CX professionals extol the importance of empathy towards external customers but often overlook its importance with internal ones – Interview with Jack Springman

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Today’s interview is with Jack Springman, a former Associate Director of Optima Partners, customer experience provocateur and new author.

After a year-long battle with cancer, Jack Springman passed away on Sept 8th 2022.

This podcast was recorded in the early part of August 2022 and in it Jack and I talk about his new book: Customer Experience & Marketing – The Final Rant (free to download).

This interview follows on from my recent interview – Customer success professionals should focus on net revenue retention (NRR) to prove ROI – Interview with You Mon Tsang of ChurnZero – and is number 440 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Here’s the highlights of my chat with Jack:

  • You don’t need to rush off to your nearest or preferred bookshop to grab a copy as Jack is giving away the book for free.
  • You can view it directly below or you can download the book from this link here.
  • The main thesis of the book is that customer experience should be a C-suite priority.
  • There are a number of reasons why CX isn’t a C-suite priority and a lot of the responsibility for that rests with the CX community.
  • The problem is partially because no one in customer experience has articulated it in a way that says we are about creating value for customers to create value for the business.
  • There’s also a bit of a cleave between what customer experience teams control, who does customer experience strategy and the customer’s actual experience.
  • A lot of customers experiences with products that they buy is typically outside the scope of customer experience teams, which is why I say if you’re going to do customer experience properly, you need to collaborate with the product teams and have an end to end experience.
  • A lot of what CX professionals say is anti strategic, noncommercial and quasi religious and that’s just not gonna work with senior management.
  • A well articulated business strategy will have outlined the challenges the organization faces and the strategic objectives it has set. And for me, all operational strategy, not just customer experience, but whether it be marketing, whether it be supply chain, whether it be manufacturing, whether it be the horizontal of HR and finance, they should all be hooking in to one of those strategic objectives and that should be their starting point.
  • In the context of making customer experience a C-suite priority, I think it’s too simplistic, I think it’s antagonistic and I think it’s so obviously self serving as to be damaging.
  • You’re being antagonistic because basically you’re saying the customer is more important than the stakeholder that I look after.
  • That’s not very empathetic and comes across as not being customer centric but rather being CX team centric.
  • CX professionals extol the importance of empathy towards external customers but often overlook its importance with internal ones.
  • I think customer journey mapping is a good process, it’s a decent process. But, I think there are better ones.
  • The plan is nothing but planning is everything.
  • Check out Indi Young’s mental models approach as a more useful process.
  • The problem with journey mapping is you almost jump to the end conclusion without reviewing all the different possibilities that you could do.
  • Everybody in experience is talking about emotion and how to create kind of an emotional connection. The word emotion comes up once in the book. Rather the book focuses on a value palette that includes emotional factors.
  • The customer experience community tends to go over the top with delighting and wowing and all that sort of stuff, which I don’t think you need to do to be successful.
  • Shopping is a job that Aldi and Waitrose help us with. But, they do it in two different ways.
  • If you don’t get the basics right, people will just not come back.
  • One of my bugbears is this whole thing about the frictionless experience. Anyone who says that’s a universal good never either had their back scratched or had sex because friction is a good thing, at times.
  • We forget that advertising is part of the customer experience.
  • Think about DirectLine. They’re a bit prosaic, they’re not delighting, they’re not wowing, but they’re doing everything they need to do and are able to get away with a slight fee premium compared to other insurance companies. You get a fair and reasonable price and really good service. They’ve never competed on price via the price comparison engines. It’s a strategy that’s always worked for them and it continues to work for them. They are solid, not spectacular, but solid and that’s what you need and it’s completely appropriate with their value proposition.
  • One of the lessons that came out of the pandemic is that we often play uncertainty down. But, and the pandemic brought this to a head, we need to get our heads around dealing with extraordinary events and actually thinking about them, even if they don’t happen. It’s actually a very good educational process.
  • Jack’s best advice for improving the customer’s experience: Get the basics right and then layer on, your corporate objectives and your differentiation.
  • You’ve got to get the basics right, understand jobs to be done, understand expectations and then basically make sure you deliver against that and then work out where you’re going to excel.
  • Jack’s Punk CX word: Non-customer centric.
  • Jack’s Punk XL brand: IKEA, SouthWest Airlines.

About Jack

Jack SpringmanJack Springman started his consulting career doing M&A evaluations for private equity firms. He then moved into doing customer strategy to shape CRM implementations and broader transformation initiatives. Subsequently, he focused on the cross-over of data/ analytics and customer experience – personalisation and creation of innovative value propositions.

His last role was as Associate Director of Optima Partners.

Thanks to Nesster on Flickr for the image.

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