CX Ambition – Turning your CX strategy from ambition to reality
In this week's episode, Gerry Brown, Chief Customer Rescue Officer joins Matt and Simon to discuss how CX professionals can turn their strategic aims and goals into a reality.
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|Gerry Brown, aka The Customer Lifeguard, is on a mission to save the world from bad customer service. He helps businesses save customers at risk of expiring and breathes life into their customer service operations and customer experience strategy.
Gerry has provided organizational leadership on people development, business transformation, customer engagement and technology enablement for some of the largest companies in the UK, Canada, and EMEA. These include National Express, Nutricia, The Royal Albert Hall, Endsleigh Insurance, O2, Screwfix, Sage, Sky, Bell Canada and TELUS.
He is also a published author and his new book When a Customer Wins, Nobody Loses is available on Amazon to help business leaders to create winning and memorable customer experiences.
I think it’s really going back to the start and saying, Okay, what is our purpose? What are we trying to do here? And if you start from that perspective and say, this is what we want to do, share that vision with your colleagues, because without them you simply won’t have a great customer experience because it can’t be mandated.
- For organisations who haven’t used experience Journey design or are thinking of going down this route, where do they start?
- How do you bring your Customer Experience Journey Map to life, particularly with so many conflicting objectives and stakeholders in an organisation?
- How do you go about defining the metrics used to track the success of the programme? And once you have them how do you act on the Insight?
- With a plethora of technology available to support the customer journey, how on earth does a customer decide what technology to use to deliver their road map?
- Employees tell us they are jaded to change, how do you get the Organisational Engagement needed to land a transformational project?
- The hardest part of any Customer Experience Strategy is building the momentum through the business and sustaining it. What from your perspective are the best way to build this organically and make the ambition a reality?
Simon – Welcome to the CX Chat with Matt and Simon, the podcast series where we talk about the hottest topics in customer experience. Now, for those of you that are new to the podcast, my name is Simon Thorpe. And as ever, I’m joined by my handsome co host, Matthew Dyer. And we’d love to get your feedback questions and suggestions for future topics. And as you may have listened before, we have a worldwide audience of people that tune in every week. And we love to hear from you. And we love to encourage participation and feedback. So please use the hashtag #TheCXChat on all of the usual social places. And so, Matty How are you? How’s your week been so far?
Matt – Yeah Simon, I’m very good. Thanks. I have an interesting week, I’ve been asked to record a short video for the new startup called Zumo launched a digital or crypto wallet to get my take in it. So I guess why am I interested in that? Why do I like that? In the crypto space, they’re all about the community and looking for direct engagement to build out the product and keep iterating on it. So I think as we’re kind of going into this theme, this could quite resonate quite strongly what we’re going to talk about.
Simon – Wow, that’s really cool. Your celebrity is growing by the minute getting asked to do a personal appearances now I just I haven’t been asked by anyone to do that. But that’s a different matter. That’s awesome, mate. Well, you’ll have to let us know next week and how you got on with the with the recording.
Matt – I will do.
Simon – So shall we get on with this week’s podcast theme, and it’s another cracking theme, another cracking topic. So what we’re going to be talking about today is ambition. And how customer experience professionals can turn their kind of strategic aims, goals, plans, whatever you might call it into a reality turning that ambition into a reality and we’ve kind of touched on this a little bit around the outskirts of it on some of our other recordings, but we’ve never really dug into the theme as a whole. And we’ve never really started to look at things like the pitfalls to avoid, you know, some of the success stories that exist out there. And so I think it’s gonna be really, really good one today and to help us wade through this subject matter, and we’ve got a cracking guest this week. So, to introduce him, I’m going to steal a little bit from his LinkedIn bio, because I think it was brilliant the way he described himself. So he describes himself as a well seasoned, but certainly not overcooked author, speaker, workshop facilitator and consultant with a broad experience in customer experience, contact centres and CRM. He’s very much a man on a mission to get rid of bad customer service. A warm welcome to the customer lifeguard Gerry Brown. How are you sir?
Gerry – I’m very well Simon and and thank you so much. That was I appreciate you to have using my LinkedIn profile and anyone that knows me knows that that’s a pretty accurate in many ways, so it’s probably a good thing that we are audio only because I’ve always been told I have a great bass radio. So great to join you both and to be part of this. And I think that you’d say it’s a very interesting topic and one that I bump into fairly frequently. So looking forward to it.
Matt – Welcome, Gerry. It’s been a while.
Gerry – Yes Matt. It has indeed.
Matt – And you’ve been a strong supporter for Sabio for a long time. So thinking back over the last 20 years since the days of Ken and Seb. What do you think has changed most in the CX space during that time?
Gerry – Well, I think it’s interesting that the, you know, the terminology customer experience, probably when when I first met Ken and Adam and said, which was probably at 1999, 2000, just when Sabio was getting going and they became a very important partner with Genesis at that time, and I was head of channels at Genesis, but the word wasn’t really used the phraseology wasn’t really used at that time. But what was interesting is that the work that that they were doing and the work that Sabio started on, and I think what really appealed to me in the role that I had that time was that they really started thinking about customers very early on in the game and you think, well, of course, we we always Well, no, we weren’t. I think that’s the real reason that customer experience started to become a buzzword, which it has done now. I think there’s no question about that or phrase. And I think what’s changed is the fact that organisations realise that, even though Sabio has long been known for, you know, delivering great technology solutions, unless you match that with understanding really what customers are looking for and what the organisation is prepared for. Then simply putting in a new solution, whether that be a CRM, whether that be a contact centre solution isn’t going to work? So I think what I’ve seen is is that the the what is what has happened since then is that companies have realised that they go together. So this whole idea of ambition and reality, operational reality is really based on the fact that you can’t just do one thing without thinking about the other. And I think that’s probably what changed. And I think for many reasons, Sabio was very much a Vanguard in leading the charge there. And that’s why I think 20 years on, you know, you’re still there doing some great work with lots of customers. And I think it started early on, and evolved to the point where, you know, it’s natural for organisations to start looking at how they improve things, but looking at it very holistically from all angles, strategically, tactically, technologically and so on. And I think that’s, that’s how I’ve seen things change over the last sort of 20 years.
Matt – Well I know Seb listens to the podcast. I’m sure he liked that endorsement, Gerry.
Simon – It’s a glowing endorsement.
Gerry – Well, you know, it’s not it’s not it’s not hard to do. I, you know, I think, again, we found a good relationship. You know, I’ve worked with a number of companies over the years, I’d like to think that, you know, the description I have about me is good. And people, you know, seem to you know, like, work with me. I’ve always enjoyed working with the, you know, there’s been a obviously a change of the guard at Sabio. Oh, but I think the thing about it is, is that the, you know, the, the strength of the of the, you know, the principles have stayed the same. And I think that’s what’s kept them going. I think it’s what keeps me going. I’d like to take the I take the same approach and haven’t changed dramatically other than obviously evolving with the times, but you know, my view of the world hasn’t changed too much. And I think finding people that I can work with, very, very collaboratively and cooperatively is is a great thing.
Simon – Well, what a lovely start, that was a nice way to where to begin and the endorsement. Thank you for that Gerry. And to kick off the topic. I’d really like to ask you, Gerry, from your experience, and you spend a lot of time working with with a whole range of different businesses. And but if we’re if we’re kind of pinpointing this against, you know, turning strategic strategy goals ambitions to reality, and I’m really keen to know whether you think whether most businesses actually have a customer experience plan or strategy in place, you know, is that something that everyone, you know, sits down and produces and writes and goes, right, this is the plan that looked like a sales plan or operational plan, or, or is that a bit of a myth do people, you know, in industries just tend to, you know, suck it and see and get on with it. What’s your what’s your view?
(Do most businesses actually have a customer experience plan or strategy in place?)
Gerry – Yes, I think I think it’s probably what it may not be a mess, but I would find it hard to believe that that many organisations really have it sussed out because for many of them, they don’t even know what the issues are they of course everyone will agree. And you’ll see this on many companies websites, and there are Advertising customers are at the heart of everything we do. And then if you happen to be one of their customers, and I’m not going to be naming and shaming today, but if you happen to be one of their customers, you think really, you really think that that’s the way it’s working. And of course, many businesses simply aren’t doing that because the focus for many of them, especially from a senior level, is is very much on the bottom line. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that. Of course, if you ignore that, then you’re not going to be going to be in the business very long. But the point being is that generally speaking, if you take care of your customers, this sounds a bit flippant, but if you take care of your customers, then the money would generally follow you and I think that that has been proven so I think what we’re seeing is organisations you know, saying things like, you know, customers part of everything we do customer number one, etc, etc. But they’re not necessarily doing it and basically paying lip service. And you know, what was interesting? I remember talking about some quite some time ago, probably 10 years ago there was an article that came out from Harvard Business Review saying stop trying to delight your customers. And it was done intentionally controversially, basically to talk about the idea of being focusing on I guess on simplicity but also focusing on on the value of if you like, doing the right thing for the customer, but but not worrying so much about you know, not worrying so much about trying to wow them and you know, I want to talk about wow customers and they were talking about just make it easy, and I think then it kind of got lost on Okay, we’re just gonna make it easy. Well, making it easy, as I’ve said many times isn’t easy. And I think that’s where you sort of started you say, all right, well, what was making it easy for me, and of course, it means different things for different people, but I think it is a good place to start. And of course it It spawned the book that came to follow that, which was the effortless experience, which is a book that I think is still a really good read, to understand how we, how we start, you know, talking about this so, so you’ve got this, this somewhat this dichotomy, we don’t want to while customers, but sometimes customers need to be, well, sometimes they need, you know, if you if you happen to have done something wrong, then you really need to say, you know, what, we need to do something special for this customer. And I think what we’re seeing, especially now with with COVID, and many of the issues that we’re running into, is that this is where customers really do need a metaphorical arm around their shoulder. And so, you know, for businesses that are able to do that, and and have have responded well, then I think that’s, that’s really the ones that are successful, but sort of going back to you know, your original point. I think what what organisations feel is that that many, many of their people working for them want to get over a great experience. I’ve done a lot of work in contact centres over my over my years and I’m firmly convinced that nobody in the contact world gets up in the morning and says, right, I want to have any customers that I can upset today, they simply don’t because they want to do a good job. But then they get into the office when they were still going into offices that even today, and quite often that personal desire that that, did you know that most people have it in their DNA, most of us want to help people. Let’s face it. If I saw you stranded a side of the road in a dark stormy night, I probably think I’d like to stop and help you. And, you know, we have that built into us. But when we get to working in some of these businesses, and the phrase I use is that many organisations they want to, they want to put their, their people they want, they don’t want people’s natural feelings to come through. Because when someone calls in and says, Well, I’ve got this problem with your product, I really would like to have a refund. They say I’m sorry, you know, we don’t give refunds or you it’s longer than 30 days, we can’t possibly do it. Effectively, what they’re asking people to do is to put their personality and draw Mark not to be open during business hours. In other words, we don’t want your your feelings come out, you need to follow the script you need. So a lot of organisations work this way. And I think when they do that, that’s where customer experience really struggles to get to get going. And so people in the in the, in the contact centre world and we know we’ve all worked with those for many years, sit there going, Well, look, I really want to do a great job, but I’m not allowed to do that, or, you know, my technology lets me down or whatever it happens to be. So I think it’s really going back to the start and saying, Okay, what is what, what is our purpose? What are we trying to do here? And if you start from that perspective and say, This is what we want to do, share that vision with your with your, with your colleagues, because without them you simply won’t have a great customer experience because it can’t be mandated. Obviously, we want to say to people, yes, we want to give a great experience, but the CEO of the FDA saying you will give a great experience and want to do it and quite often They think that that’s all they need to do. You know, they have a big, they have a big day and they all wear hats with, you know, customers number one, and they have a rah rah session. And they expect that’s going to change things, and it won’t. It is an iterative process. So working with people getting them to come along with you is absolutely vital in this thing.
Matt – Do you think enough organisations are actually going out and asking or finding out what their customers actually want? So I know we talk a lot about experience journey design and doing primary research. From your experience Gerry is that where they need to kind of complement at the start of the programme as well. So everyone understands what that journey is, and kind of where they can help the customer?
(For organisations who haven’t used experience Journey design or are thinking of going down this route, where do they start?)
Gerry – I think I think they do to a certain extent, most organisations you talk to would probably say, Well, you know, we do customer surveys, and we do employee surveys. And you know, we’re doing this all the time, but the question I would ask them is, are you asking the right questions? Are you asking the right people the right questions, and are you involving your colleagues because Lots of people do voice to the customer. Many businesses do voice of the employee, but many times that information isn’t brought together. And I think that the the customers that are asked, especially, you know, I’m not I’m not a big fan of NPS, I don’t I don’t think it’s bad. I just don’t think it really does, you know, net promoter score for those that are familiar. But simply asking, would you recommend this company to your friends and colleagues simply doesn’t tell you anything and many businesses and especially the senior people in businesses live or die by NPS. Now, you know, to me, it’s very much like taking your temperature, especially these days. So if you have an issue right now, and somebody takes your temperature and it’s, you know, 100 something, well, that’s, that’s a red flag, obviously, we have an issue, but if that’s all you do, in other words, if you only get an NPS score, and you don’t know what the underlying issues are, that is really difficult to understand what needs to change, and what you have to focus on by the same token, asking you employees just doing a yearly survey people do a yearly survey often as a tick box exercise. Well, we’ve asked our employees what we think what we’re seeing more of now, there’s a lot of really interesting platforms coming out. You know, some businesses haven’t for a while, you know, Salesforce has had chatter, we’ve got slack as a way of integrating with people. But we’re saying things like Glen’s and pecan culture app, these kinds of, you know, what I call employee voice programmes. So these are programmes that allow your employees to see bank information pretty much in real time. So if something happens, they have the opportunity of providing some feedback. Perhaps it’s a technology issue. We’ve been struggling with our technology customers are really frustrated because they can’t do certain things. But the same thing is true of customers. And I think if you give customers the opportunity to respond in a much more real time fashion and provide them with an easy way of doing that, and now you’ve got some real information to work on. And I’ve been doing some work recently with With a couple of organisations and really using this as a way of both from colleagues and from customers, of understanding what the real issues are, you know, getting verbatim comments. Again, using technology, it’s so much easier now with speech analytics, that those kinds of things where you can dig into what people are saying, get that information quite quickly, and really start to zero in on things. So I think that organisations are learning slowly, perhaps that there are ways better ways of getting feedback. And of course, the other issue is get the feedback is fine, but if you don’t act on it, then what’s the point? So, you know, the, the phrase I use is, don’t ask if you can’t act.
Simon – Hallelujah Gerry, we’ve talked a lot about that in the podcast, this this sheer wastage of efforts around voices, customer invoices, employee in that and the discontent that can drive. Let me take you back to a point that you raised earlier because I think you’re absolutely bang on this. This this concept that people fundamentally want to do a good job, they want to help customers, they don’t allow us to get into this kind of an industry without having that in their DNA. But I’ve been in this market in this industry for 15 years now, I know you have and Matt has as well, many years. And, and a lot of the time, we’re still talking about the same problems and, you know, year on year. And I just wonder, why are we still talking about the same issues, because there’s lots of technology out there that is designed to help us improve things and, you know, a lot of, you know, acting human and doing what’s right for customers isn’t rocket science. What’s the disconnect Gerry? Is it is it because service strategies don’t align with business objectives? You know, is it is it that profit and cost reduction, trumps anything that a company relates to customer experience, there’s got to be something that is the kind of driving force behind why businesses aren’t turning their CX ambitions to reality, because it feels like we’ve been talking about this stuff, year on year on year, we’re not seeing material changes.
(With a plethora of technology available to support the customer journey, how on earth does a customer decide what technology to use to deliver their road map?)
Gerry – No, you’re right. I think I think one word that I would use is trust. That’s the first thing that comes to mind is that if you don’t trust your employees to handle a situation if you don’t give them the opportunity to to take action and the word empowerment comes along a lot, it’s sometimes Oh, we use an overblown, but without empowerment, then nothing will ever take place. So you can say are the customers at heart of everything you do, you can do all of this, every organisation that I’ve gone into where these challenges still exist, when I’ve done side by side just enjoys, and I’ve done lots of those, I say to them, okay, so how empowered are you? And most people will say, we’re really not. So let’s say, well, let’s define that a little bit more. Let’s say a customer wanted to have had a problem with the product and they wanted to refund how empowered are you to do that? Well, I you know, if I have to do that, then I have to get my supervisors position on I have to do this and this and this. And I’ve just gone back to the business and said, You know what, by the time you go through all of that, if it was a let’s, I mean, by all means, if it’s a 10,000 pound refund, that’s different. But, you know, most of these things we’re talking about, let’s say we were talking about a mobile phone bill, and it was 50 or 75 pounds a month, or we’re talking about a train ticket or something relatively low cost, the cost to take all the time that you need to do to have the customers fill out forms and do all the stuff they’re doing. You know, a good example of this is the the the train with their delay repay system. You know, the companies or organisations that I you know, I have a strong dislike for because, you know, they’re a great example of how not to do business. When you were I mean, that’s changing now obviously with what’s going on but when you have a delay in your in your train journey, which most people have almost every day, you have to go online, you have to fill out a form, you have to send a copy of your ticket. I mean, think about that. And this is kind of the kinds of things that the hoops that people go through. So many people don’t bother because oh, can’t be bothered, you know, it’s only a fiver, I won’t even bother and they don’t. And it’s the same thing with this. They run into issues and so they end up not getting satisfaction because no one is in the position of doing something. So trust an employee’s trusting and employees to do the right thing, I think is the first thing that happens. And I think that’s that’s very much where the problems start. And then, of course, there’s probably this feeling well, if we do it, if we start getting refunds too easily, everyone’s gonna do it. Bla bla bla bla bla, but reality is, you know, if you operate a proper business, and she do it, right, firstly, you probably won’t have to do any refunds. But even if you did, guess what the customer is going to say, you know, these guys really treated me well. They really thought of me. And that way you’ll keep that customer because you Start to mess with customers give them a hard time. That’s what will drive them away as much as they can. So I think that’s where the disconnect is not recognising that doing the right thing has long term value, especially with any any business that you know where there’s so much repeat business. You start messing with customers and not giving them you know, it does not always me saying Yes, one of the things I always also say is, it’s not always saying yes, it’s how you say no. And so the ability for that employee colleague, when they were in a contact centre in a store where it comes to be, they just need to be given, they need to be trusted, they need to be empowered, they need to have an understanding of what it means. If they don’t do it the right thing and the first time around. I think that’s where it still sits. There’s a lot of that going on. And I talked to senior executives who Sorry about that Matt who says oh, yeah, you know, we let people do it. And then you talk to the people that said, No, they don’t. So I think it’s a big disconnect.
Matt – And I was gonna say Gerry, it does feel to me in a lot of places I do into that. There’s a big disconnect between The execs and the people on the front line and until I guess they at least look at the data and kind of make some decisions or actually get on the coalface and understand what is the sentiment from customers, we’re not going to see a change. And I personally think that’s why, over the last 20 years, and a lot of areas we keep coming back to, we’ve seen no change. I just wonder off the back of what we’ve seen via COVID. And some of the solutions that we’re starting to shift though, whether or not there might be a change coming.
Gerry – I think they will. And one of the other questions I always ask in contact centres as I usually ask them, when was the last time you were managing director or director of sales, whatever, you know, what senior person when was the last time they came into the contact centre and listen to the calls. And most of the time, people will say, Well, they’ve never been down here. And where I’ve seen successes and you’ve probably seen these in various conferences have gone to or I’ve been hosting with people is that those organisations that have had their senior executives come in Sit in contact centres really listen to what customers are saying. And if they’re brave enough, actually handling calls. Those are the ones that are really seeing firsthand exactly what’s going on. Again, it sounds very obvious, but I think you’ll agree, there aren’t that many organisations doing it. Simply listening to calls, just just doing call monitoring isn’t the answer. You need to be there. You need to look at the face of that employee that’s getting you know, having a difficult time, you need to hear the emotion in their voice. You need to hear the emotion in the voice of the customer. I want you to do that. I think you could then then change things very quickly. Gerry we just recorded and you won’t have heard it yet because it’s not released. But we just recorded a fantastic podcast with a lady called Kate Thornton who in a time at British Airways recognised the true value in walking in frontline team shoes. So she every 90 days would go in and work as cabin crew for for a few days and I’ve been to some of the stories I’m Not gonna give it away now because it’ll spoil the podcast but true power in doing that sort of thing, both kind of connecting different, you know, the head office to the front line and, you know, creating kind of motivation and connection relationships, but also the, the vast kind of knowledge and intelligence you can pick up from be on the front line. I mean, it’s not rocket science, as you said, you learn what customers like and what processes upset them. And yeah, it’s real power. What about technology Gerry, I mean, this, you mentioned a few as we’ve been going through this, I mean, this, lots of technology coming out all the time, some really sophisticated things around, you know, AI, measuring customer sentiment, you know, removing, you know, monotonous simple tasks, you know, surely that has a big part to play in this, this kind of ambition to reality. But again, you made the point and I totally agree that you know, just sticking technology in for technology’s sake. Isn’t the silver bullet. How do how does CX professionals, you know, make sure they’re doing the right things and around technology? Well, one of the things that I’ve done for a long time, and I’m still doing it to this day with organisations I’m currently working is working with is that I would say, you know, you start with the customer experience. So doing that through, say, for an example through agile means. So, using agile, an agile methodology, not necessarily, you know, deep, dive agile, simply it’s saying to the people in the context that are asking them to respond with an agile type of user case scenario, and so on. So we sort of start from that perspective and say, okay, as a supervisor in the contact centre, I need to make sure that the moment that one of my advisors gets into difficulty, I’m immediately contacted to help them out whatever it happens to be. That’s just one example. So we start from that perspective. And everything we do is couched in those terms. So both customers and colleagues. So when a customer asks you about such and such, I need to be able to whatever it happens to be. So we’re starting from the perspective of that, and then saying, Okay, let’s test our current system to see how well that works. So as an example, you know, working with organisations that have lots of legacy, and that’s true in the retail space, it’s true in the transportation space. So you know, people like British Airways will have a lot of big ticketing systems and so on. And those aren’t generally as as flexible as you’d like them to be. So quite often, again, I’ve done side by sides, where someone’s called in, they’ve got a query and the first thing they’re asked is, you know, what’s your ticket number? What’s your order number? Something that’s really quite abstract, as opposed to saying, Oh, Mr. Brown, yes, I see your because they’ve got something in the middle. So the technology that generally works well in those scenarios, where you’ve got a big, heavy lifting system is to have some kind of cloud system in between that you guys know about Many, many solutions such as that, where you know, you can pick up the customers information you don’t need to have, it doesn’t have to be a huge database. It simply says, Okay, this is, I’m going to pick up this information from the customer, I know who you are. I know, if you want, you can put, you know as much on that simple screen as you want to say, you know, this is a good customer that this is how much they spend with us every year, every month, whatever it happens to be, here’s our existing orders, and having something on there what the customer says, I’m just calling I want to change a ticket, I’ve done business with a pretty large transportation company that UK and they were asking customers for the ticket number and the customer couldn’t find it. By the time they found the ticket and one of the issues they had was their calls were going along to the mall. Their average handle time was just going through the roof, and quite often it was because customers couldn’t find the information they wanted. Whereas if you can quickly bring that to bear or doing out through AI again, many organisations are realising If they front end with the right kind of AI, chatbot, whatever it happens to be. And perhaps that’s how it starts and they gather that key information. And at some point, they go, right, okay, we now need to hand this off to a real agent. They give all of that rich information that they’ve gathered, the now the advisor, the agent is ready to go, they don’t have to go through the whole thing all over again, which again, is what drives us crazy. So I think it’s about identifying those places where things like cloud systems and drop in where the appropriate, I will work, making sure that we’re not going to IVR to Dotto, which is, you know, my biggest fear is that, you know, we move from, you know, IVR, which has been around for many, many years, you know, many people still love to hate that. And that we get give the the system or the people systems that are going to help them work. But again, you start from the perspective of what’s the customer looking to do, how do we make that easy for them, as opposed to just saying, right, well, we’re going to go out and buy a new CRM system. Why do you need that, but we’re going to bind your context. And so why do you need that? You know, starting from the wrong place. So, you know, that’s why I like what I do, because I kind of work on the strategy side and then say, right, how are we going to enable that? Can we make that work? You want to deliver this experience using the scenario of the user case? Can we do that with what you’ve currently got? Or do we have to have a look at something else to do that? So I think, if you start from the perspective of this is what the customer wants to do. This is what we’d like our colleague to respond with. Start with that, then you can get the technology selections, right?
Matt – Yeah, I think that’s an important point, Gerry, because a lot of times people write RFPs rfis, based on a feature list, and we talked about this, Mark Adams and another one. So I think coming into the problem, what is the challenge you’re trying to solve and then building a contact centre or kind of a technology stack against that based on the kind of maybe that customer journey map and there’s points of kind of frustration, then you’re going to be a lot better pleased to be effective in kind of improving the customer experience, so, yeah, definitely resonates with me.
(What are the challenges you faced when building a Customer Experience journey map? )
Gerry – Yeah. And I think, you know, again, it sounds obvious that we would do that. But I think you know, from your experiences Matt and Simon, you know, doing the work that you guys do, many businesses don’t start that way they do the RFA, they send it out and I, I’ve, you know, more recently gotten involved with some of the stuff and I’ve said that people doing this look, before we get down that path of looking at requirements and all this kind of stuff. Let’s start with that. Let’s start with exactly what what people are looking for. And of course, engaging those people. That’s the other side of it. If you don’t ask people in the contact centre, what we were talking about moments ago with Simon about, you know, having senior executives in there, just go and sit in the contact centre for half today, you will learn more about that business than you ever could in any other way. And once you’ve done that, now you’ve you’ve said, right, okay, young young person sitting in the contact centre, how would you fix that? Well, oh, well, if we could do this, okay. Now, now we’re talking about how we do things for them, that are going to make their life easier with customers. That’s the place To start, not, you know, with the technology.
Simon – Yeah, you see, you’re so right Gerry, I would really love to encourage any of the listeners, you know, to tell us about their experiences of doing that, because as we’re hearing the vast majority of execs and board level people don’t but but equally we know that there are, you know, some good examples of people walking this shoe, so we’d love to hear about it. Yeah, Gerry, we could talk all day about this sort of stuff. And and, you know, we must have you back on and another time. But as we move into the kind of the wrap up of this, of this particular episode of the podcast, the thing I’d love to finish with is sustainability. So we find that in an operation or a business, executing a CX strategy, or some kind of a customer led initiative, trying to sustain and build momentum and And getting people involved and keeping people’s enthusiasm is really, really tough. You know, whether you’re engaging with, you know, your frontline people, your executives, you know, people around the business that need to have a stake in it from your experience, you know, what’s the best way of going about achieving that, that longevity and sustainability of a service strategy?
(How do you achieve longevity and sustain a Customer Experience strategy? How do you build this organically and make the ambition a reality?)
Gerry – Well, the way I’ve been doing it for many years in a way I’m doing it as we speak with a couple of organisations is we create a cross functional team, and that cross functional team, if that’s what you want to call it, or it can be customer champions, you know, number a number of headings fall into that. And really what you’re looking to do is to bring together people from different parts of the business now depending on the size of the business, will perhaps determine how big that is. But as an example I’m working with with one organisation which is in the public sector, and we’ve created a cross functional team of 12 people, and that’s probably as big as you want to be and what we’ve done is simply bring people in from different parts. There’s a combination of the mid mid to senior level managers, but also some very much the frontline people. And we asked them in their own specific departments. So again, starting a customer experience programme starting to build a framework, you start with an individual department, because quite often one of the other challenges the customer experience is trying to boil the ocean, you know, right, we got all these things we want to do well, that’s probably not, you know, that’s not necessarily the way to start. And again, it depends on the size of the business. But if you start sort of department by department, let’s say you’ve got five, six key departments, and you start on the standing, okay, give us an understanding, you know, what are the biggest challenges you have what are the things you’re hearing from customers, and you start to engage them that way, and then you bring them together. And what we’ve found in this particular example, is that there’s a lot of crossover. So want something happening in one department has great impact on what’s going on on the other. And when you bring these people together in this format, and you give them permission if that’s the right word, or you give them accountability to do this, it’s amazing what they will come up with. And this is what we’ve been able to do. So we’ve got, we have regular sessions. And so you talk about sustainability. So this isn’t just something that happens for a short period of time, we ask people to engage in this. And again, it will depend on what’s going on in the rest of the world. But if you get together, let’s say you get together a month, and perhaps, initially, you might get together a bit more more often. But let’s say you get together monthly, you have some ground rules, we’ve established rules of engagement, we say, right, we’re going to have five issues on the agenda today two hour session, especially if we’re doing it remotely as many people are. And you simply say, we’re going to have a two hour session. Here are the five topics we’re going to discuss today. And the idea is we are going to come up with a solution that we will present to the senior team and say right, this is what we believe we need to do. And it could be as simple as you know, saying we know we need to have more information about customers. We need to know about You know, whatever it happens to be. And if you start that way, again, it’s about empowering the people. It’s trusting people, rather than sort of saying, like, we’re going to bring in some, you know, high price consultant like me, job but, but basically what I’m saying is you’re, you know, you’re, you’re getting the people involved from day one, and they stay with how you may have been, you know, you may have people come and go through that. And what we’ve done with this particular organisation in which they were going to have a rotating chairperson, so a chairperson for three month period. And so they share it, they own it, and they have permission to do things now. We know we won’t fix everything. We’re not going to say to them, oh, yeah, whatever you call it with, we’re going to do, but it’s a way of bringing these things to the fore with a group of people that have experience across the business. That’s, that’s what I would say to people. That’s how you that’s how you start. And that’s how you keep going that’s how you keep it alive.
Matt – Yeah, I’ll just add to that Simon. From my perspective, it’s obviously talking about the winds as well. Even if they’re really small winds and shooting the impact. The changes having so I think if you get that you can get the iteration. And then from a sustainability perspective, you’ve got then got the buy in. If people don’t really appreciate what change they’ve made, I think they get bored.
Gerry – Well, that’s it exactly. I think you’re right. They do people, even if it’s a fairly small change, people seeing that it’s happened, that they’ve made this recommendation that the senior team said yes, but we might not make sense seeing it happen. That has a huge impact. And it’s like any of us, we would all you know, react positively if we do that. So, so I think that’s very much the way to work. And again, it’s starting, you know, small victories. It’s very much the Stephen Covey way of looking at life through small, small victories moving on from that, building on that and keeping that that that organisation together that that small part of the organisation together has a tremendous impact if they’re, if they’re allowed to do what they’re what they’re set out to do.
Simon – I think that’s brilliant chaps, a really good way of finishing. I see some really good practical tips that hopefully The listeners can take away and I love the kind of group coming together on a monthly basis Gerry different chair people and and i think he’s so right building trust and engagement and celebrating the small wins is, you know, it doesn’t it’s not rocket science but we’re just not seeing enough of it. And then and you know if you’re if you’re trying to get people engaged, you’ve got to get them involved across the organisation. So chaps a lovely way to finish this week’s episode. It’s been an absolute cracker. And so I referenced at the start of this, that Jerry is an author. So one of my personal recommendations would be to go away and read his book and it’s entitled when a customer wins, nobody loses. And it’s genuinely great read, chock full of stories and examples and practical advice. So if get chance go and have a read of that. And Jerry A big thank you for joining us today, you’re a wealth of of knowledge. Did you enjoy it, sir?
Gerry – I did it went very well. I mean, it’s, you know, let’s face it, it’s what we’ve sort of been talking about it, you know, working with people that you like working with people that you enjoy it. This is this is what businesses should be doing. This is how they should be reacting. And I recognise that it’s perhaps a little, you know, for us, it’s a little bit different. We’re sort of sitting on the sidelines. But, you know, if you can encourage people to come together and have this kind of discussion, and this is what I’ve seen, you know, where this is work. This is exactly what I’ve seen nice, friendly discussions where everyone’s given a chance to speak. Fabulous.
Simon – Good. Well said. Well said. And Gerry, I know that the listeners often like to reach out to our guests and we’re going to put your LinkedIn details in your website details on there and presenter will be comfortable answering any questions that might come in privately.
Gerry – Absolutely, yeah, they can. They’ll see on my website, the customer life guard talk co.uk I have my my contact details are there so they can follow me they can email me whatever they like. And there’s some, some videos and a few other things there as well. So yes, by all means, especially these days. I’m delighted to speak to anyone that feels like.
Simon – Absolutely. Well, Gerry, thank you very much, Marty. Another cracker really enjoyed this one.
Matt – Yeah, really enjoyable. Great to connect with Gerry again, and I will give Seb the nod that he got a good intro at the start. I’m sure he will be in touch Gerry.
Simon – We’ll get some good brownie points. That’s a good one. All right gents. Thank you very much indeed to everyone that’s listened. Again. Huge thank you for keeping tuning in. And we really set about doing this podcast to try and, you know, in our own small way, add some value help people, you know, try and you know, do their jobs better, you know, share intelligence, whatever we can. So when, you know, the support, and the feedback means the world to us. And so for now, thank you for listening. Thanks for tuning in. Be safe. Until next time, goodbye.