I’m a real sucker for great new tips, techniques, tools, shortcuts, “hacks” and other quick ways of getting better results from our processes and customer experiences.
the truth is that the big wins don’t come from tips or tricks.
come from getting the
fundamentals right. Again and again.
like really understanding your customers (internal and external) so your
products and services are what they need (not just what you think they want).
Fundamentals like having understanding the successful customer outcomes before you ever meet or work with them, so your processes and experiences build credibility and trust quickly.
Fundamentals like follow-up and nurturing your relationships so they are top of the priorities when your customers need to change things.
Fundamentals like being able to “meet” face to face, on the phone, or via a webinar or web page (and by “meet”, I mean help a customer get the best from their experiences and processes, understand their problems, the potential solutions, and decide how to change things to meet ever-changing needs).
Master the fundamentals and the little tips and tricks will improve your results even further.
the fundamentals wrong and all the tips, tricks or clever techniques in the
world won’t hurt.
If you’d like to get my very best training, insights and personal support to
help you align your processes and experiences for all your customers (internal
and external), why not join me for my new ONLINE training program? Click here for more details.
I am proud to officially announce my participation as one of the judges at the “North American Customer Centricity Awards” organised by Arcet Global.
Hosted in Dallas, Texas, this event showcases the best in
customer experience and leadership across North America. Sharing ‘next’
practice, case studies and learning from each other’s success across a wide
range of sectors.
I will be in the room for you every step of the way. Whether you signup for the one or two day option there is a preliminary video and optional signup Zoom meeting. Post-session we schedule an online meet to review progress and answer questions.
How learning by doing with real case studies is central to the Masterclass
With genuine case studies you will apply your own challenges in the session to actually take away not just the HOW but the WHAT you do.
I was deeply honoured by the PEX community at the annual conference in Florida last month and received the Global Community 2018 Award. Needless to say (but I will) this is as much down to you guys and your great transformational work, so I graciously excepted the Award on your behalf. Thank you so much :
The single biggest piece of advice I give to senior executives setting out on the Customer Experience journey is to STOP. Yes seriously, the vast majority of CX efforts are completely misaligned.
CX Efforts Misaligned
Don’t get me wrong the intentions are good. Unfortunately, it goes something like this:
Top Team are listening and decide they need to get with this customer centricity/Outside-In/working backwards thinking.
Senior Management makes noises that the customer is THE thing the business must focus on.
The Executive engage the marketing and sales guys to get with it and start pushing the message.
Functional leaders hear the noise and bluster. They start using the language, whilst thinking this is just more fluff and nonsense. They make the right noises for now but keep their heads down, because they know this will go the same way as so many other ‘strategic initiatives’.
Fundamentally functional heads carry on working with the out of date reward system that promotes sub-optimal industrial age thinking and practice.
The Executive see the usual inertia, results not coming through, apathy and indifference and decide their business isn’t really an Amazon.
Top Team then reverts to just getting better at what we are doing, then when someone in ‘our industry’ proves it we will follow.
Functional leaders breathe a sigh of relief and invest even more in industrial age systems and training. The illusion of doing something, in this case, is actually worse than doing nothing.
The businesses failure is noted by customers who move to those who do understand and deliver Customer Experience success.
The company becomes another footnote in the history books. Talked about at business schools and picked apart because of the failure to get the new Outside-In customer-centric mindset.
Making Customer Experience Successful everywhere all the time
This isn’t rocket science (unless you are NASA of course). Understanding that the structures and ways of working from the industrial age were NEVER designed to be customer-centric. They were established to make things faster by optimizing production lines.
And oh, don’t think because you are not in manufacturing you are OK. It is likely your complete ways of working will be making everything look like production management systems, with talk of leaning out, waste reduction, standardization, efficiency, productivity. Sound familiar?
Understanding this Customer Experience misalignment is fundamental.
I encourage doing three things before re-joining the CX road-march:
Understand how big the gap is between what you are doing and what Successful Customer Outcomes you need to be delivering.
Audit the current key performance indicators.
Are they mostly about outputs?
Usually, the balance will be 80% output metrics (like calls answered, Average Handle Times, Abandoned Rates, Projects completed on time to budget etc.).
Meanwhile, the really important measures that tell you a Successful Customer Outcome is being achieved will only be a small proportion.
What you measure is what you get and no amount of Customer Experience drum banging will work unless those measures of Outcomes become the most important.
Create an awareness of what real CX success is all about.
This isn’t just the stories. It is about the actual things on the ground that need to change. The WHY and the HOW go hand in hand. Often times upskilling a group of key players at all levels to make them Ambassadors for the Customer achieves way more than massive corporate investment in branding and image.
In conclusion, Customer Experience cannot be treated just like another corporate initiative. To achieve success requires a significant shift in mindsets, and when that is achieved the realignment of the Enterprise to Outside-In can really begin.
Stop making dumb things happen faster for less money!
A lot of companies pay lip service to customer-centricity, write contributors Steve Towers and James Dodkins, but not many “walk the talk”. Here are 10 differences between inside-out and outside-in companies.
There is a lot of talk today, more than ever, about customer centricity, client focus, customer experience strategy and Outside-In. Many organizations have adopted aspects of these disciplines and where many have achieved monumental success others have fallen by the wayside. Why is this? The problem is perception.
Countless organizations have said all the right things to make the workforce believe that they are becoming a customer-focused organization and then doing the complete opposite.
The effect of this is rising costs, shrinking revenues and ever lowering customer satisfaction.
The problem with this is that there is now a collective of organizations that have a “customer centricity doesn’t work” mentality. It’s like putting a rain hat in your pocket, going out into a storm, getting wet hair, then swearing the hat is useless. Just having the Outside-In customer centricity ideals is not enough; you have to use them in the right way.
So, how do you know if you work in an Outside-In organization or an Inside-Out organization wearing an Outside-In mask?
Table 1: Inside-Out or Outside-In?
Inside Out – attending to tasks and activities
Outside In – aligning to Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO’s)
Doing things right
Doing the Right things AND doing things right
Pyramidal management knows best
Context and customer defined
Business as a factory (left to right)
Customer Oriented Architectures
Determine customer needs and trends
Customer feedback retrospective
Customer needs designed and delivered
Process Improvement and optimization
Customer Experience innovation
Developing value for the customer
Model and method oriented
Customer journey and experience focus
Top down business architectures
Customer centric frameworks (context sensitive)
Remuneration for tasks completed
Rewards based on delivery of SCO’s
Let’s review the not so subtle differences
#1: Pyramidal management Does your CEO really know the most about your organization? Can your CEO really relate to customers? Let’s face it, your CEO probably hasn’t spoken to a customer in years (if ever) so, why are they best qualified to determine how your organization is run? Maybe they aren’t…
#2: Business managed as a factory (left to right)
What percent of the work within your organization is manufacturing? What if you don’t manufacture anything? Then why does everything within your organization look like a factory?
We can’t meet the future with an industrial age mindset… join the rest of us in the 21st century.
#3: Benchmarking competitors
If you benchmark against other competitors you will, at best, only ever be as good as them, no better, most of the time worse and you will always be one step behind the trend.
Are you still managing a business that you think looks like this?
Rather than focusing on what your competitors are doing, focus on what the real need of the customer is and deliver that, innovate the customer experience, there is no easier way to become a market leader…let your competitors benchmark you.
#4: Retrospective customer feedbackAsking customers “how did we do” is stupid, asking customers “how did we do” 3 weeks after it happened is even more stupid, allowing customer to self-select for a survey to tell you how you did 3 weeks after is happened is even more stupid than that.
If you want to get totally non-representative, inaccurate, and relatively useless data on how some customers may have felt you performed at some point then the traditional methods are fine (NPS, CSi, etc).
To measure a customer experience properly and objectively you need to first know what makes a great customer experience and measure if you are doing those things, we need to get scientific about the customer experience (CXRating). If you are still in the land of subjective, self-selecting, retrospective feedback, chances are you have no idea just how well, or poorly, you are performing…even if you think you do.
#5: Focus only on process improvement and optimizationTaking what you are already doing and making it happen in a shorter time frame, more efficiently or for less operating cost is not good enough any more. If you are doing dumb things all you are doing is making dumb things happen faster for less money.
You should focus on innovating the customer experience. Any work within your organization is caused by a customer interaction somewhere down the line. If you engineer and innovate at the causal level, you will make the customer experience better and eliminate swathes of pointless dumb work that you are wasting time on every single day…simple really isn’t it?
#6: Trying to use DMAIC/SIPOC/DFSS/Lean to optimize the customer experienceIf you are using process improvement methodologies that were created to optimize manufacturing processes to optimize the customer experience then you will find yourself in a mess.
Use a 21st century methodology like the CEMMethod that was designed for this day and age to really turbo charge your customer experience efforts. Have you ever heard the phrase “trying to fit a square peg into a round hole”? Methodologies like Lean and Six Sigma were great at what they were created to do, but they were not created to improve customer experience… and therefore won’t.
#7: Improving efficiencies for internal customers onlyTrying to make things more efficient for yourselves inside your organization – more often than not – will actually make things worse for the customer. Don’t just perpetuate the Inside-Out mindset. You need to make sure that everything you are doing is actually creating value for customers. Don’t focus on internal customers, focus on real customers… they pay your wages.
#8: Model and method orientedDon’t get shackled by the oppression of the models and methods that ‘the man’ has said you should use. You shouldn’t focus on trying to implement a model or method you should be focused on how to make the customer experience better… whatever it takes.
#9: Top down business architecturesDo you work in an environment when the person above you tells you what to do and you tell the people below you what to do? If your whole working life is focused on trying to make your boss happy what aren’t you focusing on? That’s right, the customer.
As soon as we enter a habitat like this we make a habit out of ignoring what’s right for the customer over what is perceived to be right for the organization. I’m not saying you’ll be able to change this overnight, I’m just saying it’s wrong and will eventually lead to your organizations downfall… don’t get left behind.
#10: Remuneration for tasks completedIf you pay people for doing stupid things, they get very good at doing them. Traditionally, you will get paid for completing tasks and activities, filling in forms, processing invoices, taking calls etc.
If everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) was paid for delivering customer success just imagine how different your working environment would be. Empowering workers to be able to do whatever it takes to deliver customer success is the polar opposite of workers having to complete X number of forms in a day… this is maybe the biggest game changer of them all.