July 25, 2013

Is Your CEO Serious About Driving the Customer Agenda?

I’ve never seen a CEO who wouldn’t sign up for customer loyalty, customer focus and just plain improving things for their customers. It’s getting them to drive the company to do something about it that’s the challenge.

Specific leadership actions occur in companies that have taken the commitment past lip service. Understanding customer issues and what drives customer loyalty become the stuff of everyday conversations. The issues are trended, understood and talked about. Building customer experiences and relationships is considered the true work of the organization – not something layered on the “real” work of achieving quarterly sales goals.

CEO’s that drive customer experience work understand that it’s the inspiration, leadership and organizational change that are the sticking points in making progress.


July 11, 2013

Know Your Lost Customers – the Volume, Value and Reasons Why

In addition to knowing the number of lost customers, you need to know the reasons why customers left so you can drive change across the business. Without this information, the organization misses a massive opportunity to galvanize people into taking action.

A potent approach that makes the customer defection information come alive is a monthly “customer loss review.”

Establishing a reliable discussion for identifying customer defection issues and having executives constantly involved in speaking to defecting customers gets people moving more rapidly and it puts accountability in the game.


June 6, 2013

How to Become a Customer Action Hero

All the money in the world that you throw at that Net Promoter™ survey won’t do any good if there’s not a commitment to do something about what you hear. Yes, customer listening is as old as the hills. Unfortunately most corporations’ ears are full of wax. If you’re really serious about becoming a Customer Action Hero, there a five actions you can take now.


June 4, 2013

You Know Your Net Promoter© Score. Now What?

Net Promoter™ can break through and drive the change, but only if you break the cycle of what is classically done with the information you receive.

As with any customer feedback system, it’s what you do with the information that’s key. The name of the game should be giving customers a memory and experience so great – that they’ll want to repeat it.


March 5, 2013

How Does Your Company Grow?

Colleen Barrett, President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines, says her company grows through heart, encouragement, and accountability. Southwest Airlines knew from the beginning that it needed to march to the beat of a different drummer to stand out in the crowded airline industry.

Customers love Southwest for their candor and no-nonsense style when it comes to the business of running an airline. Customers are its biggest defenders and keepers of the Southwest Airlines way of doing business.


November 27, 2012

Your Decisions Reveal Who You Are, and What You Value

When you make a decision, it results in an action. And the accumulation of those decisions and actions become how people describe you and think of you. It becomes your “story.”

Beloved companies are acutely aware that their experience impacts how customers feel and respond. They take the time to make purposeful decisions about their contacts with customers. These decisions expose what a company values.


October 25, 2012

Accept Accountability When Things Go Wrong

Your apology is your humanity litmus test. It is unavoidable that at some point, your business will suffer a failure that disappoints customers. How your company reacts, explains, removes the pain, and takes accountability for actions signals how you think about customers and the collective heart of your organization.

Grace and wisdom guide decisions of beloved companies toward accepting responsibility and resolving the situation when the chips are down—not accusations and skirting accountability. Repairing the emotional connection well is a hallmark of beloved companies. It makes us love them even more.


October 18, 2012

Who is Accountable for the “Moments of Truth” of the Customer Experience?

Start creating accountability for operational metrics by consistently defining the customer experience and delivering on “moments of truth.”
Once the customer experience has been defined, get granular on the contact points. When you have established the moments of truth, identify the priority contacts. Understand the critical customer-facing contact points or moments of truth that make or break it for customers. A way to classify customer contacts is to identify categories of occurrences: 1. Rescuing a customer in distress. 2. Revenue building to increase the sale of goods or services. 3. Responding to a customer request. 4. Relationship building contact to strengthen the customer bond.


July 24, 2012

Skills that Bridge the Execution Chasm for Both Customer Service and Marketing

There are skill sets specific to driving customer change that need to be present when doing this customer experience work. They are not obvious or natural skills considered necessary to the running of an operating area.

When you’re making a decision about where the customer work should be led from (customer service or marketing), don’t just layer it on the existing mission. Make sure that you provide the people with the skill sets to get the job done effectively.


July 17, 2012

5. CEOs Should Drive Regular Accountability for Customers and Customer Experience

Demand regular accountability sessions for the sole purpose of identifying and tracking progress with the customer agenda. Don’t make your CCO expend energy and cycles lobbying to get a place on the corporate agenda. That’s the irony to this work that I’ve never quite understood. Why bring someone into the job and then make it nearly impossible that he or she be heard? Instead, establish a set of meetings with the specific focus of discussing and advancing the customer experience work.