Transforming the Customer Experience

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Episode 023 – The Difference Between Customer Success and Customer Experience

Shownotes…

I am going to be delivering a webinar later this week for a partner and our initial conversations were around moving from Customer Success to Customer experience.

It seems that Customer Success has a wide range of definitions, as does Customer Experience. So I thought it was important to differentiate the two and show you how they can work in tandem.

Customer Success, as first described to me, is when the customer is successful in their efforts and outcomes in using the purchased product or service. Boiled down, the customer received what they paid for. The product or service accomplished the promised goal or outcome the way it was promised.

Customer Success (CS). Customer success is defined as when a customer achieves their desired outcome through their interactions with your company.

This is a bare-bones definition.

Customer Experience, in my opinion, and seems to coincide with the vast majority in the CX space, is that the Customer Experience is the umbrella which covers everything and anything about how the customer feels about the way you work with them. It includes your marketing, your front line customer service skills, the processes, the paperwork, the actual purchase and payment, the support after the sale, and ultimately, were the able to do what they wanted to do with your product or service – was your product or service successful in helping them do what they wanted to do.

So therein it seems that Customer Success is really the support on how to use the product or service, troubleshooting, helping resolve issues in the process, guiding them along the way and setting them up for success in how they use it.

There is nothing mentioned about how they FEEL during the process other than if they were successful with their intent.

Following this thread then, Customer Success is more product or service oriented. It is transactionally focused. The focus in on how to get the customer from start to finish. Now, that’s not to say that customer success doesn’t involve training customer service skills, being professional, or anything like that, but is mainly focused on making sure the product or service does what it says it will do. 

It falls into the category of Customer Service, in my option. As I mentioned back in the first episode of this podcast, it is more reactive. It’s responding to specific questions or problems encountered with the actual use or implementation of the product or service. You are focused on the outcome, not the journey.

CX is the way you decide to run your customer success goals

Forrester Research defines customer experience (CX) as how customers perceive their interactions with your company.

CX, is strategic. This is the way the company operates intentionally and considering the way they want the customer to perceived and feel about the organization at large, not just this specific purchase or product.

CX is proactive. CX is intended to incorporate the “Back of House” components – the culture, the core values, the specific hiring and training of the best individuals to represent the company and display the core values and intentional behaviors set by leadership.

Back in episode 1, we spent some time discussing the benefits of having a strong CX program and strategy. This feeds directly into how your customer success team helps your customers achieve their goals. That customer success team is displaying the culture and core values in everything they say and do. 

CX is focused on the customer and employees as people since they are the ones driving the experience with how they represent and use the product.

So, I hope this helps differentiate the two. Bottom line… customer success is contained within the customer experience. it is part of the experience. It needs to feed into and feel similar to the other ways your customers work with other departments during their journey and interactions with your organization.

So please email me your questions about customer success or the CX. I’m curious to know what you think and how your organizations have defined these and how that has or hasn’t made an impact.

Email me at Kristina@KristinaEvey.com with your questions about anything and everything CX related as I use these to help shape relevant podcasts for you.

Also, please be sure to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and Stitcher. This podcast is gaining traction and you can help it even more by giving a rating and review if you feel we’ve earned it.

I truly appreciate you listening and subscribing to this podcast. and I will see YOU next week.

Episode 020 – Get Customer Feedback & Insights with Focus Groups

Shownotes…

  • Listening to customers is the goal
  • Data drives a lot of CX work
  • Conversations give you the reasons BEHIND the data
  • Focus groups are a great way to have conversations
  • General fishing, proposed changes, specific topic focus
  • Feed off the energy and questions from the group
  • Uncover questions, priorities, issues, not on your radar
  • Participants tend to springboard off each other
  • Be strategic about focus groups
  • Suggested Methodology
    1. Be Clear on Purpose Use of Outcomes
    2. Determine appropriate participants – Invite them about 3-4 weeks prior to the event, logistics should be shared on the invite. I like to limit the group to 12-15. More than that and people will hide behind the numbers, somewhat like the Bystander Effect. They figure others will speak for them OR they may feel intimidated.
    3. Establish facilitator
    4. Craft questions to draw out information based on purpose – OPEN-ENDED
      1. “Tell me about…”
      2. “Share what drives these feelings…”
    5. Identify best location for the event – location, size, atmosphere
    6. Conduct the Focus Group – Again share the purpose, ask the questions and facilitate discussion, thank them for attending and sharing their input, explain how data will be used moving forward.
    7. Have someone taking copious notes – recording can be done with permissions, check with your legal counsel or state for general release statement
    8. Debrief with your co-leaders – what worked, what didn’t, what would you do differently, any urgent or immediate things to follow up on
    9. Summarize results and findings, including those in the debrief
    10. Send Thank You to participants along the lines of…

Thanks so very much for taking part in our Focus Group last week. We truly appreciate you taking the time and giving your honest feedback and insight on how we at “ABC Co” can best work with you and support your goals using our services.

We are currently compiling the information you shared with us to review with our Leadership Team. Your feedback and suggestions will be used to shape how we work with all of our customers moving forward.

As we pointed out, you may have thought of other things you would like us to be aware of since we met. Please respond back to this email with any ideas, questions, or suggestions that occur to you based on our conversation. We truly do use your input when designing our experience and systems.

Thank you!

11. Review report and findings with Leadership

12. Plan of action with timeline, assignments, and accountability.

If possible, let participants know how their input helped in specific areas.

Share with all of your customers you held a focus group, what was learned, and how you intend to use the data or what improvements can or have been made

When people see you take their feedback seriously, they’ll be more likely to share with you in any context.

So now you know more about focus groups and I hope you will take the initiative to hold some. It’s a great way to get inside the mind of your customers to help shape the way you work with them and serve them.

Also, please email me your experiences with focus groups and share what worked and what didn’t, and what you would have done differently had you known what you know now.

Lastly, be sure to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher to be sure you get every episode as soon as it is released.

Thanks so much for spending this time with me today. I’ll see YOU on the next episode!

Episode – 019 Tips for Customer Service Week 2018

Tips on How to Celebrate Customer Service Week 2018

Customer Service Week spans October 1 through 5 this year.

Customer Service week is the designated week to celebrate the folks in your company who work with customers and build strong relationships with them. These are the people your customers associate with your brand when solving problems and answering questions.

There are people in your company not working directly face to face with your customers. Their contribution is behind the scenes to support someone who does, so everyone needs to be encouraged and rewarded for their work and efforts.

Here are suggestions to celebrate the work and value your teams bring to your customers, boost morale and teamwork, and raise companywide awareness of the importance of customer service and how it plays into the overall customer experience.

Monday – Kick the week off with everyone in your company signing a pledge to continue the commitment of delivering excellent customer service. Provide coffee and doughnuts, bagels, fresh fruit, etc. to celebrate and as a “Thank You” for the commitment everyone made.

Customer Service Pledge example –

I pledge to deliver the very best of myself to our customers. I will do this by…

  • Understanding the customer is trusting us to help them succeed and with their money.
  • Being positive, proactive, and professional with customers and coworkers.
  • Listening to our customers with an openness and empathy.
  • Resolving all issues as thoroughly and promptly as possible.
  • Keeping customers informed and updated.
  • Expressing thanks and that we value every single customer.
  • Asking for suggestions and feedback to improve the way we work with customers.

You may consider having a theme for the week. Some suggestions are…

  • Show Customers the Love in the Details
  • It’s Easy and Fun to Work With Us
  • Our Customers Are Successful Because We Care Enough to Do Our Best
  • Everything Counts in the Eyes of the Customer

Talk about how the theme applies to your staff and the overall customer experience. As leaders, be sure to genuinely thank your teams and staff for the work they do to be the best representatives for your company.

Tuesday – Make it Personal

Deliver a handwritten thank you note to everyone in your company with two or three sentences expressing thanks and giving a specific example or characteristic you appreciate about that person.

If your company is large, have every manager or supervisor write and distribute the letters of thanks to their teams.

Have everyone in the company write a note of thanks to a peer or coworker expressing sincere thanks and appreciation for the work they do that helps the customer and their team members.

Wednesday – Have Fun and Relieve Stress

Be creative. Hand out stress balls, stress relieving adult coloring books or pages and colored pencils, fidget spinners, back and neck pressure point massagers, print out yoga poses for the workplace (https://www.verywellfit.com/yoga-stretches-at-your- desk-3567200 ), etc.

Play games. Have teams or departments spend a little time just playing and getting to know each other in fun. No cost examples are…

“Two Truths and a Lie” where everyone shares two true things about themselves and one lie. The rest of the team tries to guess the lie and everyone gets to learn a little more about each other.

“Guess Who Owns This” – Everyone writes down a little-known fact about themselves on a slip of paper. All slips are then folded and place in a hat or bowl. Someone picks a slip, reads the written fact, and the group guesses who wrote each one.

Other ideas include organized team challenges, bowling, movie night, scavenger hunt, dinner, etc.

Thursday – Show the Love

Each group or department would be visited by a member of the leadership team for a sincere “Show the Love” talk thanking them for the way that team or group has worked with customers, helped solve a problem, or gone above and beyond in some way for the company or the customer. Be sure to be specific. Generic “rah rah” speeches are rarely effective or appreciated.

Share stories with each other about the wackiest customer request, their favorite customer that they’ve worked with, the nicest thing a customer ever said to them, or a way they knew they really helped a customer out. This is a great time to use humor and learn from everyone.

Friday – Wrap Up

Everyone loves food. If you haven’t had a food-focused day… this would be a great day to do it. Either cater lunch in or plan a potluck. Everyone loves food. Decorate the lunch room with balloons and streamers to celebrate your staff, teams, and the way they dedicate themselves to working in the best interest of the customers and the company.

Remind them of the pledge they signed on Monday and express your sincere thanks and appreciation for their commitment to delivering the best service possible.

The goal of Customer Service Week is to celebrate, recognize, and reward the efforts your team makes.

Take the suggestions and personalize them within your company. You can make this a fun and successful week for everyone involved by being creative.

Episode 011 – Using Empathy to Build HUMAN CX Relationships

Shownotes…

Unless we understand empathy, it’s expression will always seem as “a mask” and not genuine.

Lifeless, automated, and robotic responses kill the Customer Experience.

Empathy drives connection in relationships. Empathy is the art of understanding and acknowledging a customer’s feelings and needs before trying to find a solution that meets them. When we take the time to understand the person and make them feel cared about, they will be more likely to continue to work with your company over time.

Empathy lets you share the feeling of someone’s joy or pain. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone’s pain or situation.

Empathy does not mean you agree with the person’s perspective or feelings. It means that without fixing it, giving advice or making suggestions, that you demonstrate an understanding of the feelings they are expressing.

As Business Leaders, empathy is important in our company as it allows everyone to feel safe in their mistakes and encourages leaders to look for the real cause driving the poor performance. Being empathetic allows leaders to help struggling staff improve and/or correct the behaviors and actions to help them succeed in their role.

CX is all about relationships and communication. Communication needs to be focused on showing the other person they are valued, cared about, and focused on helping them.

The tone you use is crucial in conveying sincere empathy.

Leave your ego and perspective at the door and truly make the effort to see things from the other person’s viewpoint.

Actively listen. Validate their perspective. Check your attitude for the desired outcome.

Phrases that Convey Empathy

I can understand why you are frustrated…

I understand the situation and I’m so sorry you feel this way. This isn’t how we want any of our customers to feel.

I can imagine how upsetting it is to…

I’m so sorry to hear that…

I’m sad you had to contact us about this…

I’m glad you called so we have the chance to help you with this…

Empathy IS teachable. Everyone is born with Empathy and make the effort to develop it further.

Relate to a similar situation or experience that generates the same emotions or feelings – a missed plane, last-minute cancellation of plans, lost keys or wallet, etc.

It all relates back to Theodore Roosevelt’s famous quote – “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.

Episode 010 – The Last Impression of CX Counts More Than You Realize

Episode 010 – The Last Impression of CX Counts More Than You Realize – Shownotes…

 

You never get a second chance to make a first impression

The last impression needs as much focus as every other point in the customer journey.

The last impression of their last interaction stays with them until the next time they contact you or someone from your company works with them. You want it to be a good impression for them to continue doing business with you.

Take charge and take the time to define how you want your customers to think of you. Your customers will form their own impression, but you can increase the odds of having it match the impression you desire if you are deliberate and committed to the CX process.

Select a Three Word Lasting Impression

The end goal is to define your desired lasting impression in three words or phrases. 

If I were to call the last customer you worked with, pick three words you hope they would use at least one to describe they feel your company worked with them.

Knowledgeable, friendly, professional, fast, genuine, amazing, caring, sincere, helpful, resourceful, proactive, etc. are great examples to start with as you add your own to consider.

Build these into your DNA… does your culture support these descriptives?

Do you empower your staff to display these traits and qualities?

There’s not much that tops the feeling of relief that you are taking care of your customers… both from your perspective and theirs.

ex… they call with what they think is a big hairy scary problem… you want the ending of that conversation or issue resolution to be one of relief. That encourages them to trust you more, engage with you more., to continue to buy from and refer to you…

It’s a wonderful thing…

Your action step – – At your next leadership meeting, open with the question… what impression do we want to leave our customers every time they call or work with us?

Then guide them to narrow it down to three words. be sure your CX efforts enable and support these. If not, make adjustments in one or both and course correct.

Episode 007 – CX Depends on Hiring Right

Hiring Right – Episode Number 007 Shownotes…

So much of this work is dependent on hiring the right people to execute the desired customer experience. If you have people that aren’t concerned about customer service and making the customer happy enough with their experience doing business with you, then you have a little additional work to do.

As you have found, since you are in the C-Suite or on the leadership team of your company, you know how important it is to have the right people in the key roles of your business. It doesn’t matter if you are a large company or very small business, if you have the wrong people in place to run your business, things will malfunction.

If you can’t rally the troops, you have the wrong troops. You can’t be making decisions that you don’t feel confident your teams will be executed well.

You need to hire the right people. Front facing, behind the scenes, everyone.

If they don’t work face to face with a customer, they are working to support someone who does.All of these dots need to be connected.

You have got to be decisive and strategic about who and how you hire. This is key.

How well do they feel welcomed into your company? Do they feel like you’ve planned to have them there? Do they feel like folks are ready to welcome them in, show the basics of the layout, introduce them to other staff? Do they feel valued as a person and for the work they have been hired to do? Do they feel engaged? Are they listened to? Do they feel they serve a purpose in a bigger picture of company success?

When you have the right people in place, knowing what their responsibilities are in the customer experience and how they individually impact the outcome, are dedicated to doing their best, they put in the time and effort, the benefits are seen by the customer the company earns their loyalty.

On a side note… if you are looking for a good book on leadership and teamwork, there is a book called Boys in the Boat and it’s about the 1936 American Olympic crew team. It’s seriously a fabulous true story about a few of the boys on the team and their struggles individually and as a team on how they actually made it to and won the 1936 Olympics in Germany. I was literally holding my breath in the last part of the book. But there are many lessons on leadership and the importance of timing of skills and knowledge that are relevant in business today.

It’s also important to remember that when we consider employee churn we need to remember that it is becoming more widely recognized that employees don’t leave their jobs, they typically leave their managers. Think about it… their next job is likely to be very similar to the job they had with you. So why did they leave? Studies suggest that it’s because they weren’t getting what they needed from their managers and leaders. So, they move on.

Hiring the right people and providing everything they need to succeed in training and value when you do this, you are completely on the right track to delivering a customer experience the right market will want to repeat over and over again with you.

For now, understand that when you focus on getting the right people in place, it will start to systematize the consistency of your customer experience. Knowing that you can count on the people you have in place to help navigate through the initial set up stages of the customer experience work will make it much more likely to succeed. I want you to feel that when you have a solid plan from which to work, you’ll have the right people in place that if it has any chance of succeeding, it was worth it. If the plan doesn’t work, you’ll have the solid confidence of knowing it was the plan, not the people, that wasn’t right.

Action steps –

Identify the characteristics and type of people that make good employees.

Look at your current employees that you would be truly heartbroken if they were to leave. Ask yourselves, what is it about them and the way they add value to your business, their positions, and the customer experience that makes them stand out?

During the hiring and interview process, you also need to be sure you hire to fit your culture and those that also hold true to your core values, understand them and embrace them.

Episode 005 – CX From the Customer Perspective

Shownotes

  • Customer Perspective is really the only thing that matters in any Customer Experience work.
  • I know that you are doing what you think is best for your business and your customer. I know that most of you, simply because you are listening to this podcast, are looking to create solid experiences for your customers that will bring them back to you time and time again.
  • But what if your customers don’t think the same way you do? What if you think the billing process you currently have is fine, but it’s driving your customers nuts? What if they think your invoicing or billing practices are inconvenient or confusing?
  • That’s the rub. Many companies feel what they have in place is just fine. And, in all likelihood, it probably does the job. But just consider this… your customers aren’t comparing you to your competitors. They are comparing you to wherever it is that they do business where they feel important, valued, and listened to. So if they make a suggestion to you, or even complain, about your billing practices and you don’t at least seriously consider it, you have a problem on your hands.
  • Because who drives your business? Yes, you are leadership… but your customers are giving you their money that helps you stay in business. If they leave, you won’t have a business to run.
  • Now I’m not suggesting that you will go out of business simply because your invoicing is confusing, but if you aren’t taking suggestions or feedback in one area of your business seriously, you likely aren’t taking it seriously in other areas as well.
  • Remember back in episode 1 we covered what CX is… I spent some time talking about how it is customer driven… it’s an OUTside IN approach… meaning you find out what is important to your customers, you find out what they prefer, and you make things happen as much as possible as you can according to their preferences, I promise you, they will stay loyal to you.
  • You are basically telling them… hey, we value you… thanks for your business… Let us know what you like and we’ll try to do it.
  • Because every single human alive has their own opinion and perspective. And everyone’s perspective and belief is their reality. Remember I warned you there’d be a lot of psychology lessons along the way here. Our perspective is what drives our beliefs, decisions, and actions.
  • So in business, the customer’s perspective is their reality. If they believe that your billing practices are confusing, then pay attention to that. Because if you want to keep them as your customer, you need to address it.
  • Now, there is a possibility you don’t need to change a single thing. Maybe what you have is a very clear and logical billing system, but it’s confusing to your customers because they don’t understand it.
  • That’s why you need to ask your customers for their perspective along the way.

Episode 004 – It’s All About the Money

Episode 4 – It’s All About the Money

Shownotes:

  • Money and profits – not bad words
  • CX is now recognized as the tipping point
    • in 2014, 89% of companies planned to use CX as their primary competition platform by 2016. It’s 2018 now… that means that 89% of companies are aware of CX, what it is, and are trying to use it as the tipping point to gain customers. If you are new to this concept… you are in the right place, and not a moment too soon.
    • in 2014, $3.7 Billion dollars were spent on CX programs. In 2019, it’s expected to nearly triple to $8.3 according to Markets and Markets 2015 report.
    • Back in 2015, customer relationships were ranked =THIRD of top challenges for CEOs, stated by AMA in 2016.
    • 80% of businesses believe they provide “superior” customer service. But only 8% of their customers would describe the service they’ve received in such glowing terms. When customers aren’t happy, there’s often significant damage done. In fact, U.S. businesses collectively lose an estimated $83 billion a year due to shoddy customer service. This comes from The Customer Experience Index released by Forrester in 2012.
    • So knowing all of that, how have things changed? Not much, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the Temkin Group, American Marketing Association and MaritzCX, most companies still struggle with making any real improvements.
    • Why? In the research I do and the work I do with clients, my observations are there are high expectations with no real plan or accountability.
    • You can’t wish for results. You have to DECIDE. You have to DECIDE if you are only Interested or truly Committed. So if there hasn’t been much improvement in the past 5-10 years, why is everyone all up in arms about it? Because the key is that MOST companies haven’t noticed a difference. SOME truly have and that is where the magic happens.
    • Once you commit and quitting and failure are not options, you almost have no choice but to see improvements.
    • Lifetime Value of a customer is the first important number you should know. If you don’t, it’s fairly simple to calculate
  • For our purposes here… this is extremely simplistic and should not be used as any final number for accounting purposes, but its a good place to start.
  • Start with your sales in the last 12 months or fiscal year. Divide that number by the total number of customers, not repeat sales, but the number of unique customers of your company, and that is your average spend.
  • Remember, we are not going to complicate this yet and break things down by tiers or levels of spending, right now we want the average spend per year.
  • Now… how many years is it reasonable to hope or expect that a happy customer would likely do business with you?
  • That is the extremely simplistic calculation of your average lifetime customer value.
  • Two examples… If you run a grocery store, you make think that a customer is worth about $100 to you as you see them walk through the front door. But people need to eat, and they need to eat daily, that means they’ll need more food. So, to keep it simple, let’s assume they come back every week and spend another $100 in your store. Over a year, they spend about $5,000 in your store. That’s not something to just throw away, but you also wouldn’t have to close up shop if that person moved out of town. 
  • Let’s assume they stay in your neighborhood for 20 years… do the math… $5,000 times 20 years becomes $100,000 spent in your store. I don’t know of any company that wouldn’t be concerned about losing $100,000 if the customer felt that another grocery store a few blocks away had better parking, better lighting, longer hours, kept the floors clean, always had the most popular food items in stock, and made sure that all of the carts had wheels that rolled the same direction.
  • Did you notice something about those small items I just mentioned? Not one of those had anything to do with customer service! We didn’t talk about friendly staff, people who would walk you to the product you needed rather than just wave in a general direction or suggest an aisle number. That’s because as we talked about in episode number 1, the CX is EVERYTHING, not just customer service skills.
  • Now, for a contract example… one of my clients is in a contract business model. Their average customer spends $12,000 annually with them for a contract term of 5 years. That’s $60,000 per contract. They have typically experienced an average of 3 contract renewals per customer, so that brings the lifetime value of each customer to $180,000. Now, they have some that are worth many times that amount, and some that are worth significantly less.
  • Don’t consider your customers as mere dollars walking through your doors. THEY ARE PEOPLE. As Marilyn Suttle states, “People do business with people, not with companies.”
  • So CX considers everything about your business from the customer perspective as people. what are their irritations? If the irritations persist, they’ll leave. you might not think that a gas station that can’t seem to understand that they need fluid in the bins that the windshield squeegee are left in need to be filled would be that big of a deal or that customers would leave over that. But they do. I’m married to one of them. It annoys him to the extent that he will drive a few blocks out of the way and maybe spend just a bit more to have the squeegee be wet enough to do the job it was designed to do. And he’s not an uptight guy, really! But that is a very simple example of something in the experience impacting the buying decision of the customer.
  • And that brings me to my next point… Now that you hopefully have a general idea of what your average lifetime value of your customers is, now we can see what it will do to your bottom line if you focus, or don’t care about, the CX.
  • transactional businesses are focused on return frequency and spend per visit.
  • Contract, or subscription, businesses are concerned about retention, cross-sell and up-sell.
  • Medallia found that in transaction-based businesses, the customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience.
  • They also found that contract based customers, they used a gym as an example, who had poor experiences only had a 43% chance of renewing their contract a year later. Conversely, gym goers who rated their experience one of the top two options had a 74% likelihood of renewing.
  • So use the numbers in these studies and consider your average lifetime value of your customers and see the impact that makes.
  • It’s also important to share this Lifetime Value with every single one of your staff. It’s important that they understand that how they work with, engage with and serve your customers has to be good enough and deserving to earn that amount from your customer. When I deliver presentations and state it like that, I can tell it makes a difference with people. You’ve got to be good enough, actually MORE than good enough to earn that money from your customers. Because if you aren’t and you irritate someone on the wrong day, or a minor irritation festers, your customers will leave.
  • The reasoning that some companies state for not focusing on or investing in CX is that it costs too much money. However, executives in companies that are seeing CX  improvements state the opposite. They claim delivering great experiences actually costs them less to serve customers well than before the focus began. Example, when a customer is unhappy or upset, they are more likely to require much more support and/or return the product. Sooo…. the natural thing to do would be to fix the true issue and since returns would now be down, you are reducing the cost it costs you to take care of your customers… less product to toss or return to the supplier and NO staff time in resolving the issue in the first place.
  • Now we’ve all heard stories of staff going above and beyond to delight customers. That is part of the argument for CX focus costing too much money… but let’s be realistic, that’s not realistic to expect to deliver day in and day out.
  • As Shep Hyken says… Amazing CX doesn’t have to be over the top… it just has to be better than average… consistently.
  • Basically, customers are literally VERY SATISFIED when they get what they expected and feel they were treated fairly. If you can be nice and human on top of that, you have a customer for life.
  • Another thing to consider, John Goodman states that price sensitivity doubles when a customer experiences problems and doubles again when those problems happen again or multiply. That’s why companies that provide consistently positive customer experiences can maintain higher margins. Any of you familiar with Nordstrom, Apple, or the Ritz Carlton brands?
  • So that brings us to the companies that HAVE seen improvements.
  • And one thing I want to make clear, this is not about improving survey scores or rankings. Those can be easily swayed and influences and often have other consequential negative effects. We are truly talking about the entire experience, by focusing on what is important to your customers.
  • Now, of the 28% of companies surveyed by MaritzCX who consistently apply CX practices, 66% of those report successful impacts in their businesses.
  • Companies that have proactive identification of customer needs have double the business success than those companies doing merely basic customer recovery.
  • And while only 1 in 5 companies report optimizing employee rewards based on CX performance, 69% state that their CX efforts are driving business outcomes.
  • Bottom Line… Be so good at the CX that your prices become irrelevant.

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Episode 003 – Integrating Your Core Values Into the Customer Experience

Shownotes…

Core Values Build the Company Culture into the Customer Experience

  • Core values serve as the guiding light for how everyone in your company interacts, communicates and works with each other, external customers, and the community.
  • Core values should be unique to your company.
  • Core values provide the framework to help guide many business decisions.
  • Use phrases or sentences as core values to convey the meaning.
  • Core values MUST be exemplified at the leadership level.
  • Core values should be evident in practice.
  • Core values help with recruiting and hiring decisions.
  • Core values should serve as foundation and guidance, not limitations.
  • Core values should be a focus during all performance reviews.
  • Core values should be reviewed with relevant stories regularly.
  • Display the Core Values throughout the Customer Experience.
  • Consistency. Consistency. Consistency.

Episode 002 – The Impact of Your Corporate Culture on the Customer Experience

Shownotes

In this episode, we talk about the CULTURE of your company and how it impacts and drives the CX.

The Culture definition describes the environment created to achieve that mission and vision. 

This will be something that your staff will FEEL… not have to be shown a mission statement. 

Understand that your staff will have to FEEL, EXPERIENCE, and BELIEVE this culture for them to accurately execute the desired experience to your customers.

  • culture definition. The sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguishes one group of people from another.

Corporate culture refers to the shared values, attitudes, standards, and beliefs that characterize members of an organization and define its nature. Corporate culture is rooted in an organization’s goals, strategies, structure, and approaches to labor, customers, investors, and the greater community.

Culture is based on shared attitudes, beliefs, customs, and written and unwritten rules that have been developed over time and are considered valid (The Business Dictionary).

Needle (2004), stated that organizational culture represents the collective values, beliefs and principles of organizational members. Culture includes the organization’s vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs, and habits

Deal and Kennedy succinctly define organizational culture as “the way things are done around here” (Deal & Kennedy, 2000)

Every company has a culture whether purposely defined or not. The key is to be in the driver’s seat of defining your culture and being deliberate about shaping it before you are trying to reign in an undesirable culture that has taken hold.

Should you find yourself in the latter position… take heart, all is not lost. It is very doable, provided you make the commitment and persevere through the process.

When beginning the discussion of defining the DESIRED culture of your organization, this is the time to consider….

What would you like it look like to work IN your company and WITH your company? How is the engagement between leaders and staff, staff and customers?

What would you like the environment to be like? Relaxed and casual, or professional and formal? Is it an open working environment or one that uses high walled cubicles?

How would you welcome people in – both as staff and clients? Your culture will be apparent the moment you greet your first candidate or client. The friendliness factor, the thoroughness and follow up displayed exemplifies the culture of your company. Are you a company to be taken seriously, or are you one that looks great on paper, but in practice…. falls short?

Is there clarity around the purpose of your company and product or service? There will be a measurable impact on the success of your company when staff truly believes that what they do matters to the success of the company and the overall customer experience.

How much autonomy will you give your staff? Will they be trained and empowered to fulfill their responsibilities within the organization and with clients? Will they be afraid to take risks in making decisions based on the culture you are setting?

Do you desire a more formal and rigid top-down management style or do you want to empower people to act with the entrepreneurial spirit? Questions such as these will feed into the amount of risk your staff is willing to take in making decisions or working to solve issues for your customers and clients.

Take action in defining, redefining, or refining your culture by having purposeful conversations with key leaders around the desired culture of your company. As your discussions progress, the process will benefit by giving staff the opportunity to provide input. Staff will have different perspectives and ideas to be considered when crafting the ultimate outcome.

I stress that Leadership should ultimately have the most input on the desired culture definition. Leaders are guiding the direction of the company and if they are true leaders, they should have the insight and understanding of the best course to travel.

Key Things to Consider…

Setting the culture begins at the top. Regardless of the size of your company, the leaders set the tone and example in the congruency of their attitudes, actions, words, and considerations when working with customers, selecting products, and engaging with staff. Staff will follow the example set by leadership, both good and bad.

Hire people based on competencies AND culture fit. I can’t stress this one enough. My experience shows that 90% of all customer experience and culture work is accomplished simply by hiring the right people that will support and sustain your desired culture. Should you have staff that work against it, or at the very least – don’t support it, this work can be extremely frustrating and ultimately futile. Even just a few people with the wrong attitudes can throw the entire program off course.

Example…You have two people you are considering for the same position. One is competent, yet lacks the years of experience the other does. Yet, the first one actively engaged during the interview when you discussed the culture of your company. You formed the impression they would be very helpful in sustaining the culture you are working hard to execute for staff and clients. The candidate with years of experience didn’t openly say they didn’t like the described culture, but they asked a few times if they could bring in ways of doing things that had worked for them in their past job and if they could work as they needed to on their own as long as the desired outcome was achieved.

Guess which one will be successful in your company? The first candidate. Provided they have the necessary credentials and training, you can train skills and competencies specific to your company. You just can’t train attitudes easily at all. The wrong attitude can dramatically derail your culture work.

Open communication promotes success. Companies with free and open communication are far more successful in establishing an engaging and successful culture. When staff feels free to ask questions and discuss core issues with leadership, they’ll be much more engaged and the culture is strengthened, thus the company “team” is united in working in the best interest of the customer and the company reaps the reward of their continued loyalty.

Consequences of not focusing on Culture?

You can be successful in spite of yourselves, but that is not the norm. Not taking the time to actively shape the culture is indicative of a “non-directional” culture prone to reactionary decisions, inconsistencies in customer experiences, and intermittent “lucky” successes.

Possible Indications of Needing Culture Work…

  • Employee turnover
  • Customer churn
  • Lackluster performance and attitude by employees
  • Disengaged staff
  • Minimum expectations delivered by staff
  • Low attendance at company events
  • Employee -vs- Leadership mindset
  • Declining customer loyalty and satisfaction ratings

Prioritizing the definition and execution of your ideal Culture will certainly pay off in many ways…

  • Morale will increase
  • Staff will willingly engage outside of their own responsibilities and do more than the minimum expectations
  • Everyone will understand and embrace the purpose of the company and actively work to support and promote it
  • Staff will feel empowered and engaged resulting in more thoughtful decisions to benefit both the company and the customers
  • Customers will benefit by doing business with a company where they feel they are part of an organization actively working to help them succeed in their responsibilities and goals
  • The Customer Experience will increase customer loyalty and generate referrals
  • Increased referrals and loyalty promote higher sales, resulting in higher profits, resulting in the successful longevity of the company.

A strong cohesive culture is a beautiful thing…

Organize and operate on your brand – cultivate your cultural priorities – design your organization to cultivate the way your company works together?

How can you reinforce the culture of your company? what does each of those values look like overall in each dept?

Creating culture changing employee experiences. – Look at entire journey – first as potential recruit… through to when they retire. How can you change it so staff experiences the culture you are going after.

Your action step – 

Have the discussion about what your ideal culture looks like. What does it look like? What does it feel like to be in your organization? What does it feel like to be an employee? Is it a relaxed, formal, or business casual atmosphere? Does leadership isolate themselves in closed-door offices, or are they typically working WITH staff out in the open? Is it open communication as in open door or are there distinct channels of communication? Does it feel super structured or loose? Is it fun and engaging?

Is it dictatorial? Is it a democracy? Is it quiet? Is it open spaces or high cubicles giving each staff member privacy?

There is NO right answer. Your culture needs to be true to your leadership team considering the reason why you are in business and the preferred style of your desired customers. Your culture will attract and DEtract for you to a large extent.

Your culture should also be one that fosters the success of your team in alignment with your goals of who you are, what you stand for, and how you enhance the world of your customer.

Something to consider as you are having this conversation is does your culture naturally foster the ideal customer experience you wish to deliver? They are interdependent.

You won’t be able to have a rigid, super structured and siloed, quiet and reserved environment if the experience you want your customers to have includes relaxed conversations, friendly interactions and impressions of your staff, open communication with help and instructions are given freely and immediately.

Sit down as a leadership team and have the discussion. Ask yourselves the following questions…

  1. What seven words or phrases describe the culture you want to have in our company?
  2. How do we as a company want to be known to our customers and staff?

Have everyone list those on their own and distribute.

Discuss, include and eliminate the words and phrases as a cohesive group. Debate, explain, justify, whatever it takes, but everyone must agree on the culture. There can be a degree of prioritizing if desired.

Limit the list of descriptions to 15 if possible. THESE ARE NOT CORE VALUES. This is describing the environment and what it looks like and feels like to be there. Go back to the mindset of describing Disney if that helps. 

You are now forming the structure of the IDEAL culture. You may not be there right now… but because you’ve had the discussion and agreed on it… every decision made from this point on should be considered from this perspective AS IF IT ALREADY IS. That will help your trajectory immensely.

Next – Have the discussion to determine the components necessary to support that culture. these are your core values. 

If you want to have a fun culture, you’ll need to have a degree of casualness built in.

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