Berichten

Volgens mij is dit nog geen nieuw woord in het coronawoordenboek op Taalbank.nl. En toch ben ik van mening dat dit woord erin thuishoort. Nu we in de anderhalvemetereconomie leven, lijden we massaal aan hamsterobsessie, of we zetten ons juist af tegen hamsterparia’s. We hebben last van hoestschaamte. Desondanks zie ik naast dit groot leed zeker ook lichtpuntjes.

Op LinkedIn komen de vrolijkste foto’s voorbij van fruitmanden, Tony-repen, bossen bloemen en handgeschreven kaartjes die naar werknemers worden gestuurd. Voor mij is nog even niet duidelijk of die vanuit HR (of heet dat nu het employee experience center?) of vanuit de teammanager komen, maar dat maakt natuurlijk niks uit. Nu we massaal thuiswerken, Zoomen, Teamen of Hangouten, krijgen we gratis inkijkjes in huiskamers, zolders, studeerkamers en keukens. Er komen onverwachte bezoekers in beeld – van kinderen die toch niet helemaal uit die rekensom komen, een voorbijschuivende kat met honger, of misschien de partner die gezien de gezamenlijke thuiswerkruimte even komt vragen of het zachter mag. Die partner bedoelt natuurlijk moet, maar zo wil je niet op beeld overkomen.

Ik ben verrast hoe wendbaar we zijn. Daarvoor hoefden we helemaal niet op agile training. Omdat het moest, zetten we de tering naar de nering en ineens kan het. Blijkt het netwerk het te houden, maar de thuiswifi niet altijd even sterk voor twee thuiswerkende ouders en kinderen die ’s middags op de Playstation gaan. Gelukkig bestaan er nog netwerkkabels: niks zo fijn als een stabiel beeld met dito geluid in deze tijden. Het zou me niks verbazen als die binnenkort zijn uitverkocht. Net als de noise cancelling headphones trouwens, maar dat terzijde.

Hoe gaaf is het dan ook, dat werkgevers ondanks de afstand welverdiende complimenten geven aan hun werknemers. Natuurlijk aan alle helden in de zorg, van de vuilnisophaaldienst en in de supermarkt. Maar ook de procesoptimaliseerder, de backofficemedewerker en al die mensen in het contactcenter aan de telefoon verdienen en krijgen een pluim. Iedereen werkt ‘gewoon’ door!

Zo ook mijn dochter. Zij werkt in een contactcenter en kreeg van haar werkgever brievenbusbloemen met een persoonlijk berichtje. Geen grootse bos, maar hele lieve eigenwijze tulpen, in een doosje dat door de brievenbus paste. Wat ik hier zo tof aan vind, is dat hier goed over is nagedacht. Deze werkgever heeft zich ingeleefd in haar medewerkers. Zij zitten de hele dag aan de telefoon met klanten en hebben geen tijd om de deur open te doen voor de bloemist. Hoe attent om hier rekening mee te houden en dus te kiezen voor brievenbusbloemen. In een tijd waarin we social distancen, ervaar ik veel positiviteit en aandacht voor elkaar, ook al is dat op afstand. Juist daarom horen brievenbusbloemen in het coronawoordenboek. Ik stem vóór!

 

Dit blog werd geschreven voor CustomerFirst en gepubliceerd op 13 mei 2020

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Last year around this time, I got to visit two of the greatest names when it comes to Customer Experience. Disney and Zappos. I traveled to California to learn all about CX magic at Disney Institute. In Las Vegas I got a tour at Zappos where I interviewed leaders at their fun property. Many of the learnings I shared in my blogs and I even published an e-zine on my insights at Zappos. But why did I do that? Why did I choose these two companies as my Go-To-Learning-Place for 2019? It’s all about development. Let me share my vision with you in this blog.

Buy my flowers!

But first I want to share with you that tulips are my favorite flowers. Nice to know, right? Or not? But hang on, it has to do with the story 😊. The picture you see is taken at the local flower market in Utrecht. Every Saturday you can buy all kinds of flowers and plants on this market. It is a very bright and happy place to visit, even when it rains. The colors, the smells, the people and especially the salesmen and women behind their flower stands make me smile. They get it when it comes to selling their goods. They look at you, recommend their flowers and try to lure you into their domain.

What could happen – and they understand sales really well, so it probably will happen – is that they seduce you to buy some flowers. Not just the flowers you planned to buy. But more and different ones. Which will cost you more money than you had planned to spend and they will take up more room in your house. Colorful, yes! But maybe not what you went out for.

Stick to the plan

The same might happen with development. You go out there, see all kinds of education and inspiration, but what to decide? When you go online you might get lost in a maze of development options. To learn new skills, get inspiration, be a better entrepreneur, learn all CX, be a better you. I know many people that get seduced to follow webinars, free events and buy education as a result. Sometimes for the good. Often maybe not for what they planned to do. Is that bad? No, but think of all the time and money that is wasted. So when I go out to get tulips, I get tulips. And maybe one extra bunch of flowers to give away. But I stick to my plan.

The big picture

That is where my big picture in development comes in. Every year I determine in what area I want to develop myself. Two examples to show you how I do it. In 2018 I wanted to learn more about comedy, about being funny on stage or when delivering my Masterclass. To learn what my trade was, when it came to this art. I went to a standup comedy weekend in Brighton with Jill Edwards, had a day course with Jeremy Nichols and watched tons of comedians. On stage as well as on Netflix. A big learning experience that resulted in finding out that I am more of an improv comedian, than a standup comedian. But it was such a good learning ride.

Personal and business development

2019 was all about learning more on CX. Really deep diving into my own profession and learning from the best. The reason I went to Disney and Zappos. And why I hosted the International CX awards and why I was a judge. Because we were also writing our book about CX, I needed to focus on my profession. An extra touch was that both Disney and Zappos focus on change from a cultural lens. Very handy with regard to our Employee Experience Game and the Masterclass CX Culture I am developing. This investment in me was not only an inspirational one, but also a business smart decision!

The plan for 2020

This year will be all about growing my facilitation and audience interaction skills. I want to find my own interaction games (I already have some fun ones, but I think I can be better). Not only in a small setting like our CX Masterclass with 16 participants, but also with audiences of thousands. I like people in my audience to be really involved. So, I have work to do. I will visit the Global Speaker Summit in Namibia in February to learn from the world’s greatest speakers and I will join the annual PSA Australia event in Adelaide to get some Down Under magic. In April I have booked myself a seat in a two-day Masterclass to be a better Master of Ceremony (dagvoorzitter for the Dutchies). I don’t fancy becoming an all-round MC, but at customer events, I love the role. Because I can add some Nienke Bloem and CX magic to the day.

Your theme for this year

So, what to learn from all this? The big picture. My question to you is, what is your theme for the year? Do you like my way of bringing focus to personal development? Or do you have other ways, that I can learn from? Please share, because there are far more ways when it comes to development, and there is no good or bad. Oh well, actually there is a bad one. That is doing nothing. Staying still. Not investing in yourself. So, when you are at the flower market, I hope you’ll be seduced to buy some flowers. I will get myself some tulips.

 

** Nienke Bloem is expert in Customer Experience (CCXP), both as Trusted Advisor, Keynote Speaker and co-founder of The Customer Experience Game and The Employee Experience Game. Do you want to read her blogs or learn more about her? Visit her website or subscribe to her monthly CX Greetz. **

 

** Feel free to comment on this blog and share it in your community! **

… or should I say, Employee Experience? Yes, I have been wondering what the title of this blog should be and I chose the one on Customer Experience. Just because I had to choose. If you think after reading this blog, it should be the other way around. Let me know!

The 22ndof January 2019. A big day: I was going to visit Zappos. I was excited, because I had heard so much about the company,  I follow them on Instagram (@ZapposCulture) and of course read the book “Delivering Happiness”. This day I was going to see it myself. Would it be a big hit or would it be a disappointment? I had no idea, so the excitement was real.

The first impression of the building was a little bit of a downer. The building isn’t a beauty of a building, it used to be the city hall of Las Vegas. It is a building like any other and they have tried to make it look happy, with some pictures, but I am honest, the building and the square didn’t deliver any happiness to me.

A little side step: I arrived in Las Vegas two days before and I had plenty time to stroll around the city. If you ever visited the city or have seen some pictures, you know that especially the strip is kind of a crazy place. A miniature Eiffel tower, Venetian gondola’s; everything for entertainment. My hotel was on the strip and I brought some crackers and as I am trying to eat healthy, I was looking for an avocado to spread on my cracker. As I walked the strip for more than two hours, there was not avocado to be found. Yes, I could gamble, drink, eat, buy souvenirs, but no avocado there.

Let’s go back to the Zappos experience. When you enter the building, you are pleasantly surprised. The colored Lego wall, the merchandise, the wall with the company’s story; the whole atmosphere is breathing the FUN Zappos feeling. Want to have an impression?

Megan was my tour guide and we started with the history of the company. A company pride movie, some examples of wow employee experiences, like the “snowman prank” and the CEO living in a trailer. It was a set up of the real tour, where they gave me the Zappos experience. We couldn’t visit the customer service department, but I saw HR, the way the company is set up, their fitness studio (in the former prison), their restaurant and their Aquarium resting area. Really!

When we passed the square during our tour. I saw at the main square a drawing of an Avocado, saying “AvocaDO”. I giggled and told Megan, that Las Vegas was more of an AvocaNO city. I shared my experience of the hunt for an avocado and we laughed together.

As my tour ended, I had two interviews with leaders of the company. To learn more about Customer Experience strategies, about listening to customers, about how it is to work in the company. As I was starting my first interview, Megan entered the room with a little bag with two avocado’s. “For you”, as she presented them with a big smile. How about that? Putting the magic around one of their values: “Deliver WOW through service”. Easy does it with a big result. Zappos does deliver WOW.

So, a nice story, and Zappos puts its money where its mouth is. So you have a first impression. But what did I learn and what can you learn from this shoe selling company? I decided to give you a list of ideas. You can pick yourself, what is applicable. What resonates with you. And I am honest. The longer I write, the more comes to mind. So be prepared, somewhere this year, I will publish blog number two about this topic 😉

  1. Choose your values: Zappos has their ten core values and they are everywhere. Where of course their most known value is “Deliver Wow through Service”. The other nine are just as important for the employees.
  2. Hire the right employees: “It is easier to get into Harvard, than to work at Zappos” Zappos receives thousands of job applications every half year. They only want the right people to work for them. The ones that fit the company, the ones that are motivated.
  3. Take time for onboarding: new employees get a four-week onboarding and training, where they work for three weeks in the contact center. Yes, everybody. Whether you start working in IT or in Accountancy: you will start in the contact center, so you know your customers and what their lifes are about.
  4. Test if new employees get it: once a new employee has done his onboarding, at Zappos that is the moment they have to go for THE test. This test is crucial, because if you don’t score 90%, you don’t pass and are asked to leave. The test is about culture and values, computer systems and how to behave on the phone.
  5. Make new employees choose: when employees have finished their onboarding, they get the offer of a month’s salary to leave the company. Yes, you read this right. If you stay, you don’t get it. They only want people that really want to work for Zappos.
  6. 10 hour rule in the holiday season. Everybody has to help the contact center for ten hours. Everybody. EVERYBODY. Sorry to that bold, but this is magic. It is already magic when colleagues from IT would listen in some companies, Zappos takes it to the next level.
  7. Honor employees and the years they work for you: every five years you work at Zappos, you get a plate with your name on it in a certain color. First five years is blue, five to ten is red, etcetera. These nameplates hang at the desks, so you can see who works there and for how long they are with Zappos.
  8. Serendipitous Collisions: the Zappos building has ten floors and on one floor, there are drinks, on the other floor there are snacks. So people have to move to get a drink or something to eat. By doing so, they will meet people from other departments, and they hang out together.
  9. Create business money. Zappos has their own monetary system; Zollars. Yes, where dollars and Zappos meet. You can earn Zollars in several ways and spend them in their own Zappos way.
  10. Zappos Merchandise: not only can you buy Zappos merchandise as visitor, they also have their own little Zappos store for employees, varying from a t-shirt to a bicycle. Zappos branded of course: here you can spend your earned Zollars.
  11. Co-working Bonus program: employees can grant colleagues a bonus of 50 Zollars for doing nice things for each other, or if they helped out customers in a brilliant way.
  12. Department of Celebration: in case there is something to celebrate, from birthday to wedding. At Zappos they have a catalogue where you can order everything you need to celebrate. For example, you can order balloons with a card and they are delivered to the desk of the person who is celebrating.
  13. Bring fun in the IVR: when you call Zappos you get the choice to either press one to talk to a representant or two to hear the joke of the day. My goodness, I love this one.
  14. Organize fitness: at Zappos they have their own fitness studio (in the former prison, so funny) and they have also yoga and boxing classes. You earn points that you can spend in a special Zfit store.
  15. Tech Support: in the cafeteria Zappos has a special desk for technical help. You can bring your laptop there and they make sure you are on your way as soon as possible.
  16. Bring values in yearly reviews: as an employee you are asked how you score on the core values and also peers will rate you. You can pick the core values that fit you best, because you don’t have to score all ten.
  17. Stimulate change: at Zappos they have investors that help employees who have ideas in an investor board. So these investors help employees with money to grow their ideas.
  18. Help employees as entrepreneurs: at Zappos they have a class called ‘48 Hour Founders’. People can pitch (like in Sharktank) to a group and when your idea is picked, you work it out with colleagues and a business coach. In 48 hours you will grow your idea forward and pitch to the Investor Board.
  19. Teambuilding: every month employees get a budget of 50 dollars to go out and have fun. Plan it yourself and create a team and a family feeling. You can also save it a couple of months, to do something more elaborate.
  20. Family time: every quarter of a year a family movie night is organized for employees and their families. So, the focus is not only on the employees, but their families are engaged too.
  21. Measure because than you know: HR measures every quarter of a year how employees are feeling and to learn what they can do better. The insights are shared with everybody by company email. And a follow up by HR on the actions is always done.
  22. Shadowing: if an employee is curious about another role in the company, they can shadow a colleague in that role for two days, to learn what the job is about. During my tour, a colleague of the Customer Service department shadowed Megan to learn about being a tour guide.
  23. Continuous focus on customer interaction: everyone at Zappos understands that every interaction counts. That means that the focus is almost mindfully at the customer in that moment. No average call handling times or other internal metrics that can harm the connection.
  24. Quality assurance: Zappos has a dedicated team that listens to live calls to learn and give advice and suggestions to agents. The focus is on learning, improving and customer happiness.
  25. Values and the floors: where they have ten floors and ten values. They dedicated one value to every floor. This is visible and just a touch of connection.
  26. Focus on making it effortless: the managers or leads are focused on making living the core values as effortless as possible. Employees should be able to deliver on these as easy as possible.
  27. Create photo opportunities on your premises: as we are in the Instagram Era and people love taking pictures. Help them and create beautiful spots for photos. I love this place at Zappos where they have painted unicorn wings.

This is my special gift, just for YOU! I decided to create an e-zine about the biggest learnings. Know that Zappos focuses on Employee Experience to grow Customer Experience. Interesting! Download this visually attractive e-zine and pick yourself: what learnings are most applicable for your organization? What resonates with you? I am very curious which lessons inspire you most. Please feel free to send me an email with your insights!

 

** Nienke Bloem is an expert in Customer Experience (CCXP), both as Keynote Speaker, teacher of the 2 day CX Masterclass to prepare you for the CCXP exam and she is co-founder of The Customer Experience Game and The Employee Experience Game.**

** Feel free to comment on this blog and share it in your community! **

Don’t want to miss any of my blogs? Then subscribe to my monthly CX Greetz!

Kijk eens goed om je heen. Wat zie jij als je op je werkplek zit? En als je daar nu niet zit, sluit dan je ogen en visualiseer je werkplek.

Wat zie je? Zie je wat ik de afgelopen jaren steeds meer zie? Inderdaad, die hele saaie kantoren en kantoortuinen. Misschien staat er ergens een verdwaalde pooltafel, of zijn er bureaus die je tot sta bureau kunt omtoveren. Staan er planten op jouw kantoor? In mijn optiek zijn dat toch essentiële elementen in een kantoortuin. Of was dat net even te duur qua onderhoud? Is het er gezellig, of toch steriel? Steriel zoals ik veel kantoren tegenwoordig zie: kantoorcrematoriumstijl.

Begin deze eeuw gingen vele organisaties over op het ‘Het Nieuwe Werken’. Doordat thuiswerken opkwam, waren bureaus op maandag, woensdag en vrijdag leeg. Dat betekende dat er met 0,7 persoonsbezetting per werkplek, een overcapaciteit aan bureaus was. Dus downsizen maar. Met floorplans, werkvlekken, overlegzones, en wat nog meer. Geen persoonlijke dingen meer op bureaus. Geen foto’s, awards, diploma’s, gekke bekers, magneten, slingers (brandgevaarlijk!) of andere kleurrijke memorabilia op of rondom je bureau. Nee, vanaf nu een kluisje waar je je werkspullen in kan doen. Zoek maar een plekje uit op de werkvloer. Iedere dag opnieuw.

Waar het in de praktijk op neerkomt is dat jij en ik gewoontedieren zijn. Dus zoeken we toch steeds weer hetzelfde bureau uit. Met heel veel gedoe tot gevolg. Wie heeft mijn bureaustoel? En wie heeft er aan mijn stoelinstellingen gezeten?

Bij Zappos gaat dit allemaal niet op. Bij mijn recente bezoek aan het hoofdkantoor in Las Vegas waande ik me in de Efteling. Echt volledig over de top en totaal on-Nederlands, maar wél vrolijk. Elke medewerker heeft een eigen bureau en mag dat naar eigen inzicht decoreren. Waar collega’s overigens graag een handje bij helpen. Ben je fan van Superman? Dan zie ik dat terug op of rondom jouw bureau, in de vorm van poppen, posters, buttons en misschien zelfs ballonnen.

Op de werkvloer van Zappos kwam ik ogen tekort. Ieder bureau had een naambord, of serie naamborden, in de vorm van een Amerikaans kentekenplaat. Bij elk jubileum – om de vijf jaar – krijgen werknemers een nieuwe kleur, dus het zijn echte statussymbolen. Al moet je ze soms wel zoeken tussen alle planten, slingers, ballonnen, apen (de knuffelvariant natuurlijk), complimenten, tweets en Instagramposts van klanten en de tig foto’s van teams die pret maken.

Zou dit in Nederland werken? Ik weet het niet. Maar vrolijk is het wel en dat zet mij aan het denken. Blije medewerkers presteren immers beter en zijn fijnere gesprekspartners voor hun klanten. Misschien vandaag toch maar een slingertje ophangen?

 

Dit blog werd geschreven voor CustomerFirst en gepubliceerd op 13 maart 2019

Geen blog meer missen? Schrijf je in voor mijn maandelijkse CX Greetz!

When it comes to organizational transformation, this is an important and often raised question. What are the leading principles coming out of your strategy in order to transform your business model? Frank van den Brink, Chief Employee Experience Officer of ABN AMRO bank and I share our insights and opinions. We try to get our heads around this important leading question.

The “Why” of CEX

Nienke: Customer Experience is hip and happening. Sometimes people ask me if it is more a trend than a profession, but I can assure you; it isn’t. Since prize is not the way to stand out in the market, organizations choose customer experience to be the strategic differentiator. With many more disruptors coming into the marketplace, having no legacy of systems and culture, they are leading the way in this battlefield. They have designed their customer journeys from the perspective of their ideal customers, they have really thought of the needs and wants. Take for example Bloomon. The way they offer their Flowers is so customer focused. They meet your needs (fresh and beautiful flowers), make it easy (deliver weeknights, send a text to refresh water) and make it enjoyable (always a surprise what the bouquet looks like, but always more than beautiful). To really stand out in customer experience, it is key to make strategic choices. Because from the strategic angle, elements can be translated into processes, propositions, products, services, customer journeys and then: all elements of the HR cycle. So yes, read this article to learn about CX and EX from the professional and practitioner angle!

Frank: To get Customer Experience right, organisations should also start beginning to think about their Employee Experience in a more strategic way. For me employee experience should be the cornerstone of your HR strategy and transformation. The overall purpose should be to design and engineer a high value, integrated and relevant experience for all your employees. I strongly believe that when we are able to increase the employee experience, we will create a more engaged and productive workforce that helps the business to achieve their client goals. In the end if you truly believe that happy people = happy customers and vice versa, you should act on this leading principle and HR could perfectly lead this journey together with CX.

Experience driven companies will outperform their budgets, will realize higher customer loyalty and show better bottom line results. So yes there is a business case for investing in EX and subsequently a significant financial advantage for your organisation. If you have the opportunity to transition from a more “de” humanised, policy and process oriented and driven HR approach, towards a more consumarized HR function focusing on social platforms, technology and physical work space. Why not start tomorrow and let’s make HR great again!

How to kick start your CX/EX Transformation?

Nienke: The transformation is having a much slower pace as I would have expected to. Some companies are really taking the leap forward, but when I look at the experience of customers on review sites, we have still a very long way to go. I often use the metaphors taking the Transformational route the Steve Jobs or the Richard Branson way. Organizations that change in a Steve Jobs way, are really getting inside the customers wants and needs, learning about their feedback, organizing a structured voice of the customer and taking serious action on that. As Richard Branson says “Not customers come first, our employees come first” you understand that these companies focus much more on the Employee Experience. They enable their employees to service their customers in the best way, really hire for attitude and aim for high employee engagement.

Customer Experience Management is still maturing as a profession and the good thing is now results are proven and companies that have invested and chosen cx as a strategy are seeing the results. For example KPN, where they started with an NPS of -14 in 2012 and leading the customer experience transformation resulting in an NPS of +13 in the consumer market in 2017. What is hopeful is that Marketing is looking more at Service as opportunity, I just heard a CMO at a conference stating “Service is the new Sales” The rise of Employee Experience instead of HR is also something that I find interesting and a big leap forward.

Frank: The traditional HR function can learn a lot from the Customer Experience Paradigm. Since the Customer Experience practices and professionals have had a head start of roughly a decade or so, I see huge learning potential for traditional HR departments to join forces, make internal handshakes, share CX capabilities and focus of combined digital platforms to optimize both the customer and the employee journey. If we start seeing and treating all our valued employees as consumers and clients, then we should change the rules of the game and give them a different experience working within our company. Furthermore, since traditional organizational boundaries are becoming more fluid, I foresee opportunities to expand the Employee Experience proposition to external stakeholders as well. I truly believe this is the new way forward for organizations to remain relevant and create hybrid opportunities between EX and CX for the benefit of both clients and employees and preferably both if you really believe in your own products and would like to create future brand ambassadors.

So now, where to start?

Insights and thoughts around 6 leading questions:

  1. Strategy: what kind of experience would you like to deliver?
  2. Understanding: How do you create a consistent way of understanding?
  3. Experience design: How to design and improve meaningful experiences?
  4. Measurement and metrics: How to measure and report on experience?
  5. Organizational adoption: How to develop cross company accountability?
  6. Culture: How to create a culture of employee ambassadors?

1. Strategy: What kind of Experience would you like to deliver? 

Nienke: This should the fundament of all Customer Experiences. What kind of experiences do you want your customers to have? Let me explain. Many companies do have mission and vision statements, but they often lack the customer perspective or lack a real distinction.

Questions you can ask yourself when it comes to strategy

  • How do we translate our mission/vision statement to an outside in perspective?
  • What is it that we as an organization, want to stand out in and why do customers have to buy our products and services ? 
  • What promises do we want to make to your customers? Think of brand promise or service promises?
  • How do these promises translate to brand values or even employee/leadership values?

Frank: If you would like to reinvent the employee journey from scratch start with zooming out to understand your full employee journey and apply reverse thinking to redefine your HR role in this journey by:

  • Deep employee research and employee needs (continuous listening) discovery through employee persona’s;
  • Taking into account the entire employee and organization ecosystem; 
  • Identify moments that matter through your full employee journey
  • Start investing in Organizational, Digital and Data capabilities in order to build, reinvent and execute employee journeys

From my experience, Employee journey design is only 20% of the work – Excellent EX delivery creates the real experience and should be on the HR agenda more often.

2. Understanding: How do you create a consistent way of understanding?

Nienke: To make it really broad, I want to think of understanding as creating an architecture of listening. To have a structured and shared understanding of customer needs and wants. Because too often organizations assume what customers want and how they perceive their interactions. This leads to interpretive design and often failing business decisions. So to overcome business blindness, a good customer understanding is necessary.

Questions to ask:

  • What are the needs and wants of our customers?
  • Who are our customers?
  • Where do they leave their feedback? Think big, both solicited by surveys, but also unsolicited like reviews. Also ask customers that didn’t have contact or maybe even left your company as a client.
  • How can we share these customer insights with our employees?

Frank: Start small and with practical used cases. Do not think too big from the start, make use of the wisdom of the crowd and include the employee perspective and input from day one. Strategy should lead to execution and execution could also go together with a new way of learning. Whether you apply agile, design thinking, lean start up methodologies is up to you, but a significant change investment in order to support the EX transformation is one of the key success factors.

3. Experience design: How to design and improve meaningful experiences? 

Frank: With an analytics team gathering and analyzing insights from all functions in the business, the EX team defined “moments that matter” in employee journeys, measuring areas of high and low impact on business performance and productivity. They used design thinking to observe and ideate opportunities to build a positive EX through various journeys, which were prototyped and tested in certain parts of the business that enabled quick feedback. We came up with the following journeys and translated those to a future EX Journey Canvas:

  • Best start – supporting candidate experience, recruiting, sourcing and onboarding
  • Let me help you – the way we are able to support and interact with our employees
  • Meaningful growth – how we enable employees to achieve a meaningful professional and personal growth through performance, learning, development
  • I owe you – the way we recognize talent and performance by also focusing on wellbeing, preparation for retirement, recognizing long time contributions, a so called total reward approach
  • Great ambassadors – building a strong alumni experience and long term oriented valuable networks

Nienke: The design is where actions really start. How to design your products and services from a customers perspective? There are many ways and journey mapping or service design are the most used at this moment. Both to design from scratch, but also to incrementally improve the sales or service journeys. Mapping the journey is the first step, but the next steps are about choosing where to improve and making the change happen. Benefit tracking, asking customers for feedback or using their insights in co-creating new moments of truth. It makes it easy to look at the phases of the customer journey from a meta perspective. Like the “I become a customer” and “I am a customer” perspective, or the acquisition and loyalty phase.

This is also the moment to act upon the customer insights you have gotten. So get back to customers who left their feedback on your surveys or react on reviews. Using these insights to make changes in your organization.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What methodology do we use to design from a customer’s perspective?
  • What phases of the customer journey do we have?
  • How to make change happen when we have mapped the journey?
  • What are the top 5 irritations of our customers and what are the top 5 compliments they give us in their feedback? And how to we continuously improve upon the feedback?\

4. Measurement and metrics: How to measure and report on experience?

Nienke: Measuring and using KPI’s gives you the right steering wheel when it comes to results and decisions. You need to know where to improve and invest when it comes to customer experience. You want to know how you are performing when it comes to your customers. So choose your KPI’s wisely. The most often used KPI’s are NPS (Net Promotor Score) and CSAT (Customer Satisfaction). There is much debate about which KPI to choose. For me I suggest that you pick one and stick to it. To build your dataset, learn on the insights behind the KPI, the drivers and make sure your numbers improve. This is also where Data plays the key role. Data driven decision making, translated in the right KPI’s.

Also take a look at your reporting on these metrics and how they change over time. Tell the story why it is important. Make sure all employees know how you perform not only on EBITDA, market share but also on CX. So find a distinctive way of reporting, stay disciplined in doing it clock speed (whether it is monthly, quarterly or yearly) and make sure it is visible and people feel the sense of urgency.

Questions to ask:

  • What metrics do we use when it comes to customer experience?
  • Do we understand the interdependencies and know what drives great customer experiences?
  • Where are these metrics discussed (steerco’s, board meetings etc) and how do we take action upon them?
  • Are our reports visually attractive and tell the right story people understand?

Frank: In order to understand the needs and ambitions of our employees we need to improve our ability and willingness to listen. In the previous years we mainly listened to our employees by the use of an annual engagement survey. Where many organizations already moved away from an annual performance management approach to a more continuous dialogue between manager and employee, most organizations are still using an annual engagement survey to listen to the feedback of the employee once a year. This is slowly changing, largely due to the increasing importance of employee experience.

Having a technical ability to listen better and more continuously to our employees is one thing, using it on a daily or weekly basis is another. Basically it is about understanding and threating your employees as you treat your customer. HR should position itself more as the employee marketer. We need to better understand the different groups of employees, their needs and the opportunities to increase their employee experience and their performance. This requires a different mindset. A mindset that is built on curiosity to understand our employee’s needs, the ability to identify and act on employee leads, the ability to work with tools and data and the ability to turn the employee feedback into usage. Basically a willingness to understand and learn.

At the moment we are in the middle of defining our Employee Experience Index / Employee Net Promotor Score (eNPS) supported by continuous listening tooling, with a clear focus on creating the right employee data, putting in place the right technical capabilities and data quality & governance. If you would like to know more about this topic, please read my article together with Patrick Coolen on “How HR is hitting the second wall”.

5. Organisational Adoption: How to develop cross company accountability?

Nienke: The question I often get is, how is customer experience organized? That is a fascinating question, because I see many different ways of how it is organized and placed. It could be as a staff team, one tier below the CEO. Or as a team in marketing, where the focus is often with a Sales lens. There is not one good or bad way of organizing, as long as the scope and budget are aligned. To have real impact, it is of importance, utmost importance, that it is in tier minus one or two and belief of the C-Suite. When looking at the impact of Customer Experience and the size of the teams, it is interesting to see the ways they find to influence. In agile organizations customer experience is often introduced in epics or story points. Also leading principles find their way into the CX domain. Interesting developments where methodologies align. We also see steering committees where the most important customer decisions are taken or veto rights for the VP customer experience, maybe a little old fashioned, but it works.

Questions to ask:

  • How to make sure customers and their needs/wants are embedded in our change process?
  • Who is responsible for the KPI’s we have defined for customer experience?
  • Where in our organization is Customer Experience organized?
  • Is the budget in fte and money, aligned with the scope of the CX team?

Frank: My biggest challenge of today is: How to offer our employees a great employee experience in a purpose-led and value-driven organization. In order use this as a leading principle and shape our future of work we need a definition of happiness…. whereas I pretty much fancy the definition on happiness = (equals) reality – expectations.

When an employee experiences a WOW, you are giving them a pleasant surprise. You are exceeding their expectations. You are addressing their needs thoughtfully and in unexpected ways. It is an expression of your authentic interest in the person who needs your services, not just in the transaction. It is about making enduring personal emotional connections with empathy, generosity, and gratitude. It is about awareness of common human concerns that make a difference to each customer. It is about truth, it is about meaning, it is about details that cannot only be measured by KPIs.

In today’s ultra-competitive markets, enduring businesses call for enduring employee relationships and relations. How can you deliver products and services with a WOW Employee Experience built into them? You must make the WOW Employee Experience part of the product/service design, and that requires a continuous culture and happiness decision-making context, not only once for purposes of definition, but as a foundation for day to day operations and mind set of HR colleagues.

I defined “wow” experiences as “unique, emotionally engaging interactions that go beyond expectations and are readily recounted.”

Key elements of What is WOW

  • A pleasant surprise, thoughtfully and in unexpected ways. 
  • Addressing their needs: basic product and service needs, transactional needs and emotional needs
  • Personal emotional connections awareness of common human concerns 
  • It is about truth and meaning
  • It is about details that cannot be measured by KPIs.

6. Culture: How to create a culture of employee ambassadors? 

Do all of the above and employees will value the employee journey and experiences more than ever!!!

Culture eats strategy for breakfast, as Peter Drucker said. This is the same with customer experience. The employees deliver the customer experiences in the offline world and they are the ones who design and execute all inside the company and in the digital environment. To impact, I suggest this is where Employee Experience (HR) and CX colleagues should team up. To hire the right employees, onboard them with real customer focus and make sure the customer is present in the training and development calendar.

Where to start when it comes to culture. Make sure you have your customer promises (compass, manifesto) and translate them to the values of your company. So everybody know what they have to live up to, what to and also what not to do. This is of course not only for employees, but even more evident for the leadership. Make sure they interact with customers and customer facing employees in a regular manner. Nienke: I just talked to a CFO of a B2B company and he admitted he had never spoken face to face with a customer in the 16 years he worked for the company.

Reward and celebrate target behaviour and make the customer visible in the business. Whether it is in the boardroom in reports or in the canteen where photo’s and quotes are place on the wall. This where it comes to finding creative ways that work. That make customer experience come to life and cultures grow into customer centric ones.

The experience paradigm: Our conclusion?!

In the end it is a mirror. Happy people equals Happy Customers and vice versa Happy Clients equals Happy Employees. Both start from the same strategic perspective, the same methodologies but with a different audience.

Yes CX is ahead. So EX professionals contact your CX colleagues in your organizations to learn the tools and tricks and join hands to get a serious position on the strategic agenda. For CX professionals join hands with your HR or EX professionals, because they can be the leverage to stand out when it comes to the employee side of the experience. This is where all human interactions take place. We are very interested in your thoughts and insights on this paradigm. We invite you to share these with us! Share your thoughts and stories on this paradigm with us.

About some valuable sources:

During the last year we are inspired by many highly appreciated thought leaders whom we spoke to, worked with or followed on social media and blogs on the topic of Customer Experience and Employee Experience. Again with the risk of leaving out relevant influencers, in which case we apologize, we like to mention the following people; Bruce Temkin CCXP , Jaap Wilms CCXPBlake MorganIan Golding CCXPJeanne Bliss CCXPKathy van der Laar CCXPBarbara van Duin CCXPEric Vercouteren (KPN), Jacob MorganMark LevyDavid GreenElliot Nelson (KennedyFitch), Sanne Welzen (Deloitte), Roy Klaassen (Kirkman Company).