Stop trying to fix the Customer Experience!!

What significantly differentiates the top dogs in terms of business results? How can Amazon, Zara, Zappos and Emirates consistently outperform their competitors? 

Connecting better

You and I as consumers connect better with those companies who have a focus on delivering Successful Customer Outcomes, however, that doesn’t immediately come about through wishful thinking, re-engineering processes or investing in the latest bright shiny technologies. No, these successful organizations have a different strategy…. And that strategy understands a fundamental truth across every part of the enterprise. Without the employee ‘getting it’ you waste your time banging the drum about improving the Customer Experience and at best you will achieve a Hawthorne effect[1], where results are fleetingly better then reverting back to sometimes even worse than before.

And so, enter stage left the Employee Experience.

Great, got it! We invest in employee’s emotional well-being and we can then deliver great CX. Wrong again. Emotions are an effect created by the circumstances the employee finds themselves in. Imagine a draconian boss, poor lighting and awful colleagues.

Not too much of a surprise that employees will then have low morale, high absence rates, and short tenures before finding something better. Making them feel better by changing the boss, improving work conditions and encouraging teaminess may produce a short-term fleeting benefit however we are soon back to square one. Why is this?

Elegant simplicity

Amazingly the answer to this catch 22 has been there all along. It is so obvious calling it common sense way understates its importance. The elegant simplicity confuses those who believe we should just improve what we already do, or invest heavily in digital, or run team building motivational workshops.

And this isn’t a secret sauce – three simple steps will get you there…

  1. Understand what success looks like for the customer
  2. Create measures of those Needs and Expectations
  3. Align and Reward employees to deliver those Needs and Expectations – without exception

And as if by magic, morale improves, employees become adept at dealing with any situation (without the need to go ‘upstairs’), customers are delighted and results, measured through costs, service and revenue dramatically improve. Sure, you can go measure the emotional employee impact (we are all happier!) but also remember that is a consequence of doing the right things first. And if you have to measure the employee emotions to tell you things aren’t working you are not understanding your customers well enough.

>> Watch Richard Branson, CEO Virgin Group discuss this topic here.

>> Watch Zappos and Disney SVP’s discuss Employee Experience with James Dodkins. Also, access his new book “Put your customers second” – he is offering three free chapters!

>> Join us at an upcoming training to understand and make your own the approaches that work immediately.

 

[1] The Hawthorne Effect: Wikipedia

The Accredited Customer Experience Master (ACXM ™)

Coming soon to a city near you 🙂
>> UPDATE: Just added DENVER ACXM in September <<
Johannesburg | Orlando Dubai  | Dubai  | Sydney  | New York  Denver | Washington DC |  Washington DC Champs London

Upgrading your skills and delivery for 2018 will determine your success.
Advance beyond functional industrial age thinking to Outside-In customer-centric practices. Tried and tested this program is a direct descendant of the CPP program with now over 90,000 qualified individuals across 116 countries.

So if understanding and applying the techniques and methods deployed in Apple, Amazon, Zappos, Zara, Emirates and BMW compels you to adopt the ‘next practice’ approaches come and join us in a city near you through 2018:

Johannesburg ACXM

Orlando ACXM

13-15 March 2018

26-29 March 2018

Dubai Masters ACXM 8-11 April 2018
Dubai UAE ACX Champion 15-17 April 2018
Sydney ACXM 28-31 May 2018
New York ACXM 10-13 Sep 2018
Denver ACXM

Washington DC ACXM

17-20 Sep 2018

9-12 Oct 2-18

Washington DC ACX Champs 15-17 Oct 2018
London ACXM 10-13 Dec 2018

Here’s someone who enjoyed the session:

The BPGroup Accredited Customer Experience Masters® (ACXM) Program takes BPM & CEM Training to an entirely new level.

Become an Accredited Customer Experience Master (ACX Master®) through learning and experiencing the most practical, successful and proven toolkit for customer-centric change

For 2018…

> New Case Studies > 60+ takeaway techniques > 90+ help videos > Fully revised CEMMethod (version 11) > CX Rating (4E’s) integration > All material provided > Dedicated Professional User Group > Ongoing webinars

The Accredited Customer Experience Professional/Master difference

This premier series is designed for those seeking advanced professional skills in customer experience and process management, CX improvement, CX alignment, customer centricity, and innovation.
These are the Outside-In Customer Experience Management, BPM Methods, and Techniques that Deliver!

  • Uncover CX/Process Improvement opportunities in just hours
  • Identify Actions that will improve customer experience and associated processes by 15% to 40% within 20 days of deployment
  • Integrate and Evolve methods such as BPM, Lean, Six Sigma and Operational Excellence to Outside-In thinking and practice
  • Delight your Customers (making them your greatest advocates) through Successful Customer Outcomes and Customer Experience Management
  • Innovate to compete, set the market trend and even dominate your industry
  • Advance Net Promoter Score and Customer Satisfaction to the next level
  • Release significant costs, improve revenues and enhance service (win the Triple Crown) immediately

See more information here, or book directly to a city of your choice:
Johannesburg | Orlando Dubai  | Dubai  | Sydney  | New York  Denver | Washington DC |  Washington DC Champs London

 

Hopefully, we will see you soon!

What do you mean when you say ‘Outside-In’?

Outside-In is a regular theme during most of my keynotes, not least this last week here in Florida. A question asked from the floor related to the 30-second elevator test “can you explain to the CEO what this stuff is, why it is different, and how it reframes the work we do?”. I guess I was about to fudge and say this needs more than 30 seconds, and then remembered my two-slide explanation!
So, for those guys looking for a simple explanation, these two slides will do the job. I have put a bit of narrative in there also.

120+ in Florida at the keynote, 16 January 2018

Steve Towers Florida keynote
Florida keynote to top team of major global industrial corporation

The old, industrial-age traditional way of doing business.
We make products (and services). We look for the market to sell them in. We segment customers by circumstance and pitch our products to those segments. We add variations to the products to better fit certain niche segments. We build back-end systems and digital capabilities in this increasingly complex world. We are rigid, functionally oriented and abhor change.

Old Industrial Age thinking model

 

The new Outside-In customer-centric way.
We identify the customers we would like to do business with. We understand their needs (even when they may not know them themselves) and specific Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO’s).
We categorise customers by need. We then create the capability to deliver to these categories the SCO’s (both products, people and digital). Progressively we manage new and existing customer expectations to deliver success without exception. We are agile, innovative and attuned to 21st century needs.
21st century Outside-In business model

Let me know if this works for you.

Ciao, Steve

For the curious, the original slides came from a deck presented as a keynote in Sydney, Australia 3 years ago.
You can access that here:  http://bit.ly/SydneyPEX

Get the inside track with Customer Experience thinking and practice

The once favorite topic for improving business performance was Lean Six Sigma, however, the last two years have seen the ascendancy of Customer Experience (CX) as a focus for top teams. ‘Google trends’ is a good barometer of emerging interests and this graph demonstrates increasing interest in CX (blue) compared with LSS (red). 


Curiously the largest interest in industrial age improvement techniques like Lean and Six Sigma is in non-English speaking countries, whereas Customer Experience is strongly represented in North America, UK, Australia and South Africa.


For those using the search term ‘Customer Experience,’ the associated topic list provides additional insight into searchers interests. The % trend reflects the growth year on year with ‘Omnichannel’ and ‘Digital data’ seeing explosive growth.

By way of additional information, a search with Epictions focused on Articles produces these top three pieces in the last three months on the theme of ‘Customer Experience – Omnichannel’.

1.  The Future of Car Sales Is Omnichannel (Bain & Co)

http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/the-future-of-car-sales-is-omnichannel.aspx

2.    Your Omnichannel Reading Challenge (Genesys)

http://blog.genesys.com/your-omnichannel-summer-reading-challenge

3.  Omnichannel Study: Now’s Your Chance to Get Ahead of the Competition for the Holidays (Marketingprofs)

https://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2017/33005/omnichannel-study-nows-your-chance-to-get-ahead-of-the-competition-for-the-holidays

The ‘Reading Challenge’ provides an opportunity to dig deeper with some surprising reads available related to employee engagement and the very latest customer trends.

In the BP Group, we have codified the very best practices of CX leaders in and around Customer Experience into the CEMMethod™.

If you would like to find out more about how to access this learning please visit us at www.bpgroup.org or drop by at www.stevetowers.com

Data and information shared with thanks to Google and Epictions.

The Shocking Truth about Customer Experience


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:

  1. Top Team are listening and decide they need to get with this customer centricity/Outside-In/working backwards thinking.
  2. Senior Management makes noises that the customer is THE thing the business must focus on.
  3. The Executive engage the marketing and sales guys to get with it and start pushing the message.
  4. 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’.
  5. Fundamentally functional heads carry on working with the out of date reward system that promotes sub-optimal industrial age thinking and practice.
  6. The Executive see the usual inertia, results not coming through, apathy and indifference and decide their business isn’t really an Amazon.
  7. Top Team then reverts to just getting better at what we are doing, then when someone in ‘our industry’ proves it we will follow.
  8. 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.
  9. The businesses failure is noted by customers who move to those who do understand and deliver Customer Experience success.
  10. 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:

  1. Understand how big the gap is between what you are doing and what Successful Customer Outcomes you need to be delivering.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Want more guidance and tips like this?


☑ More Articles like this one
– visit my CX Obsession resources

 ☑ Upskilling and mentoringEvery level from the boardroom to the lunch room – BP Group

☑ In person and virtual trainingThe ACXM™ program

 ☑ Executive briefings and keynotesHow to get your hands on me and other CXperts (see what I did there?)

Connecting with Customer Experience

Neat utility that can help with trending Customer Experience topics 🙂 #cx

hashtags data by hashtagify.me

The Ten commandments of Customer Experience

It is good to have a guide in life. Many of us share political creeds, religious beliefs and codes of honour to guide our decision making. Wouldn’t it be crazy good to have the same for the doctrine of Customer Experience? When I co-authored the best selling book “CEM Success without Exception” back in 2006 Customer Experience Management was in its infancy. 

Now twelve years later we have the accumulated wisdom of the giants of CEM, proof that focus on Successful Customer Outcomes, Outside-In and working backwards are fundamental to winning organizations.

It is with these thoughts in mind and the worthy experience of many that I set pen to paper to craft these tenets as guidelines for all of us seeking to maximise our deployment of Complete Experience Management.

1. Customers are first, center and last for everything.

Understanding that all the work an organization undertakes ultimately stems from a customer interaction is key. Work to engineer every experience to the optimum.

2. Listen to the questions customers ask you.

Resist voice of customer surveys (they are biased and unrepresentative) and focus on understanding and articulating needs – the Needs of the Customer.

3. Stop selling and let people buy.

Customers are now prosumers and most know what they want and how to get it. You will not win them if you force sell; in fact, you will make enemies of them.

4. Map the Complete Experience.

This is both the stuff the customer sees (the customer journey and the brand promise) and the work that takes place across the rest of the organization to support all interactions. Combine those the Employee Experience and the Customer Experience you are nearing the Complete Experience; these are not separate things but should be viewed through the same lens.

The CEMMethod.com can help you in seeing the Complete Experience. 


See also 6 step ‘Duck Theory’ videos: http://bit.ly/DuckTheoryJames

5. Create your brand and be the brand you create.

Customers develop trust when you say what’ll you do, and then do what you say. Conversely, do not project yourself as something you are not.

6. Be consistent and truthful across all your channels.

Customers will interact in ways and times that suit them, so ensure you keep a coherent message across all experiences.

7. Act on People liking people.

Do not hide behind automation, whether that is voice systems, web interactions or even text messaging. The most intimate relationships are formed with people, not computers.
Keep in front of the song.

8. Creating memorable experiences requires anticipation and coordination.

Fix problems before they happen, and when problems do arise (they will) pull out the stops to put things right.

9. Design every customer experience for the category of customer.

You should never ever treat all customers in the same way. Personalization and direct communication are proven winners in an era of standardization.

10. Employees are your first customers.

If they ain’t happy your paying customers won’t be either. Treat your people well and let them know they are the most critical part of the brand and the total customer experience.
 
Join us for Complete Experience Management with coaching, training, consultancy and Certification at www.bpgroup.org 
 
Join us to learn the Secrets of Apples, Googles, Zara, Zappos and Emirates success

ACX and CPP Masters Program

An internationally recognized program with proven track record delivered by been there and done it coaches more than 270 times, in 67 cities with delegates from 116 countries.

The program, now in its twelfth year, utilizes the BP Groups approaches and framework to help you and your organization win the triple crown – simultaneously reduce costs, grow revenues and enhance service.
Producing Immediate and sustainable business results across any industry and sector.

 
Become a qualified ACX or CPP-Master and demonstrate your professionalism http://www.bpgroup.org/training.html

Mastering digital marketing – McKinsey’s David Edelman shares his thoughts

McKinsey are pushing out their interpretation of Outside-In.

Pretty much on point there is still however a legacy thought or two in there; on the other hand we know the senior executive team listen to these guys so get ahead of the game with this 10 minute video.

1. Breakpoints – those insidious internal handoffs

insidious – Proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects:

Yup that is Breakpoints.


Most process improvement techniques focus on only a small portion of the improvement potential in every process… the tip of the iceberg if you will. 
How big is the opportunity resting out of our sight, hidden below the waterline of current process improvement practices? 
Recent research shows that as much as 70 to 90 percent of the work people do on a daily basis comes directly from Causes of Work and this work is NOT part of the “job” for which these people were hired! Instead, this is non-value added work that takes away from people’s ability to do their job.
Does this sound familiar? Can you identify places in your work or life where these Causes of Work are distracting you from what you really want to be doing?
Are you required to fill out this form, check up on that order, follow-up on those activities, fix the thing that is broken, find what got lost, or explain why this was done that way? 
Do you get tasked with finding the answer, knowing the rules, going to meetings (because), pushing something through, chasing down what really happened, explaining why you did this or that? The list goes on and on but you shouldn’t need to look very far in any part of your life to find all kinds of examples of non-value add work you are doing every single day!
The Break Points Toolkit explicitly targets these “hidden” wasters of time and money. Causes of Work are the “rest of the iceberg” for process improvement that, when addressed, lead to dramatic process improvement results regardless of what kind of process is involved or what kind of organization the process is in.
Can you envisage reducing the costs of your operations by 20%, 30%, 40% or even more than 50%?