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Guest Post: What does your retail pricing say about you?

Shawnby Shawn Phillips

As a self-professed retail geek, I’m always noticing prices and deals that retailers offer. More than that, though, I notice what these prices really mean. What are you saying to a customer when you set the price of a product? It’s a good question, because you end up saying a lot.

Price is, of course, one of the central touchpoints of retail. But it’s a lot more complex than it seems. The customer wants to feel good about the amount they paid for their purchase, and while this can mean that they feel like they got a great deal, it can also mean that they feel like they paid a fair price for a premium product. If your customer feels like a high-quality product is priced too low, they might start to doubt the quality. Read more

Aiming for the Hearts of their Customers: Interviews with CX Professionals

Aiming for the Hearts of their CustomersOver the course of this blog I’ve interviewed a number of Customer Experience executives, working every day to improve their experience to increase loyalty. Customer Experience is still an emerging field, and these interviews gave me a great chance to hear others’ perspectives on the field, what it’s doing right, and where we can improve in understanding the customer and acting upon those insights.

I’ve gathered these interviews into a PDF for easy reading, which is attached to this post for you to download and enjoy:

Aiming for the Hearts of their Customers

“Customer experience is all about culture change”: An interview with Mark Smith

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

Boardroom

Not ready for customer experience governance? Then you’re not ready for CX

BoardroomAs a passionate customer experience (CX) advocate, I frequently get to meet with companies just beginning their customer experience journey. I can consistently predict their future success when the conversation moves to governance.

Governance is the active involvement of senior leadership to guide the program and knock down barriers on the way to an improved customer experience. We all love the idea of a bottom-up approach, but it’s pretty much impossible to sustain change without customer experience governance.

An Effective Customer Experience Program Changes How Decisions are Made.

If you don’t change the decision-making, you really aren’t changing the customer experience. And the most important decisions happen above your pay grade. That’s why you need customer experience governance. Read more

What do you do when your CEO doesn’t believe in CX?

CEOLast year I interviewed a customer experience leader for my blog. During the interview this person had a basic assumption that the CEO was completely bought into the CX program. So I finally stopped and asked, “What do you do when your CEO isn’t on board? How do you get him or her to believe in the business case?” This question caught my interviewee by surprise, as they obviously hadn’t spent any time thinking about this question. After a few seconds, the response was, “Well, then you quit, and go somewhere else where the CEO is on board.”

Of course, this isn’t an option for all CX aspiring and current leaders. We’re dealing with senior leadership at various levels of support and engagement. So I asked some of my CX practitioner friends what they would do. Most were unwilling to go on record, but two did respond with materials I could share. Read more

The most impactful data visualization tool is a story

What'sthestoryMany of us customer experience people are data heads. Former researchers, marketers or operations people, we use data to learn what customers want. Dashboards are one of our frequent tools, and I frequently get asked about them.

Dashboards are definitely important. A visual report on the current state of your customer experience can help drive action.

But dashboard can’t make people care. Read more

Three steps to start your customer experience program

I love getting together with my fellow customer advocates. Change-makers who want to make both their company and the entire world more customer-centric. I really enjoy sharing a cup of coffee with my fellow CX advocates, and do it at every chance I get.

A popular topic is how to start a customer experience program company, as many are stranded evangelists and are unsure how to make a change. I tell them that a successful customer experience program relies on three pillars: a leader, a team and a vision. I’ve never seen a successful program without all three.

Photo by Tom Hamster, courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo by Tom Hamster, courtesy of Creative Commons

Let’s start with the leader.

That should be you. But first you need a sponsor to give you this role, ideally the CEO. Getting the attention and the support of your CEO is typically the hardest step. To do this you need to build a case for a focus on customer experience, and you need to prove why you’re the best person for this role. I have met dozens of potential customer experience leaders who are unable to start because they have not effectively made the case. 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

Real-World Stories of Creating Customer Intelligence

Heart of the Customer's Customer Experience ModelHow do Temkin Customer Experience finalists Bombadier Aircrafts, Citrix, Fidelity, Oracle and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan create the Customer Intelligence that feeds their customer experience programs?

The first stage of creating a world-class customer experience is Customer Intelligence – a 360 degree view that brings your customers to life for employees from front-line staff to executives.

I outlined some ways to build Customer Intelligence in this post. I recently ran across a gold mine of examples, courtesy of the Temkin Group. On Customer Experience Day they offered for free the submissions of their 11 finalists for their 2012 Customer Experience Excellence Award. Read more