stacy sherman and cary munk talk about cx

Let’s Talk CX… Interview Series #1

My passionate customer success friend and video producer, Cary Munk, asked to interview me for a special CX project he’s working on. Of course, when there’s an opportunity to talk about customer experience, employee engagement, and building a best-in-class company culture, I’m all in.

While the video is not available yet to view, I’m sharing some of our conversations as a preview of several CX talks to come this summer. I am confident you’ll learn something from the series. If there’s a specific CX topic you want to hear more about, please let me know as the “voice of my readers” matters a lot.

customer experience (CX) interview:

CARY: Today, I’m delighted to interview Stacy Sherman, who is the head of CX, Employee Engagement, and Culture Transformation at Schindler Elevator Corporation, USA division. (Formerly at Verizon.) Stacy’s is dedicated to HUMANIZING business and challenging the status quo to maximize satisfaction globally. Stacy is a featured guest on CX podcasts, contributing writer to Forbes and other publications, and also a writer of a popular blog, DoingCXRight®‬. Glad to have Stacy, who humanizes the workplace and believes that brands who create a memorable experience for customers are the ones that win in the long run. On a personal note, Stacy continues to amaze me with her thoughtfulness and knowledge and is someone who I continuously learn from. Stacy, thank you for joining us.

STACY:  Thank you for the great introduction. I’m glad to be here.

CARY:  Stacy, so who are you when you’re not at your day job?  What are your personal interests?

STACY:  My most favorite role in life is being a Mom of two kids. Other than that, I have a full-time job, and when I’m not at work, I’m still CX focused. It may sound cliché, but I really walk the talk as I’m Doing CX Right at night and weekends. In general, I am fascinated about the heart and science of CX and continue my studies to deliver great experiences in impactful ways. When I’m not at work, I love to travel the world, notice it, write about it, speak about it. It’s just part of me. You can read a great example of this from my vacation in Anguilla. I interviewed staff members who created Wow Moments for me and other customers. I was intrigued by how much they owned the customer experience even if it wasn’t their direct department. From the interviews, I noticed they all had one thing in common, which is a love of their job. It proves an important point that happy employees fuel happy customers all around the globe. Anyway, to the original question, I’m reading about CX, listening to podcasts, and Ted talks in my spare time. What I’m trying to say is that my hobbies all tie back to CX since it’s my passion.

CARY: That’s amazing. So, you’re the same person at work and at home.

STACY: Yes. You have to be because if you’re going to do what I call humanize business, you have to be human and real all the time. It’s not scripted.

CARY:  That’s true. Not everyone can say that. It makes you unique.  Let’s start from the beginning. What was your background and how did you pivot into CX?

STACY: It’s an interesting story and I imagine everybody you talk to will have some fascinating background.  My career began in sales and marketing at AT&T after college. In a way you can say that is a CX job as it’s customer focused. Back then, the word CX didn’t exist but the basic principles of delighting customers did. I had to meet customer needs and expectations in those roles or I would never have made my sales objectives. The true practice of CX and methodologies came when I was at Verizon. I remember the day my boss threw me a ball. He said that my responsibilities are expanding and I’ll be leading Customer Experience (CX) and Voice of Customer (VOC) initiatives. I had no idea what that meant and later learned that he didn’t either. We both intuitively knew that customer experience would grow in importance and that my career depended on my figuring it out. That’s exactly what I did by learning all about getting customer feedback, measuring customer satisfaction, using insight to drive improvements and so much more. The long answer to your question, Cary, is I literally fell into the CX field, and never stopped since I “caught the ball.”

CARY: You really grabbed onto that ball.

STACY: Yes, I did. I had to run forward and sideways, and figure it out with minimal support. While I felt uncertain at the time, I’m grateful that my old boss trusted me to learn and excel as CX as it quickly became a booming field, and experts are in high demand. Every company needs to focus on customer experience to gain a competitive edge. My one advice is if you want to differentiate your brand, start with your employees first. They can make or break a company’s reputation.

CARY: I know that you have worked at companies that provide omnichannel experiences. How does CX apply?

STACY: Most of my jobs included omnichannel (online and offline) experience. It’s an important topic because for brands to succeed, they must make it really easy for customers to learn about products and services, buy without difficulties and get help when they need it. When working at Verizon, the team and I deployed “Buy Online, Pick Up At Store” on the eCommerce website. The launch was a success however, through listening to customer feedback, we learned that there were improvement opportunities. When customers went to their local retail store, they had to wait on a line to pick-up their purchased device and became increasingly frustrated about the wait time. By leveraging “voice of customer” (VOC) data, we were able to identify the challenges and improve the pickup experience. For example, we established separate lines for people visiting the store based on whether they already paid and picking up an order versus people coming to shop and purchase in person. We were also able to provide personalized service to those who already bought since we knew who they were in advance of arrival. My point is that buying online and picking up in-store became its own experience. Companies who operate and serve customers in digital and non-digital ways need to account for the entire customer journey. It must be a holistic approach and seamless to customers as that’s when they will likely purchase again and tell others to buy too.

CARY:  Your story makes a lot of sense. You were listening to customers and getting their feedback to make positive changes to enhance customer experiences.

STACY: Correct. If we had not asked customers about their purchase and pick up experiences, we might not have known about their pain points to improve them. So, I can’t emphasize it enough. Ask customers about their level of satisfaction, sentiments, and level of effort when interacting with your brand. Get feedback and then do something with it. That’s when the magic happens.

CARY: So true. You have worked at a variety of companies and industries; from consumer brands to telecom and mobility, what would be one takeaway that CX practitioners can apply no matter where they work?

STACY:  I have so much to say, but I’ll sum it up. Regardless of industry, start with your greatest assets which are your employees. Actively listen, empathize, and provide great experiences for them because the more employees are happy, the more your customers will be too. CX and EX go hand in hand.

CARY:  Sounds like you are referring to creating a customer-centric culture.

STACY: Yes. The best leaders and brands focus on employee satisfaction AT ALL LEVELS of the organization so that everyone feels empowered and owns CX. Culture starts at the top with an executive champion, yet it also requires a bottoms up approach. I recommend deploying a formal education program within companies. The more that internal teams know about why and how to deliver customer excellence, the greater chance they will be change agents and transform the business. CX trained employees will more often do the right thing for customers, even when their boss isn’t looking. Choosing the right CX program is essential as there are a lot out there, but not all are reputable. Learn about my class experience and recommended universities. I’m happy to share details of the course and what I learned. Likewise, you’ll find valuable resources and articles on my blog to gain practical tips to apply now whereever you work. 

CARY: You speak about having buy-in from the top, creating a culture with employee recognition and empathy, and differentiating brands through CX. I’ve been thinking about how CX has been around for many years. Why do you think it’s such a hot topic now more than ever?

STACY:  In the past, companies could compete on price alone, but now, in a hyper-competitive environment, that’s changed. Think about Starbucks for example. There are many places to get a cup of coffee. I shop at Starbucks NOT because I enjoy paying triple the cost versus my local .99 cent coffee place. I am a loyal Starbucks customer because of the experience they provide. From the moment I walk into the store, people greet me by name. Employees intentionally make an effort to know their reoccurring customers. I also appreciate how they handle mistakes when they happen. Employees fix issues with no questions asked. They’ll even go up and beyond to ensure I like something I’m ordering for the first time by providing me a taste before purchasing it. I’m noticing more local cafes are doing this, and I love it. Brands are also getting more sophisticated with their apps and saving customers time before entering the store. That’s where user experience (UX) becomes an essential factor in choosing which brands to buy from. I can go on and on about this. I’ll sum up by saying experiences matter especially when competitive companies are relatively the same price. Read my Forbes article about what coffee shops can teach brands about customer experience.

CARY:  I’ve had a similar Starbucks experience. From the moment I walk in and smell the aroma to when I walk out with a cup of cappuccino.

STACY:  The physical experience is a part of the customer journey.  People immediately judge brands from their first moment when walking into a Doctor’s office, restaurant, etc. We could talk for hours about first impressions and onboarding experiences. Perhaps in the future.

CARY:  So true. Let’s end on inspiring our audience with something positive that we we’ll look back upon as we are going through an uncertain and unprecedented time. One of my takeaways is humorous. Yesterday, I opened the door to my bedroom and there’s a woman on the floor doing yoga… with a video screen of twenty other people doing yoga.  It looked like a yoga studio with a mat, blocks, candles and it took me a few seconds to realize… oh, that’s my girlfriend. And on a personal note, we had planned on moving in together later this year when my daughter starts college. This experience has brought us closer and enhanced our relationship. Stacy, what’s your rainbow?  What are you going to remember when you look back?

STACY: I love this question. I did something that I may never have done if it hadn’t been for Covid19. When the pandemic first started, I contacted about thirty people around the world to learn how they are staying content and productive while socially distancing. Every story I heard was better than the next. One guy in Italy was learning how to bake all kinds of homemade bread. Another guy was creating YouTube lessons with his son to teach children how to play basketball. I captured all the different stories and created an article from the lessons shared. It quickly went viral globally. It’s one of my most favorites because it inspired others at a time when people feel like they’re going against gravity. So to your question about “what’s my rainbow,” my answer is it is all the amazing connections and conversations from my article interviews. Their collective answers are what I’ll remember most.

CARY: That’s inspiring and a good place to wrap-up. Thank you for finding time to chat. For anyone reading this, where can they find you?

Stacy:  My website is DOINGCXRIGHT. You’ll see my contact information, articles, podcasts, and customer experience best practices. Thank you for the time together today, Cary. Bottom line: I’m on a mission to help connect people and inspire great authentic experiences to increase satisfaction. I hope people will join me on the journey. Together, we can make a difference!

CARY: Thank you Stacy. Have a great day.

STACY: You too.

If you want to know more about Cary Munk, connect with him on LinkedIn. And, if you want more information or CX coaching from me, Stacy Sherman, let’s connect anytime. I’m happy to help the community because together, we can create better experiences for all.

Wishing you much success in the world of CX.

*All views expressed are mine & do not reflect opinions or imply endorsement of employers or other organizations.

How to transition your business without sacrificing CX

How to Shift Your Strategy Without Hindering CX

The coronavirus outbreak has changed the way we live. It’s impacting people very differently, which fascinates me. I decided to take my passion for understanding and studying human behaviors to the next level for a greater purpose. As the pandemic spreads, I’ve been interviewing people around the world to learn about their experiences and how they are coping, staying calm and productive. My goal for publishing a collection of stories is to spread great ideas and inspire others to achieve happiness at a time we need it most.

My first article was about silver linings and what people are personally accomplishing that they may not have if the pandemic never happened. My second article was more business focussed, which featured a Doctor who transitioned his NY psychiatric practice from in-person therapy to ONLINE in ONE WEEK! We spoke about how technology has helped him pivot while still humanizing business, and much more.

Today, I’m featuring another successful entrepreneur who is surviving the economic downturn by shifting his strategies while sustaining a customer-first company culture.

Meet Sam Brenner

Sam is the CEO of CRB Workforce, who specializes in building large scale technical project-based teams as well as individual targeted recruitment efforts. I especially admire how CRB personalizes employee experiences and meets the needs of clients based on their unique needs versus taking a “cookie-cutter” approach.

interview summary:

Stacy interviews Sam Brenner about DoingCXRight during Covid-19

1. How are you pivoting your business during COVID-19?

SAM: Our pivot is twofold. First, we evaluated all clients and determined which ones are active so that we divert all our resources towards a select and exclusive group. Second, we expanded our primary industry to include healthcare and distribution/warehouse. This allows us to provide solutions to new market segments while further deepening our relationship with select clients. (Stacy’s note: This makes sense. Companies need to be flexible and agile. It’s the only way to have a competitive edge).

2. How is technology helping you to humanize business?

SAM: Technology has helped us solve problems. We’ve automated processes to create better content, deliver results and reports faster, and more to enhance communications. With that being said, more automation is enabling us to focus on person to person relationships at a deeper level. We have increased the capacity to be empathetic and listen to our customers and employees. (Stacy’s note: I love this, and doing even just the CX basics goes a long way).

3. What’s your greatest challenge in continuing to humanize business?

SAM: I think the biggest challenge will be weighing the revenue needs versus human needs. Companies need revenue right now – sales are slowing. Humans need jobs yet without revenue, companies can’t hire. It will be a constant and difficult challenge to keep business humanized while also driving the bottom line out of survival. (Stacy’s note: I understand what you are saying as others are balancing the same dilemmas everywhere. We need to remain optimistic that will survive this together similar to generations before us who have endured other pandemics)

4. What’s your next steps to ensure customer satisfaction?

SAM: We are getting organized. This downtime has allowed us to get to know our customers better and to be more responsive. Ultimately, we are a service to our customers and their satisfaction determines our future success. (Stacy’s note: I agree. Customer experience is a brand differentiator and it’s smart business to apply CX best pracitces now and always!)

5. What are some ways you are or plan to keep staff engaged and satisfied to deliver customer excellence? 


SAM: Our management team has been conducting daily touches with every employee. We are doing 3 separate video meetings per division throughout the day. 1 AM, 1 Lunch, and 1 PM overview call. We discuss the current status of our business, roadblocks, issues, as well as successes. At the end of the day, we want our employees to know we care and to in turn – show our customers that they care. Communication and organization drive it all.  (Stacy’s note: I couldn’t agree more with this last statement. Communication is what drives loyalty. Even if a company makes a mistake, customers are more forgiving when they are updated and feel cared for. Transparency goes a long way.)

Learn more about Sam Brenner on LinkedIn and his website.

 

how are you pivoting your business during covad-19 without impacting CX?

 

 

Employee Engagement Tip by Stacy Sherman

1 Simple Way To engage employees & humanize your business TODAY

Happy employees lead to happy customers. That’s what Simon Sinek says, and it is very true! I’ve seen first hand throughout my corporate career how much employee satisfaction impacts company culture and overall results. As we live through uncertain times, employee happiness and inclusion are extra important and require creativity to achieve an engaged workforce who delivers customer excellence.

How To Create Meaningful Connections with employees Today

Form a workplace book club (virtually during a pandemic). The idea is more than just reading the same book, although that is a bonding experience. I’m suggesting to join Simon Sinek’s online community and read “Start with the why.” Each Friday at 3pm EST, he will be discussing a chapter and answering questions submitted by his fans.

My Customer Experience team and I are joining Simon’s sessions and also planning to get together on Mondays. WHY? To discuss key takeaways, learn from diverse perspectives, and become a better conversationalist.

Book Club Details:

DoingCXRight®‬ Tip For Employee Engagement

Here’s How It Works:

Step 1: Find at least one other person and read the book together. Be it with friends or colleagues, the goal is that we are doing something as a community.

Step 2: Send your book club’s questions for each of the six parts of Start with Why to bookclub@simonsinek.com, include the name of your book club and the names of its members.

Step 3: Tune in to YouTube.com/simonsinek where he will answer your questions live. If you can’t make it live, worry not, he will keep the videos posted on YouTube.

What Are YOU Doing to Engage Your Employees?

I recommend a book club as it’s great for the mind, awesome for leadership, and excellent for business as work teams unite and break silos.I’d love to hear your stories and I will continue to share lessons learned from Simon’s book club and related experiences.

Special thank you to my entire rockstar CX work family (not everyone shown below). You inspire me every day to show up as my best self.

More photos and articles to follow.

CX Team Engagement Meeting

Increase your skills & Transform your business by DoingCXRight®‬

  • Sign Up for my newsletter. You’ll get instant access to my free whitepaper about going from CX Novice to CX Expert.
  • Listen to podcasts and read CX articles.
  • Contact Stacy for mentorship and collaboration ideas at Stacy@DoingCXRight.com

*All views expressed are mine & do not reflect opinions of or imply endorsement of employers or other organizations

How to pivot to an online business without sacrificing CX

How To Quickly Pivot To An Online Business Without Sacrificing CX

Since the coronavirus outbreak started, companies have had to shift their strategies to keep their employees and customers safe. Business owners and managers are making difficult decisions and acting fast to adapt to the current unpredictable and challenging time.

I’ve been curious about how leaders are implementing changes without negatively affecting their staff and customer experiences. I interviewed several people across different industries who are known for HUMANIZING BUSINESS. My goal is to provide helpful tips for people migrating to an online business, remote workforce and other ways of operating in a new environment. The following is my first article of a series.

Continue reading “How To Quickly Pivot To An Online Business Without Sacrificing CX”
When Employees Love Their Job, Customers Feel It.

When Employees L❤️VE Their Job, Customers Feel It!

While there are many ways to create positive emotions to fuel brand trust, loyalty, and referrals, customer satisfaction starts with employees first. When employees are genuinely happy, it transfers to customers regardless of industry or location in the world. I know this first hand having worked at Global companies for over 20 years and from interviewing people during my business and personal travels. There are few individuals that stand out from my recent trip as they reinforce what I always say: People make the difference and serve as a brand differentiator.

Continue reading “When Employees L❤️VE Their Job, Customers Feel It!”

10 Employee Appreciation Tips by Stacy Sherman

How To Build A Customer-Centric Culture Though Employee Appreciation (10 Tips)

It’s no secret that happy employees yield better business results. There’s a lot of research indicating customer satisfaction and loyalty rises when employees enjoy their jobs and workplace. They go hand-in-hand. As leadership expert Simon Sinek says, “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first. I agree, and also know that creating a great company culture does not happen automatically or overnight. It requires intentional design and ongoing focus. As Thanksgiving approaches, take time out to show gratitude at work (not just in your personal life). Walk the talk and keep the momentum going.  

10 Authentic Ways To Thank Employees:

  1. Send hand-written thank-you notes. Recognize employees for delighting customers.
  2. Send newsletters to each department. Personalize messages. No “cookie-cutter” approach.
  3. Invite teams to an Executive meal based on NPS scores and positive customer feedback.
  4. Publicize awesome work. Brag about individuals & teams on the company website.
  5. Enable people to recognize each other. Gamify experiences. Tie prizes to customer value.
  6. Send cake and balloons to top-performing sales offices and those with Y/Y improvements.
  7. Buy lunch for people resolving customer issues daily i.e. call center reps.  
  8. Create a CEO video message thanking employees for creating customer promoters.
  9. Offer a bonus or day off to those who routinely demonstrate customer excellence.
  10. Feed employees and show up. My employer, Schindler Elevator Corporation, demonstrated this perfectly. Company Executives literally served happiness at employee Thanksgiving lunch in the cafeteria. (See my Linkedin for photos)

culture starts with you! appreciate employees at all levels

“69% of employees work harder when they feel appreciated. 79% feel motivated when recognized.” (Work.com). See more statistics in the infographic below. Given the facts, why don’t Executives and Managers thank their employees more frequently? One study reveals that “51% of workers are recognized once a quarter.” I’ve been in organizations where it’s more like once per year. I’m challenging everyone to change that. Culture starts at the top but requires bottom-up actions too.

Doing CX Right Reminders:

  • Small acts of kindness go a long way. “People may forget what you said or did, but never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
  • Employees are your heroes. If they don’t feel important, your customers will feel it.
  • Don’t wait for formal end of year reviews. If you’re not appreciating employees throughout the year, your competitors will. They’re searching for great talent.
  • Don’t overthink it. Thank employees everywhere i.e. meetings, cafeteria, parking lot.
  • Be empathetic and sincere. Employees know when managers are “checking a box.”
  • Get more ideas from my other article: 14 Ways To Celebrate CX Day

Employee Satisfaction and DoingCXRight
Source: Ashley Johnson

 

How do YOU build a customer-centric culture? Please comment below and join conversations on my Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn pages. Let’s keep the conversations going to humanize experiences and maximize happiness everywhere.

Want To Increase Your CX Skills?

Sign Up for DoingCXRight newsletter as you’ll receive actionable tips you can easily apply right away. When you subscribe, you’ll get instant access to my free whitepaper about going from CX Novice to CX Expert. Feel free to contact me any time at DoingCXRight@gmail.com

Appreciating Employees and Why It Matters
Source: Salesforce

If you like this article, read more about driving Customer-Centric Cultures and Employee Engagement. 

*All views expressed are mine & do not reflect opinions of or imply endorsement of employers or other organizations.

 

Should NPS Be Tied To Employee Compensation?

The Great Debate: Should Employee Paychecks Be Linked To Customer NPS?

Measuring customer satisfaction and identifying “pain points” for improvement is common practice at nearly all best-in-class companies. While there’s no question about the importance of customer experience (CX) and employee (EX) too, there is a debate about WHICH metric is best and HOW to apply it within organizations. Continue Reading →

Creating a Customer-Centric Culture by Stacy Sherman

Expert Views On Building A Customer-Centric Culture

What is company culture? Why is it important? Who owns culture, and how does customer experience play a role? You can hear valuable answers to these questions in an upcoming panel discussion hosted by CXPA. I had the privilege of listening to the recording before it launches on October 1st, otherwise known as CX Day. Impressive speakers including Continue Reading →

Stacy Sherman Leads CX Day

14 Effective Ways To Celebrate CX Day (and beyond)

Have you heard about Customer Experience / CX Day? It is a real day. I did not make it up. I am passionate about people celebrating everywhere because as my friend Stan Phelps explains in Forbes, “happy loyal customers do not happen without happy engaged employees.” Consequently, I have been leading CX Day festivities over the years and highly recommend you do too. Continue Reading →