6 Customer Experience Lessons I’ve Learned as an Experienced CCO

If you’ve been listening to, or been a guest on my podcast, The Chief Customer Officer Human Duct Tape Show, then you know that the last question I like to ask is: what do you know now that you wish you knew then?

Often, my guests will already come prepared with answers to this question, as it’s one they look forward to and find to be quite helpful. Previous guests have mentioned that they find a lot of advice and good takeaways in this portion of the podcast.

I’m incredibly thankful for everyone’s contributions, and now, I’m sharing some of my own “what do you know now that you wish you knew then?” learnings with you!

It’s Normal to Feel Anxious!

Leading a customer experience transformation is a lot of work! And let me tell you, from the heart, that the paranoia and anxiety you’re feeling is very normal. We all have it, the minute we get this role, we feel we’re on a tread mill, and we all feel like we’re not doing enough. So realize this, and use it to your advantage. Set long and short term goals for yourself and your team so you always have a check-in point with what you’d like to achieve.

Know Who To Dance With

In my books, I write about the force of the internal power core. But in actuality, this is the person inside of your organization who not only gets what you’re trying to do, but can actually swing with you in the right direction to get the work done across the organization. If you don’t find that person and don’t start to “do the dance” with them initially, it will always be a challenge. Find that person and get them on your team; know who to dance with.

Ring the Money Bell

You know, I learned this the hard way. In the beginning of my work, I was this crazy Italian girl who was so passionate about transforming the customer experience, but I didn’t always explicitly connect this type of work to its impact on the business – the bottom line. I know you probably already know this, but it’s one of those things I wish I knew immediately. It’s important that in addition to sharing the small wins you gain for your team, that you ring the money bell! It’s imperative that you let your C-Suite know how you’re contributing value and impacting the bottom line.

Is Your Leadership Commitment Real?

Is it real, or is it Memorex? Do you remember those old Memorex commercials? In it, Ella Fitzgerald sings, hits a high note, and breaks the glass. The ad ultimately shows us that the singing in fact was played from a Memorex cassette, and not a live version of Ella. Memorex’s sound was so good, but — not the real thing.

That leads me to ask this question, is your leadership commitment real or is it lip service? So, to be sure it’s not lip service, here’s what you need to do within six months of your job: ask for something, ask for an action item, ask to change a policy, ask for leaders to put their own skin in the game. If they don’t, won’t, or can’t, then you’ve got a decision to make.

You’ve got to determine if this is the right work or not, and if this is the right place for you to do your work. A big part of our job sometimes is knowing when to pick up our marbles and go.

Don’t Say Yes to Everything

Another thing that I learned the hard way is to not let yourself become the Velcro man. In our anxiety, in our push to get things done, we will start saying yes to everything, including all of those meeting invites.

Don’t do this! It will randomize you; it will cut off your path and you will immediately be known as the fix it person instead of the strategy person to guide your company to another way of earning growth and uniting the organization.

Shine a Light on Others

Finally, it’s important to know that with this work, you need to shine a light on others. This can’t be about having a big spotlight on you. If you don’t shine a light on others, it won’t be part of the ethos of the organization. I typically call this, “checking your ego at the door”. Get people involved and then put that spotlight back on them. If you’re talking about a great thing that occurred from somebody’s suggestion, let them present it. When a CX leader has the ability to step out of the spotlight, they actually become more indispensable. Unfortunately, this may seem counter-intuitive to many, but it’s what helps bring people and teams together.

If you’d like to learn more quick takeaways from these “what do you know now that you wish you knew then?” questions, you’ll probably find the following posts helpful as well:

Would You Do That To Your Mother?How would your company act if every customer were your mom?

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?”

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