Customer Bliss by Jeanne Bliss Wed, 16 Dec 2020 22:48:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 3 Leadership Principles to Help Advance Your Employee and Customer Experience /3-leadership-principles-to-help-advance-your-customer-experience/ /3-leadership-principles-to-help-advance-your-customer-experience/#respond Wed, 16 Dec 2020 22:48:22 +0000 /?p=8528 I’m sharing some key takeaways from my conversation with The Sweeney Agency about ‘How to Elevate Customer Experience.’ These are essential principles for those in the C-Suite to apply across all departments within their organizations.

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As we’ve recently shifted to a digitally-focused world, you may have faced some new challenges in the way leadership should approach customer experience. Despite any perceived hardships, this shift may actually present you with new opportunities to engage your employees and customers. 

I recently shared some insights with The Sweeney Agency about ‘How to Elevate Customer Experience,’ and I’ve outlined key takeaways from my conversation below. I encourage you to listen to the brief video clips to hear examples of how some businesses have applied practical applications of the tips below.

1. Deliver a One-Company Experience

Don’t engage in fractured projects to address one customer concern or in response to a survey. Now is the time to unite and focus. Pick a few things that will benefit the whole organization versus every silo trying to get in their list. Use this time to determine three good things that you can do to improve the experience. A one-company focus paired with humanity is the secret recipe. 


Don’t engage in fractured projects to address one customer concern or in response to a survey. Now is the time to unite and focus. #leadership
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2. Be Honest with Your Employees

The other thing that we’re finding is that it’s really important to have fearless honesty with your employees. We’re all living in a world of, “What’s going to come next?” If you don’t communicate with your employees and/or your customers, they’re going to fill in that black hole. They’re going to surmise what’s coming next, or what’s happening to them. If you have a lot of worried employees sitting around, that vibe is going to pass on to your customer. It’s important to remember that what’s on the inside shows up on the outside.

3. Don’t Underestimate the Importance of the Hello and Goodbye

The beginning and the end of an exchange is where you can find your big opportunities. How do you end a chat? What does your packing slip in a delivery look like? Think through the small details because they make a difference. Find ways that you can think outside of the box. This is especially important as more people are buying things online and getting shipments to their 合约交易所_数字交易homes. 


The beginning and the end of an exchange is where you can find your big opportunities. How do you end a chat? What does your packing slip in a delivery look like? #leadershipinnovation
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Be sure to check out previous blog posts in which I share more advice from other C-Suite leaders about how to navigate these uncertain times.

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Are You Delivering “Comfort and Joy” to Your Customers? /are-you-delivering-comfort-and-joy-to-your-customers/ /are-you-delivering-comfort-and-joy-to-your-customers/#respond Wed, 18 Nov 2020 19:55:25 +0000 /?p=8512 CX expert, , and keynote speaker, Chip R. Bell shares why you must give your customers sincere joy, even if it cannot be graphed on a Power Point slide or calculated for a report.

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Today’s guest post is from my good friend, Chip R. Bell, the best selling of the 9 1/2 Principles of Innovative Service and many other customer service books. Chip has just released his latest book, Inside Your Customer’s Imagination: 5 Secrets for Creating Breakthrough Products, Services, and Solutions.

Chip is also a customer service keynote speaker who educates organizations on how to create a customer-centric culture. By offering innovative customer-driven strategies and tactics, Chip has helped many Fortune 100 companies enhance their bottom lines and marketplace reputation.


Customer service professionals spend a lot of energy today on the comfort side of customer service. We even have metrics that calculate the arithmetic of effort. We focus on speed and accuracy of service with yardsticks hardwired to the science of the business. Service providers know exactly how long customers are at the fast-food pickup window, how frequently they call back on the same issue, and how long they window shop on a company’s website.

The “joy” side of the customer’s experience gets far less airtime in the boardroom. The famous poet Maya Angelou wrote, “People will forget what you said and what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Calculating Versus Giving Customers Joy

Ah, therein lies the problem. How do you measure a feeling? How do you calculate joy? Is our metric mania preventing our focus on the most essential part of the customer’s encounter?  Which is more important to the success of a marriage, “frequency of taking out the trash” or “sincerity of affection?”  Can you imagine someone saying, “I stopped focusing on showing affection toward my spouse since I could not properly measure it!”

John Steinbeck’s description of a fishing expedition in his book Sea of Cortez puts an insightful finger on the business world’s metric dilemma when it comes to customer affect. Read the passage below and consider what it communicates about the implication of “the metrics of joy:”

The Mexican sierra has 17 plus 15 plus nine spines in the dorsal fin. These can easily be counted. But if the sierra strikes hard on the line so that our hands are burned, if the fish sounds and nearly escapes and finally comes in over the rail, his colors pulsing and his tail beating in the air, a whole new relational externality has come into being—an entity which is more than the sum of the fish plus the fisherman.

The only way to count the spines of the sierra unaffected by this second relational reality is to sit in a laboratory, open an evil-smelling jar, remove a stiff colorless fish from the formalin solution, count the spines and write the truth. There you have recorded a reality which cannot be assailed—probably the least important reality concerning either the fish or yourself.”

Steinbeck’s prose reminds us that no matter how comprehensive and accurate our modern metrics, they will never completely capture the magic and mystery of an engaged and joyful customer relationship.  By focusing too heavily on objective data, tidy calculations, and sterilized reports, we lose touch with the fact that we are putting precious energy on the “least important reality concerning” the customer, the employee, and the organization.

Measurements are important.  But we need to stop trying to “drive a nail with a B flat!” Give your customers sincere joy, even if it cannot be graphed on a PowerPoint slide or calculated for a report.

Happy holidays!


No matter how comprehensive & accurate our modern metrics, they will never completely capture the magic and mystery of an engaged and joyful customer relationship. — @ChipRBell #CX
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About Chip R. Bell

Dr_Chip_R_BellDr. Chip R. Bell has helped many Fortune 100 companies dramatically enhance their bottom lines and marketplace reputations through innovative customer-centric strategies. He is considered a world-renowned ity on customer loyalty and service innovation. Global Gurus ranked him in 2020 for the sixth straight year in a row in the top three keynote speakers in the world on customer service.

He also has written more than 700 columns for many business journals, magazines, and top blogs. He has appeared live on CNN, CNBC, CBS, Fox Business, Bloomberg TV, ABC, NPR Radio and his work has been featured in FortuneBusinessweekForbesFast Company, Inc. MagazineWall Street JournalUSA TodayCEO MagazineMoney Magazine, and Entrepreneur.

Chip R Bell

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Build Your Customer-First Foundation, Align Your Team, and Unite the C-Suite with Data-Backed Insights /build-your-customer-first-foundation-align-your-team-and-unite-the-c-suite-with-data-backed-insights/ /build-your-customer-first-foundation-align-your-team-and-unite-the-c-suite-with-data-backed-insights/#respond Wed, 28 Oct 2020 22:20:39 +0000 /?p=8491 interview w/Camille HarrisonDuring my conversation with Camille Harrison, SVP & COO of Guidewell Commercial Market, and Guidewell Innovation, we discuss the importance of not “boiling the ocean” when it comes to implementing change, and Camille shares some of the techniques she’s used to unite folks across her organization, including the C-Suite, in order to move the customer-first work forward.

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As many of us continue to work from 合约交易所_数字交易home and shift working styles due to the pandemic, I’ve been interviewing practitioners and thought leaders about how we can adapt and continue to show up as our best selves in our roles. To that end, I want to share with you my recent interview with Camille Harrison, the SVP & COO of Guidewell Commercial Market, and Guidewell Innovation. Guidewell is the parent company of Florida Blue. Camille shared with our audience her insights and advice for experience leaders in the healthcare and insurance industries.

Some of the quotes have been lightly edited for clarity.


Camille is in the insurance industry where she works with multiple customer segments, so there are a lot of moving parts to her work. During our conversation, Camille and I discuss the importance of not “boiling the ocean” when it comes to implementing change, and Camille shares some of the techniques she’s used to unite folks across her organization, including the C-Suite, in order to move the customer-first work forward.

The Foundation of Your Work Will Give You the Opportunities to do the “Cool” Work Later on

Camille explains that it’s important to focus on the foundation. She shares that she and her team started by pulling together all of their insights and analytics so they could have a solid place to build upon. She says that once you’ve got your foundation in place, you have to start sharing the deeper knowledge with your team so everyone can understand what’s happening.

We spend a lot of time making sure that the whole organization can see the impact of their work, as opposed to being limited to the centralized group of people who are experts at it. So we spent a lot of time knowledge sharing, and really making sure people understood what was happening environmentally.


We don’t just build an action plan in a vacuum.
We go to the people who are actually responsible for that business process. And they help us understand our insights. Because our insights are just words on a page, but we bring them to life when talking to experts in that space. So you’re co-developing solutions, and then you bring in the customer and say, here’s what we think we heard, right? Will this work for you and your customers?”


We spend a lot of time making sure that the whole organization can see the impact of their work, as opposed to being limited to the centralized group of people who are experts at it. —Camille Harrison, @_GuideWell
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Create a Center of Excellence

Camille shares that with the support of Guidewell’s new VP, her team was able to create a center of excellence:

We spent a lot of time building foundational capabilities to really listen to customers […] I mean, that is how, frankly, we unite the C suite, right? Because data is uniting right? Insights are widening that people understand what’s driving satisfaction and not. And we’re able to build plans around that in order to drive the outcome of the change that we want.”

She also shares this important message about their journey to being customer-focused:

We found that we were building our business rules and practices around our business objectives rather than the customer’s journey and their expectation. So when we realized that, we took a step back, and we identified six priority journeys. […] Now we orchestrate our business process around the journey or the objectives they’re trying to meet. So it’s really just a pivot and how you’re looking at the same set of problems. But you’re thinking about it and you’re solving from the customer’s vantage point, and you’re leveraging your relationship with the customer to do it.”


Now we orchestrate our business process around the (customer) journey or the objectives they're trying to meet. —Camille Harrison, @_GuideWell
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The Whole Organization Must be Aligned with the Expectations

Camille shares that now that Guidewell has developed its customer-first focus, both the C-Suite and the organization are aligning with the expectations.

When it comes to engaging the C-suite in order to get movement going, she shares the following:

Come with data, come with information, not opinions, because you can opine all day long about what you think the issues and the opportunities are, but when you can bring very specific actionable items forward, you’re going to get an invitation to the Party every single time. Make sure that you have it in a way that’s consumable, repeatable, and sustainable.”

 

You can’t bring one report and think that you’ve sold you know, your C suite that this is these are the action, there’s got to be consistent, a pattern of bringing information forward to be able to to really drive the results that you need. Make sure you’re having a conversation deeper in the organization where the work happens.”


Have you been keeping up with me on my LinkedIn Live conversations? If not, what are you waiting for? I encourage you to follow me on LinkedIn so you can watch more interviews with industry top leaders, and if you don’t already follow my podcast, click on the link to get new episodes delivered right to your inbox!

Get every new episode

sent straight to your inbox!

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3 Leaders Share How We Can Use Our Power As Individuals to Create Meaningful Change /3-leaders-share-how-we-can-create-meaningful-change/ /3-leaders-share-how-we-can-create-meaningful-change/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 16:00:53 +0000 /?p=8465 3 Leaders Share How We Can Use Our Power As Individuals to Create Meaningful ChangeI've gathered some quotes that touch on the main aspect of my interviews with brilliant guests including Brian Solis, Simon T. Bailey, and Patti Phillips. I also encourage you to listen to the full interviews to get some more incredible gems from these folks who've been in their respective industries for quite some time now.

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Have you been keeping up with me on my LinkedIn Live conversations? If not, what are you waiting for? As many of us continue to work from 合约交易所_数字交易home and shift working styles due to the pandemic, I’ve been interviewing practitioners and thought leaders about how we can adapt and continue to show up as our best selves in our roles. I’ve spoken to leaders in a range of industries, and they all have had incredibly useful things to say about how they’ve been working through these uncertain times.

Below, I’ve gathered key takeaways from my interviews with brilliant guests including Brian Solis, Simon T. Bailey, and Patti Phillips. I also encourage you to listen to the full interviews to discover more pearls of wisdom from these thoughtful leaders. Enjoy!

Some of the quotes have been lightly edited for clarity.


Brian Solis, Digital Anthropologist

Brian and I had a great chat about the convergence of the digital world and humanity. We discussed the effects that an increase in technological use has on companies, their employees, and the customers they serve. Here are insights from Brian on what he calls, “the novel economy:

“The novel economy is something that was born at Salesforce. As I was looking through some of the work that I had to create for different organizations, and also different events that I was still speaking at (now virtually), and you think about digital transformation for customer experience at large, like we had been over the years … it just didn’t seem to really resonate at this moment. What was deeply impactful in my work, in my life was the understanding that here’s something that is deeply disruptive that’s affecting our entire world. The best we could give it was the new normal? That wasn’t really hitting.

I wanted to take a very proactive, very positive approach to what we needed to do moving forward because otherwise, we’re going to get caught in a reactive cycle.

So I wanted to break out the novel economy into three phases, which was: survive, alive, and thrive. Looking out between now and over the course of 18-24-36 months, and breaking out into different stages where of course, yes, we have to react, stabilize, ensure business continuity, but with COVID, instead of calling it a ‘new normal,’ it’s the interim normal, right? […] It’s an interim period, and it’s the time to think about business continuity. What’s next? What can I learn from all of this so that we thrive, so that we innovate, we iterate for the future, which gives us a sense of purpose.”


What can I learn from all of this so that we thrive, so that we innovate, we iterate for the future, which gives us a sense of purpose. -@briansolis #leadership #innovation
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Simon T. Bailey, , and Life Coach

In this inspiring conversation with Simon T. Bailey, of “Be the Spark,” we talk about customer and employee experience and recognizing the power that we have as individuals to make a difference. Simon says that to “be the spark” is “recognizing that men and women have the ability to transform the experience in the moment. And they recognize, ‘I’m not waiting for the tap on the shoulder for my leader. I have the ability to be the spark for this customer.'”

Here’s a snippet from our conversation in which Simon shares how we can find those moments in which we can be the spark in our personal lives and go above and beyond for others:

“I think we are experiencing what I would call moving from customer service to human service. And being a person of human service, it’s not so much what I can get from you, but it’s about what I can give to you. What can I do to be a better human being? How do I open the door for you? How do I say please, thank you? How do I practice physical distancing? Not social distancing, because we are social beings by nature.

How do I respectfully engage you from afar in a way that lets you know, this is a human moment? So I’ll give you a prime example: I went to one of my favorite restaurants, and it’s Houston’s (which is Hillstone in some parts of the country), and I went to pick up takeout food. And it’s not might not be a big deal, but I’ve been going to the restaurant for 20 years. And do you know not only did they give me my food, but they gave me dessert for free and I didn’t know that. And they said, ‘How’s your family doing? How are you doing?’ I was like, that’s a human moment.”


Be the spark! Recognize your ability to transform any experience at that particular moment. — @SimonTBailey #bethespark
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Patti Phillips, CEO

In my interview with Patti Phillips, the CEO of Women Leaders in Sports, we spoke about the overall importance of women in leadership positions, and the impact it has in the sports industry—where it’s most certainly needed. When we started talking about COVID and its impact on Patti’s organization, here’s what she had to say:

“I do believe there are systemic changes that we were even seeing with the COVID crisis, right, you know, and the demographics that it was hitting were worse than others and so there are changes we need to make. […] And so you know, we’ve been doing a lot with our organization. We’ve had a women of color initiative for years. We believe we position women of color in all of our programming. So it allowed us the space to double down even more now. And it’s not that other people aren’t doing ; we all need to do more. Quite frankly, what needs to happen now is a systemic change.

I hope people will get involved in organizations working on systemic change. I say ‘systemic change’ but it’s long term. So as we’re working with women in the industry, that’s one piece. That’s only one system, right? There’s all these pieces that we’ve got to get at. Quite frankly, everyone has to commit to wanting to be part of the solution in the change. And I do think, I do think that is happening.”


We all need to do more. Quite frankly, what needs to happen now is a systemic change —@PattiPhillips10, CEO @WomenLeadersCS #leadership
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I encourage you to follow me on LinkedIn so you can watch more interviews with industry top leaders, and if you don’t already follow my podcast, click on the link to get new episodes delivered right to your inbox!

Get every new episode

sent straight to your inbox!

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Three Lessons From Leaders on Adapting During the Pandemic /lessons-from-leaders-adapting-during-pandemic/ /lessons-from-leaders-adapting-during-pandemic/#respond Fri, 28 Aug 2020 14:16:51 +0000 /?p=8438 Three Lessons From Leaders on Adapting During the PandemicI recently interviewed three, extremely driven women who are making a big impact in their roles. I’m sharing key takeaways from my interviews with Aisling Hassell, VP of Community Support at Airbnb, Chelsie Rae Lee, Chief Revenue/Customer/Innovation Officer at SnackNation, and Barbara C. Morton, Deputy Chief Veterans Experience Officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Over the past few months, I’ve been hosting live interviews with a range of C-Suite leaders on my LinkedIn and Twitter. We’ve had discussions about their role in developing a customer experience strategy within their organization or for other organizations, and about how they’ve had to recently pivot in their jobs. I’ve also spoken to gurus, s, and evangelists about the ways in which leaders can continue to guide their teams through the pandemic as customer behaviors continue to shift.

I recently interviewed three, extremely driven women who are making a big impact in their roles. Today, I share their key takeaways from my interviews with Aisling Hassell, VP of Community Support at Airbnb, Chelsie Rae Lee, Chief Revenue/Customer/Innovation Officer at SnackNation, and Barbara C. Morton, Deputy Chief Veterans Experience Officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Offset Anxiety Through Clarity of Vision

In our conversation, Aisling Hassell addressed the challenges of communicating effectively with your leadership team and your employees.

“When you talk about concern, anxiety and sustainability kind of go hand-in-hand. So we’re trying to balance, one, having a vision for the future. And obviously, the last couple of months, as myself and my leadership have had to recast that vision. We had our 2020 plans. We knew exactly we’re going to do we were delivering against this roadmap, which I talked about, and all of a sudden our world went off the pass. 

And so, we still have the same roadmap that we actually had “zoom-sites” since we couldn’t have an off-site. […] Usually my leadership team and I get together every quarter and we would have a deep planning or a deep execution-type discussions around making sure that we’re on the same page and, and troubleshooting any areas of ambiguity. Well, obviously, we couldn’t do that together because we are all working across every continent. So, and we decided, well, we would have it, you know, basically online. So we broke it up.

[…] So one of the things we said post-COVID, and post all of the swirl and change that we’ve been going through: it’s important to really simplify our ways of working as well. So not just what we’re doing, but how we’re doing it. So we spent a large part of that time really trying to figure out what could be a simpler way of working. And now we’re just coming out of that, and we’re going to roll that forward. So going back to the question, I think, yes, there’s anxiety, but I think as leaders how you can offset the anxiety is by giving clarity of vision, so that’s what we’re trying to do that we’re saying, Okay, H1 was crazy. Here’s our plan for H2. Here’s what we need to accomplish together. And I think everybody is super keen to know: ‘okay, where are we going? And how do we pivot towards the new future? And how can we lean into that?’ So that’s important to do.”


In my live podcast interview with @Airbnb's Aisling Hassel, she tells us: As leaders how you can offset the anxiety is by giving clarity of vision.
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Don’t Assume; Check-in with Customers to Understand How They Feel and Where They Stand

Chelsie Rae Lee is the Chief Revenue and Customer Officer at Snacknation, a subscription-based snack company. Since a large percentage of her customers operate out of offices to receive the snacks, Chelsie, who spends a lot of work on customer retention strategies, shares how SnackNation has had to adjust to accommodate changing consumer behavior:

“One of the things I always try to say is to ask yourself about your customers: Where are they at right now? How can I add value with the skill sets that I have? And sometimes, like, how will they buy it? Or can I sell it to them? But essentially, we did that. We looked really deep in and said, What do our customers need right now?

One of the things I always say to people, too, is: don’t assume you know what your customers need, no matter how well you know them. So it’s really important for us to ask.  I’ve sent all of these emails saying, you know, ‘I care about you, I want to help you, How can I do that?’ and got some really deep and wonderful conversations with our customers, saying, ‘I need to support and make my employees feel cared about. I don’t know where they’re going to be.’

Then I thought to myself, we’ve got amazing products, amazing food and snacks and we can ship to anywhere which most companies are not based in. And we understand how it is to make somebody feel special. Let’s take that, and transition it to work-from-合约交易所_数字交易home. Now we developed a fluid interface where people could put their addresses and their employees could now get snacks at 合约交易所_数字交易home instead of in the office.”


One of the things I always try to say is to ask yourself about your customers, where are they at right now? How can I add value with the skill sets that I have? - @chelsieraelee, @snacknation
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Use Customer Journey Maps to Strategize Around a Positive Experience

Barbara Morton’s job as the Deputy Veterans Experience Officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs involves working with a few different groups of customers. Working with a range of customers impacts the language they use internally, how they view veterans, and how they strategize the best ways to create a positive experience for them:

“We don’t want to assume that we understand what’s most important to veterans, so we do a journey map. For example, in outpatient experience, that’s one of the largest business lines in the US. I have that type of care service. So as they’ve gone in for some help, they’re departing; It’s what happens after that, or in general, even if they haven’t gone in. And so it’s those who are utilizing it end to end.

And it actually starts before the actual appointment. It’s scheduling the appointment. It’s arriving at the facility, it’s waiting. It’s meeting your provider, it’s post care and follow up. Right. So we mapped that. And so we can have a very clear understanding, again, not what our process is, but what the process and the experience was for the veteran. And we identified key moments that matter to them.

So for example, navigation of a VA Medical Center was very important. And that came out in the research that never would naturally appear on an operational metrics dashboard, it never would naturally appear, right? So we actually took that insight and we now measure that as part of a survey have that type of experience. And by the way, we don’t just measure it, we implemented and tried to scale and how scaled with Veterans Health Administration and Ambassador Program, red coat Ambassador greeter program to address that particular pain point identified in the HCV research.  So we have navigators now at every medical center helping veterans find their way around these complex buildings. Why? Because it’s important to them.

Like we can’t all just have the feel good about this is the right thing to do. There has to be evidence, there has to be proof that we’re actually moving the needle. And I’m proud of the department and the frontline employees have been able to show that.”


We can't just feel this is the right thing to do; there has to be evidence that we're actually moving the needle, says @VetsExperience's Barbara Morton in our recent conversation.
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Be sure to check out previous blog posts in which I share more advice from other C-Suite leaders about how to navigate these uncertain times.

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5 Keys to Hiring Customer Service Frontline Reps During COVID-19 /5-keys-to-hiring-customer-service-frontline-reps-during-covid-19/ /5-keys-to-hiring-customer-service-frontline-reps-during-covid-19/#respond Tue, 18 Aug 2020 22:11:02 +0000 /?p=8419 In this guest post, Niraj Ranjan, CEO & CO-founder of Hiver, describes the five keys to hiring frontline service reps. This is essential, because as I have said before, your front line represents your brand to your customers.

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This is a guest post from Niraj Ranjan, CEO & CO-founder of Hiver – a Gmail-centric customer service solution. At Hiver, Niraj is responsible for defining the vision and strategy of the business. With over 1500 customers across 30 countries. Niraj’s focus with Hiver has been to empower companies to provide customer experiences that are more human and empathetic. 


By Niraj Ranjan

By now, we are all well aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically impacted customer experience. Companies have had to dedicate a lot more effort in ensuring the experiences they deliver are human, empathetic, and safe.

And a good part of this responsibility falls on the shoulders of your frontline support staff – who talk to and help out customers day in day out. They need to not only possess the right soft skills that come in handy during customer interactions, but also be able to take on more workload and handle the pressure that comes with a global pandemic like this.

Which is why hiring support reps in a post pandemic world requires you to apply a more discerning assessment process. This post takes a look at everything you need to look for while recruiting for your support team amidst this new normal.

1. Identify Those With High EQ

When you’re on the frontline, you’re dealing with various types of customers. Some might be angry. Some are frustrated. Some might even be confused.

While this is true on any given day, the pandemic has resulted in customers becoming more sensitive and self-conscious about the choices they make. This is where service reps with a high EQ can be an invaluable asset to your company.

High EQ support staff are adept at handling even the most tricky/difficult customer situations. That’s because they are extremely aware of themselves as well as the other person’s feelings. This level of empathy is evident in how they ‘actively’ listen to customers and interact with them — they know what to say and how to say it, helping the customer feel at ease.

How do you look for this quality? Pay close attention to how self aware your candidates are. Are they embracing their weaknesses as much as they talk about their strengths? Are they completely listening to you while you speak or are they interrupting often?

Another thing you could do is conduct role plays by putting forward difficult customer situations. See how they go about resolving them, what their demeanour is like, and so on. For a more quantitative assessment, you can also get them to take one of these EQ tests.

2. Assess Their Tech Skills

One of the most prominent shifts in customer behaviour has been the heavy reliance on digital touchpoints to interact with brands. And this trend is only going to go north in the near future.

So, with more and more customer interactions happening online, being tech-savvy is an essential quality for customer service reps to possess. When you’re comfortable with tech, it becomes easier to work with different tools (email support software, internal collaboration tool, etc), keep track of daily workload, escalate issues and collaborate virtually with other teams. Tech-savvy support reps also hold an edge over others as they relatively require less training and can quickly adapt to new softwares and tools.

How do you look for this quality? Look out for candidates who have prior experience in using a wide range of tech – email support, live chat, call centre experience, for instance. You could also create a small assessment about the tools/technical knowledge they’ll need on the job.

3. Look For Direct Communicators

The way your support staff communicate with customers has a direct impact on the service experience. They need to put things across in a simple and direct manner. This is especially important in these uncertain times where customers don’t have the mental bandwidth for complexity or to read between the lines.

Support reps need to write and talk in a way the customer understands. Ambiguous, vague, and jargon-filled responses would only lead to more back and forth with the customer, further stressing them out in the process.

How do you look for this quality? Do a mock up phone call or chat conversation. Pay attention to how candidates articulate their points. Are they using complicated phrases or idioms? Are they beating around the bush too much? Moreover, ask candidates to talk about instances where they had to convey a negative response to the customer. How did they go about communicating this?

4. Pay Attention To Positive Attitudes

The pandemic has had a huge impact on our mental health. Employees are having to deal with a lot of stress and anxiety surrounding their professional and personal lives.

In times like these, bringing the right attitude to work can be extremely uplifting. Customer-facing employees who are innately passionate and approach work with a positive mindset are in a better position to delight customers. Even more importantly, their attitude rubs off on everyone on the team, leading to a healthier atmosphere at work.

They also deal with negative feedback/criticism in a better manner, and are always looking to learn and improve.

How do you look for this quality? One of the things you can do to know more about the attitude of your candidates is purposefully provide some negative feedback and see how they respond. Alternatively, you could ask them to talk about:

→ Past interactions with customers that they didn’t handle so well and what they learned from it.
→ How they maintain self-motivation after experiencing a setback on the way to achieve a goal
→ If they’re working with a team that is not motivated, how do they keep themselves uplifted and inspire others?

5. Seek Doers Who Get The Big Picture

Oftentimes, support reps look at customer queries as mere ticket numbers. They’re instructed to close ‘X’ number of tickets on a day, and so – they channel all their focus and energy into hitting these numbers.

While it’s certainly important to have everyday targets, it shouldn’t be at the cost of how you make the customer ‘feel’. Given the fact that the pandemic has impacted our lives to an extent that we’ve become more conscious about our choices, companies need to provide genuinely empathetic experiences. And being on the frontline, support reps can really show how much your company is willing to help customers and truly care for them.

Imagine a customer raises a request to cancel an order. Instead of merely following through with the request, reps should have the ability to take a step back and look at the larger picture. Why is he cancelling? Is it because he expected a faster delivery? If yes, is there a way to expedite delivery on this product?

How do you look for this quality? Present hypothetical situations and see how the candidate approaches them. Pay particular attention to whether they’re asking more questions to get to know and understand the context around the query. Does their resolution path involve both a tactical as well as a strategic line of thinking?

Conclusion

Making your hiring process for support staff more diligent and extensive will automatically improve the quality of service you deliver. When you have the right kind of support personnel who are well-equipped on a skill level and approach work in the right way, it becomes a lot easier to ‘walk the talk’ and show customers that you really care about them.


Related Content…

1. Hire People Who Will Make Your Company Unforgettable: A Case Study

The most admired companies know that hiring people with the ability to care is key to how they grow. They take the time to make the interview go beyond questions on just aptitude and skill; they get to know the human behind the resumé. Read this blog post »

2. Hire People Who Care & Enable Them to Apologize

Who you hire and how you enable them to apologize means everything. Read this blog post »

3. Do You Hire People Who Fit the Soul of Your Company?

How do you select the people who will deliver your special brand and experience to customers? Read this blog post »

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5 Must-Hear Conversations About Leadership and Relationship-Building /5-must-hear-conversations-about-leadership-and-relationship-building/ /5-must-hear-conversations-about-leadership-and-relationship-building/#respond Wed, 01 Jul 2020 22:04:35 +0000 /?p=8384 Throughout these uncertain times of the pandemic, I've been fortunate to bring you conversations with incredible business leaders, s, and experts on my podcast, The Chief Customer Officer Human Duct Tape Show, and on LinkedIn Live. These individuals have all had insightful advice and anecdotes to help us think through how to approach current business models and future ones, given how rapidly things are changing in the world. I've gathered some quotes and key takeaways from a few of the folks I've recently spoken with.

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Throughout these uncertain times of the pandemic, I’ve been fortunate to bring you conversations with incredible business leaders, s, and experts through my podcast, LinkedIn Live. These individuals have all had insightful advice and anecdotes to help us think through how to approach current business models and future ones, given how rapidly things are changing in the world.

Below, I’ve compiled key quotes and takeaways from a few of the folks I’ve recently spoken with:

1. Yamini Rangan, CCO of HubSpot

In this Yamini Rangan, a perennial CCO, discusses the importance of unifying teams to work towards a common goal.

She also shares strategies and tactics that have helped HubSpot navigate through the difficulties of the pandemic. Yamini’s emphasis on leadership has helped HubSpot quickly adjust to a new working style to accommodate the needs of both employees and customers.

Listen to the episode & read the show notes »

2. Leslie Stretch, CEO of Medallia

Leslie introduces the concept of leveraging the “signal field” in our interview. Leslie and I discuss the idea that the future will be a hybrid of high-tech and high-touch experiences. We can prepare for this future by gaining a deeper understanding of customers and employees through various touchpoints.

These touchpoints include video, text, and voice messaging, which gives CX leaders more opportunities to see the bigger picture. By gathering data from all of these “signal fields,” you’re not as bound to survey scores.

Listen to the episode & read the show notes »

3. Tom Peters, & Keynote Speaker

Tom Peters and I spoke during the beginning of the pandemic when folks were just settling into their new routines. During our conversation,  Tom has us thinking about the importance of hiring and having people skills.

With his belief that business people are “people serving people,” Tom helps us realize that you need a strong team by your side to usher your company through hard times.

Listen to the episode & read the show notes »

4. Horst Schulze, & Co-Founder of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

In Horst Schulze reminds us that you must always thank employees and customers for the ways they’ve contributed to your success. He emphasizes that when times are hard, you really have to sit down and agonize over your plan moving forward, which is a tough thing to do when you have to consider layoffs.

Ultimately, Horst says that business leaders have to effectively communicate with their employees regarding what’s being done and why. They must also ask themselves the question, “Am I serving all concerned?”

Listen to the episode & read the show notes »

5. Robbie Kellman-Baxter, & Consultant

Robbie, the of The Forever Transaction, is best known as the person who coined the term “the membership economy.” In this conversation, Robbie talks about how to develop growth strategies through subscription-based models, which is an increasingly popular route for companies these days.

In our conversation, Robbie makes it clear that simple subscription services that steer clear of overly-complicated tiers are easier for customers to understand and therefore more successful. Robbie has shifted the way we look at and interact with customers; she implores us to focus on the long-teal aspect of these relationships.

Listen to the episode & read the show notes »

I encourage you to follow me on LinkedIn so you can watch more interviews with industry top leaders, and if you don’t already follow my podcast, click on the link to get new episodes delivered right to your inbox!

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4 Experts Share Their Advice on Cultivating the Well-Being of Your Organization’s Stakeholders /4-experts-share-their-advice-on-cultivating-the-well-being-of-your-organizations-stakeholders/ /4-experts-share-their-advice-on-cultivating-the-well-being-of-your-organizations-stakeholders/#respond Mon, 22 Jun 2020 10:00:09 +0000 /?p=8352 A round-up of a few LinkedIn Live conversations with C-Suite leaders, s, and experts in their respective fields. These conversations span across a range of industries but tend to have an overarching theme that comes back to the importance of leadership bravery. As we continue to navigate through this pandemic and find new ways of operating our businesses, I encourage you to listen to the interviews below to glean advice that may be useful for you and your organization.

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During this time, I’ve been hosting weekly live conversations on LinkedIn, with C-Suite leaders, s, and experts in their respective fields. They’ve included influential s like Seth Godin and CEOs like Leslie Stretch. These conversations span across a range of industries but tend to have an overarching theme that comes back to the importance of leadership bravery.

These experts have all spent time enacting behaviors, either within their own companies or the companies of others, that consider the well-being of their employees, customers, and partners. As we continue to navigate through this pandemic and find new ways of operating our businesses, I encourage you to listen to the interviews below for wisdom you can implement in your own organization.

Here are four takeaways from some of my recent guests.

We Need More Purpose Than Fear

Rich Sheridan: CEO & Chief Storyteller of Menlo Innovations, and of Joy, Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love and Chief Joy Officer talks big picture strategy about building a workplace built on humanity and joy:

In our conversation, Rich uses an airplane metaphor to describe how he has created an intentionally joyful culture:

“The four basic forces that work on an aircraft include lift, weight, thrust, and drag. Well, what are the equivalent forces in a human organization? There’s the lift of human energy, the weight of bureaucracy, the thrust of purpose, and the drag of fear. And if we’re going to get our corporate organization off the ground every day like this airplane, we better have more lift than drag, more human energy than bureaucracy, more purpose focus than fear. And so what are some specific things we can do in all of those areas? Well, I will tell you the ability to go to work and get meaningful things actually done is important.”

Look After Employees’ Well-Being

In this enlightening conversation, Raj Sisodia, a founding member of the Conscious Capitalism movement and 4x bestselling , discusses some of the concepts in his book, The Healing Organization: Awakening the Conscience of Business to Help Save the World:

“And we found companies like Whole Foods, for example, right, which is spending 90% below the industry average, and then our chief marketing officer, and yet their customers love them; that kind of fanatically loyal customers that they had. So we started to look at what causes that to happen. And we soon discovered it wasn’t just about the customers, employees have to love these companies, too. That’s exactly why we can’t have customer bliss without employee bliss, in the long run, especially in a service business.

We found that these companies also looked after their employees’ well-being. They cared about their customers’ well-being; they weren’t just trying to sell them stuff. They’re actually trying to lead them to a better place. So Whole Foods moves towards better health for themselves and for the planet. We found that they had stable partnerships with their suppliers, that they were deeply embedded in their communities. So they were really stakeholder-oriented, right? Not just customer focus or investor shareholder-oriented, right? They were focused on the well-being of all of their stakeholders because they’re all connected.”

Get the “Quiet” Colleagues Involved with Decision Making

Linda Ward, President and CEO of Gulfside Healthcare Services shares some invaluable lessons in leadership during these unusual times:

We can never be too comfortable with the systems we have in place and the ways in which we care for people. You can always move to a higher level. I truly, truly cherish my team. And people are the forefront of our organization because when you have people who want to do a good job, they seek out leaders who provide the positive feedback, constructive feedback, giving them credit for their ideas. Inviting them to be a part of the decision making power of the organization.

And at a time like this, we excelled to that level and even greater. I learned that we have silent heroes in our organization. We have quiet champions and they came out and made themselves present and we’ve got to seek them out more often.”

The Power of Humanity with Joseph Michelli

In this conversation with Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., psychologist, speaker, and of The Airbnb Way, we discuss topics ranging from the power of humanity in experience leadership to lessons from our Italian grandmothers:

“Trust is acting in the interest of others. In a way that enables them to move forward such that they can act in the interest of others. Let us do that in business right now. The more we focus on that, with our team members and customers, the more success we’re going to have in the end. And it’s hard to do right now, because there are people freaking out about what they’re going to do tomorrow. So it’s hard to think about anything else other than, ‘how am I going to survive?’”

For more from Joseph, listen to my previous interview with him on my podcast, which you can find here: 5 Lessons to Strengthen Your Experience from Airbnb.


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This is the Time to Weave Humanity Into How Companies Operate and Earn Greater Growth /this-is-the-time-to-weave-humanity-into-how-companies-operate-and-earn-greater-growth/ /this-is-the-time-to-weave-humanity-into-how-companies-operate-and-earn-greater-growth/#respond Wed, 17 Jun 2020 22:48:15 +0000 /?p=8353 We have seen leaders around the world engage personally in the lives of their customers and employees.  They have shed the corporate veneer and packaging to listen—really listen to understand people’s worries, concerns and shifting needs. What I hope is that these new instinctual behaviors become habits and they become a natural part of the way leaders lead. 

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We have seen leaders around the world engage personally in the lives of their customers and employees.  They have shed the corporate veneer and packaging to listen—really listen to understand people’s worries, concerns and shifting needs.

We have seen that companies have the ability to be flexible and pivot swiftly, through uniting their organizations to focus on the most important things and deliver value that people need now to achieve their goals.

THESE behaviors are what experience really has needed all along to elevate an organization and its people to show up differently in the marketplace and with customers.  What I hope is that these new instinctual behaviors become habits and they become a natural part of the way leaders lead.

If this can happen, then this time can become an opportunity for humanity to be woven into how companies operate and earn greater growth.


Resources to Help Turn These Behaviors Into Habits

1. In this Pandemic, Move How You Listen to Customers—From ASKING to UNDERSTANDING

Talk to your team about how you listen to your customers during this time. Do you stop your surveys? How do you get feedback? In this article, I share six key ways in which we should listen to our customers and communicate with them.

2. In this Time of Coronavirus…Let Goodness in Business Prevail. Human and Financial Prosperity Will Follow

Be kind, extend grace, and practice mutual trust and respect. These are three areas around which you should align your team during this time and carry forward. Learn more in this article.

3. Introducing the Daily Dose of Optimism: Highlighting Grand Acts of Humanity

In this series, what I want to share with you are acts of goodness that will drive and will earn both human and financial prosperity, as we work our way out of this. Share these videos with your team to highlight the ways we should behave moving forward.


Get blog posts, articles, and videos straight to your inbox by subscribing below!

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Audience Q&A: 5 Questions for Yamini Rangan, Chief Customer Officer of HubSpot /audience-qa-5-questions-for-yamini-rangan-chief-customer-officer-of-hubspot/ /audience-qa-5-questions-for-yamini-rangan-chief-customer-officer-of-hubspot/#respond Mon, 08 Jun 2020 19:34:06 +0000 /?p=8340 What has Yamini Rangan, chief customer officer of Hubspot, learned from this difficult time that she will take forward? In this article, Yamini answers several viewer questions we received but didn't have time to get to during our live broadcast.

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Recently, I was joined by Yamini Rangan, chief customer officer of Hubspot for a LIVE version of my podcast, the Chief Customer Officer Human Duct Tape Show. Be sure to subscribe here or on your favorite podcast app to get this episode when it comes out later this week.

During our 45 minutes together, Yamini shared insights into her path as a perennial CCO and she answered audience questions about how she’s putting her experiences and her ability for pattern recognition to work.

Since we didn’t have time for her to respond to all of the questions during our broadcast, she kindly responded via email to the rest of the questions. Here are her responses to these questions that we didn’t have time to answer on-air.

 

1. In your experience, what’s been your biggest challenge regarding disruption to the company culture toward a more customer centric or customer enlightened one?
– Jeremy Uteza

“Siloes—and the effort required to break them down—are the biggest challenge. Customer centricity requires that your go-to-market functions work in sync. But a lot of companies optimize for a specific function rather than optimizing around the customer, creating bad handoffs and exposing your customer to your organization structure. Breaking down those walls requires you to fundamentally rethink your strategy in a way that creates alignment in your organization. It’s a long, complicated, hard transformation.”

2. One of the changes is to get a buy-in from stakeholders and supporting units. How did you manage to achieve getting everybody support?
– Waleed AlHamdan

“The great news is that HubSpot was already aligned in unifying all customer facing functions—creating a Flywheel team and hiring a CCO was part of the transition we’re undergoing, so our leadership is already aligned there. To operationalize this vision, we’ve created the ‘Flywheel Staff’ group. This is a group of senior leaders across marketing, sales and customer success and we meet regularly to stay tightly aligned on everything from strategic planning and short-term plays. The process is inherently very collaborative and ensures buy-in from all key stakeholders.”

3. B2B is interesting. One thing that happened with us is that we stepped up servicing during what was a difficult time. Mainly because we prioritized the client what we were doing. Less distractions. It’s set a new level and expectation which is interesting. What happened with your client base and how will it show up in the future with client expectations?
– Bob Buiaroski

“We implemented a number of customer relief programs, in response to a lot of feedback that cashflow was our customers’ biggest concern right now. There are also so many businesses moving online for the first time, so we’re emphasizing free education and resources to aid that transition, as well as making a lot of paid features free and discounting software for new customers. We’ll continue to assess what measures are appropriate to support our customer base over the next few months.”

4. How did you succeed to pass these customer initiatives (discounts for example) through Sales and Finance during pandemic period?
– Anas Orwani

“This was a decision we made carefully, but came together quickly, and I think a lot of that is due to our culture. ‘SFTC’ (‘Solve For The Customer’) is in our DNA as a company—we will always prioritize what’s right for the customer and within our power. As an executive team, we met daily to understand how we needed to pivot and what our response needed to be. We asked customers and partners about their challenges, and cashflow was the #1 response. That made it clear that financial relief was the best way for us to help. We’re also lucky to be in a stable financial position at HubSpot, which inherently makes these kinds of conversations easier.”

5. What are you learning from the disruption that you will incorporate into the next normal for your business?
– Jim Bass

“None of us can predict what will happen. However, we are all learning that making a human connection is important—whether this is with your employees, customers or partners. We see our team members and customers at their 合约交易所_数字交易homes, managing work and life and this empathy helps us connect better today. I hope that we can carry this forward.”

Listen to my previous interview with Yamini here on the blog, and be sure to subscribe to my podcast to receive this full interview as a podcast. 


To join me for more live broadcasts and interviews, follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter. Get blog posts, articles, and videos straight to your inbox by subscribing below!

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