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customers consumers producers

What’s in a Name? Your Ability to Please Your Customers

I’ve always been a big reader, but the pandemic has given me even more time to indulge my passion. I recently devoured Conscious Capitalism, by John Mackey and Rajendra Sisodia.

It really struck a chord with me, particularly this paragraph calling on businesses to stop using the term consumer: “Businesses must think of their customers as human beings to be served, not as consumers to be sold to. In fact, the very word consumer objectifies people, suggesting that their only role is to consume.”

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Culture Is the Cart, Change Is the Horse

There’s no doubt about it – culture change is sexy. So sexy, that it’s where most customer experience programs focus. But starting with culture is putting the cart before the horse. And we all know you’re not going to get anywhere that way.

In this final post in my CX-focused series on applying John Kotter’s 8 Steps to Accelerate Change in Your Organization, we cover the eighth step: Institute Change.

The problem is that most employees believe they’re doing the right thing for customers – it’s those people in [insert name of some other department] who are messing up. So if you start with culture change – putting together training, creating a customer room, waiting for improved outcomes – you’re loading your cart before you have the means to propel it forward.

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sustain acceleration

Don’t Just Drive CX Success, Sustain It

We’re in the homestretch of my series on how to apply John Kotter’s change management work to customer experience! The penultimate seventh step, Sustain Acceleration, is an important reminder that you can’t rest on your laurels.

As Kotter writes in 8 Steps to Accelerate Change in Your Organization: “So you’ve had a few wins. It can be easy to lift your foot off the gas pedal after experiencing some success. Instead, this is the time to press harder and use those wins as momentum to further fuel the change.” Read more

Propel CX Momentum With Quick Wins

I’ve been writing about how to apply John Kotter’s change management work to CX. This week, I’ll tackle Step Six: Generate Short-Term Wins.

The good news is that CX programs frequently excel at this. Many organizations have focused internally so much that they can easily find areas where they can develop quick wins.

Whether they have the infrastructure in place to execute them? Well, that’s another story.

The ripest opportunities for quick wins often come from digital efforts. Shortening a process here, improving communication there – these changes can make a real difference. Even when you need to take more comprehensive action, break it down so that you make an impact in the short term. This often paves the way for the success of your longer-term initiatives. Read more

Enlist a Volunteer CX Army

One thing about being in CX – you’re unlikely to have a huge staff. Typically, that’s deliberate. CX doesn’t – and can’t! – own the entire experience. That’s what all those other departments do. Your role is to influence them, and align the entire organization on CX objectives.

We’re not yet ready to share the full results of the survey of journey maturity we recently conducted in partnership with Usermind and Megan Burns, but I will tease one of the results. (CXPA members can join our webinar at the end of September to find out more about what we learned.) Read more

Create a Compelling CX Vision

Rallying your teams to move to a more customer-focused approach requires letting them know what needs to be done. And nothing is more effective at accomplishing that than having a compelling CX vision for what the future looks like.

A clear vision is the accelerator for customer experience (CX) change. Sure, you can improve the experience without a vision – but it will be much more difficult.

A compelling vision is Kotter’s third step in change management. (I’ve explored the first two steps here and here.) As the firm explains in 8 Steps to Accelerate Change in Your Organization, “You can’t appeal to people with data and facts alone. You must also account for how people feel. If you can provide greater meaning and purpose to their efforts, amazing things are possible.” Read more

Not Making CX Progress? Start Saying No

Too many customer experience (CX) programs get stuck. 

Stuck with no influence. No change. No leadership buy-in. 

We see it all the time. As a CX leader, you’re spread so thin, trying to juggle dozens of balls at once. You’re building a new measurement program while sharing your existing scores with anybody who will listen. You’re creating new training programs. You’re in meetings to support the new portal, the new customer campaign, the Customer Advisory Board, and the new loyalty program. 

You’re incredibly busy. You burn through your unused vacation time just trying to keep up. But when you get to the end of the year, the most important thing – customer loyalty – remains unchanged.  

A year filled with effort, but no actual change. 

That’s a problem.  Read more

To Spur Action, Create a Sense of Urgency

I wrote last week about the importance of change management for customer experience (CX) programs, using John Kotter’s model. This post dives deeper into Step One of his approach: creating a sense of urgency.

Without a doubt, this can be challenging. If your company is doing well, it’s hard to get people’s attention. Why tinker with anything if the business is growing? Conversely, if your company is struggling – as, due to COVID-19, so many currently are – noise and anxiety make it hard to focus.

When we look at successful CX programs, this is often where they move ahead of the pack. Those programs are creating a sense of urgency while others are content to focus on survey scores.

There are infinite ways to create a sense of urgency, but below are a few approaches you can try. Read more

The Secret of CX Success

Swing for the fences! Shoot for the Moon! You got this! 

During my many years as a high school and collegiate lacrosse player and coach, I heard (and said) encouraging platitudes like these more times than I can possibly count.  

But I think many CX professionals – myself included – could benefit from a reminder of just how much confidence caimpact outcomes. 

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Empathy.

A key outcome of our work at Heart of the Customer (HoC) – and the essence of CX as a discipline – is to create empathy. That’s how we help our clients better understand their customers.  

When empathy is high, organizations are more likely to serve their customers better. They invest in the right initiatives and are rewarded with loyalty, which increases profits, which inspires further efforts to improve the journey. That mutually beneficial cycle is the foundational belief behind what we do. And it’s rewarding work.  Read more