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.
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/
It’s been an honour and privilege to participate and attend the ACX-M course, It was an eye-opener and quite a revelation for me, I became conscious of these important concepts and aspects of customer experience, Thank you for showing us the way. Product Specialist at Laerdal Medical, India
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
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
Thank you Steve for another enlightening and engaging course that just keeps challenging the way we do things® Edwin De Lange, South Africa
Thanks again for four great and inspiring days. Christian Becker, Germany
It’s been great training with lots of new tools that we will be able to implement soon I hope. Super interesting information, I am looking forward to reading your book as well. I really appreciated your energy and enthusiasm throughout the training. Silvia Fernandez Calvo, Spain
Let me take this opportunity to thank Mr. Steve. Your teachings are timeless and they stick perfectly and forever in our minds. We shall never forget you wherever we find ourselves on this planet. Thank you so much, Steve 🙏 Benignus Otmar, Tanzania
Thank you, the experience was enlightening, empowering, educating, encouraging, and engaging. Natasha Doren, South Africa
Thank you, Steve, I have never enjoyed anything more than the CX course, The weight of knowledge I gained and the enlightenment that I got is indescribable. Reem Elsadig, Sudan
Thanks, Steve for such an excellent program, the dedicated manner you use to share with us your wonderful knowledge and wisdom in CX, and the time to respond to all our questions! God bless you, thanks a lot! Yanese Angeles, Dominican Republic
You started me out on this journey my friend. Thanks for letting me live out my passion! Molly Redenbaugh, Iowa, United States
Thank you! It’s been an amazing journey and you have been a great mentor. It was an honor taking your class, I am now a confident CPP Master🙏🏾 Masele Masudi Msita, Tanzania
Thank you Steve for your high-quality wonderful Master. I thought the course was brilliant. Thank you for everything. Ashraf Mohamed, Philadelphia, USA
Thanks again, Steve. Not only have you been a fantastic mentor to me but you have taught me how to mentor others. Thanks for being so supportive and getting me through. Chandan Chhabra, Delhi, India
Another fantastic learning, personal and professional development experience with you! Lyall Shapiro, Australia
Do you want to embrace advanced Customer Centric thinking and become Outside-In?
You may have seen the recent posts discussing the difference between inside-out (industrial era) and Outside-In (Customer Age) thinking and practice. At the heart of the difference is the contrast between Outputs and Outcomes.
In the Industrial Age Outputs were king in the form of cars made, factories built, pizzas delivered, and so on. It was simply good enough to improve efficiency and productivity to deliver success. Not so in the Customer Age where Outcomes delivered has become the thing.
It really has become a differentiator between those who are succeeding, despite the pandemic, and those who are struggling.
Since I wrote the book ‘Outside-In The Secret’ in 2010 I have had so many conversations at all levels in global companies describing the huge difference in this mindset of delivering successful business and customer outcomes in contrast to old industrial age outputs.
Unfortunately people who should know better are still confused. In this article we will:
Define the seismic difference between Outputs and Outcomes
Provide recent examples
Share useful resources
Let’s start with definitions:
An Output is what we produce, what we make. Say a completed car.
A Business Outcome is a result of what we make. In the car example, it would be Revenue.
But wait, in the Customer Age there’s more…
A Customer Outcome is what we deliver for the Customer. For the new purchase, it could be Joy at buying the nice bright shiny new car.
The problem and the confusion.
Most businesses have inherited a legacy of measurement systems focused on outputs. So say for instance in a customer contact center we would have metrics like calls handled, abandoned calls, average handle times, first-time response, customer satisfaction stats, net promoter scores, and so on. But these are all output measures.
Another example might be in the Program Management Office where measures may include things like the number of projects underway, the progress against budgets, and achievement of the deliverables.
Now here’s the rub. If you connect the achievement of these outputs with rewards systems you will potentially fail big time. And if in the contact center people aren’t caring about the outcomes (the results of the outputs) we might get really good at doing dumb things. In the Program Office if the deliverables aren’t aligned with Successful Customer Outcomes we may become really efficient at delivering the wrong things.
And another thing people familiar with outputs often argue the case that Outcomes are less quantifiable. Not so. Business Outcomes include things like Revenue, Cost Optimization, Service Delivery, Effective compliance, and so on. You can’t get any more quantifiable than that. Now with Successful Customer Outcomes, we may have a description of what that feels like – BMW’s ‘Joy’ for instance or Hallmark Cards ‘Expression’.
Connecting the Dots Over the last two decades, a model has emerged that literally links Outputs to Outcomes. There is a hierarchy that connects Tasks to Activities to Outputs to Business Outcomes and ultimately Successful Customer Outcomes.
We will review that model and thinking in the next article.
For now look at your metrics. Are your measures of success outputs or outcomes?
Do you want to embrace advanced Customer Centric thinking and become Outside-In?
Part Two. In Part One we reviewed how poor metrics drive bad behaviours. Lets dig deeper with a typical scenario…
And if you think this experience is unusual grab a coffee and google ‘poor customer experiences’.
The leadership team can talk until they are blue in the face about customer centricity but if they insist on metrics designed for running factories everyone suffers. Here’s another typical conversation:
In all three instances the customer did not achieve a Successful Outcome. In fact there is now more effort required by the customer, and also more cost and time to be incurred for the organisation if the customer does follow through. If the customer doesn’t bother that is more potential revenue lost.
So how does this organisation look to the browsing customer? Pretty awful to say the least.
We know why this is so. Organisations like this are focused on measuring Outputs, rather than measures of Successful Customer Outcomes. If it is so obvious why is it so many persist in this Failure-Demand cycle?
Because they are measuring the wrong things. And guess what? Yes, they will have automated those measurements and put them on fancy management dashboards so everyone can feel happy. Except the customer of course. But what does that matter?
In Part Three – a big reveal. A couple of techniques that will help shape Successful Customer Outcomes brought to you from companies like Amazon, Zara, Zappos and Emirates.
Now, please remember if you pay people to do dumb stuff they will get really smart at it.
Join our upcoming Coaching and Accreditation sessions online, LIVE & Interactive
Do you want to embrace advanced Customer Centric thinking and become Outside-In?
I just wanted to reach out, so you don’t miss out on this limited time offer on my new book Outside-In The Secret of the 21st c. leading companies.
You might be thinking, what is Outside-In?
To sum it up, ‘Outside-In The Secret’ reveals the fundamental difference between the top-performing companies and the failing also-rans. It is a massive shift in perspective that revolutionizes work forever.
The insights shared are based on my work and research with companies like BMW, Emirates, Zara, Zappos, and Amazon over the last two decades.
But hey, don’t just hear it from me…
So, I have codified the learning and the ‘Secret’ approaches, tips, tricks, and hacks to make them accessible to all. Initially published in 2010 and it is now wholly updated as Edition 10!
My colleague and BP Group co-founder says this…
Why You Should Read Outside-In The Secret
You may be wondering why you should invest your precious time reading this book. With all the pressures of the current business climate, why will this investment be worthwhile?
I’d like you for a moment to think of ‘high jumping.’ This is a sport that has been pursued actively from the Ancient Greeks in the original Olympics to modern times. And for nearly 3,000 years, people jumped using similar techniques. Then an innovator, Dick Fosbery, thought of a new approach that was incredibly simple and yet at the same time delivered ‘breakthrough performance’ levels enabling him to win the gold medal in the 1968 Olympic high jump bar. He leaped over the bar backward, overturning thousands of years of ‘best practice.’
So I would like you to give yourself permission to consider that you, too, can achieve ‘breakthrough performance’ in your own business endeavors. In this book, ‘Outside-In,’ Steve Towers will introduce you to some remarkable concepts that at first seem simple and obvious, and yet when applied, will allow you to win the gold medal in your own field of business.
John Corr, Director, Alix Partners, London, England.
And Guess What? Do you want something special?
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