Jeanne Bliss

4 Steps to Improve Customer Experience At Your SaaS Organization


Have you just become a C-Suite leader for your B2B organization’s customer experience? Or maybe you’re looking to elevate and become a CX leader — if so, you’ll find this episode valuable. We’re revisiting snippets of conversations with previous guests this summer, and in this episode, we’ll hear from Yellowfin’s CCO, Lee Roquet and former CCO of Rigor, Francis Cordon.

Both leaders share tactics that they implemented in the first few months of their role at these SaaS companies. I encourage you to listen to the episode, especially Francis’s segment, where he talks about the concept of FAAS (Fast As A Service).

Bucket Your Work Into Different Categories

Upon starting his role at Yellowfin, a company that offers business intelligence reporting and analytics software, Lee already had a plan to assess the work that he needed to do. He shares that he created a process for himself to assess situations by bucketing things into the following categories: product, people, and systems and process.

Analyze the product: Lee knew they had a good product, but he also needed a better understanding of customer issues and what could be improved. So he took the product training courses that customers initially go through, in order to understand the experience from their POV.

People: How are customers trained? How are they helped, and how do they feel at the end of the process? Lee spent time gathering feedback from customers to understand their pain points with the product and experience as a whole, so he could work with his team to make improvements.

Systems and process: Lee looked at some of the standard requests that came in from the support teams. He wanted a better understanding of what was done for the development of the product roadmap and how customer issues were handled. After analyzing these internal processes, Lee developed a system to improve the ticketing process for employees handling customer issues.

Lee also shares that ultimately, this was a plan that he knew would take at least a year to start penetrating the organization, with multiple years needed for full effect. He says that even at the two-year mark, he was still the major force championing this project. So, don’t get discouraged when it comes to this work and looking for success.

Don’t get discouraged when it comes to your #CX work and achieving success. It may take some time, but it's worth it! Click To Tweet

Provide Value, Create Internal Metrics, and Help Customers Achieve Their KPIs

As former CCO of Rigor, a company that provides performance monitoring and optimization software, Francis Cordon was extremely passionate about his work to transform the company’s customer experience. He was once a customer utilizing a SaaS product service and was able to understand the importance of truly having a valuable relationship with a vendor. Given this experience, he made it his mission to empower his employees to create strong connections and provide valuable services to customers.

When he stepped into his role, Francis did the following: 

Integrate his team: Francis understood that customer success doesn’t just come from post-sales. He worked with pre and post-sales teams, and customer/tech support to get them on the same page in terms of fostering customer success. 

Communicate the importance of providing value: When customers renew with you and upgrade services, you’re developing a successful relationship. Francis had his employees think through the ways they could be of more assistance to customers; they need to offer services and support that would enable the customer to truly sell the product internally to their boss and team.

Establish KPIs: What are your current conversion rates? Francis wanted to develop something that was measurable that he could hold his team accountable for. Also, it’s important to know what your customer’s KPIs are, so you can help them reach their goals and showcase the value of your product. 

Francis shares that once his employees became more empathetic with their customers, there was a shift in relationships that proved to be extremely beneficial for the company.

When it comes to transforming your #B2B customer experience, provide value to customers, create internal metrics, and help customers achieve their KPIs. Click To Tweet

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Don’t Make Customers Play the Service Waiting Game

Stop the Service Waiting Game

In this week’s Daily Dose video, I share a short video inspired by the lessons of my most recent book, Would You Do That To Your Mother

The following is a lightly edited transcript of the video below.


Does this scenario sound familiar: I’ve had breakfast, lunch and a snack and the cable guy is still not here. I got a call from him about an hour ago that he’s, “On his way.” No clue what that means.

Is it about your customer’s needs? Or about your company’s?

Would you do that to your mother? Would you tell her you wanted to visit her, then give her a four hour window, during which time you may or you may not show up?

That four hour window was created for the company, not for the customer, and certainly not for your mom. It says, “We put our needs ahead of yours.”

[Read more about this topic in this blog post, in which I share a case study that illustrates this point.]

[embedded content]

Lost wages + productivity = irate customers

In a survey conducted by CNN Money, 58% of Americans said they waited for in home appointments for the cable guy and other people for an average of four and a half hours. Many lost wages waiting and some even had to use a sick day or a vacation day!

End the 4-hour service window! Show your customers you respect them by honoring their time. Your actions, more than your empty promises, equal respect. #MakeMomProud Click To Tweet

This isn’t that hard to overcome. 70% of customers say they will recommend you just for being on time.

In these times, your actions, more than your empty promises, equal respect.

Here’s a comic that summarizes this “Would You do That To Your Mother?” moment:

Comic: "I've had breakfast, lunch, and a snack. I've gained 15 pounds and the cable guys is still not here."

See more comics from the book, as well as quotes from my videos, interviews, and blog posts on my Instagram page.

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Must Read: 5 Books with Tips and Techniques to Improve Your Customer Experience and...

I know we’re in August and the Back to School advertisements are making the rounds, but summer isn’t over yet! So if you’re heading on vacation soon or relaxing as business slows down a bit, here are a few book suggestions for you to uplevel your own CX skills and that of your team. The following books should be in your arsenal for customer experience transformation.

I hope you pick up a copy or two from the list below and head back to work with a new strategy for getting things done!

The authors of the following books have also been guests on my podcast, The Chief Customer Officer Human Duct Tape Show.

The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath

In The Power of Moments, Chip and Dan Heath ask you to think about the positive moments and experiences you’ve had in your life. They explain how these experiences are created because of four elements: elevation, insight, pride, and connection. Their insights help us understand why we tend to remember the best and the worst moments of an experience. Chip and Dan share anecdotes and research that help us piece together ways we can create delightful but meaningful experiences that elevate customers.

Hear Dan Heath share some concepts from the book in our episode: How to Create Power Moments That Rise Above the Rest with Dan Heath.

Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise by Horst Schulze

Horst Schulze, Founder, Chairman & CEO of the Capella Hotel Group, and Co-founder & Former COO of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. knows a thing or two about creating memorable experiences and providing stellar customer service. In this book, Horst shares distinct principles that have helped him amass global success over his fifty-year career. Horst knows how to lead himself and others into greatness and has grown the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. into a multi-billion dollar brand. Learn how you can apply Horst’s principles to your business.

Watch my video interview with Horst and learn how to be a leader that sets the vision and the standards: 3 Keys to Creating Excellence in Your Customer and Employee Experience with Horst Schulze.

Talk Triggers by Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin

Jay Baer, Founder of marketing consultancy, Convince & Convert, and author of 6 best-selling books, has co-authored this book with Daniel Lemin, shedding light on why and how customers talk about brands. There are more than 30 case studies on different brands and the tactics they employ that results in word of mouth recommendations from one customer to another (Doubletree Hotels and the warm cookie upon arrival, Cheesecake factory’s extensive menu, and more). Pick up the book and read about their 4-5-6 learning system that goes into creating a talk trigger.

Watch my video interview with Jay Baer to get some insights into the book: How to Build In Experiences That Will Earn Customers’ Raves: Introducing the ‘Tak Trigger’ with Jay Baer.

The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick Delsi

Author, Matthew Dixon is the executive director of the Sales & Service Practice of CEB and also contributes to the Harvard Business Review. In this book, Matthew and his co-authors break down myths about sales, customer experience and customer loyalty. They share research-based facts to help you create plans of action with measurable results. You’ll find tools and templates that have already been tested with CEB in this book to help you improve service, reduce expenses, and decrease churn.

Matthew shared some of his expertise with a guest post on the Customer Bliss blog: Is Your Customer Service Department A ‘Factory of Sadness’?

Kaleidoscope Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles by Chip R. Bell

Author, keynote speaker, and consultant, Chip R. Bell provides a great resource with nine key concepts to help you deliver customer service and experience that’s truly memorable. Like the other CX experts, Chip knows that there’s more to creating a great experience than just providing good service. In this book, Chip offers great takeaways with a focus on grace and giving that will really have you take another look at how you interact with your customers and employees.

Read Chip’s guest post on the Customer Bliss blog about the importance of giving others your best: Mama’s Manners: A Guest Post by Chip Bell.


Of course, don’t forget that you can also add my books to your reading list as well! My book, Chief Customer Officer 2.0 is a classic, with many of my guests mentioning it helped them develop a framework for their work and truly step into their role as a CX leader. Also, if you haven’t already picked up my new book, Would You Do That Your Mother? The ‘Make Mom Proud’ Standard for How to Treat Your Mother, it’s a great tool with checklists and resources to help you and your team make the best decisions when it comes to treating your customers with respect and dignity.

Have you read any of the books on this list? How have they helped you? Share with me in the comments!

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Two CX Leaders Share Frameworks to Improve Customer-Centricity in Their Organization

Scott Allison and Jon Herstein

As we continue to revisit conversations with CX leaders who were previously on the show, today we’re going to explore strategies implemented by two CX leaders at global corporations: Scott Allison, CCO at DHL Supply Chain and Jon Herstein, CCO at Box.

Both leaders share great tactics and strategies that they implemented when asked the question, “how did you first assess the work that needed to be done?” Considering they both work at established, global corporations with hundreds (and thousands) of employees, it’s interesting to see the scope of the work they chose to tackle.

Use Employee and Customer Feedback to Solidify Your Organization’s Values and Messaging

When Scott Allison of DHL first stepped into his CCO role, he approached the work by looking at the four aspects of customer experience below:

Internal Stakeholder management. Talk to your employees – not only those who report directly to you but to those who don’t as well. He searched for common threads in the responses to determine areas of improvement for him to focus on.

Understand customer perspectives. It was important for Scott to know what the customers thought was going well. In addition to focusing on things that needed to get fixed, Scott wanted to know how they could improve things that were already going well and make them better.

Improve brand messaging. Scott realized that DHL is a great business but didn’t believe that the company communicated it well enough. He wanted to ensure that DHL got its messaging right. Scott wanted to develop the business values and use them as a guide for creating a mission/purpose for employees, something that communicated the value of the business rather than what they actually do. 

Develop a customer-based strategy. With the desire to create a sense of purpose for employees and to improve brand messaging, Scott merged these two goals with a plan to focus on the company’s social media. They began training salespeople on social media in order to communicate brand success stories, to be more accessible to customers, to get feedback, and to further communicate DHL’s values. 

Search for common threads in feedback from customers and employees in order to determine areas of improvement in your CX journey. —Scott Allison, CCO @DHLUS Click To Tweet

Create a Framework to Attack Specific Areas of Improvement

When Jon Herstein first assessed the work that needed to be done in his role as a CCO, he developed a framework of six pillars to address some of the areas that needed improvement:

Focus on customer experience. Thinking through how are customers engaged and who is engaging them? Jon’s focus was to consider the personality of those who are hired (smile behind the resume) – ensuring that they have a service-oriented mindset. Jon wants employees to be empowered to fix a customer’s problem first then ask for permission later.

Leverage the voice of the customer. Jon wanted to figure out how to bring the perspective of customers back into the business to influence the way they build products, deliver services, and develop company strategies. It was important that he used customer insights to create meaningful work. 

Be customer-focused (centricity). It was important to Jon that everyone in the company thinks about customers, even those who don’t interact with them. He wanted to develop a strategy that engaged employees to always think about the customer and ways to help them succeed.

Develop customer relationships. Jon knew that in order to be successful with customer centricity, customer relationships need to be nurtured. He formed an advisory board with this focus in mind. 

Foster customer advocacy. Do you have a loyal fan base or community? If so, engage and reward them. Jon and his team built an army of advocates called, Box Stars. These Stars advocate on behalf of Box and have a mutually-beneficial relationship with the brand.

Cultivate thought leadership. Don’t be afraid to publicly share industry and organizational insights. Similar to Scott Allison and his desire to increase the visibility of DHL as an industry leader, Jon believes in the notion of publicly sharing more information about the company and some of the things they do.

Everyone in your company should think about customers, even those who don’t interact with them. —Jon Herstein, CCO @box Click To Tweet

As many of you may know, figuring out how to prioritize the work that you need to do with a role that holds such a large responsibility can seem overwhelming at first. Take the time to find your support system and break down big challenges into bite-sized portions to make it more manageable. Remember, don’t try to boil the ocean!

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Customer Respect: Are You Treating Women with Respect?

In this week’s Daily Dose video, I share a short video inspired by the lessons of my most recent book, Would You Do That To Your Mother

The following is a lightly edited transcript of the video below.


There are a few industries that have a hard time acknowledging women, even when they ask the question. If a man and woman are present in retail, the woman may ask the question, but the man gets answered. Many of these industries have something to do with cars, planes, and boats.

But I’m here to tell you, women ask great questions, and often are the ones paying the bills and making the majority of buying decisions. Don’t answer us, at your peril.

[embedded content]

Check Your Bias at the Door

This is simply about respect. In any retail setting, someone who walks in your door can’t be sized-up by their sex, or what they wear, or whom they walk in with. I don’t think you would do that to your mother, so please, don’t do it to anyone, no matter who they are, or where they walk in from.

And by the way, women account for 85% of all consumer purchases.

When you judge your customer, you lessen your humanity. So check your bias at the door. #CX #MakeMomProud Click To Tweet

When you judge your customer, you lessen your humanity. So check your bias at the door. In retail, it is your humanness, your ability to connect and help that customer, that is the backbone of relationships and the backbone of business growth.

Here’s a comic that summarizes this “Would you do that to your mother?” moment:

For more on this topic, read this blog post in which I reflect upon the incidents last year at Starbucks and the bias that caused them.

What do you do within your own organization to account for unconscious and implicit bias? Leave a comment below to join the conversation.

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Why You Must Take the Monkey Off Your Customer’s Back

In my Daily Dose video series, I explore the topics that chief customer officers must grapple with on a daily basis. Join me as I discuss what I’ve learned over the course of my 35-year career, so that you can more effectively do the work that needs to be done.

Today’s video is an excerpt from my online course, inspired by my book, Would You Do That To Your Mother? Click here to learn more about the course and enroll. 

The following is a lightly edited transcript of the video below.


Sometimes in our lives as customers when we need help our own fortitude and ability to fend for ourselves determines the outcome. The extra mile customer with the gusto to call and call, search, act as a private eye, and put the pieces together and make copies and send files and return receipts gets the worm. Companies put the monkey on customer’s backs and the result is service exhaustion. We’re glad for the outcome received, but we don’t know if we have it in us to do it again.

[embedded content]

This occurs as customer request for support or information or assistance are met with a set of actions—or monkeys—that the customer must take or wait for or persist in checking up on. And the customer who can’t keep calling back or searching for answers is just as worn out as the extra mile customer.

Companies put the monkey on customer's backs and the result is service exhaustion. We're glad for the outcome received, but we don't know if we have it in us to do it again. End service exhaustion! #MakeMomProud #CX Click To Tweet

Recognize the Consequences of the Monkey on Your Customer’s Back

Globally, 56% of respondents in Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report have actually ceased doing business with the brand because of poor service experiences.

Would you make your mom do extra work that you could have done for her? End service exhaustion.

The Make-Mom-Proud companies think about all of the steps, and the people, and the processes that it takes to get certain things done, and they resist layering work on customers. They work to remove the monkeys off customers’ backs.

Monkeying Around with Healthcare

Healthcare is one industry that delivers a lot of those monkeys. We are often left to our own devices to ensure that all of our healthcare records, for example, travel with us as we move to different healthcare providers. Mayo Clinic calls this the burden of care. And because many record keeping systems are not yet connected, we are still burdened with carrying x-ray films and test results, and filling out numerous forms ourselves to get them transferred from one physician’s office to the next.

And for those who have numerous medications to manage, the maze is even more complex. Patients have to then connect the dots to ensure that medications prescribed from one physician to another don’t cause adverse reactions.

One Make-Mom-Proud action to support the elderly most prone to this complexity is called the Pharmacy Home Project. This service, run by Community Care of North Carolina, guides elderly patients to help them coordinate all of their medications to prevent those adverse reactions. They actually travel home with patients, examine what’s in their medicine cabinet, and help them navigate the complicated maze of managing multiple medications prescribed by separate physicians.

And while we might expect monkeys in complex industries such as healthcare, it’s always a bit startling when they’re layered on us when we least expect it, when the solution we thought should have been so simple. Monkeys pop up in every industry.

End the Monkey Business

The Make-Mom-Proud companies know that the more monkeys or the more work they put on customers’ backs, the more customers will talk about the experience and how much pain the company put them through. And this is not because of the joy, but because of the experience—or you might say the monkey business.

As you think of that story, think about customer experiences with you. What extra work have you layered on your customers? Are there any monkeys that remain? And have you taken any off lately?

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7 Customer & Employee Experience Tactics to Implement at the Start

Tactics for Getting Through Your First Year as a CX Leader

This summer, I’m taking a bit of a break to prepare exciting new content for you, and in the meantime, I’m replaying a compilation of some snippets of conversations from past episodes. I know how much you all love when we get straight to the facts and tactics, so I think you’ll really appreciate the tips that come from CX leaders when they answer the question, “how did you assess the work that needs to be done?”

In today’s episode, we take a look at how Lucy Norris, Executive Vice President, Chief Customer Success Officer at Genesys and Daniel Coullet, Senior Vice President of Customer Success and Experience at PTC, handled the first year in their role. Both CX leaders represent tech companies but share advice that can be relevant to CX leaders in other industries.

Define and Develop Expectations

When Lucy first had to assess the work that needs to be done at Genesys, she did the following:

Be Physically Present

Lucy spent almost a year traveling, listening to salespeople, customers, partners, and going to conferences. She needed to understand the space she was in, and what both partners and customers thought about their experience with Genesys.

Develop a Business Plan

While things were slow as she first stepped into this role, Lucy took some time with her fresh perspective to develop a business plan centered around growing the maintenance business. This meant focusing on selling long-term maintenance contracts to customers while continuing to drive recurring revenue. It took her 5 months to develop the plan and begin rolling it out; she presented it in three phases:

    • What’s your hill? What are you looking to climb? What is at the top?
    • What is the strategy to climb the hill?
    • What is the execution?

Understand Current Customer Satisfaction

In tech, maintenance and support are extremely important. After some research, Lucy realized that the experience was not yielding happiness for the customers and decided to spend time figuring out how could she solve this problem. She also wanted to design the organization in a way that would help achieve more positive outcomes.

Define Customer Experience and Success

Additionally, Lucy spent time with her team defining customer experience and customer success. According to Lucy, at Genesys, customer success and customer experience are related but they’re not synonymous. She views customer experience as the journey along the way while customer success is the outcome.

When first assessing the work to be done in your CX role, be physically present. -Lucy Norris, @Genesys #CX #customerexperience Click To Tweet

Understand How Your Employees and Clients Feel About The Company

When Daniel Coullet stepped into his role as Senior Vice President of Customer Success and Experience at PTC, he realized one of the first things he needed to do was to actually understand what customer experience meant to PTC.

Understand How Your Employees View Their Work

What does the work being done mean to your employees? Daniel wanted to understand how employees viewed their work and the definition of the customer. Did it go beyond revenue? That was important to know.

Get Everyone on the Same Page

He also spent time clarifying terms and expectations for folks within the company to ensure everyone was one the same page. Similar to Lucy Norris, Daniel shares that it was important for them to define customer success. With a focus on customer success, Daniel and his team started meeting with his teams internally to understand the various points of view and contributions so they could start mapping the customer journey.

Listen to Your Customers’ Direct Feedback

Daniel needed to know directly from customers how they felt about their Genesys experience. He had some customers share their experience via video, and it was extremely eye-opening. Daniel reminds us that even your best customers have some suggestions for improvement and can give you specific insights regarding how certain behaviors impact the business.

Spend time clarifying terms and expectations for folks within the company to ensure everyone is on the same page. -Daniel Coullet, @PTC Click To Tweet

These notes only touch the surface on the conversations had between myself and these leaders. I encourage you to listen to the episode for more insights and feel free to check out the original episodes where we go beyond what happens in the first year: 3 Steps to Communicate Your CX Plan with Leaders, Stakeholders, and Outliers (Lucy Norris) and 4 Ways Building a ‘Customer Room’ Can Reshape Your Customer Experience (Daniel Coullet).

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Show Patients You Care: A Case Study on Customer-Needs-Driven Design

In this week’s Daily Dose video, I share a short video inspired by the lessons of my most recent book, Would You Do That To Your Mother

The following is a lightly edited transcript of the video below.


As a patient, we want health care to put us back together again when we’re just not right, to give us peace, to be cared for, with our dignity intact. Well, the traditional hospital gown is just not cutting it.

[embedded content]

Is it designed for the company or the customer?

The hospital gown was originally designed to make it easy for health care providers to do what they needed to do, but this design clearly did not take the human wearing it into consideration, or the family or friends who suffered along with the lack of patient dignity. The existing hospital gown can impact a patient’s health. Patients suffer from vulnerability, which may impede getting better and that gown contributes to vulnerability.

However, a redesigned gown is proving to improve the entire patient experience. Dale Milford, a patient at Detroit based Henry Ford Health System, wore a newly designed gown for his liver transplant and he said, “The new gown was emblematic of an attitude that was conveyed to me at the hospital, that they cared about me as a whole human being, not just the part they were operating on.”

Download the #MakeMomProud Quiz

Audit your  company with 32 questions that measure how beloved of a company you are, and discover whether you are earning admirable growth based on behaviors defined in Jeanne Bliss' new book, Would You Do That To Your Mother.

Honor your customers’ dignity

When you begin with what customers need instead of what you require, you will gain customers who love you, for understanding their needs and translating it into how you run your business and honor them. #MakeMomProud #CX Click To Tweet

Often design processes and the things we make customers do are built because of what we want to get from them and what we need to get done. When you begin with what customers need instead of what you require, you will gain customers who love you, for understanding their needs and translating it into how you run your business and honor them.

Here’s a comic that summarizes this would you do that your moment. Let’s make this a movement.

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Avoid the Failure to Empathize: Take the Customer Seriously

In this week’s Daily Dose video, I share a short video inspired by the lessons of my most recent book, Would You Do That To Your Mother

The following is a lightly edited transcript of the video below.


Ever been looked at sideways at a car repair shop? You know what I mean. You’re explaining a problem to the car repair guy or your plumber and an issue you’re having repeatedly, in this one instant, just won’t repeat. And when all you want is understanding and solutions, you get that look: you get humored, and sometimes, not served.

Demonstrate that You Take Customers Seriously

Auto dealers actually have a name for this. It’s called failure to duplicate. What about, instead, failure to empathize or take the customer seriously? In fact, this is one of the most cited reasons for customers to walk away from service companies and its people.

A survey conducted by RepairPal and Harris Interactive reveals what they call repair-phobia, which is how men and women distrust auto repair shops and are anxious about having their cars fixed.

A survey by RepairPal/Harris Interactive reveals that people distrust auto repair shops and are anxious about having their cars fixed. The best way to reverse customer fear is to show empathy, caring, and that ever-elusive transparency. Click To Tweet

How to Reverse Customers’ Fear

The best way to reverse this fear is to show empathy, caring, and that ever-elusive transparency. These behaviors can increase your bottom line.

Beloved companies only hire people with that ability to care.

A Guide to Hiring People That Care

Would you ever tell your mom you don’t care?
Today’s technology and resources have allowed consumers to engage with a company at a deeper level which has made how you hire and who you hire a top priority for business growth.

Discover these 5 tips on how to hire people who care.

True empathy can ultimately increase your bottom line. Here’s a comic that summarizes this, “Would You Do That To Your Mother?” moment.

Let’s make this a movement.

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4 Steps to Assessing the CX Work That Needs to Be Done at a...

Chelsie Rae Lee and Allison Pickens

As a CCO at a startup, how do you assess the work that needs to be done to begin the CX transformation? In today’s episode, we’re revisiting conversations with two CCOs who have implemented CX programs from the ground up: Chelsie Rae Lee of SnackNation and Allison Pickens of Gainsight.

Both women became CCOs of their companies during a time where no formal CX work had been instituted. Chelsie Rae joined SnackNation, a subscription service that delivers snacks to homes and offices, the company was small enough, which allowed her to frame her role and work to be done. In addition to holding the position as CCO, Allison Pickens is also Gainsight’s COO, and spent much of her first year defining her role, along with others’ and uniting her C-suite team to move the CX agenda forward. Gainsight is a SaaS company focused on customer success.

1. Clarify Role and Department Responsibilities

That cross-functional work is something I’ve come to really enjoy, and get to do even more of it in my current role,” says Allison about one of her main responsibilities as CCO. Allison shares that she used this strength to focus on the benefits of creating cross-functional trust and cooperation. Within the first few months, she focused on defining roles and charters for others within the organization. 

Allison mentions that some peoples’ roles weren’t fully defined, so she took on this work and defined the charters for every function. Additionally, she included the metrics that each function was responsible for. With this clarity, people knew what they should be doing when they get to work in the morning. The charters also included dependencies that they have on other functions. For example, if CSMs have expectations from the professional services team, those would be documented.

2. Create a 90-Day Plan

At SnackNation, Chelsie Rae thought about what she wanted the customer experience to look like at the end of 90 days. She shares that she mapped the experience and journey but really focused on customer churn. Since SnackNation is a subscription service, it was beneficial for her to understand when a customer may be ready to leave or why they canceled the service. 

Chelsie shares that a large portion of her work during this time was related to data collection. She was missing data to help her tell the larger story. What made the customer tick? Why did they originally book with SnackNation? As she collected data, she also so she created a dashboard with the organization’s current numbers, where the numbers should be at the end of 90 days and where they should be by the end of the year.

3. Create a Hiring plan

At SnackNation, Chelsie shares that one of the CX strategies was also focused around employee experience and hiring. She had a vision for the team that she needed in order to drive the work forward. Chelsea created a hiring strategy that specified the type of traits that a candidate needed to possess.

Teamwork: need to be a team player and have an “it takes a village” mentality. 

Company culture fit: can you get the job done? Do you work well with others? Using role play to understand how well the candidate takes feedback and self-assess. 

Seek perpetual growth: need to have a desire to continuously grow and evolve.

Emotional IQ: how well can you bounce back and keep a positive attitude?

Create a hiring strategy that specifies the type of traits that a candidate needs to possess in order to be hired at your company. #customerexperience #employeeexperience Click To Tweet

4. Unite your team around KPIs

Allison shares that at Gainsight, in order to have others in the company view customer experience as a business function that creates results, she had to incorporate performance metrics that could be reported on. She wanted to ensure that for any given function, each team would have metrics to help determine how their work was making an impact. When speaking about the various metrics at board meetings, it was easier to see how things were progressing over each quarter, which gave the CX work more credibility.

Unite your team and leaders around metrics so they can understand the impact of your CX work. #customerexperience #metrics #kpis Click To Tweet

I encourage you to take the time to listen to the original podcasts in its entirety to hear even more great tactics that these women have employed in their jobs: 4 Tactics to Building and Managing Customer Success with Allison Pickens and 3 Steps to Mapping a Robust Customer Journey with Chelsie Rae Lee of Snack Nation.

Also, feel free to share any tactics you’ve seen work well as a CX leader in your organization or industry in the comments!

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Honor Your Customers: How to Build a Respect Delivery Machine

In this week’s Daily Dose video, I share an excerpt from a keynote I presented recently that focuses on the lessons of my most recent book, Would You Do That To Your Mother

The following is a lightly edited transcript of the video below.


What we know is: when we make it hard to do business with us, it costs a lot of money. You’ve probably seen the Siegel + Gale study, which says we’re leaving a collective $86 billion on the table when we don’t take care of customers’ lives. That’s a staggering figure.

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Honor Customers’ Time

One of the things that’s most important about building what I call a “respect delivery machine” is: honoring customers’ time.

Why do dry cleaners close at 5:00? We build our time and our operations based on convenience for us, the business.

Let me know if this sounds familiar: “I’ve had breakfast, lunch, and a snack, and the cable guy is still not here. I got a call from him about an hour ago that he’s on his way. No clue what that means.”

Would you do that to your mother? Do you relate?

Let’s talk about Amazon Prime, which just about all of us have used at one point or another. Amazon Prime has two key metrics. Unlike many of our dashboards which have 3-point type, so we can cram more and more into our dashboards, they simply have two metrics that their customers care about—number 1—Do you have what I want and need? And—number 2—will you get it to me when I need it?

When we make customers’ time our priority, the frantic texting and the dialing and the calling and the tweeting doesn’t start. Their shoulders relax.

Your customers will remember you for the service you deliver, not the effort it takes to get it from you. So do you honor customers' time and their clock? #CX #MakeMomProud Click To Tweet

Your customers will remember you for the service you deliver, not the effort it takes to get it from you. So do you honor customers’ time and their clock?

[For more on this topic, click here to watch a previous episode of “Daily Dose…of Reality.”]

Get to Know Your Customers

Would you make your mom keep reintroducing herself to you? Of course you wouldn’t. But around the world, in every interaction we have as customers, we have to keep telling companies who we are, who we talked to last, why we’re so important to them, our value. Can you relate?

That’s why I’m so enamored with Stitch Fix and the story of what they’ve done to build “you know me” as their growth engine. Think of them as Netflix for clothes.

The clothing company @StitchFix has built 'you know me' as their growth engine. Where other brands don't know your life, it is how and why brands like Stitch Fix grow. #MakeMomProud #CX Click To Tweet

Their services suggests outfits for their customers; they come up with a box of five things to send you. And to start, they take an interest in getting to know you and your life.

  1. You fill out a form. It’s interesting; the form is not about clothes, but how you live your life.
  2. They ask you to send in your Pinterest pins. So now they’re starting to build a dossier.
  3. They apply AI, so they’re now starting to understand by groups of customers who are similar to you. What are some things that you might like?

But here’s where the magic comes in: They have over four thousand stylists who also not only look at all this information, but continuously improve each box that they send to you by watching what you send back, by conversing with you, and by getting your information.

My girlfriend Mindy was going through breast cancer and she told her stylist, “I need some loose clothes to go through my chemotherapy.” Of course she got a box of comfy, loose clothes, but she also got a bouquet with a personal note.

Here’s what’s interesting: Many organizations get customer growth through recommendations. Netflix grows through its word of mouth. Amazon, about 30% of what they sell comes from recommendations. Where other companies don’t know your life, it is how and why these brands grow.

So do your customers feel that you know them? That you really know them?

Because what’s the first thing you say to a company when they keep asking you to give your information back? “Don’t you know how much I’m worth to you?”

[For more on this topic, be sure to watch my previous episode of “Daily Dose…of Reality”, by clicking here.]

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Building Culture and Customer and Employee Experience at The YMCA

Bob Thomas 158

In this episode, I chat with Bob Thomas, the first chief experience officer at The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, about establishing a scalable CX initiative at a nationwide non-profit. Many of you may be familiar with The YMCA (the Y), either from your own experiences at the center or because of the iconic song that many of us have danced to at parties. This legendary organization is a leading nonprofit for youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.

Bob and I discuss his role and the work that he had to do as a CX leader stepping into a position without a CX team in place. He shares that the Y did a good job communicating he would be in a strong mission-focused role, which was something that was very important to him. We talk about some of the strategic approaches that he and his team took to improve the organization’s culture, and employee and customer experience.

Understand the Environment You’re Trying to Improve

Bob explains that when he first took on the role, he knew that he needed to understand how employees show up for customers, day in and day out. He went to numerous Y branches and spent half a day in uniform, checking people in at the front desk, walking around the pool deck with the lifeguard, and getting a feel for the employee experience on the ground. He wanted to know what interactions with customers were like and what were potential operational challenges. 

On the backend, Bob spent time figuring out how to improve marketing and digital aspects of the work, noting that the CRM system was inefficient and created communication difficulties. He and his team invested in a new CRM. The new CRM helped stabilize the foundation of their digital experience, which was extremely important to the check-in and buying experience.

Bob shares that after fixing the CRM, they started making major investments in digital. He wanted to ensure the digital experience would help frame and organize what’s being delivered to the customer on the ground. With help from a CX expert, Bob and his team created customer journey maps that allowed them to make significant changes.

These changes included improving the welcome e-mail with important information to remind members of what they need when they show up, free classes they can take, available services, and more. All of the things to help maximize the experience.

As a CXO, you need to understand how employees show up for customers, day in and day out. -Bob Thomas, CXO @theymca Click To Tweet

Build Bridges to Connect With Your Team

Bob credits his Chief Operating Officer for helping with the success of the Y’s transformation. The COO had a vision and belief in what the COO’s role was and saw that some of Bob’s actions as CXO crossed over into boundaries that didn’t belong. In order to differentiate and clarify the work, they spent time together figuring out what responsibilities was best for each position.

In addition to building bridges with other leaders, Bob wanted to change the internal culture at the Y to further improve the employee experience. He explains how he set his sights on establishing an internal culture at the Y that would reflect what they wanted their customer experience to be like. Since fun is something the customers expect when they walk into a Y facility, there should be more fun infused within the culture of the organization. Bob was concerned that leaders were taking themselves too seriously, and wanted to loosen things up in the office a bit.

In an effort to infuse more fun into their meetings and hallway conversations, Bob shares that he started incorporating team builder games to foster engagement. For instance, he shares one game in which he asked his colleagues to take a picture of the inside of their refrigerator and send it to him. He would display the images asking his colleagues to guess who’s refrigerator was whose. It’s these games and interactions that help colleagues share more laughs and eases a bit of tension that may come with some of the work. 

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?

Bob says:

Be patient. It’s okay to slow down and go a hundred feet sideways to get six inches forward because if you don’t have the right alignment with the people that you need, no pushing forward is going to be enough to get you there. So patience is probably the biggest part, and the people side of change management is so critical. If you haven’t taken a change management course, it should be fundamentally a huge part of your curriculum coming into a role like this.

If you don't have the right alignment with the people that you need, no pushing forward is going to be enough to get you there. - Bob Thomas, #CXO @theymca Click To Tweet

About Bob Thomas

At the YMCA, Bob is responsible for engaging community members to help them meet their personal goals, while ensuring a great Y experience through marketing, membership, and healthy living programs.

Prior to joining the Y, Bob held marketing, sales and sales operations leadership positions at Boston Scientific. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and English from the University of St. Thomas.

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Give Trust to Get Trust: Let Two-Way Trust Define Your Actions

In my Daily Dose video series, I explore the topics that chief customer officers must grapple with on a daily basis. Join me as I discuss what I’ve learned over the course of my 35-year career, so that you can more effectively do the work that needs to be done.

Today’s video is an excerpt from my online course, inspired by my book, Would You Do That To Your Mother? Click here to learn more about the course and enroll. 

The following is a lightly edited transcript of the video below.


For the Chicago Cubs organization, trust and hope—for many, many years—were all the currency they had to give their fans. When they finally won that championship title in 2016, it had been 108 years since a Cubs jersey was in a World Series. Since 1906, the Cubbies had only qualified for the postseason on 18 occasions. Bound together by heartbreak and joy, through generations of families, the Cubs’ relationship with their fans is one of reciprocal trust. Both gave and got.

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Loving the underdog Cubs was a family tradition nurtured by my dad. We made many memories within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. And when that championship title finally came in 2016, my family—as well as millions of other Cubs fans around the world—were rewarded for trusting that their team would eventually win. What’s more, Cubs fans rewarded their team back in kind. Millions came out to cheer them on in a celebration that, by some estimates, is one of the top 10 gatherings in human history. Officials estimate that 5 million people showed up to the parade and rally held for the Cubs in Chicago, making it the seventh largest gathering in human history.

The foundational trust that the Cubs built with their fans is not unlike the trust that grows over time between a company and its customers. While companies may not have millions of people lining the streets to cheer them on, what they end up with is earning essentially the same: a two-way, balanced relationship.

Give Trust to Get Trust

So the goal here is to earn customer trust by trusting them first. Every customer relationship begins because a customer chooses to trust an organization and its people. Physicians are trusted with the health of families. Realtors are trusted to guide a home purchase or sale. Computer manufacturers are trusted to provide reliable equipment to do a job. Banks are trusted to ensure financial safety and security.

Would you invite your mom over to help make dinner, and then chain the blender to the counter? Of course you wouldn’t. But customers can feel at times a lack of trust from companies by how offers are structured, legal wording, and the amount of fine print, or conditions for making a sale. One-sided trust can show up in the manner in which you review new customers you’re considering, or in the contracts customers sign, or requiring compliance to processes that seem to weigh a little heavy on benefiting the company.

This behavior inadvertently makes the customer feel small, and at times defenseless. You know it in your life as a customer. It’s exhausting physically because of the extra time, and the effort required to make sure you get a fair shake, and it’s emotionally exhausting.

This is our opportunity to earn that trust through giving trust. Do you deliberately trust customers back for their trust in you? Do you trust them in your forms, in your paperwork, and in your contracts? Are there any clues that you give them that could indicate a lack of trust, like a pen chained to the desk? Do you have moments where mom might think, “They don’t seem to trust me.”

Give trust to get trust! Do you deliberately trust customers back for their trust in you? Do you trust them in your forms, in your paperwork, and in your contracts? #MakeMomProud #CX Click To Tweet

Inventory Your Opportunities to Give Trust

To move closer to a balanced relationship with your customers, consider inventorying your opportunities for giving trust. Identify communication and compliance to processes required across your customer’s journey. Identify who holds the power in each and why. Then begin to challenge the status quo, and ask the questions your mom would ask.

Ask the questions you know to ask. Overturn and redesign for two-way trust.

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How Johnson & Johnson Creates Value for Customers and Employees

Chester Twigg Episode 157

How does a global consumer brand create value for its customers, consumers, and employees? In today’s episode, we talk to Chester Twigg, the first global chief customer officer at Johnson & Johnson. Chester shares that he was approached for the role because there was an internal recognition that it was a position that could truly add value to the business and the organization, to drive a more global consistency around selling.

There’s a lot of great strategic advice in here for those of you who are improving CX in the consumer goods sector, so I encourage you to listen to the full episode!

Create Value for All of Your Constituents

When Chester stepped into the role, he shares that he knew he wanted to focus on providing more value with their three constituents: the customer (retail partner), the consumer (the shopper), and the company. He knew that he had to think through the following: how do you create the best selling team? How do you ensure that there are consistent systems and processes in place to help them deliver their best every day?

To execute their business objective of providing value, Chester and his team picked 5 areas that were relevant to them. They develop strategies for improvement around these 5 areas under an acronym: RACES, as in “off to the races” to help them remember.

R: Revenue growth management. Determine how to best drive strategy pricing, strategic trade promotion, and assortment portfolio distribution.

A: Accelerate in winning channels. With the understanding that business is shifting heavily into E-commerce, they asked themselves how they could win in this category.

C: Customer team reinvention. Since most of J&J’s business is with big retailers, they have to figure out how to best do business together. How can they create optimal joint business planning?

E: Emerging market excellence. Growth is happening more in emerging markets than in developing markets so how can they reach customers in these new areas?

S: Shopper refocus. Rethink how to work with marketing, R&D, and the supply chain to ensure their products show up well both online and on the shelf.

Chester explains that it was relatively easy for the team to align on these strategies and that some strategies have been tabled for a RACES 2.0 to tackle at a later time.

Keep Employees Engaged and Informed

Internal social networking

At Johnson & Johnson, there are over 4,000 salespeople. To keep the salespeople engaged, Chester and his team have instituted quarterly meetings for updates on the business, priorities, and strategies. There’s also an opportunity to answer questions which can be asked anonymously, which helps leadership stay on the pulse of what’s going on and what people are worried about.

Chester also shares that J&J has a designated social media site called Yammer, where employees can post updates and engage with each other. Chester posts regularly, especially when he’s with customers or key individuals so people know what’s going on. He also updates employees through his blog, Chester’s Chatter which he and the leadership team contribute to each month.

Rethink Training and Hiring Practices

Additionally, Chester and his team spent time improving training within the organization for salespeople. Recognizing that the younger generation of salespeople learns differently, they removed the outdated five-day, intensive “this is how we sell” program. Chester explains that training is now done in bite-sized, Internet-based sessions. This is their way of providing value to employees; giving them access to something when they need it, as they need it.

When it comes to improving the employee experience, Chester also says that at Johnson & Johnson they worked more closely with HR to improve hiring and recruiting strategies. They provided more clarity on capabilities they were looking for regarding salespeople, and also sought to increase diversity.

According to Chester, it’s best to work with HR to get their buy-in for new recruitment strategies by explaining how hiring practices connect back to the purpose of the work, it helps the process move along more smoothly.

It's best to work with HR to get their buy-in for new recruitment strategies by explaining how hiring practices connect back to the purpose of the work, it helps the process move along more smoothly. -Chester Twigg, @JNJCares Click To Tweet

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?

Chester says:

“I think a better understanding of my organization and the style, which is always hard when you come in, would have helped me to build capabilities and conference even faster. I mean one of the advantages I had in my previous company having worked there for a long, long time was that I knew the people. Either they had worked for you before or you had peripheral experience. And so one of the challenges was understanding how to best apply situational leadership because I’m a big believer that people should be led through situational leadership.”

I'm a big believer that people should be led through situational leadership. -Chester Twigg, CCO @JNJCares Click To Tweet

About Chester Twigg

Chester joined Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. from Procter & Gamble, where he spent over 25 years in various roles across the world including the US, China, India, Singapore and Europe. At Johnson & Johnson, Chester plays an important role in the execution of the company’s global consumer strategy, developing new ways of selling to maximize growth and value creation within the sales organization.

Chester holds an MBA (Marketing) and a B.COM. (Commerce and Economics) from the University of Mumbai, India. Chester is based in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

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Nurture Customer Rescue Artists

In my Daily Dose video series, I explore the topics that chief customer officers must grapple with on a daily basis. Join me as I discuss what I’ve learned over the course of my 35-year career, so that you can more effectively do the work that needs to...

The Importance of Closing the Feedback Loop: A Discussion with Dropbox’s CCO

“I am a bridge builder and I really like that aspect of my role,” says Yamini Rangan, chief customer officer at Dropbox, a SaaS company that offers file storage and collaboration solutions to both individuals and companies. With a background in sales and marketing, Yamini spent a lot of time talking to customers, mentioning that it was one of her favorite aspects of her job. Her love for being customer-focused was what helped drive her success at Dropbox, 

Though Yamini has only been in her current role at Dropbox for 8 months, she’s been at the company for over 3 years. Her experience has shown her that customers buy technology products because they’re trying to solve a particular problem for themselves, their companies, and for their customers. She shares that when you connect with your customers’ true needs, you’re able to offer better help and provide value to them.

Yamini shares strategies that she has employed within Dropbox, that keeps her leaders and C-Suite aligned to the same goals of customer-centricity.

Prevent Siloed CX Work at Large Scale Companies

Yamini RanganSince Dropbox has gone through a hyper-growth period, Yamini shares that it was important that her teams united internally to focus on customers. The goal was to prevent departments from becoming siloed in their operations. As CCO, her role is about embedding the customer centricity into the DNA of the company.

Yamini shares that she developed a one-year plan within the first 90 days of her role. She spent the first 3 months listening to employees and customers so she could understand both perspectives; she needed to know what was and wasn’t working and take those suggestions into account during planning. Yamini would ask customers, “What’s good about Dropbox – what is not good about Dropbox, and where can we continue to improve.” She explains that they spent time going over the responses to determine what actions they needed to take next.

Yamini tells that her leadership teams and C-Suite are all invested in being customer-focused. Since they’re invested in the vision, her conversations are often around prioritization and sequencing the right set of actions to take. Yamini and her leadership teams and C-Suite spend time listening to customer calls and support interactions. By listening, they’re able to analyze responses, understand the customer journey, and determine how to move forward.

By listening, they’re able to analyze responses, understand the customer journey, and determine how to move forward. -Yamini Rangan, @dropbox #CX #customerexperience Click To Tweet

Take Your Leadership Teams Through the Customer Journey

Similar to many other leaders, Yamini and her team created a focus group, a “customer advisory board,” where they gathered their top 15-20 customers to talk to them about the product strategy and company vision, and they listen to what is and isn’t resonating with customers. According to Yamini, this unifies the executives more than any power point presentation, because they’re hearing it directly from the customers.

Additionally, Yamini and her team developed a Customer Connection Day. She explains that this is where they created immersion experiences that allowed employees to see and understand what the customer journey looks like. Employees needed to understand the various facets of what that experience is like when customers install Dropbox, how it’s commonly used, and what the customer support experience is like.

As Yamini and her team continued to dive into the customer journey, they looked at the qualitative and quantitative data gathered to learn the various customer friction points. By knowing these points of tension, they can improve the usage process for the customer. Yamini explains that in order to be tactical, you have to put yourself through the customer journey, dig into the patterns that drive and improve differentiation for the customers. After this, she shares that they make sure to close the loop on the listening and tactic cycle. Once she works with her team to implement changes at Dropbox, they check in with customers to see how things have progressed.

In order to be tactical, you have to put yourself through the customer journey, dig into the patterns that drive and improve differentiation for the customers. -Yamini Rangan, @dropbox Click To Tweet

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?

Yamini says:

“I would say that pay attention to the human experience. One of the things that I’ve kind of intrinsically known but now I really know is that it’s not as much the largest initiatives that matter, it’s also the small changes that improve the experience that matters. Pay attention not just to the really large, needle-moving ones but also the small human experiences that change the perception of customers.”

About Yamini Rangan

Yamini RanganAs a strategic and results-oriented technology professional with 20 years experience across sales, marketing, operations, and strategy, Yamini Rangan serves as Chief Customer Officer at Dropbox. Previously, she was the company’s vice president of business strategy & operations.

Additionally, Yamini led the global sales strategy and operations at Workday, and prior to that, she held senior positions at Appirio and SAP.

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Reward Employees for Congruence of Heart and Habit

In my Daily Dose video series, I explore the topics that chief customer officers must grapple with on a daily basis. Join me as I discuss what I’ve learned over the course of my 35-year career, so that you can more effectively do the work that needs to be done.

Today’s video is an excerpt from my online course, inspired by my book, Would You Do That To Your Mother? Click here to learn more about the course and enroll. 

The following is a lightly edited transcript of the video below.


In our lives as customers, we find hope, encouragement, and joy in companies who act with “congruence of heart and habit” – taking actions at work grounded in what they learned at home. In today’s Daily Dose, I want to share a story with you that helps illustrate what wonderful things can happen when companies empower and encourage their employees to act with this concept in mind.

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Blogger Lauren Casper and her husband had navigated their way through their local Trader Joe’s as best they could. The trip had turned a bit chaotic with the two children, and Lauren described how they were rushing to get done and out of the store. “Not only are we two white parents with a brown son and daughter,” she said as she described her day, “but our son has noticeable developmental delays and different behaviors caused by his autism, and our daughter has physical differences with her missing and webbed digits.”

She was close to tears from the outing when she heard someone call out her name in the parking lot. A young woman who worked at Trader Joe’s, who Lauren described as resembling her adopted daughter, held out a Trader Joe’s bouquet to her. As she delivered it to Lauren, she said, “I was adopted as a baby, and it has been a wonderful thing. We need more families like yours.”

Celebrate Kindness, Retain Employees

This type of action is not uncommon for Trader Joe’s employees who are hired and rewarded for team collaboration, innovation, and taking the initiative to delight customers as Lauren Casper experienced with her family. From always walking customers (never pointing) to that can of garbanzo beans that you can’t find, to the many spontaneous dance parties that erupt in the middle of the aisles, to people dashing to the back of the store to get something for a customer who forgot something to put in their basket, people are celebrated for these acts of kindness. It’s no wonder they have an unheard of 4% turnover of employees.

Celebrate and reward your people for their humanity. Make-mom-proud companies build their reward systems to celebrate actions of both heart, what we learned at home, and habit, the behaviors we are encouraged to continue. Congruence of heart and habit has at its core building an organization that reinforces the behaviors we learned when we were young, doing the right thing, taking the initiative, and treating others as we’d like to be treated.

Celebrate and reward your people for their humanity. #MakeMomProud companies build their reward systems to celebrate actions of both heart, what we learned at home, and habit, the behaviors we are encouraged to continue. #CustExp #CX Click To Tweet

Go Beyond Words to Empower Employees

Employees want to do the right thing, and they want to be noticed for it. For example, at the investment firm where Joe worked, customer focus was a core value of the company. It was stressed in every meeting. A credo to customer service was engraved on the wall and survey scores were tracked. Yet, the metrics really discussed and heralded were average revenue per client, and profit margin, and the bottom line. To assist advisors in achieving these goals, they were trained in customer contact approaches and given quotas in the number of customers that they needed to contact each month and the number they needed to convert and grow.

However, to Joe, these guidelines felt limiting. He wanted to spend more time per customer to add value beyond those selling quotas, and this would throw Joe’s numbers and contact numbers out of whack. Joe found that spending more time with customers, guiding them, and helping them with value actually increased his long-term productivity, but he had to go outside the prescribed length of time with each customer. And at times, this meant that he did not meet his established monthly customer contact goals. Each time this occurred, Joe had to defend his approach and recap the growth he achieved with his clients over time because of his different and innovative approach.

And while each of these meetings ended well for Joe, he was always a little sunk that he wasn’t receiving reinforcement for doing the right thing. Over time, the repeated focus on numbers without recognition of the quality of his engagements or his initiative actually led Joe to depart the company to join a firm whose core values were aligned with his. What Joe craved was to be rewarded and celebrated for making good, independent decisions and for his skills in innovating.

Download the toolkit for a huddle card, comic, and discussion guide to rally your team around shifting your company culture.

Employees Value Purpose and Trust

Joe is not alone in this desire. Employees asked about the subject in research conducted by Citigroup and LinkedIn said that they would actually pass up a 20% raise in exchange for more control over how they work. This means being part of a greater mission and being trusted to make decisions and take actions. Otherwise, companies will continue to lose good folks like Joe.

The takeaway…

Inadvertently, as companies grow with the stressors of making deadlines and sales goals, mixed messages can be sent about what is important and what will advance people in their careers. But when employees are recognized and rewarded for taking the time to extend themselves personally, they will want to stay. When the moments when employees take a chance to right a wrong or solve an issue bravely are heralded and rewarded, an elevated kind of company emerges.

So ask yourself, do you recognize employees for their ability to care, to innovate, and to take the initiative?


HOW WOULD YOUR COMPANY ACT IF EVERY CUSTOMER WERE YOUR MOM?

How do we cut through the rigmarole of business to give customers the treatment they desire, and employees the ability to deliver it?

In her latest book, customer experience expert Jeanne Bliss recommends making business personal to get the traction you need by focusing on one deceptively simple question: “Would you do that to your mother?”

Learn more

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3 Steps to Implementing a Stellar Customer Experience at a Startup

Denis Drossart

“Start by being humble and you will inspire your team to be humble,” says Denis Drossart, global vice president of Culture & Experience at Selina, about leadership behaviors enforced within this lifestyle, travel and hospitality brand.

Selina is a startup platform that connects people to local places and activities for purpose-filled experiences. Combining the hostel community aspect with the accommodations of a luxury hotel, Selina breaks the barriers between the traditional hospitality experience and hostel. 

Denis shares some tactics and strategies regarding how they’ve shaped the purpose and culture of this hospitality-disruptive brand. With a focus on leadership and creating authentic connections, Denis and his team have created an essential framework to create the ultimate experience for guests and employees. 

1. Define Your Purpose and Value

Selina is a rapidly growing company that focuses on people and experiences, and Denis’ role was created because someone needed to lead the internal culture of the company. According to Denis, Selina employees can’t create memorable experiences without having an amazing experience within the company. So it became his job to ensure that his staff is supported in ways that empower and enables them to deliver great experiences to guests.

When he first stepped into the role, Denis shares that he spent time watching, learning, and talking to his staff. He needed to understand what was missing in the organization. Denis learned that Selina needed to define the culture, the brand’s identity, its purpose, and the desired experience they wanted guests to have. He explains that they needed language to define the behaviors that will help drive specific feelings.

It became his job to ensure that his staff is supported in ways that empower and enables them to deliver great experiences to guests. -Denis Drossart, #Selina #CX #CustomerExperience Click To Tweet 

2. Create Brand Identity and Values

Denis tells that a core value of Selina is to inspire authentic and meaningful connections with guests. To do so, he needed to align leaders and staff on the purpose of the business, then he developed four core behaviors to trigger the feelings they want to elicit out of their connectors and team.

Selina connectors are people who connect people, places, and communities around the world. A Selina connector can serve as a guide who exposes guests to the local culture, arts, food; sharing knowledge of the city or village. Even the Selina properties have been designed by local artists and incorporate upcycled furniture.

Four core behaviors are as follows:

Trust – care about what you do. Care about your people, the brand, and the communities/environments you work in. This generates trust.

Share – share your passion, share your enthusiasm, share your knowledge. If you keep sharing, people will learn. Sharing and learning goes hand in hand.

Creativity – Selina connectors need to be creative. Creatives drive fun. If people are creative within the organization and within the culture, they will drive a fun feeling.

Connect – guests and employees need to be able to connect. When they connect with one another, they’re able to feel like they belong to the movement they’re creating, which is a core part of the Selina identity.

3. Implement the Work

Once Denis defined the company’s culture and identity and instituted the four core behaviors, he implemented these values through a behavioral activation process.

He shares that this meant going out into the field and doing full-day face-to-face immersion sessions. During this time, Denis and his team take the full day at different Selina headquarters to onboard teams about the culture, experience teams they’re building, the company’s identity, and behaviors.

Denis and his Selina team also worked with an outside company to create a customized blueprint that defines the overall brand ecosystem. This blueprint laid out the company’s “who, what, why, and how,” the organization experience, and what behaviors are needed to trigger the experience. It defines the working plan needed to operate the behaviors as well as the leadership behaviors needed to activate it all.

Denis shares that leadership behavior required humility – which drives an authentic work environment, ultimately driving caring behavior. They also look for leaders who can inspire an educational working climate, as this quality is important for working with the team and connectors. These behaviors are also sought out during the recruitment phase. They actively look for specific behaviors in future candidates.

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?

Denis says:

“Make sure that we align on that language. To make sure that everybody’s aligned on the common desired experience, the desired behavior. And it sounds stupid, but making sure that all your employees, all your leadership team, all your executives, the CEO, they all speak the same language because that’s the ultimate goal of that company; it makes it so much easier. You wake up, and you suddenly know why you’re going to work. And obviously, it’s not for money. Well, I mean, it could be at least the money will be a consequence of your purpose, right? So yes, start with designing a couple of language goals.”

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Earn Your Place in the Story of Customers’ Lives

In my Daily Dose video series, I explore the topics that chief customer officers must grapple with on a daily basis. Join me as I discuss what I’ve learned over the course of my 35-year career, so that you can more effectively do the work that needs to...

How Exemplis Commits to Company Culture and CX Improvement

Episode 154 Aurelia Pollet

“The caliber of the team here is remarkable, and I’ve never seen anything like it. So, that was the reason why I decided to join them. Now it’s been a little under two years, and I still feel the same way,” says Aurelia Pollet, the Vice President of Customer Experience at Exemplis. Exemplis is a B2B2C, which makes custom chairs and lounges for offices. 

In this episode, Aurelia tells us about the impressive company culture at Exemplis, and how she’s been supported in her role to lead the company’s CX into the future. Aurelia shares different approaches and strategies that she implemented in order to improve processes and better understand their customers (the furniture dealers), and ultimately, the end consumer.

Commit to Developing Your Company’s Culture

When Aurelia interviewed for her position, she was told that the first step of the process was to ensure she would be a cultural fit. Exemplis, a company whose motto is, “being easy to do business with,” was looking for employees who had the personality to fit within the organization. Aurelia was impressed by their commitment to the culture and she wanted to know how that translated to day-to-day behaviors.  

The Exemplis team shared with Aurelia that their core values guide their day-to-day decisions. These values impacted the behavior of employees; she mentioned one of them was selflessness. Employees are eager to help and work together to get the job done.

In addition to meeting her executive team, Aurelia also met with her direct team. Aurelia shares that she received a lot of feedback about the transparency of the company, which was impressive. Every day, the company’s main focus is to make sure they give customers what they want, and her role is to continue moving the work forward.

One of the core values at #Exemplis is selflessness. Employees are eager to help and work together to get the job done. -Aurelia Pollet, VP of #CX Click To Tweet

Understand the People and Process

Episode 154When Aurelia first took the role, she explains that she wanted to understand the people processes from a qualitative and quantitative perspective. She spent time in the boardroom with the CEO and with the executives who presented a high-level overview of the department. This allowed her to learn more about their customers and consumers.

Similar to many other leaders who embark on this journey, Aurelia shadowed her team members to understand the work from their perspective. She shares that she started looking at the customer processes; what was the website experience like? How do you place an order? How do you get an invoice? After assessing these experiences, she created the first draft of a customer journey. She wanted the company to have a clearer view of what things looked like from the customer’s standpoint.

Additionally, Aurelia noticed a CRM system wasn’t in place. With a desire to scale the business, they soon implemented Salesforce and developed relevant KPIs to measure for daily, weekly, and monthly performance. “We can only improve what we can measure,” was a phrase that stuck with Aurelia from a former boss. With this thought in mind, she focused on scaling the business and addressed some of the gaps she found in the customer journey.

Is it Good for the Customer?

As Aurelia increased awareness of the CX work across the company, she presented a new concept to her monthly management meeting. She shares that whenever someone on the team wants to change a process, add a service, or make a decision—there are two questions to ask: is it good for the brand and is it good for the customer?

Team members started using the questions on each other and executives used these questions in presentations, says Aurelia. When employees and leaders start incorporating CX language into their own work, it’s powerful and keeps the momentum going.

Whenever someone on the team wants to change a process, add a service, or make a decision—there are two questions to ask: is it good for the brand and is it good for the customer? -Aurelia Pollet, #Exemplis #customerexperience Click To Tweet

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?

Aurelia says:

“I really focused on the customer part of the journey at the beginning and I think that the employee part of the journey is as important as the customer and so it’s really looking at it from both ends and not just mapping the customer journey, but understanding, how does that look like for the people in the organization?

And usually when we look at customer journeys, or how to improve processes, we think the CS Team, the Customer Service Team, the people on the phone, the people answering emails or chat, but it is necessary to look at everybody in the organization because if you say you can deliver a product in a certain amount of time, is it true from a manufacturing standpoint? Do you have the tools to tell you that it is deliverable? […] So, not only customer-facing teams are important, but the entire organization when you’re building a customer experience strategy.”

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