I’ve done some work with some folks in the software as a service (SaaS) space and have lots of colleagues and friends who are also working there. Whenever I talk with them about Customer Experience, I always chuckle when the conversation turns to the Voice of the Customer. (more…)
Improving our processes is hard work. There’s a lot of research and thinking that goes into the exercise of getting better at what we do. Add to that the complexities and politics of change management—especially if your organization is large and/or well-established—and it can be daunting for sure. People spend careers refining their approach to Process Engineering, and quite frankly, if it’s being done right, there’s a lot of math involved. And as any one of my cadets can tell you…math is hard.
One thing that (unnecessarily, in my opinion) makes it even more of a challenge is the wrong perspective. I consider it unnecessary because it’s a human tendency, but not an inevitability, to see things from our own perspective and miss those of others. (more…)
One of my favorite Process Engineering tools is the Five Whys. The basic principle is to consider a problem or imperfection, ask why it’s the way it is, and then ask why that explanation is so. We keep digging (as the title suggests, five times, but your mileage may vary) until we’ve uncovered the true root cause of an issue. The idea here is to work toward better understanding what’s behind a problem rather than simply fixing the facial, obvious symptoms. This aids in efficiency as we’re less prone to waste our time simply swatting at proverbial flies but rather identifying an underlying failure, fixing it, and thereby avoiding further deficiencies.
Now, as with any tool, it can be overused or misapplied. Some folks will barge into a problem-solving situation, claim to ask “Why?” five times, and call themselves heroes for having broken through the “it’s how we’ve always done it” mentality. Nice try, but the Five Whys is more than just seeming to be an iconoclast or dynamic thinker. If you’re only asking “Why” rhetorically or just to be snarky or look like the smartest person in the room, it’s likely you’ll miss the whole point. The purpose of asking “Why” is actually two-fold: to search earnestly for the root cause, but also to better understand the systems that are currently in place and, well, why they’re there (the jobs they were intended to accomplish). (more…)
“You’re soaking in it.” Do you remember that commercial for dishwashing soap that was supposed to be so incredibly good for your skin that the lady who’d gone in (to see Madge, remember?) for a manicure was unknowingly enjoying its benefits, thinking she was dipping her fingers into some wonderful skin tonic? Or have you heard the concept of fish not realizing they’re wet because they’re surrounded by water? (more…)
I came across the following article I wrote in an earlier part of my consulting career (I was much thinner then). Without knowing it at the time, I foreshadowed a lot of reflection that I use now as an executive CX consultant and Fractional CCO. At the time my practice was mainly focused on training clients and facilitating workshops in Lean Six Sigma and Agile Project Management among other topics…mostly more transactional than the larger and more strategic work I do with clients these days. Nonetheless, I think it is a microcosm of the concept of seeking and acting on feedback wherever you can. I use it still as a consultant and encourage my clients to do the same in their own VoC programs. I’ve lightly edited and updated some parts. Enjoy. (more…)
The Wall Street Journal has a daily column called “Best of the Web Today.” Its originator, James Taranto, created it as a bit of a light-hearted end-of-the-day quick-hit piece with a bit of political commentary thrown in as well. A recurring gag is to make little jokes about headlines published around the Web that, regardless of the actual story attached, sound funny or irreverent when read on their own. A meme he used a lot was to append a clever label to such headlines as, say, “Florida man critical after bout with runaway gator” pithily with: “Everyone’s a Critic”. When it comes to Customer experience, all of us CXers are, well…critics, no?
And if we’re doing it right, if we’re truly curious and hungry to learn about CX broadly, we’re actually looking for the good and the bad in our experiences with brands. Just like a food critic doesn’t want it known that the restaurant he or she is visiting is being evaluated, lest they go all out to deliver a spectacular meal just for the review, and just like a theater critic wants to (to the extent possible) see the performance through the eyes of his or her readers, we as CX professionals won’t learn much if we all treat each other better than the average Customer.
That has an upside and a downside. We as CX professionals can be the best Customers but also sometimes the worst. (more…)
In this, the second installment of a five-part series on the Principles of Good CX (Intro here, and Part One here), I’ll present the principle of Communication. It’s pretty obvious that this is important, but that makes it even more surprising that so many organizations get it so wrong.
I recently spent literally two weeks waiting to hear back from my insurance company on a property claim. It was a complicated issue (for me, at least, as the Customer) that entailed my insurance company, my neighbor’s insurance company, and the insurance company that covers my HOA. There were all sorts of complicated (again, for me, I’m not in insurance) dealings between the three carriers having to do with liability and competing deductibles, and meanwhile, I had tradespeople working on repairs to our place who were wondering when and via whom they’d be paid. (more…)
In my time as a CX professional, I’ve developed what I call the Five Principles of CX. I’ll go through them over the course of five articles starting here with the first one: Get It Right (GIR). (I posted an introduction to the series here.) Although not universally the case, and it’s not a good idea to limit it just this way, a lot of folks consider CX in terms mostly of Customer support. That is to say, that most of the time when we consider improving CX, we look to how we handle Customer requests when something’s gone wrong.
This is a narrow view, and we should avoid considering CS as the totality of CX. A Customer’s experience begins before he or she even comes into direct contact with our brand—through word of mouth, online reviews, or just the sound the name of our business makes when spoken out loud—let alone has problems with our goods or services. That said, though, Customer support can help us greatly when it comes to improving our CX. (more…)
I wouldn’t be a self-serving, self-promoting consultant if I didn’t have a few frameworks to show you, so at the risk of shaming myself and losing my membership card, here’s another one. Over the course of five articles, I’ll get into each of them, but here I’ll lay out what I term the Principles of Good CX. (more…)