It is good to have a guide in life. Many of us share political creeds, religious beliefs and codes of honor 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 thirteen 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, front and center 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 the subjective ‘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.
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.
”Let’s not beat around the bush… Customer experience is the new battleground. At The Experience Manager, BP Group, and Rockstar.cx we know the art of this new war. We have the tools, the technology and the strategies to remorselessly create victories for our clients as we build a more customer-centric world, one experience and one enterprise at a time”.
Join us for Complete Experience Management with coaching, training, consultancy and Certification at www.bpgroup.org
Dr W. Edwards Deming’s famous quote “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing” is truer today than ever in an increasingly customer-centric Outside-In world.
Perhaps we should upgrade the quote to encompass the focus on the customer?
“If you can’t describe what you are doing as relevant to a Successful Customer Outcome, you shouldn’t ought to be doing it”
Progressive Outside-In businesses understand this truth (think Amazon, Starbucks, BMW and Emirates) who are connecting everything they do to delivering these Successful Customer Outcomes. If activities and systems do not explicitly contribute to customer success they scrap them, and in doing so costs fall away, service improves and naturally, revenues grow.
Think about that for a moment from the customers perspective. It is certainly more pleasurable if interactions are simple and smoother. And if these experiences involve buying stuff, customers come back again and again for more. Even in public service, it stands to reason that reducing complexity will release more resources to do more meaningful work that delivers greater value to citizens.
So how would you approach your existing Customer Experiences and associated processes to move in this direction? Is there a formula that can be applied that is easy to use and produces immediate results?
Indeed, there is! We refer to this formula within the CEMMethod™, an approach developed originally in association with companies like Virgin and Southwest Airlines. The method, originally released in 2006, is now in version 11 and includes 50+ techniques that significantly improve business performance and customer success.
One of these techniques within the CEMMethod™ is referred to as the ‘Disruption Factor’ and quite simply allows you to calculate the potential for improvement in any Customer Experience. Additionally, it helps you pinpoint the areas that would benefit from immediate attention, and in doing so win the triple crown (lower costs, improved service, higher revenues).
If you want to know more about applying the Disruption Factor in your organization join us at the upcoming webinar register your interest here.
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…
During my encounters with global business leaders, I am frequently asked the question of what is the difference between Lean Six Sigma (LSS) and Outside-In thinking and practice?
Often the question is prompted as a consequence of the huge investment many large corporations have made into up-skilling their people and processes to LSS. Many times those same executives are querying the return on those investments and hence now looking at more progressive alternative approaches to evolve their business performance.
For those familiar with Outside-In thinking and practice the difference is fundamental however if you haven’t been exposed to such training or working in one of the worlds leading Outside-In companies it would be good to have a short comparison of the key thematic differences.
In the interests of full disclosure, I was an Industrial Engineer qualified as a Lean Master and Six Sigma Master black belt and I see and witness the significant differences every day. Does the implication of the difference mean we should abandon LSS? No, far from it. In fact, integrating the Outside-In perspectives into existing programs is a proven tried and tested way of advancing LSS to the centre stage of winning performance.
Case in point is a North American plastics extrusion company. They had previously been a powerhouse of Six Sigma, grown into and become a Lean ‘Toyota way’ dynamo only to run into the problem of diminishing returns.
Investing just as much in getting better the decreasing returns and eroding margins made it an issue at the top table. In true pragmatic Texan style (their CEO is from Dallas) they embraced Outside-In big time. Over 6-9 months people were upskilled for the Customer Age and then let loose to transform the organization. Not only did they save their bacon they are now a world-leading company. And what do they call their program? OIL – Outside-In Lean. Nice eh?
So be pragmatic. Look for the bridges from here to there and you can have the best of both worlds.
Table 1: Comparison of some differences between Lean Six Sigma and the CEMMethod™.
Lean Six Sigma
Customer Experience Management/Outside-In
Customer Digital Age
Improve current work
Align to achieve SCO’s
Process will exist at the end of a review
Processes may be removed
Focused on improving outputs
Focused on delivering Outcomes
Triple Crown achievement (Cost/Service/Revenue)
Accepts the functional hierarchy
Proposes the appropriate structure to deliver SCO’s
What significantly differentiates the top dogs in terms of business results? How can Amazon, Zara, Zappos and Emirates consistently outperform their competitors?
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, 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?
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…
Understand what success looks like for the customer
Create measures of those Needs and Expectations
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.