Interviews

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.

Journey Mapping: Interview with Annette Franz

Annette FranzAs part of the launch of our new website, I’m interviewing Annette Franz, author of the popular Customer Experience (CX) blog CX Journey. In addition to her blog, Annette and I volunteer together as CX Experts at the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA). We’re discussing all things journey mapping.

Jim: So Annette, let’s start.  You’ve written a lot about journey mapping, even naming your blog CX Journey.  So why do you feel that journey mapping is such an important topic?

Annette: One of the main reasons journey mapping is such an important topic is that it really sheds light on the customer experience the way it ought to be shed, from the customer’s perspective. A journey map really brings the customer experience to life, allowing people in the company to really understand what customers are going through, what their interactions are, and to create that empathy that we are talking about so much lately, that’s so important to creating a great customer experience. Read more

Customer Experience Drives 37 Consecutive Quarters of Same-Salon Growth – an Interview with Rhoda Olsen, CEO of Great Clips

Aiming for the Heart of their Customers

This is the fourth 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

I originally interviewed Rhoda Olsen to learn more about her customer experience efforts in 2011. You can read that interview here. At that point Great Clips had experienced 30 consecutive quarters of same-salon growth. That record has now been extended to 37, and the company has grown to over $1 billion in revenue.

Defining Customer Experience

Rhoda Olsen, CEO of Great Clips

Unlike some franchisors, Great Clips defines their customer as the end consumer, not the franchisee. CEO Rhoda Olsen explains, “We believe that if we don’t stay focused on that customer in the salon, the franchisee will not be successful. We define the customer experience from the time they check into the online app or walk in the door to the time they leave. Everything that happens in the wait time and what happens when they leave is part of the customer experience. The interaction with the stylist is their primary brand driver, but if somebody waited 45 minutes and been treated poorly, the stylist has to dig herself out of a hole.”

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Driving a Customer Experience Culture Change – Interview with Ingrid Lindberg, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Prime Therapeutics

Aiming for the Heart of their Customers

This is the sixth 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

Prime Therapeutics (Prime) manages pharmacy benefits for health plans, employers, and government programs including Medicare and Medicaid. Prime is collectively owned by 13 Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, subsidiaries or affiliates of those plans, and Ingrid is the chief customer experience officer, a role she took in 2012 after serving as the customer experience officer at CIGNA.

Defining Customer ExperienceIngrid Lindberberg

“Customer experience is the sum of all interactions a company has with its customers. From who you are as a firm, to your mission, value and purpose, all the way through to how you price your products. It’s about what you bring to the market, and how you talk about yourself, whether in the public relations world or how you answer the phone. It’s the sum of everything you do.” Read more

Customer Experience is a Partnership – Interview with Robin Schribman, VP of Customer Insight and Customer Experience, Thomson Reuters

Aiming for the Heart of their Customers

This is the fifth in our Aiming for the Hearts of their Customers interview series, with seven Minnesota customer experience leaders sharing their strategy for the coming year. In this article, we catch up with Robin Schribman, VP of Customer Insight and Customer Experience at Thomson Reuters.

You can see all of the interviews here:

Overview

Robin SchribmanThomson Reuters is a global B2B information, software and news company, with customer experience roles within each of their professional business units. Robin’s role, in the Global Brand Marketing Group is to focus on customer experience and insight that includes content creation, guidelines and integration efforts.  She has specific responsibilities for customer insight in the financial and risk business. Read more

Creating a great customer experience for agents AND consumers – an interview with Lisa Hoene, VP of Brand and Marketing Services, Allianz Life

Aiming for the Heart of their CustomersThis is the fourth in our Aiming for the Hearts of their Customers interview series, with seven Minnesota customer experience leaders sharing their strategy for the coming year. In this article, we catch up with Lisa Hoene, the VP of Brand and Marketing Services for Allianz Life. You can see all of the interviews here:

Lisa Hoene

Overview

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life) helps Americans achieve their retirement income and protection goals with a variety of annuities and life insurance products sold through independent financial professionals. As a leading provider of fixed index annuities, Allianz Life is part of Allianz SE, a global leader in the financial services industry. Read more

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

DKirsch Read more

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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