You can’t transform something you don’t understand – Interview with Annette Franz


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Today’s interview is with Annette Franz, founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc, and an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader. Annette joins me today to talk about her new book: Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business), what it’s about, what we can learn from it and her views on the current state of customer experience.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – Audio is an overlooked dimension of the customer experience – Interview with Jeff Yasuda of – and is number 317 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 Annette:

  • Annette has recently published her first book: Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business).
  • It’s not only a book about journey mapping.
  • The book is really about putting the customer into customer experience and developing a customer centric culture.
  • Only at the end of the book does Annette delve into journey mapping and how to do it right.
  • Too many folks get caught up with specific tactics but should be thinking more broadly and how they can shift to a more customer centric culture.
  • There is a lot of talk about customer experience and customer centricity and many throw technology at it. But, essentially it’s a people problem.
  • Some of the deadly sins of customer experience include no executive commitment, inside out thinking and not taking account of employee experience.
  • You can’t have a customer centric culture without putting your people first.
  • The first three ways that can help you achieve better understanding of your customers and to put you on the road to customer centricity: listening (surveys, feedback and data), characterizing (the use of personas and journey mapping) and empathizing (walking in your customer’s shoes).
  • You can’t transform something you don’t understand.
  • The current state of journey mapping is not great. People are doing it or they think they’re doing it, but they’re not really doing it well.
  • There are 13 common mistakes listed in the book that people make when journey mapping.
  • Some of the big ones are not including customers, process or touchpoint mapping and thinking it’s the same as customer journey mapping and not starting with personas.
  • That doesn’t mean that you can’t conduct a quick and dirty mapping exercise. Just make sure that you do it from the customer’s perspective.
  • Oh, and make sure you do something with the map after you have created it. It’s not just a pretty picture.
  • If you’re not going to do anything about it, then don’t bother.
  • The pace of progress in the customer experience space is frustratingly slow.
  • The biggest challenge is getting senior leaders to get it.
  • If we don’t have customers, we don’t have a business.
  • Leaders need to take a big tablespoon worth of humility and go down and hang out with the folks that are doing the hard work.
  • Look to Warby Parker as an example of a company leading the way. They are doing a great job.
  • There are things you can do to improve the experience that don’t cost you any money.
  • Listening to customers and understanding their experience won’t cost you any money.
  • Annette’s Punk CX words: no fear, because those are the brands that take the road less traveled.
  • Annette’s brand that epitomises a Punk CX ethos: Zappos

About Annette

Annette FranzAnnette Franz, CCXP is founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc. She’s got more than 25 years of experience helping companies understand their employees and customers and identify what drives retention, satisfaction, engagement, and the overall experience – so that employees, customers, and businesses reap the benefits and achieve their desired outcomes.

Annette was named one of “The 100 Most Influential Tech Women on Twitter” by Business Insider and is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader. She mentors other professionals in this field to help them advance their careers and is a speaker and an avid writer. In 2019, she published her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business).

Annette serves as Vice Chairwoman on the Board of Directors of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA). She is also an official member of the Forbes Coaches Council, an invitation-only community for successful business and career coaches. Members are selected based on their depth and diversity of experience. And, finally, she is an Advisory Board Member for CX@Rutgers.

Thanks to Pixabay for the image.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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