With more touch points between company and customer than ever before, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to give customers a consistently exceptional and memorable experience, and one that clearly expresses a brand’s promise. We brought in Jeanne Bliss on our Leading Edge webcast series to learn more about her approach to improving customer experiences. Jeanne is a premier customer leadership expert. In fact, she pioneered the role of “Chief Customer Officer”, was the first CCO at companies like Lands’ End, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker, and Allstate — and today, she serves as the founder and president of CustomerBliss and author of Would You Do That To Your Mother?.
Jeanne’s sentiment is complimented by Salesforce ISV partner, Nice inContact. The company recently completed its second annual Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark, a survey that invites over 2,400 consumers to share a little about their most recent real-world service experiences. And according to Chris Bauserman, Vice President of Product and Segment Marketing at NICE inContact, “customers expect true omnichannel service that’s seamless, quick, and with a human touch.”
From our conversation with Jeanne, here’s a sneak peek at her plan for influencing customer experiences and adapting them to shifting consumer behaviors.
Understand your company’s hiring practices and evaluate how you enable employees to “bring the best version of themselves to work.” If employees are unable to be themselves, they won’t deliver their best work or their best service to customers. To incorporate more humanity into your business, evaluate what it’s doing to allow them to succeed and deliver great service as well as what it is doing to prohibit employees (with things like policies and rules). Companies must remember that their customers and employees are human and that any solutions they create need to fit their needs, be meaningful, and “start with the life” they’re serving.
Ensure your company is aligned to help customers achieve their goals. The customer's goals should be your goals, too. Jeanne typically starts by asking companies the following question: “Why do you exist as a company?” No matter the industry, solution, or product category you operate in, the answer should always be: “To improve our customers' lives.”
The number one priority of any company should be to help customers achieve their goals; only when this is accomplished will you be able to achieve your own. Your customers’ goals should be top-of-mind in every decision, no matter what part of the organization they affect. Great companies know that they must elevate and connect everyone to the single-minded purpose of achieving their customers’ goals.
Do right by your customers, stakeholders, and employees, and your company will rise above the competition. Leaders in organizations set the bar for what a company will and will not do to grow. Today, people gravitate toward companies that have integrity and act in accordance with the values of the customer. If customers trust that you have their best interest at heart, they will be loyal and do a lot to evangelize your company.
There are no catch-all solutions to make a lasting impact. In the last section of her book, Would You Do That to Your Mother?, Jeanne provides a checklist for evaluating customer experience and 32 case studies that bring it to life. As a customer leadership expert, Jeanne wants to change the way companies view customer experience and their businesses as a whole. She emphasizes that all companies are in the business of improving their customers’ lives and need to “make business personal.”
To get started, companies can:
Focus on employees. Help them understand your customer journey from the customers’ perspective.
Just ask. Ask your employees what’s getting in their way, then work to alleviate those pain points.
Take inventory. Complete a self-audit to understand how your company stacks up to customer experience leaders.
What it comes down to is treating your customers like real people — the people you hold dearest in your life. By taking this approach as you audit your company’s outbound communications, employee culture, and customer insights, you can identify new ways to build better relationships with your customers that result in more loyal fans for life.