Employee and Customer Engagement

Best Practices in Employee and Customer Engagement

Employee engagement is about creating an environment where employees know their thoughts and actions and valued. They are trained and educated on a regular basis to maintain their professional development. They are committed to the values and goals of their company and are motivated to do their best each day. What does this have to do with customers? A confident employee makes for a very satisfied customer. Read more below.

CX + EX (Employee Experience) = Great Experiences

Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first. – Simon Simek

This quote reflects one of the biggest disconnects in customer experience – focusing only on the customer experience.

It makes sense. Heck, that’s our name! Why wouldn’t we? But focusing only on the customer without regard to the employee experience leads to missed opportunities and sub-optimized efforts.

I had the great honor to co-present on this topic with Darin Byrne, Wolters Kluwer’s VP of Client Experience. We made three primary arguments to our CX audience:

  1. CX Fails Without Engaged Employees
  2. UX is Critical to Employee Experience
  3. Employee Experience Needs to be Part of Your Day Job

Read more

Three Tips for Employee Journey Mapping

Journey mapping is powerful. A clear visualization of your customer’s journey helps rally the company to support a new vision of your customers’ challenges, and how you can make it easier to be your customer.

But why should customers get all the love? If it’s such a powerful tool, shouldn’t we find other uses for it?

Employee journey mapping is often neglected. Or, worse, it’s done in a haphazard way, foregoing the discipline we use for our customers. But there’s no shortage of research on the linkage between the customer and employee experiences. Consider using your journey mapping process for customers.

Below are three tips for applying journey mapping to your employees. Read more

The ADKAR Change Model and Customer Journey Maps 

Image credit: Prosci.com

The primary reason to run a customer journey mapping project is to drive customer-focused change. That’s what we heard when we asked customer experience practitioners to rate their success with their journey mapping project. A successful journey mapping project is one where change is made from the results. 

Driving change requires a strong model, and at Heart of the Customer we’re fans of Prosci’s ADKAR Change Management Model. ADKAR stands for: 

  • Awareness of the need to change 
  • Desire to change 
  • Knowledge of what and how to change 
  • Ability to change 
  • Reinforcement of the change 

Read more

Three steps to create customer-focused change

Customer experience (CX) is about change.

I wrote about this last week. But there’s a lot of confusion about the best way to create this change.

Immature CX practitioners often see themselves there to drive the business. They see their role as being on the outside, there to show the business what the customers really want. And this role feels good. “I represent the customer, and am here to show you what they want” is an easy go-to place.

It’s also a terrible way to create sustainable change.  Read more

YMCA Quirk’s Cover Story

Journey mapping is worthless without the organizational focus to improve. This article shares how the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities used journey mapping to better retain their Millennial customers.

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.

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

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

Eight Ways to Build Customer Empathy

workplace-1245776_640Customer empathy is absolutely critical to a company-focused culture. Without empathy, employees focus on their own problems, rather than your customers’. They build overly-complex products based on what they want to buy, rather than starting with customer needs. And they certainly don’t understand the emotional context of your customers.

Both Forrester and the Temkin Group have begun focusing much more on the emotional elements of an experience, which is spot-on. Emotions are the greatest driver of loyalty – and of disloyalty.  And you can’t solve them without empathy.

Here are eight ways to help build empathy in your company. Add your own in the comments! Read more