Innovate or Die…

If you are looking for Innovative leadership then this will inspire you onwards and upwards. Shared by one of South Africa’s most progressive business leaders, Roland Naidoo:

Having just left the football field with my 5 year old son I was finally motivated to write this blog. Why? Trying to teach him to kick the football in the correct way, it dawned on me in that moment I was doing to him what every organised structure is designed to do.

As I caught myself I paused, looked at him and said, “My boy, you figure it out, play, have fun, and find new ways to kick a football.”

  • Be the doctrine of the how and the why.
  • Be the standard of the where and the when.
  • Be the one and only way.
  • Have the right answers!

New Realisation

The dawning of that realisation underpins why innovation is so important to me. Innovation should by definition not be defined Ior it will simply succumb to every other conformity we know. It should live in every one of us.

This is the need to ask ourselves ‘why?’. Why am I doing this in this way? Is there a better way? Is there a different way? Is there even a need for this at all?

A spirit of innovation is not technology or wonderfully bombastic ideas, but the courage to question our education, rules, bonafide truths and all so-called absolutes in between. Know that your bravery will be rewarded with knowledge; am I. Know you were courageous enough to acknowledge you were wrong and move forward.

In the future when you find yourself saying or even thinking thoughts like this is how it’s always been; this is the way we do things; there is no other way; this is impossible; these are the rules; some things can’t be questioned, stop, take a breath, and find a new way to kick a football.

Roland

Footnote (from Steve)

So go find that ball and a new way to score for your team!

You can reach Roland at: Roland.Naidoo@multichoice.co.za

6 Ways to Transform Process and the Customer Experience (at the Same Time)

Steve Towers Keynotes

Where do I start?

I was keynoting a conference in Europe recently, and senior executives in the room were getting the rationale behind moving Outside-In. However, there seemed to be two perplexed groups in the place.

One was what a refer to as the ‘traditional process guys’, and the other ‘the customer is first people’, and interestingly they both asked the same question “Where do we start?”

My honest and most direct answer is “You do not have a choice. You have got to start where you are and go from there!” OK, I get what you’re thinking, how could they take that away and begin to transform their organizations?

So, I walked them through TWO distinctly different ways to navigate to Outside-In working and practice, depending on your mindset, enterprise history and maturity. For the two categories of customer in the room, the NEEDS are the same, just the way they navigate to achieving them is different.

What are the Results?

From a results perspective, both approaches focus on winning the triple crown, that is Improving Service, Growing Revenues and Reducing Complexity (and hence lowering costs).

ApproachProcess EngineeringCustomer First
FocusProcess is the starting pointStarts with Customer Needs
ScopeReengineering the ProcessesAligning everything to Customer Needs
IntentionBuild out from Process to Department to Division to EnterpriseArticulate Successful Customer Outcomes and Remove the complexity of things that do not contribute to it
BenefitsLocal wins building to business-wide transformationImmediate delivery against Triple Crown benefits
Executive Buy-inSlow burn, however when they see the benefits and ‘get it’ the support is significantStarts at the strategic level so influences everything the organization does
RecommendationIf your remit is just ‘improving processes’ this approach will get you their steadily, however, the challenges facing traditional business are seismic so is there time? So, make immediate gains but push hard for more quickly.By demonstrating the value of ‘customer first’ in terms of the triple crown the enterprise can align quickly and effectively. Importantly avoid the ‘soft and fluffy’ sentiments expressed by many in the customer experience world.

How can I Implement?

Back in 2006 the BPG launched the CEMMethod™ and built out an approach, using the 50+ techniques based on global next practice from companies like Virgin, Zara, BMW, Zappos, Apple and Emirates. Since then more than 3,000 companies in 116 countries have become accredited and certified to transform their processes and organizations.

Now in version 11, the choice you make in deployment is based on your ambition and remit within the enterprise.
If you are a leader needing to embrace the digital customer ‘Customer First’ leaps out as the main option. Alternatively, if you are in a traditional process-based business (lean, six sigma, BPM etc.) the more conservative ‘process engineering’ approach may be preferred.

You can access the following resources that will help you make an informed choice:

CEMMethod™ – review its potency and pedigree:
www.cemmethod.com

Outside-In The Secret of 21st century companies (free access): http://bit.ly/StevesOIBook

The Accredited Customer Experience Program 2018-19: https://www.bpgroup.org/acxp1819.html

The Certified Process Professional Program: https://www.bpgroup.org/certifiedprocessprofessional.html

I look forward to guiding you to transformation when you are ready!

The Ten Commandments of Customer Experience Management

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 Customer Experience Management, proof that focus on Successful Customer Outcomes, Outside-In and working backwards are fundamental to becoming a winning organization.

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 Customer 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 complete customer experience.


Join us for Complete Experience Management with coaching, training, consultancy and Certification at www.bpgroup.org 

Customer Experience & Process Improvement transformation

Customer Experience Training, Accreditation and Certification https://www.bpgroup.org/training.html

The #CX and #CPP program for the next six months has just gone live! We are across USA, Europe, South Africa, Australia and the Middle East. If you are looking to upskill and achieve international recognition then review the new program. Is it great? Well don’t just take our word for it, watch this testimonial and review the others at
https://www.bpgroup.org/training.html

We hope to see you soon!

The ‘open’ program for the next six months operates in Johannesburg, Melbourne, Washington DC, Denver, London, Dubai, Orlando, Los Angeles, and more…

SIX proven steps to introduce the CX Management Office

Companies wishing to build customer loyalty in the midst of a world being digitally transformed need to introduce the Customer Experience Management Office.

Existing approaches such as Program Management Offices do not address the need of the organization to become customer-centric. According to the Project Management Institutes definition “PMO’s serve as a means to standardize project-related governance processes and facilitate sharing of resources and tools. Others serve as centers of excellence, and still, others align project and program work to corporate strategy across an enterprise.”

1. Evolving from a Program Management Office (PMO) to a Customer Experience Management Office (CXMO).


You may be doing things right, but are you doing the right things?

There is a requirement to call out the need for Customer Centricity in literally everything the enterprise does.

Recently I was working with a global retailer who claimed that they managed Customer Experience via the projects orchestrated by the PMO, so I asked for their measures of success within the PMO.

Interestingly the primary metrics focused on three things – coming in on time, to the budget and achieving agreed project deliverables. So, digging deeper revealed the ‘deliverables’ were mostly aligned with functional objectives and only 15% of those talked to the challenge of becoming customer centric.  Even more so – less than 10% talked about joined-up thinking across the silos on behalf of better customer experiences.

Therefore, evolving the PMO to a CXMO is required to centralise the enterprise-wide approach to ensure a consistent and strategic effort.

Find out more and register for the CXMO webinar > JOIN HERE <

Connecting everyone to Successful Customer Outcomes

2. The CXMO is not another functional forever specialism

This isn’t another excuse for empire building. The strategic CX justification revolves around enhanced/redefined Customer Experiences that deliver improved service, lower costs and higher revenues (referred to as the ‘triple crown’) initially from the enterprise-wide consolidation of customer-centric effort, then through systematically aligning everything to contribute to Successful Customer Outcomes.

Hence the CXMO usually has a limited lifespan of 3-4 years as once the discipline is established and everyone is aligned to Successful Customer Outcomes the resources can be devolved back into the business.

In summary, establishing a CXMO is a systematic and strategic initiative.

Co-ordinating everyone, from the boardroom to the tea room, is essential to ensure the shift from the industrial age to the customer centricity age delivers practically and immediately.

Find out more and register for the CXMO webinar > JOIN HERE <

3. Harnessing the disparate CX efforts requires a CXMO.

The majority of people can agree on the valuable benefits of becoming customer centric (triple crown etc.) however departments and divisions will need to be aligned.

For example, the IT systems underpinning current operations were never designed with customer centricity in mind. Their purpose was to automate tasks and activities associated with functional activities such as Accounting, Sales, Customer Call Centers and so on. Sometimes there are efforts to integrate data across these silos but even enterprise-wide systems still have a focus on outputs, rather than delivering well-crafted Outcomes.

Hence migrating the critical to mission systems requires a strategic, top-down driven effort, so that changes are planned, consistent and co-ordinated against customer experience priorities for every part of the organization.

Find out more and register for the CXMO webinar > JOIN HERE <

  1. Reward structures

    A significant challenge impacts the Rewards and Remuneration structures. In industrial Age, thinking employees are rewarded for doing things, and not necessarily in delivering results.

    A simple way to test this hypothesis is to look at the metrics that drive business performance and see whether there are a majority of the measures targeted at counting outputs, rather than customer outcomes. Typical call centres, for example, will be measuring things like Number of Calls, Average Handle Time, Abandon rates and so on. How many of these does the customer actually care about?

    Progressive Customer Centric companies shift the emphasis to measuring the Customer Outcome desired. This fundamental shift in the metrics requires that employees are rewarded for delivering results, rather than completing tasks, and therefore a strategic enterprise-wide rethink to ensure all the dots and connected.

Find out more and register for the CXMO webinar > JOIN HERE <

  1. Walking the Talk by the top team requires an enabled CXMO.

    In the example of the Call Center, what is in a name? A lot it would seem. Imagine renaming the Call Center to a Customer Experience Center… Naturally, measures of success should shift to emphasizing the actual customer experience rather than just processing calls as in a production line.

    The top team needs to take ownership of the challenge as all too often they can be heard talking about how important the customer is, how we should be customer focussed, how much the customer matters to us while at the same time reminding the Call Center people that Average Handle Time (AHT) is king.

    If you work in an environment which prioritizes AHT as a leading measure of success your concern about delivering a Successful Customer Outcome becomes secondary. So, it isn’t just about talking the talk, it is about the top team actioning a customer-centric vision supported by creating the right Attitudes, Behaviours and Culture.

    Find out more and register for the CXMO webinar >JOIN HERE<

 

  1. Where to Start?

This really isn’t a choice. You have to start where you are now, move quickly and begin to harvest the benefits of customer-centric operations. An early objective is to examine the deliverables for all current projects and ask the question ‘how will achieving this contribute to improving the customer experience?’.

 

You will meet resistance from some folks who say ‘this project has nothing to do with the customer… it is an IT systems change, a change to internal processes, a new accounting approach etc.’ Your response is the natural ‘everything should contribute to Successful Customer Outcomes, and if we are doing things that don’t they should be stopped’.

Connect the dots to every customer interaction

The principle here is one of connecting the dots through to every customer interaction, which leads to another objective; identifying the critical customer experiences and mapping those in the context of their linkages with internal processes, rules and digital dependencies. This will then produce a prioritised list of targets for improvement.

 

There is no doubt some heavy lifting involved, not least of which is planning the migration from current state PMO to future state CXMO. There are many objectives to consider and your overall approach should be determined by the maturity of your organization.

To review the options join us in the webinar walking through recent CXMO case studies and emerging ‘next practices’.

Find out more and register for the CXMO webinar > JOIN HERE <

 

 

 

 

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

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

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