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.

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

“Customer Experience is all about culture change” – an interview with Mark Smith, VP of CX at GE Capital Fleet Services

Mark Smith 2014How do you create change when you’re the first customer experience (CX) leader at a highly successful business with a history of customer focus?

That’s the challenge Mark Smith faced when he became GE Capital Fleet Services’ first Vice President of Customer Experience a year ago. His response? Focus on the culture, because that’s what will sustain your experience.

Fleet Services’ primary customers are fleet managers who outsource some or all of their fleet management to the company. But they also have a B2C-like relationship with the drivers of those vehicles, who contact the company for everything from password resets to maintaining their vehicles. To build a customer-focused culture, Mark focuses on Listening, Sharing and Collaborating. 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

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.”

Read more

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.

Read more