaders on their plans for next year. Seven have agreed to have their interviews published over the next two weeks. The list includes two CEOs, two VPs with responsibilities that include customer experience, and three who are specifically tasked with running customer experience in their companies.  The list includes:

Dave Kirsch, CEO, Shipper's Supply Dave Kirsch, CEO, Shipper’s Supply

Mara Bain, Chief Experience Officer, Western National Insurance Mara Bain, Chief Experience Officer, Western National Insurance

Ghita Worcester, Senior VP of Public Affairs and Marketing, UCare Ghita Worcester, Senior VP of Public Affairs and Marketing, UCare

Lisa Hoene, VP of Brand and Marketing Services, Allianz Lisa Hoene, VP of Brand and Marketing Services, Allianz

Robin Schribman, Vice President, Customer Insight and Customer Experience, Thomson Reuters Robin Schribman, Vice President, Customer Insight and Customer Experience, Thomson Reuters

Ingrid Lindberg, Chief Customer Officer at Prime Therapeutics Ingrid Lindberg, Chief Customer Officer at Prime Therapeutics

Rhoda Olsen, CEO of Great Clips Rhoda Olsen, CEO of Great Clips

Look for their interviews over the next two weeks.

Customer Intelligence: Bring Your Customers to Life for Your Employees

RetailEmployeeI once met with a VP of Sales for a Fortune 25 company who argued, “We don’t need to learn about our customers. We just need to execute the plan.” It’s no surprise that, while they were the market leader, they also had the highest percentages of customers who closed accounts each year.  As a result the company’s revenues were growing slower than the rest of the market.

It’s easy to get caught up in executing the plan. We’re busy and taking the time to learn about customers cuts into our “productivity.” But if you don’t take that time, how do you know you’re doing the right thing?

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A Case Study in Loyalty: The Cabela’s CLUB

Cabela's Logo How do you create a world-class customer loyalty program? Focus less on providing best-in-class benefits and more on creating a great customer experience. That’s the advice of Sean Baker, the incoming CEO of Cabela’s World’s Foremost Bank and leader of the Cabela’s CLUB program.

I interviewed Sean to learn more about Cabela’s CLUB and its critical role in driving their customer experience. The lessons certainly apply to retailers as a class, but also have something to teach anybody wanting to create better relationships with customers.

CLUB Components

First, a quick background on the program. The Cabela’s CLUB is a loyalty program paired with a Visa card. It began as a partnership with a small regional bank as a way to give their best customers free gear, but in 2001 Cabela’s brought the program in-house. They are now one of only two retailers who entirely own their own bank to run their loyalty program (Nordstrom’s is the other). Read more

Does technology replace the customer experience?

From Iconoculture:

UK: “Facebook” pub serves punters with table-side technology
The Thirsty Bear pub in South London is using tablet technology to help punters order food, drink and update their social network status without leaving their table. Table-side iPads and serve-yourself beer taps enable customers to order food and drink for self- or waiter-service. To start an electronic tab, punters simply leave a credit card behind the bar in order to add to their bill. Finger clicking is no longer required to grab waiters’ attention. Connected consumers can simply text staff direct via an instant messenger app to alert them that they require table service.

This is a fascinating idea. But how long can it last? Read more

Innovating Through Your Front-Line Staff Speech

I’ve been speaking quite a bit lately – four times in the last week and a half – so I haven’t been able to complete the second half of my blog post “Experiment Your Way to Growth.” But you can see me speak about it below.  I come on at 2:44 into it.

The second half should be out next week!

Dunn Bros Coffee – the Non-Chain Chain

“Coffee houses are about neigh­bor­hoods,” Dunn Bros Coffee co-CEO Chris Eilers tells me while we drink light roasts and blues music plays overhead.

Dunn Brothers is a popular Midwestern coffee chain with most of its locations in the Twin Cities. The company was started by Ed Dunn and now boasts 83 locations. Whereas Starbucks and Caribou (another Minnesota-grown coffee shop) have primarily corporate-owned locations, Dunn Bros focuses on attracting franchisees, who typically run and work at only one location.

This interview discusses the Dunn Bros Coffee history, how they use their franchisees to develop their unique customer experience, and how the company uses market research and social networking to learn more about their customers. It concludes with an analysis on how they do in creating a customer-inspired experience, as measured through the Heart of the Customer model.

Read the interview in Dunn_Bros-the_Non-Chain_Chain-White_Paper.

Who Creates Your Customer Experience?

Most companies are structured as if the 5% of the workforce at corporate knows more than the 95% who actually talks to the customers. Of course they don’t articulate that. But look at the last twenty changes to your customer experience. Were nineteen generated directly from the field? Or was it closer to one?

You certainly believe in listening to the customer (or you wouldn’t be reading a blog called “Heart of the Customer!”). But do you have a structured methodology to collect ideas from the field, deliberately test them, and then roll them out? Or do you have the equivalent to the often-ignored suggestion box?

In 2006, when High-Definition TVs were just becoming popular, Best Buy had a problem. Accelerating HDTV sales drove significant growth. But underlying this growth was a huge issue with increasing levels of returns. Customers plugged their new $2,000 TV into their existing $20/month cable hookup, and the resulting picture looked terrible. While the Best Buy associates generally told shoppers about the need to upgrade to high-definition cable, most didn’t listen. So when their picture looked awful, they returned their TV.

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