It’s difficult to imagine implementing significant change within a large multi-national B2B organisation while dealing with the complexities of COVID and supply chain issues. However, this case study achieves the triple crown of business benefits by increasing revenue, decreasing costs, and significantly increasing value by reducing “time to respond.”
This organisation achieved outstanding results by taking an outside-in approach to customer outcomes and driving results through goal-driven collaboration. As a result, they were able to expand on a large scale during the COVID period.
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I had finally got it – we had to think Outside-In, put the customer at the center of everything, and realize using out-of-date business thinking has no place in the 21st century.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.
First question… QUESTION: Why do so many organizations struggle to become truly customer centric?
ANSWER: They are using an out of date mindset. The thinking is borrowed from the industrial age when optimising production and throughput was the thing. That way of thinking is about production management, efficiency, effectiveness and elimination of waste. Does that feel familiar? Next question…
QUESTION: What is (probably) the biggest hurdle to overcome on the way to becoming Outside-In?
ANSWER: It is getting passed this industrial age mindset and all the things that come with it… our reward structures… our approach to employee engagement… the processes and systems… Alright, one more…
QUESTION: If listening to the customer is so important what is ‘best practice’?
ANSWER: Often times many companies are trying to drive forward by only looking in the rear view mirror. That is listening to subjective perceptual feedback, rather than at every interaction 100% of the time.
The GOOD news is… In the ACX Masters program, we show you step-by-step how to handle these challenges so you don’t have to Fall into the Bear Pit. You can get the full scoop and preview here: https://bit.ly/GCCACXP
Cheers for now! Steve
PS. We have got to get more scientific about the customer experience! I have just done a 3-minute explainer video for Outside-In – see it here: https://bit.ly/OIDifference
Step #1 – Get The Book: Outside-In The Secret *FREE* https://bit.ly/OI2021now
Why should Individuals & Organizations adopt the ACXP Program?
Better business results begin with Accredited CX Professionals guiding and leading their organizations.
By establishing a cadre of accredited people organizations are demonstrating their drive towards customer-centricity which delivers immediate results and pleases employees, customers, and stakeholders.
The Accredited Customer Experience Professional (ACXP) is a program underpinned by practical exercises based on the work underway in the enterprise. Individuals and teams are coached and assessed by ‘been there and done it’ CX professionals regarded as top of their profession.
Less on the theory, more on the practice the ACXP program uses ‘now’ case studies (frequently not in the public domain) so attendees can see ‘next practices’ and quickly incorporate them into their individual, team, and organization work.
Underpinned by proven approaches and techniques, such as the CEMMethod™ (launched in 2006 and now in Version 14), the ACXP program is designed for individual advancement, organizational maturity, and ultimately business transformation to become truly customer-centric.
The ACXP is the first step on the ladder leading to a progressive and more advanced understanding and delivery of Customer Experience next practices.
The portfolio of levels includes ACX Master®, ACX Champion® and ACX Mentor®.
Thank you Steve for the high quality & insightful training you delivered. Your innovative approach , critical thinking & up to date case studies facilitated this achievement 👍Muath Al-Azzam, Principal Services & Operations Specialist at Dubai Municipality
Thank you, the experience was enlightening, empowering, educating, encouraging and engaging.Natasha Doren, South Africa
I have to say, every day since I left Denver, I have been able to apply some bit of learning that I got during the ACXM event into not only my job, but my personal life as well. Thank you so much for everything that you’ve done to advance the field of customer experience! Brett Gill, United States
Another fantastic learning, personal andprofessional development experience with you!Lyall Shapiro, Customer Experience Specialist,Sydney, Australia
Thank you Steve, very intense 4 days butamazing and already putting it into practice!Edwin De Lange, Manager: Customer Experience Design,Mercantile Bank South Africa
Thank you so much Steve..this achievement means a lot to me& huge credit goes to you.. looking forward for my nextAmal Shaira, Senior Manager, FAB, United Arab Emirates
Do you want to embrace advanced Customer Centric thinking and become Outside-In?
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos employed rules and principles to make the company successful that are revealed in a new book, “Flywheels: How Cities Are Creating Their Own Futures.”
The book was written by Tom Alberg, an early-stage investor and ex-Amazon board member of 23 years, and he explained Bezos'”Day1″attitude.
The book also talks about how Bezos overcame the company’s early difficulties in attracting investors.
Alberg described the rules that Bezos followed at work based on his experience watching the tech magnate make judgments.
In his book, Alberg noted, “The most important thing is customer obsession.” He went on to say that too many organizations, in his opinion, focus on their competition rather than Their customers. According to Bezos, who testified before a congressional committee, “Customers Are consistently, delightfully unsatisfied.
We are continually inventing on behalf of our clients out of a desire to delight them” Alberg writes. According to him, Bezos made moves that harmed Amazon’s short-term business line but benefited customers and ultimately helped Amazon become a trillion-dollar company.
Continuous Invention & Innovation
“Continuous invention and innovation” is the second principle. According to Alberg, client happiness and inventiveness are inextricably linked. “When making decisions, customer happiness and innovation are powerful touchstones,” he added.
When you ask yourself, “What is the best decision for the customer?” it becomes much easier to make decisions. “Is there a way to invent our way to a solution?”and”Is there a way to invent our way to a solution?” Alberg writes.
According to Alberg, the third principle championed by Bezos is operational excellence. “Two-pizza teams,” “one-click shopping,” “single-threaded leaders,” and “working backward/becoming Outside-In” are some instances.
One of Bezos’ more inventive techniques is the”two-pizza rule,”which aims to avoid wasting a full day on unproductive meetings.
So, how does it work? The more people you have at a meeting, the less productive it will be. The notion is that instead of expressing their viewpoints and ideas, most people will end up agreeing with each other (groupthink).
What is the solution? Never have a meeting where two pizzas aren’t enough to feed everyone. According to Alberg, the fourth principle underpinning Bezos’ decision making process at Amazon is to think long-term.
Think long term
This can be everything from starting a new business to investing in new technology. Bezos’ early use of AI is one example.
“Jeff told the board that he intended to apply AI in every element of the business when firms were just beginning to understand the possibilities of machine learning and AI,” he wrote. The next step for Bezos was to employ AI experts and instruct the existing engineers on how to use AI.
According to Alberg, Amazon produced and made AI capabilities available to clients on Amazon Web Services, originally run by Andy Jazzy, now the new global CEO since the Jeff Bezos exit. Making AI available to employ in their businesses actually to compete against Amazon.
Alberg noted that his fifth principle, and probably the most important, is his “staying optimistic for the future and how we are only in Day 1.” Bezos’ “Day 1” mindset is founded on the broader premise that, “while the internet and Amazon may appear mature to many, we are still at the beginning, according to Bezos.
Alberg commented, “It is his greatest expression of optimism about what the future will hold.”
These concepts are “not hidden,” according to Alberg. “However, you must adhere to them at all times, something most businesses are unwilling or unable to do.”
It should stand to reason that great Customer Experiences are born with fantastic Employee Engagement. Why is this so often not the case? There are three attitudes that top teams can apply to help their people provide the ultimate experiences – both engineered and free-flowing.
Successful Customer Outcomes
A concept not well understood comes from Apple’s playbook of crafting Successful Customer Outcomes. One of Steve Jobs most famous quotes highlighted a different starting point to craft truly successful customer outcomes. For many leaders, the stark contrast between Industrial Age thinking and Customer Age/’Outside-In’ practice provided a platform to liberate their employees from scripts, tasks, and outputs. The best of these examples shows us all a better way.
How are you currently measuring success? Is it by the number of jobs done, tasks completed, and outputs achieved? If those things represent your major Key Performance Indicators, or the more fashionable Objectives and Key Results then you may need to think again.
Why so? Liberating employees from the shackles of these measures will produce better customer experiences, improved bottom lines, and enhanced shareholder value from the get-go. Creating Results-Oriented Communication (Jim Sinur) is a quantum leap from the industrial era praxis. We will review those next practices and layout a plan to deliver immediate and sustained results.
Here’s a piece on flawed measurement systems: https://www.cxobsession.com/2020/07/27/call-canters-fail/