Best of the Podcast: Improve Your Customers’ Lives By Stepping into Their Shoes

Best of the Podcast: Improve Your Customers' Lives by Stepping into Their Shoes

Do you put the needs of your customers first and focus on the value you provide them? Today, we’re replaying an episode that many of you enjoyed, featuring Francis Cordon, the first Chief Customer Officer at Rigor, a SaaS company. In this conversation, Francis and I chat about the importance of putting yourself in your customers’ shows in order to earn your right to customer-driven growth.  

Rigor is a B2B vendor, and Francis has a special place in his heart for cultivating vendor-customer relationships. Prior to Rigor, Francis was familiar operating as a B2B vendor, but it wasn’t until he was the First Vice President, Chief Performance Architect at Bank of New York Mellon when he found himself on the other end of the relationship as a customer. He considers this a defining moment in his career because it was during this time, where he realized that vendors didn’t know him as well as he had hoped they would. After his experience at Bank of New York, Francis developed a new passion for delivering customer-driven vendor services, that focused more on the specific business needs of the clients once he became the CCO at Rigor.

Focus on the Customer Value

Francis saw a lot of positive activity when he joined Rigor. It was a company which was already well-received in the industry and he worked with a highly-skilled team. Though the employees had great attitudes about their work, he soon realized that their focus on cool technology may not have been meeting the end-needs of the customer. He knew that customers need help in achieving their end results and wasn’t sure that the account representatives were strategically thinking about how to do that.

Considering his own time spent as a customer, Francis realized how important it is to focus on the customer value. He began implementing a few new tactics to help them shift their focus to be more customer-driven. To start, he had account reps email post-call summaries to customers. Providing documentation to customers eliminated another step in the process, and demonstrated that Rigor employees want to be of help.

Francis also enforced the importance of service explanations to customers. He believed that reps needed to do a better job of explaining how specific Rigor services will help the customer achieve their business goals. For instance, if a customer is a consumer goods company focused on increasing sales for a major event like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, a Rigor rep should explain the services they could provide to keep the company’s website running at optimal speeds and efficiency to accommodate such a high-volume traffic time. 

Think about the Long-Term Gains

As we know, internal buy-in is extremely important when it comes to approving services and contacts. As a C-Suite leader, Francis thinks about the long-term impacts of relationships with customers. He needs to know that they are reaching their own KPIs through Rigor’s services and products. He knows that a customer will have to say to their boss,  “Look. Not only is the product and platform an investment, but the sessions we’re having with Rigor, they’re saving us all this money.”

So to Francis, it’s important that you document the work for your customer, and provide a service that’s valuable enough for them to continue the investment. Value means you’re saving them time or money, which usually means money. Be their partner.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

The impact of employee experience is also another aspect of CX that frequently comes up in my conversations with leaders. Francis recognizes the power in keeping your team satisfied so they can do the same for customers. When you think about how to delight customers, a lot of that comes from leading by example with how employees are treated. Francis started to transform company culture into one that celebrates the wins of employees. It’s important that they’re recognized for their work.

Francis created an internal messaging board to document customer interactions. He wanted employees to imagine themselves as journalists and share the interactions they had with customers on the message board in a way that was written like a news article, communicating something of value. This practice shifted the way employees thought about customer interactions because they wanted to use this opportunity to communicate the wins.

The articles were succinct and got right to the bottom line; this tactic was so successful that people from leadership started to notice and they became members on the board as well. With leaders reading the content, they were able to see the impact that the employees were having with the customer, and how beneficial it was to Rigor’s business.

When you think about how to delight customers, a lot of that comes from leading by example with how employees are treated. #CX #EmployeeExperience Click To Tweet

Transforming Customer Experience Can Be An Emotional Process

As other leaders have said before, leading CX work can be tiring at times, but it’s also a very rewarding experience. When I asked Francis, “What do you know now, that you wish you knew then?” one of his responses was that working with customers and making them happy is more emotional than most might be willing to admit.

Emotional intelligence definitely comes in handy when it comes to reading between the lines and understanding what your customers are subtly telling you. So, find the reasons behind the reasons, realize that people are human and are looking for a pleasurable experience and something that will be of value to them and their bosses.

As a CX leader, find the reasons behind the reasons and realize that your customers are human. They're looking for a pleasurable experience and something that will be of value to them and their bosses. #CX Click To Tweet

About Francis Cordon

Francis Cordón leads Rigor’s customer strategy and execution, ensuring all departments contribute to delivering world class service and a unified experience across the entire customer journey.

Francis has a background in engineering and tech, and was previously the senior director of customer success and professional services at Turbonomic, a computer software and cloud platform. At Bank of New York Mellon, Francis served as first vice president, chief performance architect, solving performance issues at the bank.


The presenting sponsor of The Chief Customer Officer Human Duct Tape Show is Customerville. Customerville transforms customer experience surveys into rich, interactive experiences using its unique Design-driven Feedback™ platform.

This partnership ensures that I can continue these shows that you’ve shared such positive feedback on.  Thanks so much to Customervillle! Enjoy the show!

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