Recently, during the launch of my latest book, “Would You Do That To Your Mother? The ‘Make Mom Proud’ Standard for How to Treat Your Customers,” I stopped at Nasdaq in Times Square for a #NasdaqSpeedReads interview with Lyanne Alfaro. We spoke about the book, how good employee and customer experience affects businesses and customers, and why technology and CX should play nicely together without removing the human element.
Lyanne was a great interviewer, and I hope you’ll watch the video. Not able to watch right now? I’ve also included an abbreviated transcript with some key takeaways, links, and tweets for sharing for your convenience.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the interview and the book. I hope you’ll leave a comment below or tweet at me @JeanneBliss.
How to Create Great Customer Experience
#NasdaqSpeedReads📚: When it customer service, author and expert Jeanne Bliss shares an important question Chief Customer Officers should ask –“Would You Do That To Your Mother?”
Posted by Nasdaq on Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Lyanne Alfaro: Jeanne, you have vast experience in customer experience, which is what this book is about-
Jeanne Bliss: That’s right.
Lyanne Alfaro: And good customer experience at that. You’ve worked for a couple of notable companies, including Microsoft and Lands’ End, could you tell us a little bit about your experience.
Jeanne Bliss: Sure. I started in 1983 reporting to Gary Comer, the founder of Lands’ End, and really worked throughout the growth of that company until they became a billion dollar company, and then from there, deliberately moved to Coldwell Banker, Mazda, Allstate, Microsoft to help those CEOs build their end to end in comprehensive customer experience. And that’s what led me to writing my first book in 2006, and coaching CEOs all around the world now.
Lyanne Alfaro: Now tell me, I’m curious, why is this the question to ask when it comes to customer experience, why your mother? Why would you bring something so intimate and kind of playful?
Jeanne Bliss: Yeah, that’s such a good question. So, here’s what’s going on; in all of these business disciplines, customer experience included, as we get more and more deeply into it, it becomes more about the mechanics. Voice of customer, survey, journey mapping, and all those are important tools, but we need to get back to why we’re in business in the first place, which is to improve people’s lives, right?Voice of customer, survey, journey mapping, etc. are important tools, but we need to get back to why we're in business in the first place, which is to improve people's lives, right? #CX #CustExp #Nasdaqspeedreads Click To Tweet
Jeanne Bliss: So you go around the room in any CEO boardroom and we’re talking about marketing, operations, sales, and red, yellow and green dots, and dashboards. This question is to make it personal again, and it’s a question to have people pause, and reconsider, and stop. This thing we’re about to do, would we do that to someone we care about, mom is a metaphor, at the end of our decision? Would we charge our mom this 50% change fee because she had to have something done differently? Would we turn down our mom’s warranty claim three days out of warranty? So it’s really a conscience question.
Lyanne Alfaro: Right. So I’m curious, in application when this question is applied appropriately, what are some of the great outcomes that you see of it? What, for example, are companies that are practicing this well?
Jeanne Bliss: Sure. The whole point of it is to make this very operational. This isn’t a “kumbaya” … ask this question and magical things will happen. It’s organized into four parts, for example, the first chapter is called Be The Person I Raised You To Be. This is about, are you really deliberate in hiring people with qualities that are in alignment with your core qualities, your core values? So, for example, at a company called Pal’s Sudden Service, they’re a fast food drive-thru restaurant, they actually put their front line folks, many teenagers, through what they call a 60 point psychometric survey to understand the human behind the resume, and once you find the people who align with your core values, then you can guide them and trust them to deliver.
Jeanne Bliss: For example, another great story is Cleveland Clinic. They decided to elevate everybody’s role so they’re considered a caregiver. In healthcare, you may have experienced this yourself, there seems to be a taxonomy of not only levels, but who can help you with what. By elevating everyone to caregiver, everyone’s job, a janitor, a nurse, someone checking your IV, their job is, yes to do their tactic, but to care for you, fluff your pillows, see how you’re doing, so that from the company standpoint, and from the life, you feel cared for. And that’s the deliberateness that gets woven into these companies that doesn’t exist if you don’t figure it out and think about that as your operating strategy.
Lyanne Alfaro: I’m curious, what do you think are some of the qualities that are missing right now from a lot of companies that we see?
Jeanne Bliss: You know what’s interesting is that as much as we are getting high and excited about technology, we need humanity even more now. Think about your own life, think about our life. Yes, you can have the cable guy and an app will tell you when he’s going to be there, but it’s if he wears booties, how he shakes your hand, and how he cares for your furniture that tells you the kind of mother he’s got. Yes, you can book your entire plane ticket online, but it’s the gate agent and how she cares for you that tells you if she’s been honored.As much as we are getting excited about tech, we need humanity even more now. Yes, you can book your flight online, but it's the gate agent and how she cares for you that tells you if she's been honored. #CX #Nasdaqspeedreads Click To Tweet
Jeanne Bliss: So, the companies that are doing the greatest job are blending high tech, but putting high touch in as a part of that experience to make sure that they know you and that they care about you, and then it’s something that’s carried all the way through the entire experience.
Lyanne Alfaro: Yeah, absolutely. What are ways to measure success when you’re tracking change?
Jeanne Bliss: Well, one of the first things is really to talk about an understanding of your customer as your asset. Many organizations are really tied up on survey scores, which is interesting because, have you ever been asked ‘give me a ten’ on anything?
Lyanne Alfaro: Of course.
Jeanne Bliss: Do you love it?
Lyanne Alfaro: Depends.
Jeanne Bliss: Depends, it depends. But what we need to do instead is care about the life first and understand and honor the customer as the asset. I teach my clients and leaders around the world to do “customer math.” It’s pretty simple, but you have to unite the information. Do you know the volume and value of your new customers in a whole number? Let’s say you’re a big company, you brought in 50,000 new customers, that’s terrific, and we have a celebration because we’re good at sales. But in the same quarter a month, how many customers did you lose? You might have lost 40,000 customers who were a much higher value and quality. So now your net customer asset growth is not as good as you thought it was, and you need to use that whole number because we need to think about the human. There are human beings walking away from our business.Instead of getting tied up in survey scores, what we need to do first, is care about the life and understand and honor the customer as the asset. #CX #NasdaqSpeedReads Click To Tweet
Lyanne Alfaro: So, I’m also curious, we were talking about the cover of your book and how it’s been taken so far. It’s seemingly a lighthearted question, do you find this effective when dealing, however, with executives that you might consult with to ask this question? I know you said you have a test, and at some point you have a meter.
Jeanne Bliss: Yes, and I’ll walk you through that. And the whole idea of this book, is that this is the story of our lives as customers. There’s 32 case studies. So just asking the questions without the conditions being right inside of an organization, it’s going to be a throwaway thing. We need to be brave as leaders to say, “We’re willing to question the status quo.” And so the 32 questions are organized around our lives as customers. Be the person you raised me to be, how are you treating and honoring your employees, don’t make me feed you soap. What are all of the things we put our customers through that make it hard to do business with us? Put others before yourself. Are you operationalizing to helping customers earn their goal? And take the high road, are you walking away from those bad business practices where you’re goosing customers into ‘gotcha’ moments or fine print, and that’s why this book is actually a toolkit that takes that question, but operationalize it in a very different way.
Jeanne Bliss: And the last chapter, as you mentioned is called Stop The Shenanigans. Again, we’ve got to have fun with this, but there’s serious business behind it. 32 questions asking you to hold a mirror to yourself, and a very deliberate set of questions behind those that says are you doing this? Are you doing that? Are you doing this? And as you answer those questions, yes or no, a very clear picture’s going to come up for you of how close or far you are to building that kind of profitable company that customers and employees admire, that drives long term growth. And at the bottom of each of these questions we have that thing, we call it a ‘make mom proud-o-meter’, again you’ve got to play with it.
Lyanne Alfaro: Any other big takeaways that you want people to consider before picking up this book?
Jeanne Bliss: You know, I think it’s really about caring about both your customers and employees. A lot of people leapfrog over their employee experience. What we’re seeing is that if you don’t take care of your employees, your customer experience won’t come along. I interview two customer officers every week on my podcast show, and that’s one of the most important thing that we’re finding is that leapfrogging over the customer experience without uniting it and honoring your employees, you can’t get there from here without that.A lot of people leapfrog over their employee experience. What we're seeing is that if you don't take care of your employees, your customer experience won't come along. #CX #NasdaqSpeedReads Click To Tweet
Lyanne Alfaro: Alright. So, both employees and customers being an important part of the equation.
Jeanne Bliss: That’s right. You bet.
Lyanne Alfaro: Jeanne, thank you so much for joining us.
Jeanne Bliss: Thank you, thank you, it’s a pleasure.
How do we cut through the rigmarole of business to give customers the treatment they desire, and employees the ability to deliver it? Customer experience expert, Jeanne Bliss recommends making business personal to get the traction you need by focusing on one deceptively simple question: “Would you do that to your mother?”