How Do You Get People To Help You When You Have No Clout?


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Tema Frank Meets Pierre Trudeau
Tema Frank meeting Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. I was from Alberta, at a time of strong separatist feeling, thus the skeptical look on my face. We had a good debate though.

I was a Parliamentary Intern in the last year of the Pierre Trudeau regime in Canada. Working with politicians you learn a lot about how to influence people and win them over to your side, even when you aren’t their “boss”.

My first job after the Internship was in business-government relations for the banking industry. I soon had the challenging experience of having to persuade staff across the country who didn’t actually report to me to do things I asked of them. Boring, time consuming things like preparing reports.

Needless to say, they often weren’t thrilled. Using some of the skills I learned as an Intern, I found that to get their cooperation I had to figure out a way that helping me would clearly also help them.

Sounds obvious, but often it isn’t.

If you work in customer experience you understand that providing better customer experiences is crucial to your company’s survival and success.

But when you go bugging people in sales or marketing or finance or operations to give you the data you need to drive up your Net Promoter Scores, they are sometimes surprisingly resistant.

In a recent interview,  Reginald Chatman, Senior Director, Customer Experience at Bloom Energy, explains why. He also explains how you can win them over.

I first heard him on a webinar put on by the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), which I recently joined. His comments, which also inspired my recent blog post “14 Warning Signs Your Customer Service May Be Slipping” , boil down to this advice:

Look at what metrics other departments already care about. Odds are, improving those metrics will also improve customer experience. So put your customer knowledge and research skills to use in helping them improve the metrics they care about.  The end result will be an improvement in the metrics you care about too.

This is a version of an article that first appeared on the Frank Reactions website. To hear the interview with Reginald Chatman or download a transcript of it, visit or find the Frank Reactions podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.


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