B2B versus B2C. Which Matters More For CX?

Does Customer Experience matter more for B2C companies (business to consumer) or B2B (business to business)? The answer is they both matter equally. The reason is because people buy from people. Continue Reading →

customer-centric culture

Why You Need Culture Not Call Center Training for Customer-Centric CX

You have some serious work to do before your customers experience your CX vision. First, you need to educate your organization on the core principles of customer experience. If the organization does not understand what customer experience is, you will not get the funding or organizational support you need to build customer-centric experiences.

This realization is particularly painful for those of us who see the inefficiencies that cause bad journeys and want to make the experience better for our customers. At this stage, though, the best advice I can give you is to wait before you move. Measure three times and cut one time.

Educate the C-Suite on CX Fundamentals

First, you need to educate your C-Suite on the concept and discipline of customer experience. Your C-Suite may or may not know what NPS is. They may use NPS already. Or, they may use NPS only for one touch point rather than the whole journey. They may identify NPS as a corporate goal that signals that CX should be a priority for the entire organization. Or not.

You need time to assess your particular scenario and start building awareness to reach the next level of understanding and organizational buy-in. This may take months or a year. However long the expected turnaround is, you need to endure it before you start solving customer problems.

Get Buy-In for Measurement

Why can’t you (or the C-Suite) expect an immediate turnaround? Because of our good old friend measurement. You do not want to do all the work and not get credit for it when it does not directly (or immediately) impact revenues or costs. You need NPS (or another CX measurement) to evaluate your work. It is important to have a CX measure so you can correlate it and tie it to productivity, to savings, or to another benchmark that is part of your current corporate measurement structure.

Go Beyond CX Training

The first part requires heavy lifting: getting your executive team to accept that you will measure NPS across the customer journey within the organization. This includes looking at cross-functionally that risks revealing some inefficiencies in their departments.

Now, you are ready to educate the teams of employees who will deliver the personalized experience you have envisioned.

How do you do that? The easy answer is training. That works for those who want to influence the culture of one division. Or, if all you are doing is running a Call Center.

However, if your organization is more complex, training alone will not help you achieve your CX goals. The entire organization needs to buy into your customer experience vision.

Don’t Limit Your CX Vision to Customer Service Providers

Imagine you want to help your customers complete an interaction with you early so they are not forced to wait later. This could be to check in for a flight or to advance register for an expo.

When you think of CX vision, this is probably not the first example that comes to mind. But remember what we spoke about last year: you may have a CX job already and not know it. So, back to our example. To remind an app user to check in early, you need your digital team to prioritize this feature on the app before other features that are on the list from other departments. To send a tailored email campaign to all your exhibitors, you need the marketing team to schedule your campaign on the right date to meet your CX needs. This could push other company messaging to a later date.

If all you do to initiate customer-centric CX in your organization is hold a customer service training, the digital and marketing teams you need to buy in will be excluded. They will not hear or understand the CX vision you are trying to implement and the value it has for the organization as a whole.

Create Customer-Centric Culture Across Departments

This is why CX professionals need to start educating everyone in the organization. And I mean everyone, from the front desk greeter, to the marketing manager, to the IT staff. To do this you need a lot of time and patience. You also need to inspire the teams and explain why it really matters to do what you want them to do when you want them to do it.

The trouble with building journeys is that you cannot do it only with one touch point. You need more in order to connect those points and build the seamless experience that truly puts the customer at the center. Educating all departments on customer-centric culture helps to do that.

Walk the Talk

So, be the brand ambassador for customer-centric culture and infuse that in every conversation you have with every person in your company. Try to customize your messaging so you do not come across as self-serving, but rather as someone who genuinely cares about the customer (as you do!).

If you need help strategizing how to put the customer at the center of your organization or if you need help getting started with CX, talk to us!

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone. They do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

 

culture hr

Culture Starts at the Top

Last week we started the conversation about culture by establishing that we need to define culture before we can deliver great customer experience. Today, we are talking about how to get the right culture in your organizations.

First and foremost, you need the right leader. Without a leader who believes that today’s business success is about acquiring and retaining customers, you cannot even begin the process of building a culture. Leaders who are passionate about the customer are also passionate about creating culture and employee engagement.

How Leaders Create Culture

Leaders create the culture of an organization. Their actions and words form the storytelling and folklore of the company. That is the strongest source of culture. Folklore is not designed. It is an account of what happened. In that sense, the leader at the top defines the culture of his/her company.

Dave Barger, the former CEO of JetBlue Airways, remembered the name of every employee he met. He stopped employees in the hallway to shake hands or high five. Every new hire knew the stories about Dave Barger. The CEO and his values were part of the folklore – and the identity – of the company. Airline employees knew Dave as the man who started his career as a bag handler. He was someone who walked the talk because he knew firsthand what it is like to be on the front line.

These kinds of stories can’t be choreographed. If they were, they would not be retold by employees. Nor would they be embraced.

Dave used to fly to Orlando, where JetBlue’s training center is, to meet every new employee as part of an Orientation process for new hires of all ranks. Every two weeks, he spent two days in Orlando telling the story of how the company started and sharing his passion for the industry with flight attendants, bag handlers, and support function new hires.

The Mechanics of Culture

So how was culture instituted in JetBlue’s case? Once people knew what a caring and passionate leader Dave Barger was, they wanted to emulate him. Even more, they wanted him to be proud of them. So they tried to do what he did in their small orbits of influence.

And it worked. The General Manager of Boston took care and connected with all his employees in the operation. The VP of the Contact Center made the offices in Salt Lake City a home for all her employees, supporting them through personal and family struggles. The culture “JetBlue is your family” started with the CEO. But it did not end with him.

The company culture that stimulated employee engagement and fueled customer experience could not have grown without a leader who “lived the values” every day of his life.

Culture Goal is Real

According to Lumoa “Only 13% of companies believe that HR has an impact on Customer Experience activities in the company.” This is one of the reasons so many companies have a hard time making CX part of their core value proposition. A great leader knows that culture needs both folklore to inspire, and a reward system to acknowledge when culture values are done right.

When culture is important to the leader, he/she incorporates it into a culture goal for the executive team. In JetBlue for example, HR managed the culture goal. And it accounted for 20% of the goals for all Directors. Part of the culture goal was to adopt a city station and visit the employees four times a year. What do you think happened when it rained and we still had to travel to our respective cities? We all went, since there was an incentive to do so.

Include HR in Culture Goals

HR is integral not only in the culture goal setting process, but also in the programming of events and initiatives that bring that culture to the daily lives of employees.

That programming is essential to promoting and maintaining culture in your organization, for the benefit of employees and customers, as we will explore in some exciting upcoming conversations.

Keep Culture Top of Mind

What you need to walk away knowing right now is that, when culture is top of mind for leadership, leadership supports employees who live out culture goals. Let’s carry through the JetBlue example. Under Dave Barger, caring was a culture goal. Employees earned credit for volunteering outside the organization. And employees with the most hours were honored at a gala dinner with the CEO and executive team (that means real face-time with leadership).

Compensation and rewards like this – moments of awe for employees – close the loop with the executive team. That is how we build cultures in organizations in a way that shows results in the daily life of employees and the experience of customers.

So, if you are serious about culture, hire the right leader for your organization and start building from there.

Confused about where to start? We can help you build your culture goals throughout your organizational structure, from HR to leadership, to front line employees.

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone. They do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

customer experience culture

Why you need a defined culture to do CX right?

When designed and built correctly, customer experience expresses an organization’s brand. So, if your brand identity is playful and your copy has a witty voice, your space design is less formal.  In other words, your brand and marketing promises serve as a guiding light to your experience team. Similarly, organizational culture serves as a goalpost for the service side of customer experience.

What Role Does Culture Play in Customer Experience?

The texture of organizational culture is made of the behaviors and ways your employees communicate with customers. Without it as a guide, employees are left to their own devices. And the delivery of good customer experiences is left to luck. Without a defined culture, your employees tend to be more transactional. They do not create interactions that grow into relationships.

Think about it. If nobody tells you HOW to do something, you will think that the most important thing is just to get the thing done. The how is not even part of your thought process. The result of this is customer experiences that feel cold – experiences that do not make a connection with the customer.

Without that connection, there is no emotion. And without emotion, there is no memorable customer experience. You need to consider how you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand. Now determine how you deliver those feelings.  You don’t! Your employees do.

Now, how do you make sure your employees deliver the right feelings? By making them feel the SAME feelings. That is culture! When your employees feel cared for, they care for your customers. When they feel integrity is nonnegotiable, they hold the highest moral standards. And when your organization has a defined culture, you trigger this positive domino effect that reaches employees and customers.

All Memorable Brands Have a Defined Culture

Organizational culture is the factory for the feelings you want your customers to have when they interact with your brand. It is not possible to do CX right without a defined culture in place. All memorable brands have defined cultures that are over-communicated to their employees and customers. Disney, JetBlue, Ritz Carlton, Zappos, and other hospitality-driven brands all have vibrant, recognizable cultures. So, if you want to join those brands and make your customers happy, you need to start by defining yours. Mission statements are not enough.

If your organization lacks a defined culture, it seeps into every department, at every level. Without a defined culture, there are no hiring standards for culture. When people are hired primarily for their hard skills, and culture is not part of the decision process, it is impossible to drive certain culture-connected behaviors. For example, if you have a defined culture and CARING is one of your values, then, as part of the hiring process, you assess how your candidate’s score against that.

If INNOVATION is one of your guiding principles, you look for risk takers and for people who are comfortable making decisions with limited information. If HR does not know what to hire for, there can be no active belief system in the organization.

The Culture Communication Problem

Last, but definitely not least, without defined culture your communications department risks demoralizing employees without knowing it. Culture shapes the language your organization uses to explain who and what you are, and how you want customers to feel. Note the difference between simple terms like “support center” and “headquarters,” or “staff” and “employees” vs. “team members” or “brand ambassadors.” Look more closely at terms like “agent” vs. “happiness engineer” or “concierge.”

A defined culture brings a vocabulary with it. Words matter. They are the tissue of culture and they need to be used with intent.

Unfortunately, like customer experience, culture is hard to implement in a sustainable way. The good news is we are here for that! If you aspire to build a brand that delivers exceptional customer experience, reach out to us. We will be happy to guide you through the maze of culture building!

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

Outside-In vs. Inside Out Thinking

Outside-In vs. Inside-Out Thinking

Today, we’re pleased to share a guest post by Annette Franz, CCXP of CX Journey. This article originally appeared on her site on August 11, 2015.

In the world of customer experience, what’s the difference between outside-in and inside-out? Continue Reading →

hiring cx teams who to hire first

Hiring Tips: Who Should I Hire First on My CX Team

Although Customer Experience has been around for a long time, hiring for CX has become a greater priority for executives and funding committees only in the last 5 years. With that shift comes the rise of the CX Team in the organizational structures of banks, insurance companies, consumer brands and B-to-B entities.

How to Build a CX Team

Within the CX Team, the Customer Experience Director (or Customer Insights Director) leads the charge. Let’s say this is your role in your organization. Typically, you are the company’s first CX hire, tasked with building a team from scratch. Likely, in that first year you have to assemble your CX Team, you have limited funding until you prove the value of investing more in Customer Experience efforts.

The pressure to demonstrate business impact and ROI quickly makes your first hire even more important. As usual, there is no answer that fits all scenarios perfectly. We have some helpful strategies to consider based on the structure of your organization and your goals.

Hiring without a Customer Insights Team in Place

The CX cycle begins and ends with Customer Insights ( the Voice of the Customer program). With no customer insights team in place, it is hard to know where to begin.  If that team does not exist, your first order of business is to set it up. If you only have funding for one hire, hire a customer insights expert to learn what is not working well for your customers and what measures you need to take to improve the customer journeys.

Hire a manager level professional with a strong analytical background who is not afraid of doing the grunt work in the beginning.  You will need strong insights to convince your leadership of the need for investment in CX.

Hiring with a Customer Insights Team in Place

Once you know the parts of the customer experience that need to be addressed, you can hire an operations person – preferably an internal hire. An operations person on your CX Team helps you learn why your organization is not able to deliver great customer experience. An operations person is also invaluable for change management.

This CX Team member knows how to “sell” the changes in procedures and processes to the frontline. He/she is also invaluable with testing and trialing new solutions in the field. I promise you this hire is not going to be afraid to stand in front of customers and try new ways of doing things. That’s the kind of power you want to bring to drive the customer experience changes in your business.

Hiring with Customer Insights and Operations Expertise in Place on Your CX Team

Once you have the two foundational pieces of customer experience – the insights and the frontline know-how – you can hire a Project Manager or a Program Manager. The size of your portfolio will determine whether you should hire a project manager or a program manager.

If you have scoped one or two projects and have sufficient funding for them, it may be better to start with a Project Manager. If you have a bigger mandate and a higher level of responsibilities, hire a Program Manager for your CX Team. You will need this person to run the funding and reporting of your efforts smoothly. He/she will also hold different parts of the organization accountable for their pieces of your CX projects.

Hiring when you Have All of the Above on Your CX Team

The next two recommendations may surprise you, but they are critical to a successful CX Team: a dedicated brand manager and a finance person. If you have the basic CX hiring in place, and you have significant budget and responsibilities, you need to start doing some internal and external PR. You also need to maintain your credibility with finance in order to secure future funding. To achieve these goals, you need to add a dedicated brand designer and a finance person to your team.

These two positions on the CX Team are the hardest to sell to senior leadership because they technically exist somewhere else in the organization. The key here is to show why these professionals need to be dedicated to your Customer Experience program. For your CX Team to succeed, you have a lot of creative to do. If you are a change agent for the brand you are servicing (as you should be), you have to tell stories to your internal stakeholders through internal PR as well as to external stakeholders and the media.

Your success depends on a brand designer and finance expert more than you may anticipate. When I did not have a finance pro on my CX Team, I ended up doing the finance role at night since I had that skillset from my previous life. That, of course, is not ideal.

Hiring members of the CX Team requires you to take a long view of customer experience design, execution and goals. Internal and external hiring for CX forces you to look at the short and long-term goals of your CX strategies, how to implement them for your customers and how to communicate them to the C-Suite.

As a result, CX hiring is another good exercise in doing CX right for your customers and for your brand.

More from DOINGCXRIGHT

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*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

Why The Best CEOs Invest In Customer Experience

Why The Best CEO’s Invest In Customer Experience

Some companies consider investing in Customer Experience (CX) as an afterthought, while other brands dedicate resources towards creating customer excellence. They purposely allocate budgets to building and expanding a CX team, measuring customer satisfaction every day and related KPIs, and closing the loop to fix identified customer pain points. Continue Reading →

call center tips cx

3 Call Center Mistakes You Are Making

Before we dive into this post, I urge all of us to stop using the term call center. 2018 brands should not have call centers. Instead, engaged brands of today need Contact Centers.

If you are still responding to your customers only by phone, you are failing to provide efficient, relevant and timely customer support. Even worse, you are abandoning people who sought your help and never got it. Their tweets are floating unanswered in cyber space. After more than an hour of holding time, they hung up on you. Now that this caveat is out of the way, here are the 3 most common questions I get about call center management.

How Do You keep call center agents motivated and engaged?

The call center agent role is daunting. This leads to high turnover and low employee engagement scores. If you are managing a call center, you are likely struggling to keep up employee morale, before you can even hope to offer exceptional customer service.

The solution to employee engagement and ultimately, exception customer experience starts with the hiring process. Motivation and mission-driven service begins with hiring the right people. If your call center is staffed with people who see their jobs as temporary or transition positions, those people will not stay. They also will not give the job – and your customers – all they have.

Design profile of WHO you want in your contact center. Be ruthless about your selection process. Hire based on values and attitudes, not on skills. Hire with CULTURE in mind.

I appreciate that this is easier said than done, but it is not impossible. You can do it. If brands like Zappos and Ritz Carlton can do it, so can you. We all read about the incentive games and payment for performance. These are tactics that help maintain a culture of caring. But if you do not hire the right people, these tools will not make an impactful difference.

What vendor do you recommend for automating call centers using AI?

It is amazing that no matter how often my peers and I say that technology is not the answer, call center managers still ask this question expecting a silver bullet in the shape of a vendor name.

I will say it again here: you can use any type of vendor and still fail. You can also build a chat bot solution internally and succeed. The key here is recognizing two things that get overlooked all the time: aggregating and cleaning data.

Aggregating and cleaning your data is the foundation of any AI solution. Without this step, no vendor can save you. Garbage in, garbage out is exactly the logic here. So pause the vendor conversation and call your IT partner to discuss how ready your organization is for a chat bot solution. Do you have unique customer IDs? Do you have a relatively accurate matching tools and algorithms that can be transformed into a dashboard that can either help your contact center agents, or can be fed into a chat bot to answer basic questions?

Then, gather your call agents. Ask them what they need to provide memorable service. Empower them to help by LISTENING to them and by co-creating THEIR solution, not the vendor’s.  If Fedex asked the call agent who could not change my delivery address what she requires to satisfy customers needs, I am sure that the ability to change addresses in real time would be on her list.

What locations for outsourcing call centers are best?

This is another great example of the quest for the silver bullet. If you can remember one thing from this post , remember this – location is not everything in contact center management – culture is. Yes, you can outsource your contact centers, but the more money you save on the hourly wages, the more your brand erosion is going to increase.

When you realize that your contact center agents are an extension of your brand, you will be able to convert call center agents into brand ambassadors. This is when you are leveraging this touch point into a retention vehicle. For that business transformation to happen, you do not need to relocate the team to “the best location for call centers.” You need to look for the cradle of your brand and hire the right people in that location. That way, you will have the right ingredients to build a solid support center staffed with passionate people who genuinely want to help. From there, the Wow Moments pop up organically.

Sign up for our newsletter to continue learning how to increase your skills and transform your organization! When you register now, you will get access to our whitepaper on how to go from CX Novice to CX Expert.

 

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

cx pyramid failure mta doingcxright

NYC Subway CX Kills Chivalry in the City

Brands with values inspire customers who interact with them. Nike encourages us to be brave and embrace our differences. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation urges us to be kind and care for others. Brands like this use the CX Pyramid to promote their values and deliver the reliable experiences customers want. Continue Reading →

Celebrate National CX Day

Did you know that tomorrow is National CX Day? Some of you may not even know what “CX” means or why there is a day for it. CX stands for “Customer Experience” and it has become an essential part of company strategies to win in the marketplace.

Like any Hallmark holiday, it is an excuse to celebrate but more importantly, it serves as a day to raise awareness of something important that impacts ALL brands.  Every employee, from frontline to back office, impacts customer experiences and their overall perception of the company. For this reason, it is a great day to recognize employees who demonstrate a commitment to servicing customers as well as let customers know how much you appreciate them. It is all part of creating a CX culture!

How brands can celebrate National CX Day (or make it a CX month)

  1. Leaders can send thank you notes to acknowledge employees who focus on DoingCXRight. Formally recognize those that go above and beyond to deliver great customer experiences.
  2. Throw a party and make it all about customers. Read their surveys out loud and celebrate the good ratings; collectively problem solve for lower scores. Do not let location be a reason not to celebrate. While in person is ideal, virtual meetings can be equally effective especially when leveraging video cameras.
  3. Partner with Marketing/ PR departments to raise awareness and commitment to CX. Leverage internal (i.e. company intranet) and external channels (i.e. social media) highlighting examples of how customers are valued by your brand. Use hashtags that your employees and customers could follow and reuse on social media channels to share stories with a larger audience.
  4. Encourage networking. Create opportunities for people to come together and share ways they contribute to the customer experience.
  5. Provide professional development to enable employees to increase their CX knowledge and apply best practices in their daily job. Take advantage of formal certification programs, attend events, such as RU-Disrupt, and online events offered by CXPA.

We are interested in hearing how your company celebrates on National CX Day as well as every day. If you like this article, please share with others so they can benefit. Sign Up for our newsletter to continue learning how to increase your skills and transform your organization! When you register now, you will get free access to our whitepaper on how to go from CX Novice to CX Expert.