How St. Jude Honors Donors as Assets, With Chief Donor Officer, Martin Hand – CB1

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Donors as Assets at St. Jude Hospital


Welcome To The First-Ever Episode Of The CCO “Human Duct Tape Show”

I decided to name the show ‘Human Duct Tape’ because I feel that’s often the role of the CCO among the executives and strategic planning of a given organization. Silos don’t unite organically. It’s not because executives and decision-makers don’t care about the customer. They do. But we all get stuck in our lanes. We have distinct KPIs and a POV that forces us into a fractured view of the customer. For many companies, a comprehensive view of the customer’s journey — of various aspects that influence their life and purchase decisions — is very hard to achieve, and that’s why a CCO role is often necessary. That said, once a CCO is in place, their work is also very hard. They’re now human duct tape. How do they unite the company and deliver a one-company experience for customers — one that actually keeps them coming back?

When you do this work, you often feel very alone. You can be first on a senior management meeting agenda one week, then completely off it two weeks later. I’ve been this human duct tape for five different corporations in my life, and I’ve worked with dozens more who have filled these roles. I hope to turn this podcast into a community over time — like-minded individuals looking for real answers to the same challenges of some of the hardest C-Suite level work out there. I hope you listen to this and think of the small of my hand on your back, guiding your customer-driven work up the hill.

Thanks for being here.

How St. Jude Honors Donors as Assets, Episode Overview

In this episode, I speak with Martin Hand. He’s the Chief Customer Officer of ALSAC/St. Jude. Martin is actually a two-time CCO, and we discuss that in this episode. He was previously CCO at United Airlines and now leads donor experience at St. Jude. In addition, Martin and I discussed how he depicts and engages leaders with a simple approach and set of metrics that elevates donors as the asset of their business. The goal is getting attention and driving action.

Finally, Martin has a proven method for uniting the silos (at low cost) to give the complete view of the current customer journey- critical to gain and unite the leadership team.

Introducing Our Guest

Martin Hand is Chief Donor/Customer Officer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he is responsible for the overall donor experience, contact center operations, and donor account processing functions. Martin was previously Senior Vice President of Customer Experience at United Continental Holdings.

Connect With Martin

  • Connect with Martin on LinkedIn
  • Martin himself is not on Twitter, but St. Jude is — with over 400K followers

Key Summary Of Discussion

  • Establishing role clarity: Starts with definition of role, but you can also create an understanding of the role through storyboards on total experience and necessary for unity
  • Simple metrics around donor/customer as asset: It has to be so simple that it’s not refutable
  • The role of the CCO: Simple, operationally-relevant, and continuing to stay the course

Show Notes: Valuable Links And Resources From This Episode

Martin and I open the show discussing his transition from for-profit (United Airlines) to non-profit (St. Jude), including how and why he made the transition. At St. Jude, the official title involves donors, but around 5:16, we talk about how ‘donors’ and ‘customers’ are similar concepts that need to be at the center of all conversations.

Martin brings up an interesting point around 6:31, and it’s one I’ve seen several executives miss over the years — namely, the key question of who actually does what in an organization. There’s a good recent article from Harvard Business Review on this exact topic that I encourage you to check out.

Thankfully for Martin and his work, one of the biggest early decisions in his transition was that he’d report directly to the CEO. Still, because he hadn’t worked in non-profits before, one of his most crucial tools in the early-going was the power of listening to others, especially other senior leaders. We talk about that around the 7:45 mark.

Because this work is complicated as it is, Martin talks about the need to not over-complicate things even more — instead focusing on 3-5 core elements and making sure you tell an effective story. The customer absolutely needs to see the outcome of the silos working together; otherwise, the silo-by-silo work isn’t meaningful. As Martin says, you need to “look at everything from the donor perspective.”

For those who worry that CCO work involves a ton of additional cost, remember this: St. Jude is a non-profit, and as Martin notes, “our mission is to save children’s lives. We want money going to the hospital. We minimize costs all the time.” There are ways to do effective CCO work without the massive budgets of market cap kings. We discuss that around 12:39.

In keeping with the theme of simplicity in terms of goals, we also discuss simplicity in terms of non-profit metrics. You want to understand what metrics tie to results, but you don’t want to over-complicate projects if you don’t have to.

Around 16:07, we discuss how best to share information with other senior leaders and regular team members so that they know where ideas and metrics stand in the grand scheme of things.

We also discussed the importance of the word ‘honor,’ which is majorly important to me as well. You need to honor customers — or in this case, honor donors as assets.

Around 19:22, Martin discusses the biggest similarity between his work at United and his work at St. Jude, and it’s pretty surprising.

I always call being a CCO “a Rubix cube,” and Martin half-agrees: he calls it a “big puzzle.” Around 21:21, he gives advice to someone considering the role in either for-profit or non-profit. Slightly before that, he talks about creating a culture across an organization that’s centered on the customer or donor.

It was a pleasure to speak with Martin for this first episode and see the contrast — and similarities — between the for-profit and non-profit versions of this work. I hope you also enjoyed listening.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

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