VA CX Framework

Creating a Customer-Centric Agency at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

I heard Lee Becker, Chief of Staff of the Veterans Experience Office (VEO) of the VA speak at a recent Medallia conference and was blown away by his remarks. I reached out for an interview because I wanted to share with a broader audience his thoughts on what it’s like to drive change within a massive organization, what’s at stake, and what success at the VA might mean for government services in broader terms.

A Navy Veteran with a background in medical care and case management, Lee is one of the architects behind a turnaround at the VA, and he believes the same solid customer experience (CX) principles they have implemented there can transform the way other federal agencies work, too.

“The fundamental challenge of government is figuring out how you make room for experience when financials and operations are the focus.” Read more

Journey Mapping Workshop Dallas

Why You Should Know How to Journey Map

To prepare for our upcoming Customer Journey Mapping Workshop in February in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I spoke to past workshop participants and now certified journey mappers to reflect on their most important learnings, now that they are six months in. Here is what they said: Read more

1 in 4 of you will loose your job this year

Why 1 in 4 of You Will Lose Your Job in 2020

1 in 4 of you will loose your job this yearYour CFO doesn’t care about your customer experience (CX) surveys. She cares about the health of the business, and it’s unlikely she sees a direct link between your survey scores and the measurements she follows.

Meanwhile, your CEO is focused on your customers, but that doesn’t mean he cares about your surveys, either. As one business leader confessed to me, “I keep seeing these survey scores saying we’re doing great. Then I meet with customers who they tell me how frustrated they are. So I don’t believe in the surveys.”

By extension, that means he doesn’t believe in his CX team.

So by focusing on customers’ scores, you’re at risk. Forrester predicts that one in four CX pros will lose their jobs in the year ahead, because they aren’t showing business impact. Read more

Turbocharge Your Journey Map

Two-thirds of customer journey mapping initiatives fail to drive action, as we revealed in our book How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer? Using Journey Mapping to Drive Customer-Focused Change.

That’s not really surprising, is it? It’s easier to reveal where customers are having problems than it is to do something about it. Taking effective action requires getting your silos aligned to improve the customer experience. A new class of software can help. Read more

Five Questions To Answer for Customer Journey Mapping Success

Successful customer journey maps drive customer-focused change like improving customer experience, developing a new way to deliver value to customers, or reducing the cost to serve current customers.

Based on a 2016 study of customer experience professionals, over two-thirds of respondents did not rate their journey mapping project as successful. The reason? A lack of action from the mapping endeavor.

When we work with clients at Heart of the Customer, our goal is to drive action from the journey maps. We require our clients to work through the Five Questions as a foundation for their journey mapping. Ask yourself and your team to work through these Five Questions before launching your customer journey mapping initiative: Read more

Ideas are Your Fuel for an Improved CX

Think about the last time you led brainstorming to improve your customer experience (CX). Did you give people Post-It Notes and have them shout out ideas while they put them on the wall?

Doing that is a ton of fun. But it’s also a terrible way to develop ideas. So, stop doing it. 

You reply, “But this approach is a staple of design thinking. Everybody’s doing it! Why shouldn’t I?  Read more

Good CX = Great Business Case

I’m returning home from a day and a half at Comcast’s headquarters, locked in a room with other marketing and CX thought leaders. (Okay, so not exactly locked in…)

They brought us to Philadelphia to share the work they’re doing in customer experience and to get our feedback and advice. But mostly to show us what they’re doing.

I came in pretty ambivalent. I’m not a customer – I wrote this post about firing them, but I’ve seen Graham Tutton speak twice (read about it here), and it appears they’re making a sincere effort to improve. What they shared today reinforces that positive belief – they really are working hard to change the trajectory. Read more

In CX, Relationships Matter

A few months ago, I was interviewing a Senior VP customer of my client, and asked her, “Do you have a relationship with [my client]?” She replied, “Well, yes, we have a commercial relationship…” I cut her off (probably a bad thing to do in an interview!) and said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t explain myself well. Do you have a relationship with my client?” 

She stopped, thought about it for 10 or 15 seconds, then responded. “Actually, I don’t. A few years back I did, but not anymore.” She continued, “You know, I get a call from a competitor each week. And now it’s easier to take those calls. Because, since I don’t have a relationship, I don’t feel like I’m letting anybody down.” 

My client – who was in the room with me – listened to this exchange, and the power of her client’s comment stuck with her. She realized that you can make the experience easy. But without a relationship, it might not matter. Read more

Tell me why!

This week I listened to a colleague tell me that, three years ago, the company he worked for acquired another company of near equal size within the same industry. Within the last week, one of his peers from the acquiring company, a senior director with a large team, mentioned he was not sure why the acquisition occurred, whether or not there were any benefits, and what the impact was to his team.

Because very little information was shared, this acquisition represented a bigger and more complex product catalog and operating model to many employees, including senior leaders. This individual was angry that he was forced to change processes he was already comfortable with and was quoted saying “we need to go back to what we were doing before”. Read more

Don’t Ask How to Get Executives to Care About Your CX Program; Ask Instead How You Can Support Your Executives

I go to a lot of Customer Experience (CX) events. Although I learn a lot of new things, I also hear some common concerns throughout all of them. No matter the venue, you can be certain that somebody in the audience will ask a presenter, “How can I get executives to care about customers?”

That’s the wrong question. Believe it or not, your executives actually do care about your customers. These are smart people, and they know that pleasing customers is the secret to success.

They simply don’t care about your so-called “customer experience” program. Read more