I wasn’t always an expert in Customer Experience and Outside-In
In fact, when I became an Industrial Engineer I didn’t have the first clue about how to deliver Successful Customer Outcomes.
I’m going to share a personal story with you about one of my early failures…
It’s a little embarrassing to share, but I think it will inspire you.
It was a quest of five years looking for a standardized Home Loan process and system for a world-leading bank. My team and I visited 30+ countries, reviewed more than 40 IT suppliers, and talked with other top banks and mutual lenders. We sat down with the best business professors, authors and researchers and attended dozens of events on our quest…
And just as in Monty Python and the Holy Grail we returned home empty-handed. You can imagine the investment of time, energy, and budget to realize there isn’t such a thing as an Ideal Home Loan process and system (despite what the big consultancies and IT vendors had told us).
Our senior executive team in the bank was incredulous. In fact, deep down I doubted my own capabilities, I was exhausted and had failed with one of the biggest projects in the bank’s history. Or so I thought…
That is when the truth hit me square between the eyes. We were thinking of our business in the wrong way. My enlightenment was complete when Steve Jobs, in the same year 1997, said the now immortal words “You have got to start with the Customer Experience and work backwards to the Technology, not the other way around”
I had finally got it – we had to think Outside-In, put the customer at the center of everything, and realize using out-of-date business thinking has no place in the 21st century.
Everything changed for me in May 1997. Since then I have worked with the world’s leading companies learning and adopting Outside-In as a way of being. Trust me, if I can do this so can you.
In fact, you even have it better than me. You can bypass all the trouble I went through by simply learning from my mistakes.
4 Minute overview of the content of the 6 sessions over 6 weeks at 3 hours per week
Hi Steve here, as an aside I first ran these sessions in December last year and they were very well received, despite being on a Sunday, so ignore my comment in the first few seconds about Sunday because they are through the week as well.
You will join for 3 hours per week in a live interactive video call and put to work the techniques I review in the video. Immediately usable with colleagues (near or far) you will innovate new approaches to work as we all grapple with our new normals.
Available across the planet in time zone friendly sessions – watch the overview and click the links below to review the detail and register.
See you on the inside! (I mention Sunday training but that is up to you)
The online ACX Masters program gives Customer Experience and Business Transformation leaders the opportunity to go beyond surface-level presentation and get hands-on, practical takeaways to enable their own successful, business-wide transformations.
Attracting 100,000+ global professionals for those handling seismic business change, this Masterclass provides a Fast track look into customer experience management, change, leadership, BPM and CX space, and the challenges that leading industry professionals are overcoming, both on a macro and micro level.
Gain the insights from the 2020 Amazon Number One bestseller, ‘Dare! Behind The Scenes Of The Best Business Transformation Project In The World.’ And how large and small organizations can transform their people, processes and performance rapidly with an inclusive approach that delivers successful business and customer outcomes.
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
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.
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.
Let me know if this works for you.
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
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.
If you are into or responsible for Customer Satisfaction or Customer Experience you must access this rebuttal of (NPS) Net Promoter Score. What do we think at the BP Group? Whatever we do know we have to get more scientific about the Customer Experience.