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Interview with Marlanges Simar – Director of CX at Prime Therapeutics

Marlanges Simar is the Director of Customer Experience at Prime Therapeutics (Prime) managing their CX (Customer Experience) Architect team. Prime manages pharmacy benefits on behalf of health plans, employers and government programs. I interviewed her to better understand their role, and how they help Prime improve the customer experience.

CX architects play a strategic role in improving the experience of our different customer groups (members and health plan clients), as well as the prescribers and pharmacists we work with. This can range from fixing a problem to reworking or developing an entirely new portion of the experience.

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Trust: I Don’t Think Wells Fargo Gets it Yet

I attended an excellent conference today. The Carlson School of Management sponsored their second annual Ignite Conference which focused on “Protecting Trust in Today’s Consumer Journey.”

The opening speaker gave some great stats about trust, including research that 73% of the variance in how customers have trust with you is predicted by team members’ trust of the organization.

At the end of the day, Wells Fargo’s Chief Marketing Officer Jamie Moldafsky spoke on their journey to regain trust. It was a well-crafted speech, showcasing all that Wells Fargo was doing to admit wrong-doing and earn back the trust earned over 150+ years in business.

All in all, it was impressive. But two warning signs have me concerned that they have further to go than they think. Read more

Stuck? Here are Three Ways to Gain CX Traction

As one of the CXPA’s CX Experts, as well as a journey mapper, I’m often called by companies trying to create momentum for their CX program. Sometimes it’s a midsize manufacturer trying to start their CX program. Other times, it’s a Fortune 50 company who has a program, but seeing its influence wane.

I wrote a white paper on starting a program, in conjunction with Intouch Insight. In it, I walked through the CXPA’s six CX disciplines (CX Strategy, Customer-Centric Culture, VOC Customer Insight & Understanding, Experience Design Improvement & Innovation, Metrics & Measurement, and ROI & Organizational Adoption & Accountability). All six are critical to a successful program.

But most people who call know they need to do all this. That’s not the question. What they really want to know is: how do they build momentum? “How do I break through the noise, in order to get the company’s attention, so I can get permission to build a CX-focused design and governance program?”

If you’re stuck and can’t get the attention, focusing on all six disciplines equally is the surest way to stay stuck. To gain this attention, you need to hit your employees – and your executives – in the gut. You need to create a visceral connection to your current customer experience and its limitations. And the best way I know to do that is through visual voice of the customer. Read more

What’s Worse Than No CX Vision? Multiple CX Visions

Creating a compelling vision is one of the trickiest aspects of an effective customer experience (CX) program. A solid CX vision aligns teams, allowing your front-line employees to decide how best to serve the customer without needing to escalate. Read more

Sometimes, meeting customer promises isn’t so impressive.

A few weeks ago, I found myself flying Air Canada for the first time. There were multiple issues – both flights were delayed without notification, three flights were scheduled from the same gate within an hour, leaving nowhere to put all the passengers, and agents didn’t have working scanners so had to manually write down each person’s seat as they boarded.  Read more

Using SMS to improve – or detract from – the customer experience

I’ve been traveling a lot, and recently had a few service interactions that show the power – and the peril – of using texts to engage customers.

Perhaps you’ve seen that some higher-end hotels are sending welcome texts as a simpler way to engage customers and to show responsiveness. I first experienced this at the Hilton Toronto, which greeted me with:

Good evening, Mr. Tincher. Welcome to the Hilton Toronto! True to our MAKE IT RIGHT commitment, if we can assistant with anything, anytime, simply text us. – [Name]

What a great idea! Easy for me, and just one text. If I don’t need anything, our interactions are over. But I now have a low-effort way to reach out if I need anything. I had no issues with my stay, so that was the end of it.

Later in the week I flew Delta and checked my bag. For the first time, I received a message on my phone when the bag was loaded, and another when it was available my destination. This is another great example of using this to reassure me. Quick and easy, but adds to peace of mind.

Unfortunately, this force can also be used for less service-focused ways.  Read more

The Best Way to Learn from Your Customers? Sit Down and Shut Up!

We all like to talk. It’s part of being human. We like to share ideas and concepts. It’s natural.

It’s also a terrible way to learn from your customers.

This may seem obvious. But then why do so many do this wrong?

I was reminded of this in a journey mapping round table I recently led. About 15 to 20 practitioners and vendors participated, going over journey mapping practices, and sharing how we all went about the process. Unfortunately, not all methodologies are created equally.

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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

Get out of your office!

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In 2008, I left Best Buy. I had been there for six years, and before that had been with a small business. So I just assumed that every company was obsessed with their customers!

Yes, I was naïve. I still am.

From there, I joined a new company. And I learned there were other approaches to running a business.

This was a division of a Fortune 100 company that was growing at an incredible rate. We had the highest market share, and we were growing at 25%. So the organization felt like they had everything going right. They were so confident that their new strategy was to become a $1 billion business.

Missing the Point

Those who have read Good to Great probably know where this is going.

When I joined the company, I was amazed to discover that nobody in marketing or product development had ever met a client!  Their sales came because the parent company sold the products. The parent company had the relationships – so our product teams were comfortable sitting in their offices making up strategy PowerPoints. Read more

Where I learned about the importance of customer journeys

DannyEighteen years ago, my son Danny taught me everything I needed to know about customer journeys.

At just three years old, Danny wasn’t a verbose child.  So when he talked, we paid special attention.  One night when we put him to bed, he put his hands over his crotch and simply said, “Hurts.”

If you’ve ever had a 3-year-old, you can understand how we felt. We called the nurse line, who instructed us to take him to the emergency room right away. Panicked, we grabbed the diaper bag and headed to the nearest hospital that took our insurance.

A Regrettable Journey

As we got there, they instructed us to fill out the paperwork, then rushed us back to another waiting room. But this one was dark and abandoned – just one light in the corner. The staff person asked us to wait there until they could find a doctor. So we sat down, and I held Danny in my arms, whimpering. And we proceeded to wait.

After a half-hour, I was frustrated beyond belief. Anxious, scared. So I went to find some help. Eventually, I was told to go back, as they were still looking for a doctor. So I went back, and we continued to wait. Read more