I just hit Episode 50 of my customer experience podcast. It’s been so interesting to talk to CCOs and SVPs in different industries and get actionable customer experience examples from them. After 12 episodes (feels long ago), I did a recap post. I’m not going to recap Episodes 13-50 here (would be a lot for you to consume), but my favorite aspect of the podcast is when the guests get into tactics. So let’s go through eight relevant customer experience examples from recent episodes.
You absolutely need to talk to people
We like to think the smartphone killed this, but it didn’t. We’re still human beings and social animals. Here’s what Tabitha Dunn had to do when she began at Concur:
First question she asked: What experience do we actually want customers to have?
Process to do that: Interviewed 50+ people, at different levels, across the first month. Three questions were:
- How do you describe the customer experience?
- What do you feel doesn’t work well and why?
- What should we hold sacred?
On the first question, out of 50+ people, she got 50+ different answers. That’s actually fairly common.
Important distinction here: Oftentimes in the early stages of CCO work, it’s all Excel spreadsheets and ROI equations and “create a 10-step plan.” That can work, but often doesn’t work as effectively towards customer-driven growth.
Customers want an easy experience, right?
Anne Herman of safety provider MSA has created new customer experience tools and continues to work with concepts like a virtual wallet that allows the sales team to more effectively work with customers and channel partners.
What’s a virtual wallet, you ask?
It’s essentially a self-serve platform where customers can research products, place orders, and see the status of their orders. (Kind of like Amazon tracking.) They can download information they need right from the platform; this also means MSA has to print fewer product catalogs.
This overall shift is making MSA less of a “product provider” and more of a “solution provider.”
There need to be open conversations about bonuses and compensation internally
Here’s what Brian Andrews talked about as they were pioneering NPS at Intuit:
There also need to be realistic discussions about compensation, especially variable compensation. If everything is tied to “targets,” then people sometimes try to game the system internally to meet more targets — and in the process, they solve for the wrong things. You need to think about how people want to be motivated. The environment needs to be created for everyone to be successful relative to their goals. You also need to be an orchestrator of self-discovery, because that will drive change at the individual level.
Hire for will, not skill
The skill can be taught, explained Southwest Airlines’ Sonya Lacore. But you need adaptable people who are authentic and want to grow within their role. Also, everyone comes in on six-month probationary periods — which some other organizations are using more and more these days (parts of Disney, for example).
Flight attendants are included in the interview process, in large part because they know what will work well in that context. Southwest flight attendants go through typically 4+ interviews, if not more.
What is customer experience, anyway? Define it.
“It’s anything we do that it makes it easier for customers to do business with us.” (This has become part of the vocabulary at Essilor, where Diana Helfinstine leads CX.)
Customer experience examples: What are the five tenets of a great CX dynamic?
- Relationship is mutually beneficial
- Customers feel valued/respected
- They believe doing business with you is easy
- Sense that employees love working there (above)
- Feeling that they (the customer) are part of a strong community, i.e. “I love driving this type of car”
Your baby is ugly — it’s sometimes true
“Their baby is ugly” feedback: You will come into situations where you have to tell someone that, based on customer experience information, their core product/service is not well-liked. This is a super hard conversation because oftentimes, people derive a good deal of self-worth/pride from work. These conversations require a mix of IQ and EQ. It’s about being respectful and engaging. Jim Pendergast of the AARP and I discussed this.
How you grow the right way
Mary Winfield of Lyft needed to make sure that she could embed things to help Lyft stay obsessed with driver happiness and connected to customers.
Here are some of the actions Mary and the leadership team do regularly to ensure this correct type of growth:
- All executive members go on the road city to city and spend time with drivers
- All execs drive Lyft
- They hold “whole company support” sessions
- These give deep immersion to everyone to what the custemr is expderiencing in a certain portion of the journey.
- They go through exercise to immerse people in the actions and experiences customers have
They have also created a metric of issues per 100 rides that drives focus and a simple way to understand the life of the customer. Similarly, they all go to driver hubs where drivers stop and they spend a day in the hub listening to the drivers coming and going and hearing about customers and different experiences and pain points.