How do you transform the culture and operations of your company to benefit the lives of your customers? In this episode, I chat with Sami Nuwar, the vice president of customer experience transformation at American Bath Group, about how his newly established role at ABG allowed him to create processes and operations that switched the company focus from being product-driven to being customer-driven.
Determine What Your Customers Value and What Makes Them Happy
Sami and his colleagues in the C-Suite wanted to know what customers really thought of American Bath Group. He shared that the company went through a big transformation in 2016, and after the transformation, they decided it would be beneficial to focus on customer experience. What did they value? What made them happy? The leaders knew that their ABG products were good, but they had to implement a plan that would help them understand how satisfied the customers were.
Sami’s role was newly created specifically to tackle this large project. In the first 30 days of his role, his responsibility was to build a path to develop internal customer-centric behavior.
In the first 30 days:
- Figure out what the big rocks are and build the plan. Get to the people down in the trenches, the service reps and managers – hear from them, what do they know and see when they interact with customers every day? Take on the responsibility to talk to customers and provide them with a sense of trust
- Get all of the stakeholders involved in the process. Come to terms with how to implement the process to drive action.
- Keep it simple. Sami started almost every presentation started with a video in which someone dramatically read YELP reviews as a tool to show people what the customer experience is really like. Give them a feel for how the customer is experiences these interactions.
- Provide a high-level framework of how you’ll implement the plan to the C-Suite. Unite the C-Suite and ease them into your plan. Build layers to the over time, no need to get into the nitty gritty here.
- In the high-level plan, start with 3 simple terms: listen, act, communicate; that’s what CX is all about. If you can master all three disciplines you’ve figured it out (Tweet this).
- During this process, you need to understand who your customer is and what they want from you. What are their minimum expectations of you? The first thing you need to do in order to understand them is start listening to them.
- Create a systematic way to create feedback – feedback leads to the action. You then have some direction on what you need to act on and how to act on it.
Use the Customer Journey Map As a Tool to Measure SuccessDuring this implementation, Sami had to emphasize that the customer’s interaction with the company is a journey, and therefore identify potential pain points along the way. Everyone involved had to understand how the business flows from a customer’s point of view.
The customer journey map was used as a culture and leadership uniting tool. It’s always used as a reference point for reporting visualizing the process. Ultimately, after determining the baseline of success, you have to drive action. Develop tactical plans and improvement so you can get some quick wins under your belt. You have to earn the right to keep doing the work (Tweet this).
I loved when Sami said that success is when people are doing; they’re taking action on what they should be doing without being prompted (Tweet This). When your team is dedicated, you can see that it’s happening; it’s always the little things that add up. That to me, is the measure. Success is not about scores. The first layer of success is behavior change. When people repeat your words, or when they reuse your slides or content, you know you’re creating change. When you see colleagues share concepts that they initially thought were too high-level for others to understand, you’re experiencing success.
What Do You Know NOW That You Wish You Knew THEN?
- There was so much low hanging fruit in terms of process, discipline and regular basic stuff that we should have been doing for years that we haven’t done. I would have advised leadership to get things done on a basic blocking and tackling. Get internal house in order on basic stuff – document everything.
- You can spend money on a big tool to get your listening pillars. But keep it simples, work on the basics and the rest will come.
- Show examples of success as early as possible. Share the good things people are doing to encourage success further down the line. Be sure to market the worth of the team back to the organization.
About Sami Nuwar:
“I connect dots for a living. That’s what I do – I get people to talk to one another who aren’t talking.” Sami has 18 years of experience leading teams at Verizon Enterprise, and at American Bath Group, he leads a customer-focused cultural shift to enable sustainable organic growth via disciplined and systematic customer experience management. A certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Sami enjoys hiking, sarcasm, walking his dog and cooking for his spouse.
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