How These Three Pillars of CX Drive Profits When Leadership Is Proactive About Customer Experience

This week’s guest is Jeannie Walters, CEO and founder of Experience Investigators, a global customer experience consulting firm that helps companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. For more than 20 years Jeannie has dedicated her work to creating meaningful moments and real results with one mission: “To Create Fewer Ruined Days for CustomersTM.” As the Founder and Chief Experience Officer of Experience Investigators, Jeannie has helped organizations—from small businesses to Fortune 500s—to do just that. In this episode, Jeannie explains the three pillars of good CX to create positive experiences for customers and employees alike. She details how this is possible when customer experience management is proactive instead of reactive.

Jeannie’s Journey in CX

Jeannie began her career in fundraising consulting and marketing. While working in marketing, she found that many organizations thought about legal, product development, marketing, and sales but no one was truly advocating for the customer. So about 20 years ago, she and her brother decided to focus on customer experience. They successfully ran a CX firm together until 2009 when Jeannie started Experience Investigators.

She has helped hundreds of companies of all sizes and across three continents strengthen their CX strategy. In addition to being a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP), Jeannie is a TEDx speaker, a founding member of CXPA, co-host of the top-rated Crack the Customer Code podcast, and a four-time LinkedIn Learning instructor whose courses have been watched by more than 200,000 online learners.

An active writer, Jeannie’s work has been featured in “Forbes,” “CustomerThink,” “The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce,” and “My Customer,” as well as in university-level textbooks. She has received numerous recognitions for her work in CX.

The Three Pillars of Good CX

Jeannie has found that leaders often view customer experience as something that’s nice, purely common sense, or solely focused on measuring feedback. But customer experience that’s focused only on tracking customer satisfaction through surveys doesn’t actually have an impact on the customer experience itself. This way of thinking about customer experience is an afterthought when what is really needed is forethought and planning to optimize the customer experience.

All organizations have customer experiences, whether intentionally designed or not. Jeannie’s three pillars provide leadership a roadmap to be proactive, not reactive about the customer experience including how the entire organization should align to execute a successful CX plan.

  1. Mindset Optimize the customer experience through human-centric interaction with agents.

The first pillar lays the foundation for a CX strategy. The organization’s mindset determines how to cultivate a customer service culture and ensures everyone in the organization is focused on it as something that is central to their business, not something extra or limited to certain departments.

Jeannie recommends writing a customer experience mission statement that helps everyone align where they’re going so they can show up for customers no matter what. The mission statement documents who you are as a brand, including what you stand for. As an example, are you “the fastest” or “the most economical”? She points out the importance of gaining internal agreement on the brand promise in the customer experience mission statement as the north star that everyone in the organization gets behind.

  1. Strategy

Next, this mindset needs to be translated into an effective business strategy to ensure customer experience is done right. The strategy must define what success looks like for your customer and for your organization. This becomes the success statement for the organization, what the business leaders care about, how CX can support those goals, and how to measure that success.

Watching CSAT go up and down only helps your bottom line if you connect it to the bottom line. A business strategy builds these connections by, for example, discovering that a higher CSAT results in more satisfied and happier customers that share their remarkable experiences, spend more with your brand, and refer other customers. This connected strategy can support the revenue goals of your organization through increased customer loyalty and retention.

Throughout this process, it’s important to be proactive about delivering intentional, positive customer experiences that connect to the central mindset and culture. We can apply best practices such as customer journey mapping, service blueprinting, and other tools. But because we ultimately experience things from our own perspective, we must be intentional in how we develop strategies that draw on the customer service culture to deliver excellent customer support.

  1. Discipline

The third and final pillar is focused on crafting the discipline to deliver on the business strategy. This can’t be accomplished effectively in silos, so it is essential to build collaborative cross-functional leadership teams that understand their role in creating the customer experience.

Everyone in your organization has a role in the customer experience. Your mindset and culture lay the foundation for guiding the discipline to deliver on your business strategies. Whether collaborating internally with colleagues, working with vendors, or communicating directly with customers from the contact center, everyone in your organization has a contribution to make and their daily efforts have a direct impact on the customer experience.

The Three Pillars in Action

Removing barriers to good customer service creates a chain reaction of positivity and empowers business leaders “To Create Fewer Ruined Days for CustomersTM.” When organizations embrace these three pillars and implement a focused business strategy for customer experience, they will see measurable results.

By starting with the documented mission statement, you define how you will show up for customers no matter what. Sometimes there are tradeoffs because you can’t always be the fastest and most accurate, for example. That understanding needs to be reflected in your company culture and mindset.

Then craft an execution strategy based on your organizational goals so you can measure the ROI you want to achieve. Include in your strategy details such as how each department plays a role in customer experience, how you will build your customer experience team, and how you will measure effectiveness and customer success.

Finally, turn your strategy into the discipline to work with other leaders within your organization. The coalitions you build will make powerful impacts, ranging from how you post jobs and how you hire and onboard employees, to how you deliver your products and how you collect payment.

In sum, by proactively identifying the business goals of your customer experience strategy, deciding on the execution steps necessary to achieve them, and determining how to measure your success, you can transform the customer experience into a strategic asset. By looking at a combination of experiential data (customer feedback) and operational data (customer behaviors) you can gain insights into your customer experience and modify your goals as you go, while remaining grounded in your mission for excellent CX.

Learn More About Jeannie

To learn more about Jeannie and her strategy for good CX, visit ExperienceInvestigators.com where you can also find Year of CX customer experience resources and workbooks. Visit CrackTheCustomerCode.com to learn more about the podcast she cohosts with Adam Toporek featuring insights and innovations from business leaders.

What Jeannie Does for Fun

Jeannie enjoys spending her free time with her two teenage sons. She loves watching them do what they love, from choir concerts to soccer games. Her oldest son is heading to college in the fall and she’s grateful for the time they have together.

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