For CX, Where is not as important as What and Why

Where a CX function is located within a company is a frequent discussion topic among CXers.  I’ve been thinking about this recently and, while obviously each company is unique and every situation different, it occurs to me that where a CX function resides isn’t nearly as important as is what it’s chartered to do.

But if I could get all Simon Sinek-y here, naturally the greater question still, is the Why.  Let’s look at the charter of what your CX organization should be in the first place, then we can start to look at what difference it may make as to where it’s located.  The why should drive the what, and therefore, the where will really just be a slight tweaking and refinement of range of influence. (more…)

By | 2021-03-30T15:13:13+00:00 March 30th, 2021|Categories: CX Culture, CX Jobs, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership|0 Comments

Don’t let your most valuable resource go

I’m blessed to have been recruited to work in the field of Customer Experience.  I came to the practice of CX via Process Engineering (Lean Six Sigma, or LSS).  Using PE to better our CX is an incredibly fulfilling use of a legacy approach to improving what we do.  Years ago, before I was involved in CX, I saw how, sadly, PE was often used to ‘find efficiencies’, which usually meant looking for redundancies and people to fire.  Back in the day, I mortified my then-boss when I posted the following article to my professional network about why that’s a bad idea.  Somehow it didn’t get me in trouble (too much).  I recently re-read it, gave it some buffing, and present it to you here today.  Plenty of organizations still use PE organically simply to reduce resource use and eliminate waste in their business processes; a noble endeavor as well.  Regrettably, the trend still exists to cut people as a spoil of those improvements.  For those who aren’t yet using PE for CX purposes, perhaps this can still resonate with you.  Enjoy.

 

One of the things my colleagues and I emphasize when we educate our partners about Lean Six Sigma and Continuous Improvement is that it shouldn’t be used to reduce headcount. Some managers and executives I train think that new-found capacity after a process improvement is made is a good opportunity to draw down. Here are two important reasons why that’s a very bad idea: (more…)

By | 2021-03-01T16:33:25+00:00 March 1st, 2021|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership, Process Engineering|0 Comments

Don’t tell me you love me

A few years back I was at lunch with a mentor and there was something we needed or wanted that we had to ask for.  The waiter replied somewhat along the lines of:  “Well, we’re not supposed to do that, but I’ll go ahead and do that for you.”

We thanked him, but after he walked away, my mentor turned to me and surprisingly said, “what poor form for him to say that.”  When I asked what he meant—after all, I was glad he’d singled us out for special attention—he explained, “so what, now we’re in his debt?  Like he’s done us a favor?” (more…)

By | 2021-02-25T16:39:46+00:00 February 25th, 2021|Categories: CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership|0 Comments

Chesterton and his gate

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…)

By | 2021-02-22T17:37:25+00:00 February 22nd, 2021|Categories: Consulting, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership, Process Engineering|0 Comments

The risks of executive escalations

Executive escalations can be a real life-saver for an organization.  Whether it’s a high-profile Customer or just someone whose experience has gone completely off the rails, sometimes escalating dramatically can truly save the day for CX.  I recently had an experience that was saved by an executive escalation.  I happen to know a Senior Director at a service provider that had recently disrupted its service, potentially causing a serious problem for me.  He’s in CX too, and as a benefit of swimming in these waters, I was able to reach out to him directly and ask for help.  As you’d guess, my issue was handled with great effectiveness and speed.

But that experience got me to wondering:  what if I hadn’t ‘known people’?  When I worked for a corporation in the Customer Support organization, we had an executive escalations team that was top-notch, filled with professional problem-solvers who had all the tools at their disposal with which to address any issue our Customers may have.  They were a well-oiled team, run by one of the best senior managers I’ve seen.  But as with any other organization, there are a few inherent risks with executive escalations and how we handle them. (more…)

By | 2021-02-18T16:12:16+00:00 February 18th, 2021|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership, Principles of Good CX|0 Comments

Maybe you are already “doing” CX

“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…)

By | 2021-02-16T16:20:58+00:00 February 16th, 2021|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership, Process Engineering, VoC|0 Comments

Employees are NOT your Customers

Can I start a controversial article being completely uncontroversial?  Thanks.  Here goes:  Good employee engagement is an absolute requirement in order to drive good CX.  Okay… now, feel free to refer to that as you read on, because I’m not trying to say that engagement isn’t fundamental; in fact, it’s a bedrock necessity if you’re going to provide a good Customer experience that you first ensure you are providing a good employee experience.

With that throat-clearing out of the way, I was shocked (shocked!) when a nontrivial number of contributors (all CX pros) to a forum in which I recently participated seemed confused about the difference between Customers and employees. (more…)

By | 2021-01-25T16:12:42+00:00 January 25th, 2021|Categories: CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership|0 Comments

Some non-CX thoughts on Tony Hsieh

The turn in the narrative regarding Tony Hsieh’s death has been striking over the past few days as stories (like these in the Journal and Forbes) began to come to light based on accounts from those who knew him better than the rest of us who had merely admired him from afar.  While the universal impression remains that it’s a shame to lose such a great mind and spirit who had so much left to offer, those who have revered Tony as an inspiration (not only to CX and business in general, but also his philanthropy, sense of community, and overall joie de vivre) having never known him personally may be left wondering:  What was that all about? (more…)

By | 2020-12-09T16:12:24+00:00 December 9th, 2020|Categories: CX Culture, CX Thoughts, Leadership|0 Comments

Two roles of a Chief Customer Officer

The concept of a Chief Customer Officer (CCO or, sometimes, CXO) is still pretty fresh for a lot of organizations.  I’ve even posted a video to go over some of the simple questions like, Why should you have a CCO and what are the benefits?  But just what a CCO is sometimes feels foreign, even though the responsibilities are pretty simple to analogize to other leadership roles in any organization.  As with these other positions, the job can be broadly broken down into two main hats the CCO wears: one as a leader and representative of an important part of the organization on the leadership team, and the other focused functionally and inwardly.

If that sounds familiar, it should.  In much the same way as the Chief Finance Officer is responsible not only for the day-to-day keeping of the books but also for bringing insights from that bookkeeping into the leadership team in order to offer guidance and expert opinion on what those finances are saying and what we should do about it, the Chief Customer Officer likewise has a team of CX experts deriving Customer-centric insights and acting on them (day-to-day functions), while also representing that part of the business in a collaborative effort to make the best strategic decisions as a leadership team on behalf of the organization.

When it comes to the CCO functional responsibilities, they fall into three categories:  the Voice of the Customer (VoC) program, Process Engineering (PE), and Customer-centric culture.  These all work together to create an ecosystem from which the CCO draws insights to inform the rest of the leadership team (the other part of the CCO’s job) about how decisions they make will impact the Customer and the impact that will have on the organization as a whole. (more…)

By | 2020-11-05T16:00:51+00:00 November 5th, 2020|Categories: CX Jobs, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership|0 Comments