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The website has readers vote for the best juggler in the world. For the past two years, the winner has been Ofek Snir from Israel. If you are bored, you can search him and see his amazing ability.

In looking up the best jugglers, I found that June 17th is Jugglers Day. This year, October 3rd is CX Day, but I am starting to wonder if it should be moved to June 17th given all of the juggling CX professionals must perform on a daily basis. I would argue, though, that CX professionals are some of the best jugglers in the world today. In many organizations, CX professionals have to fight internal barriers of key functional heads or information users who marginalize the role of the CX professional. They have to fight for credibility and strategic importance. All the while, they have to juggle all of the key, necessary components to create a successful and impactful CX program.CX Juggler

Last week at the 2017 CXPA Insight Exchange, we talked to a number of CX professionals about all the areas on which they are focusing. You can see the eight areas that most CX professionals today are trying to juggle in their role in the picture to the right. If you can’t see it, the eight areas are Communication, Insights, Action, Impact, Strategy, Culture, Resources and Technology.     

Walker Maturity Model
Walker has been around for almost 80 years and has been a leader in the area of CX consulting for almost two decades. Over that time, we have identified these eight areas as critical to the success of any CX program. The icon on the left illustrates the six areas that are key to success - plus technology and communication, which surround those six areas as boosters that strengthen and enhance the other six. 

CX Juggling VotedIn our booth, we gave CX professionals three stickers and they put the stickers on the three areas that are their biggest challenge right now. Taking Action was the biggest challenge for most CX professionals, by far. This is something we hear a lot: Far too often, information that could create real and lasting change in an organization is not fully used and acted upon. This is part of the reason CX professionals can be marginalized and have to fight to get Resources, which was another top vote-getter. This also is why Impact was mentioned quite often as a top challenge; if information is not being Acted upon, it is not going to have the desired Impact. We have a webcast on taking action if you would like to listen to it; you can check it out here.

The other two areas with a lot of votes were Culture and Technology. Even with all of the technology providers today, many CX professionals are still struggling in this area. This tells me the issue is not the technology platform itself but how the technology is being used and implemented in the organization - which is probably dovetailing with Action. We also did a webcast on Technology which you can listen to here.

Culture is an area where we have seen significant focus over the past several years. Organizations are realizing CX cannot be truly performed in a vacuum but must become part of the fabric of the organization. For some tips on creating a CX-focused culture, guess what? We have a webcast on that as well. 

CX professionals have a lot they are trying to juggle today and we all can’t be Ofek Snir. We must prioritize and focus on key areas and work to improve areas of weaknesses while still maintaining all of the other areas. If you would like to see where you stand on these different areas and see your level of maturity based on our new maturity model, you can sign up for the survey here and you will get a free report showing areas of strength and weakness along with how you stack up compared to others.


Engagement Tools – One Takeaway from CXPA Insight Exchange

The Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) held its annual conference last week at the beautiful Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. It was a sold-out event and didn't disappoint.

The experience confirmed many beliefs about the challenges customer experience leaders face, many of which are summarized here. This event was a great opportunity to learn what others are doing to overcome these challenges.

One takeaway is the importance of using various approaches to engage employees and customers.

Here are some examples:

  • Empowering Employees: There were two examples I heard from companies who empower employees to deliver a memorable experience. One company gives front-line employees a $500 budget each year which is to be used to delight a customer - no questions asked. Another company partners with Hallmark Business Connections to deliver personalized cards to customers.
  • Recreating the Emotion: There were several stories of companies recreating an experience to illustrate the emotion they hear from customers. For example, one company shared how they scheduled a meeting with the senior leaders of the organization. When the leaders arrived they were 15 minutes late picking them up from the lobby. They started the meeting by sharing a customer "wait-time" story. One of the leaders commented that she felt like her time wasn't important and reflected on how their customers could feel the same way.
  • Invoice BoxHaving an Anchor: Walker facilitated a storytelling discussion where several creative ideas emerged. One popular topic was around anchoring the story to a physical object. For example, one company uses a large box to represent their invoice process. This "anchor" emerged after a customer brought her last invoice to a focus group. The focus group facilitators assumed the box had many invoices (because the box was so large) and were surprised to learn it was just the latest invoice. 
  • Application-based Training: The Insight Exchange had several opportunities for short round table discussions. One of the discussions was titled "How to Engage Scrum to Speed Up Your CX Improvements." The facilitator used the Scrum framework to deliver his presentation. As he introduced new topics, he moved them through the framework. It was a creative way to learn about Scrum and experience it.Walker's Face Value CX Training Game​​​
  • Creating Interactions: At the Insight Exchange Walker demonstrated an approach we use to help non-CX professionals understand the importance of customer perceptions - it's a card game called Face Value. It's a fun and interactive way for groups (think sales and account managers) to consider the various sources of customer intelligence as they make decisions about their customer base.

When a diverse group of professionals assembles to share experiences around common challenges, great things emerge. We hope you'll join us at the Walker B-to-B CX Summit to share your experiences and learn from others. 

And How Does that Make You Feel? Measuring Emotions in CX

We all know that the human experience is rife with emotional ups and downs. You've probably experienced more emotions so far today than we could even count: angry while commuting, relieved (or stressed?) when finally entering the office, frustrated when you spilled your coffee on your brand-new white shirt (exasperated that of course you chose today out of all days to wear your new shirt), surprised yet thankful that you actually had your stain-eraser pen for once, etc. We live through our perceptions, with every action being processed through our emotional filter.

How are you feeling today?

So why would we expect any different for a customer's experience? Throughout each interaction with a business, a customer likely feels a certain way, maybe even those same feelings I listed above: anger, relief, stress, frustration, exasperation, surprise, and so on. How can we harness those feelings - emotions - to help us improve the customer experience?

I wrote another blog about emotions last year, in which I was pondering these same points, but unsure of how to measure emotion. Since then, we've had a chance to explore the measurement in more detail, allowing us to develop a few new approaches. Of course, text analytics can search for key terms that indicate emotion, and we've also incorporated quantitative questions in our surveys to ask directly what emotion was felt.

The example I want to share is an interesting opportunity to outline emotions during a customer's experience - journey mapping. Journey maps have already been helping to identify where customers might struggle or succeed the most when interacting with a business. Layer on common emotions felt during each key touch point, or moment of truth, and you have a much more powerful understanding of a customer's perspective. See the example below, inspired from a real journey mapping session.

Emotions were measured by asking customers how they felt about certain key moments. It can be that simple - "How did you feel when you were buying the product?" "From this pick list, choose one word that describes your experience when renewing your contract." These answers constituted the "Current" emotions in the top blue bar.

Separately, employees were asked how they wanted customers to feel during the interactions. Those emotions appear in the bottom blue bar, next to "Ideal." Then, planning sessions ensued to determine how to move customers from "Current" to "Ideal."

You'll notice that two of the emotions, "Trapped" and "Loyal," hearken to Walker's proprietary Loyalty Matrix. Not all emotions are going to manifest in a customer yelling and screaming about poor service, or in someone simply recommending a company to their pals. Feeling attached or feeling the need to escape are powerful emotions that could directly indicate what a customer's behavior will be.

There are a lot of emotions out there, likely more than one simple process or measurement could ever harness. However, keying in on important moments, as done in the journey map above, can help to prioritize at least where we should identify common feelings, and how those feelings could impact CX overall.

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Steps toward achieving world-class customer intelligence

Often the most challenging area of customer experience initiatives is in assembling, analyzing and distributing customer intelligence throughout the company. CX teams need to be skilled at assembling a wide range of customer information, conducting insightful analysis and delivering intelligence in a manner that truly prompts action.

Here are four steps you can take to achieve world-class customer intelligence:

  1. Start with a clear and consistent understanding of what the business is trying to accomplish.
  2. Make a comprehensive list of all the information sources that could help inform, measure or monitor the initiative.
  3. Identify areas where information is missing, incomplete or not reliable. For this, consider the best approach to creating the information (e.g., ask employees, ask customers, create a journey map)
  4. Once you gathered the necessary information, leverage analytics to understand what the data is saying and to generate the insights.

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