In this conversation, you’ll hear from two leaders who have led transformative customer-centric initiatives at organizations that have global reach: Catherine Courage, VP of Consumer UX at Google and Darryl Speach, who at the time of our conversation was Chief Customer Officer of Greystone & Company. Darryl’s prior experience at Disney and New York Life Insurance gave him plenty of insight regarding people-centered work, and Catherine’s experience with human-centered design and UI gave her an advantage in terms of thinking through the customer’s end-to-end experience.
Both leaders share strategic insights and tactics that helped them attain both their CX goals and their colleague’s business goals.
User Experience Goes Beyond Product Development
With prior experience working with other big players in the tech industry such as Citrix, Oracle, Docusign, and Salesforce, Catherine understood that it can be easy to get caught up in the stage of product development and performance, while forgetting about the overall user experience. At Google, she previously led the design and experience strategy for the Ads and Commerce product areas, and shares that in doing this work, “It was about getting them to understand that designing their products was important and something that they should invest in.”
Through her work and dedication, Catherine was able to influence her colleagues in understanding that the experience on the website, the way the product is sold, and overall end to end journey, contributes to a product’s success. She goes on to say, “It’s being able to work across the business with different product areas outside of ads and commerce, to make sure any customer of Google whether they’re a business customer or an end user, or perhaps in many cases, both—that they’re having this really seamless, wonderful, consistent experience across the products.”
Connect With Your Internal Stakeholders
When Catherine first assessed the work that needed to be done within her role, she asked the following three questions:
- How are people incentivized? What do they care about and what’s driving them?
You need to understand the overall core objectives that have been laid down and whether it falls into a one-year or a multi-year plan; this is an important context to be aware of.
- How is empathy developed?
Develop both internal and external empathy. “Too often people jump to the external empathy and without focusing on the internal empathy,” says Catherine. She places an emphasis on spending time with internal stakeholders.
- Who’s on board?
“I want to go where there’s suction, I want to go with a team who goes on board,” explains Catherine. Don’t waste time with a team that “doesn’t get it.” Get some wins under your belt with the teams that are ready to work with you.Listen to the full original episode here.
Learn How to Connect with Your C-Suite
In addition to Darryl’s leadership experience at Disney and New York Life Insurance, he also has consulting experience with a focus on people performance management—so he definitely knows a thing or two about customer experience.
During our chat, Darryl shares that as a leader who’s called to bring forth internal change, he realized that one of his greatest challenges is to find out “what’s in it for them , and sell them on that.” Other leaders I’ve interviewed have faced this challenge as well, especially when reporting back to a very ROI-based C-Suite. Darryl explains that he had to attach the work he was doing to measurable business results and KPIs that the leaders are responsible for. “Until you connect those, it’s a big struggle,” he says.
Within his first 60 days at Greystone, Darryl shares that he conducted a lot of discovery work which included plenty of one-on-one meetings and group interviews to understand the internal dynamics. He also interviewed some of their best customers, and “not so great customers,” in order to start developing a data bank. Darryl says, “I tell people that when I introduce myself as the chief customer officer, there’s two customers that are part of what I do. The first and foremost is the internal customer, the employee. And then of course, second to that is the external customer. So I make it very clear that the role is focused on both.”
Develop Company Culture
As he began to step more fully into his role, Darryl wanted to get a better understanding of employee engagement, because he knew that poor engagement resulted in poor business results. Darryl shares that culture crystallization is important, so he initially spends time with a cross functional team to ask the following questions:
- What about the current culture do you love and want to keep?
- What about the current culture do you hate and never want to see again?
- What would you like to add to the current culture that currently it doesn’t have?
Darryl says, “When you do this well, and you have the right people in the room, it’s an incredible exercise. Because what it helps you determine is obviously the culture they want.”
Finally, what specific behaviors need to be personified on a daily basis by everyone to sustain and make this desired culture a reality day in and day out?
Listen to the original episode here.
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