(Part 2) Customer Experience: Interview with Janet LeBlanc


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About our guest:

Janet LeBlanc is an internationally recognized expert in customer value and experience management with award-winning results in driving transformational change. She was the executive responsible for leading the enterprise-wide integration of customer feedback and the transition from customer satisfaction to customer value for one of Canada’s most recognized brands, Canada Post.
From her website: http://customervaluenetwork.com (see more of Janet’s bio below the interview).

View part 2 of the interview here

Some Lessons From the Interview

Q: Do you find there’s an optimum timeframe for the most efficient feedback to employees (i.e., 1 year, 6 months, or 3 months)?

It depends. With the “five pillars” of the customer experience talked about earlier (in part 1) feedback can be done on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. But if you’re talking about front-line people (sales, customer service reps) the pace of change is much shorter; immediate feedback is best.

Q: In a previous article on your work at Canada Post, Louis O’Brien, Senior VP of Parcels, said the data you provided them demonstrated that “if we messed up, but fixed it, [customers] had more confidence in our service than someone who’s never had a problem.” Do you find this to still be true?

It was a pleasure to prove that fact; it was true at Canada Post. The resolution process had to be very well done, and the result was that the customer was more loyal to Canada Post. I’m sure that carries through to other organizations as well.

Q: What do you think is the reasoning behind this principle?

I’m sure it’s a combination of several things; the emotional aspect is definitely part of that experience. If an organization can “wow” a customer, then they were more loyal. So you’re looking for ways to delight or wow them.

There’s an example of a family who stayed in a Westin Hotel here in Ottawa, their small child had a teddy bear. The child lost the teddy bear and the staff looked around to help, but the bear was not found. After the family left, the bear was found several days later behind a curtain. One employee went around the hotel with the bear, and took pictures of the teddy bear in different locations: the restaurant, the spa, next to the swimming pool, etc., and mailed the teddy bear back with the pictures. That family and that child will remember that experience; they had a problem, but somebody took the initiative to wow the customer, and they’ll be loyal to Westin Hotel for sure.

We look for opportunities to make a difference, what I call a “memorable connection.”

Q: In your experience, do you know of a way to produce the “memorable connection” without necessarily having the customer experience a problem?

It goes back to the fundamentals of a customer experience management program. Collect data: find out what satisfies customers the most (what they value most), integrate that throughout the organization, reinforce to everyone that the objective is to delight the customer. You’re trying to create, what I like to call: “Hysterical, raving fans.”

Q: Do you find that customer experiences change over time?

Customer experience definitely has grown as a field; customer perceptions certainly change over time. It depends on the industry: for example, high tech is changing very rapidly, but the postal industry doesn’t change as rapidly. With all of the technology changing in society, customers are adaptable to, ready for, and come to expect change when it comes to organizations “wowing” them. The bar keeps getting raised, and expectations are raised, as well.

This is why a reliable customer feedback mechanism is so valuable to organizations for monitoring and getting ready for changes when they come.

More on Janet’s biography:
Janet was the winner of a 2009 Stevie Award for Women in Business (Best Executive in a Government Sector over 2,500 employees) and her leadership won Canada Post four international awards—namely an International Business Award for Best Customer Service Organization, a 1to1 Impact Award for Organizational Transformation, a World Mail Award for Customer Service, and an Aberdeen Industry Achievement Award for Business Evolution.

Janet was named to the prestigious position of Customer Champion, joining a world-wide community of top-level executives who are the voice of the customer in their organizations and whose efforts help tie customer strategies to bottom-line results. Janet is on the Editorial Advisory Board of Customer Strategist, an executive journal by the Peppers and Rogers Group and has been a member of numerous advisory councils.

A 20-year marketing veteran, Janet has covered sales, marketing, customer service, and transformational strategies since starting her career. Janet holds a Masters of Business Administration and was an adjunct professor of marketing at the University of Ottawa for over a decade. She is the co-author of Straight Talk about Children and Sport, now available worldwide in three languages.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Martorano
Steve has been on the front lines with customers for over 25 years. He is currently Director of Customer Services for Polygon Northwest, a real estate developer in both the Seattle and Portland markets. Steve is also the creator of ThinkCustomerSatisfaction.com, an online resource designed to provide insights and training to customer professionals across many industries.


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