How St. Jude Honors Donors as Assets, With Martin Hand – [CB1]

Welcome To The First-Ever Episode Of The CCO “Human Duct Tape Show”

The person leading the customer experience across the organization has a key role to UNITE the organization – to give a comprehensive view.  To unite the organization to earn the right to customer-driven growth.  And that is a key value-add that this role brings…moving from a silo orientation – to deliver a one-company customer experience.  And that is why this new podcast series has this title.  Because in this role, we often feel like the “human duct tape” of the organization.  For many companies, a comprehensive view of the customer’s journey — of various aspects that influence their life and purchase decisions — is very hard to achieve, and that’s why a CCO role is often necessary.

This series is about fearless sharing from the most senior leaders who are leading customer experience and business transformation around the world.  We will talk about what works, what doesn’t and about how leaders redirected efforts when necessary to gain traction and earn the right to continue to do this work that we love.

So, welcome.  I hope these conversations bring you great value.  It is my honor to host them for you.

How St. Jude Honors Donors as Assets, Episode Overview

Our first guest is Martin Hand, who is not only a colleague but someone I’ve admired for quite a while.  Martin has held the CCO role twice.  First at United Airlines and now with St. Jude Children’s Hospital, where he is the Chief Donor Officer. Martin is a member of the increasing number of people who find the role so compelling, that they repeat it (including yours truly).   In our conversation we have great fun talking about how to know if a role you are considering is “real” or “not” and why we keep wanting to do this work.  I really think you’ll get a kick out of his spirited style, candid conversation, and realistic approach to engaging an organization, leadership and the board.

Introducing Chief Donor Officer, Martin Hand

Martin HandMartin Hand is Chief Donor/Customer Officer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he is responsible for the overall donor experience, contact center operations, and donor account processing functions. Martin was previously Senior Vice President of Customer Experience at United Continental Holdings.

Connect With Martin

  • Connect with Martin on LinkedIn
  • Martin himself is not on Twitter, but St. Jude is — with over 400K followers

Key Summary Of Discussion

  • Establishing role clarity: Starts with definition of role, but you can also create an understanding of the role through storyboards on total experience and necessary for unity
  • Simple metrics around donor/customer as asset: It has to be so simple that it’s not refutable
  • The role of the CCO: Simple, operationally-relevant, and continuing to stay the course
  • How to engage leaders with a reality of the current state of the customer experience (in a low cost manner)

Show Notes: Valuable Links And Resources From This Episode

Martin and I open the show discussing his transition from for-profit (United Airlines) to non-profit (St. Jude), including how and why he made the transition. At St. Jude, the official title involves donors, but around 5:16, we talk about how ‘donors’ and ‘customers’ are similar concepts that need to be at the center of all conversations.

Martin brings up an interesting point around 6:31, and it’s one I’ve seen several executives miss over the years — namely, the key question of who actually does what in an organization. There’s a good recent article from Harvard Business Review on this exact topic that I encourage you to check out.

Martin and I are in agreement that for this work to be successful at the C-Suite level, it must report to the CEO, which he does.  But in addition to a peer relationship at the C-Suite level, what is also important is to know the company, to move through all parts of the organization to listen and understand.   One of Martins’ earliest actions  was through listening to others. We talk about that around the 7:45 mark.

As a seasoned CCO, Martin knows through experience of the need to not over-complicate the work  — instead focusing on 3-5 core areas to make advances – to use as illustrations of the work to be done, and to prove success.  Because this work is often vague to many leaders, operational examples must be connected to this work to make it relevant.

Martin has worked to enable the organization to “look at everything from the donor perspective.”  One initial effort, with little cost was the creation of boards that depicted the current experience that donors were receiving from across the organization.  I love this example because it jives with something I often coach people on, which is “clunky is good.”  You don’t need to spend a lot to have an impact.  These very low-cost boards that were created, for example, were very powerful in showing the total St. Jude Donor experience to many for the first time.  St. Jude is a non-profit, and as Martin notes, “our mission is to save children’s lives. We want money going to the hospital. We minimize costs all the time.” There are ways to do effective CCO work without the massive budgets of market cap kings. We discuss that around 12:39.

Honoring and measuring Donors as Assets is one of the key areas where Martin has achieved great traction – primarily by simplifying what “success” looks like in terms of the growth or loss of the donor base.   This practice of doing “customer math” to simplify how leaders and the organization are united in the work is a galvanizing way to establish focus and unite the organization on priorities in donors’ lives. Around 16:07, we discuss how best to share “customer math” or as I call it, “Competency 1: Honor and Manage Customers as Assets” in my book, Chief Customer Officer 2.0.

I was keen to know Martin’s perspective on how his experiences varied in moving from the corporate for-profit world to doing this work in a not-for profit setting.  Around 19:22, Martin compares his work and experiences…which is great to hear for customer leadership executives.  And that is, that this path you are on is transferable form industry to industry.  From profit to non-profit.  Your skill sets in this work can carry you along a great swath of industries with success.

I end each podcast with my “pay it forward” question, so that those that come to this work after us can learn about what has worked, and what has not.  And the question I ask is, “What do you know now, that you wish you knew then?”   Around 21:21, we get Martin’s response, which he gives with great candor.  And that candor is what this show is all about.  Martin closes out our time by reconfirming the importance of this role giving the outside-in perspective to the company and leadership team.

Many thanks to Martin Hand for his fearless conversation and for all of you for tuning in.  I look forward to sharing many more great conversations to come with other leaders who share how they are doing this work that we all love.

‘Til next time.

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