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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

What Would Fidelity Do? – Leverage Your Customer-Facing Staff

Heart of the Customer's Customer Experience ModelGreat companies base their capabilities off of the knowledge of their customer-facing staff. While they use market research and strategic planning, companies with a consistently great customer experience get that way by creating deliberate processes to learn from their employees.

Leveraging Your Customer-Facing Staff to create Employee-Based Innovation is the last piece of the Customer-Based Capabilities section of the Heart of the Customer model. Citrix, Oracle and Safelite all referenced practices to gather insights from their employees, but Fidelity again provides the best guidance. Read more

Customer-Based Capabilities – Focus on the Journey

This is the fourth post in the Real-World series where I use Heart of the Customer’s Customer Experience model to show how the 2012 Temkin Customer Experience Award finalists actually go about building their customer experiences. Previous posts showed how finalists:

Now let’s Focus on the Journey the second effort in building Customer-Based Capabilities.

Businesses typically manage touch points such as call centers and websites. Focusing on the Journey tells us that customers don’t think about touch points – they focus on accomplishing tasks, regardless of internal functions or business units.

Typical efforts at this stage involve customer journey mapping and ecosystem mapping workshops, designing interactions around customer efforts. Unfortunately, respondents were more focused on outcomes, so didn’t go into much detail here. However, there were a few teasers available. Read more

Three Steps to Start Your Customer Experience Program

Thumbs UpI’ve worked with a number of companies with great customer experiences, including several I have featured in this blog, ranging from retailers to healthcare companies to manufacturers. During this time I have noticed themes about how companies effectively use their brand values, strategies and missions to create a great customer experience.

Their structures vary and their approaches differ.  But successful customer experience capabilities follow three steps to success. They excel at Customer Intelligence, use this to inform their Customer-Based Capabilities, and sustain all this through a Customer-Focused Culture. Read more

Creating a Customer Ecosystem Map

Customer Ecosystem MapCustomer Ecosystem Maps are the inside-out complements to Customer Journey Maps.  These maps are created by internal teams, and document the actions, people and systems that enable the customer experience.  They are a great way to bring teams together to create a shared view on friction points, and to create alignment on what needs to be solved.  I recently trained a company’s customer experience teams on this process.  This becomes a great way to get departments to work together, and I am excited to see their results.

Rather than trying to communicate it through text, I have created a Slideshare to walk through the steps. It is best viewed in full-screen, as the maps get somewhat complex. Enjoy, and let me know your experience with this process!

Jim

Customer Experience is a Sales Job. And We’re Doing it Badly.

Are you selling your customer experience?Rising profits

A friend of mine is in her first year leading her company’s customer experience. A few weeks ago she told me, “I never realized how much selling is involved with this job!” I met another CX leader yesterday, who said much the same thing: “I always need to have my elevator speech ready, to explain to people why they should care about customer experience.”

It’s unfortunate but true: most leaders don’t naturally think about customer experience, and we need to be evangelists for the cause. But recent research from Teletech suggests that we’re not really helping ourselves to sell the mission.

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Ten Ways to Celebrate Customer Experience Heroes

In my last post I discussed the importance of creating customer experience heroes to reinforce efforts to make your customer experience great.  This follow-up post gives you ten ways to celebrate those customer experience heroes without promoting them. Just to be clear: Promoting a hero is fine if the situation calls for it.  But often promoting your hero takes her away from the role she loves. Use caution before promoting a hero out of the heroic role!

With that, here are ten ideas: Read more