Podcast: Purposeful Leadership With Tom Feeney, Safelite CEO

As part of Temkin Group’s celebration of 2017 as The Year of Purpose, I interviewed Tom Feeney, President & CEO of Safelite Group.

Temkin Group defines purposeful leadership as operating consistently with a clear, well-articulated set of values. That also describes Tom. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Tom for many years, and believe that he is a great example of a purposeful leader.

While Safelite is by far the largest auto glass repair and replacement company in the U.S., the podcast does not focus on the company’s strong financial growth. Instead, Tom and I discuss Safelite’s purpose statement: Making a difference by bringing unexpected happiness to people’s everyday lives. Enjoy the podcast!

You can also download the podcast

Tom Feeney’s Bio:
Since joining Safelite Group in 1988, Tom Feeney has held several positions within the organization including senior vice president retail operations. In October 1991, Feeney was promoted to senior vice president, client sales and support and again in 2003 as executive vice president and chief client officer with responsibility for Safelite Solutions. Feeney became president and CEO of Safelite Group in 2008 and introduced a new vision for Safelite supported by two core principles: “People Powered, Customer Driven.”

Modernize Leadership: Observe and Improve

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In a previous post, I described how today’s management techniques reflect outdated assumptions of technology-enabled practices, human behavior, and the meaning of success. That’s why organizations must shift to what I’m calling Modernize Leadership.

I’m writing individual posts for each of the eight key changes required to modernize leadership. In this post, I’m examining the shift from:

Measure and Track to Observe and Improve

Here’s some more information to better understand this shift:

Outdated Thinking
Here are some ways in which leaders must change how they view the world:

  • You can’t manage what you can’t measure. That’s a refrain that I often hear, and it pushes people in the totally wrong direction. The reality is that most things in life are managed without explicit measurements. Think about a typical day. You get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and commute to work without referring to a dashboard of metrics. That does not mean that measurements can’t help, but they hardly ever tell the entire story.
  • Managers often look for metrics they can to use to hold people and organizations accountable. Setting measurable goals is not a bad thing, but it can cause bad behaviors. Managers will sometimes overly focus on the metrics and ignore nuances such as actual behaviors of the team and shifts in the situation. They act as  if it’s possible to manage something you don’t truly understand. That all falls apart when the an organization needs to deviate from a “straight ahead” orientation.
  • When employees believe that a metric is very important, they are explicitly and implicitly encouraged to do whatever it takes to achieve the goal. This can lead to inappropriate behaviors such as a car salesperson insisting that you give him a “10” on a survey. At Staples, a metric of $200 of add-ons for each computer pushed employees to refuse selling computers to customers who weren’t going to purchase add-ons.

Heres a quote that is often attributed to Albert Einstein:

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

Modernized Leadership Actions
Here are some ways in which leaders should act based on a modernized perspective:

  • Look positively forward. Metrics often show how an organization has performed during some previous timeframe, but what you really care about is how it will get better in the future. Make sure that your discussions with people are focused on what the organization can learn in order to  improve, not on blaming people for the problems that caused a poor score.
  • Encourage the right behaviors. If you want your organization to make improvements, then nurture the employee behaviors that will deliver better results. So celebrate employees who are doing the right things, even when the metrics aren’t great.
  • Build operational empathy. If you want your employees to do the right things, then they should feel as if you know their environment. Rather than having employees just see you commenting on metrics from afar, set aside time to regularly get immersed in different parts of the organization. Ask employees how they think the company can improve. This will help you understand when to “back off” reacting too strongly to the metrics and let employees know that numbers aren’t everything.
  • Enable continuous improvement. Instead of using measurements as a pure grading system, use them to identify places for improvement, and always ask: what have we learned and how can we get better? Your organization needs to have an ongoing improvement cycle that is at least at the same pace as your measurement system, otherwise metrics will only lead to frustration.

The bottom line: Observe your organization and focus on improvements.

My 5 Super Bowl Observations (Good For CX and Leadership)

1702_brucesuperbowlgear2I was very fortunate (as a die-hard Patriots fan) to have attended Super Bowl LI in Houston. It was the most amazing game that I’ve ever seen.

I’m still a bit numb.

After spending most of the game feeling very melancholy and wondering why I had bothered to make the trip to Houston, the Patriots did the near-impossible. They came back to win after being behind by 25 points. At one point in the game, the Falcons had a 99.6% chance of winning!

Here’s my video from right after we won…

Now that it’s been a few days, I can reflect back on the Patriots victory. Here are some of my thoughts that I also think apply to customer experience and leadership:

  1. Every player counts. Throughout the Super Bowl, playoffs, and the regular season, different Patriots players made key plays. There are 53 people on an NFL roster and more than 60 people play for the team during a year (with injuries and roster shifts). While many people focus on Tom Brady, the Patriots won because of the performance of all 60+ players. This insight drives how the Patriot’s allot their cap-limited player salaries.
  2. Do your job. Throughout the season, the Patriots repeated a mantra: Do Your Job! While it’s always easy to focus on what other people might be doing, or the hype around big games, each player will best influence the outcome if they are physically and mentally prepared. In this environment, players are motivated to prepare and they have trust in their teammates.
  3. Focus on the next play. When the Patriots were down 28 to 3, it looked bleak. The players could have put their heads down and pouted about the previous plays, but they didn’t. They went back on the field and did their best on the next play. And then the next play, and the next, and the next. The team’s success was not based on a single play (although Edelman’s catch was amazing). Instead, it came from a large number of next plays.
  4. Leadership drives culture. Getting 60+ well-paid athletes to share a common vision, and operate in a consistent manner does not happen by accident. And it’s not practical to micro manage every player’s minute-by-minute activities. This type of alignment only comes from a strong culture, which has been modeled and nurtured by Bill Belichick and the rest of the coaching staff.
  5. Live events are special. I’m sure that every Patriots fan watching or listening to the Super Bowl went crazy when we won the game, but there’s something magical about being there in person. The energy that’s created during a live event cant be replicated on TV or radio. It was a truly emotional experience that I shared with 10’s of 1,000’s of my closest Patriots friends. I was also at Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix, and felt the same massive energy when we beat the Seahawks.

The bottom line: All I can say is… Go Pats!

Report: Engaging A Tethered Workforce

1701_engagingatetheredworkforce_coverWe just published a Temkin Group report, Engaging A Tethered Workforce.  Here’s the executive summary:

Companies across a number of industries create and deliver customer experiences (CX) through a combination of traditional employees and other workers who they do not directly control – such as contractors or employees of channel partners or outsourcing partners. Despite not being directly employed by the company, these other workers – who make up what Temkin Group calls a “tethered workforce” – still play a critical role in delivering experiences that represent the company’s brand. However, tethered workers differ from typical full-time, corporate employees in ways that pose challenges to brands’ efforts to align these workers with their customer experience goals and objectives. In this report, we examine how brands are tapping into these tethered employees. Here are some highlights:

  • Companies must manage three connections: 1) Between themselves and their partners that employ the tethered workers, 2) Between their partners and the tethered employees, and 3) Between themselves and the tethered workers.
  • We share over 30 examples of best practices from across Temkin Group’s Five I’s of Employee Engagement: Inform, Inspire, Instruct, Involve, and Incent.
  • We offer brands a blueprint for engaging tethered workers with key things to think about across the three connections of tethered workforces.

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Here are the 17 best practices described in the report:

1701_bestpracticesforengagingtetheredworkers

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Report: Tech Vendors: Product and Relationship Satisfaction, 2017

1701_ds_techproductsandrelationships_coverWe just published a Temkin Group data snapshot, Tech Vendors: Product and Relationship Satisfaction of IT Clients, 2017.

During Q3 of 2016, we surveyed 800 IT decision-makers from companies with at least $250 million in annual revenues, asking them to rate both the products of and their relationships with 62 different tech vendors. HPE outsourcing, Google, and IBM SPSS earned the top overall scores, while Trend Micro, Infosys, and SunGard received the lowest overall scores. To determine their product rating, we evaluated tech vendors across four product/service criteria: features, quality, flexibility, and ease of use. And we calculated their relationship rating using four different criteria: technical support, support of the account team, cost of ownership, and innovation of company. We also looked at how the average product and relationship scores of tech vendors have changed over the previous three years.

This research has a report (.pdf) and a dataset (excel). The dataset has the details of Product/Service and Relationship satisfaction for the 62 tech vendors as well as for several tech vendors with sample sizes too small to be included in the published report.

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Here’s a link to last year’s study.

The research examines eight areas of satisfaction; four that deal with products & services and four that examine relationships. Tech vendors earned the highest average satisfaction level for product features (64%) and the lowest for total cost of ownership (57%).

As you can see in the chart below, the overall product/service & relationship satisfaction ranges from a high of 76% for HPE outsourcing down to a low of 42% for Trend Micro.

1701_techproductrelationshipoverallresults

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Celebrating MLK Day in the Year of Purpose

1701_mlkpurposeHappy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

In this Year of Purpose, it seems more appropriate than ever to celebrate MLK Day. When Temkin Group evaluates purposeful leaders, we look for someone who operates consistently with a clear, well-articulated set of values. MLK was one of the most purposeful leaders in the history of the U.S.

On this MLK day, I hope that you elevate purpose in your life. If you want to see what purpose looks like, here’s an excerpt from MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech:

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, that one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exhalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

The bottom line: Follow MLK’s lead and elevate purpose in 2017.

 

Report: Lessons in CX Excellence, 2017

1701_lessonsincxexcellence_coverWe just published a Temkin Group report, Lessons in CX Excellence, 2017. The report provides insights from eight finalists in the Temkin Group’s 2016 CX Excellence Awards. The report, which has 62 pages of content, includes an appendix with the finalists’ nomination forms. This report has rich insights about both B2B and B2C customer experience.

Here’s the executive summary:

This year, we named five organizations the winners of Temkin Group’s 2016 Customer Experience Excellence Award – Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Century Support Services, Crowe Horwath, Oxford Properties, and VCA. This report highlights specific examples of how these companies’ customer experience (CX) efforts have created value for both their customers and for their businesses, describes winners’ best practices across the four customer experience competencies: purposeful leadership, compelling brand values, employee engagement, and customer connectedness. it includes all of the winners’ detailed nomination forms to help you collect examples and ideas to apply to your own CX efforts.

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Here are some highlights from the winners: Read more of this post

State of Voice of the Customer (Infographic)

Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs are a central part of most customer experience efforts. Here’s some interesting data snippets from the recent report, State of VoC Programs, 2016.

For additional info, check out our VoC resource page.

voc-infographic-01

You can download (and print) this infographic in different forms:

Put Culture Change On Your 2017 CX Agenda. Here’s How.

If you’re thinking about improving your organization’s customer experience next year (and why wouldn’t you be?!?), then I hope you are also thinking about some changes in your organization’s culture. As I’ve said many, many times, your customer experience is a reflection of your culture and operating processes. It’s your culture that will sustain any improvements that you make in customer experience.

As I’m sure you know, culture change isn’t easy. People are naturally averse to change. As John Kenneth Galbraith so aptly stated, “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”

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Any chance of a successful, purposeful change in your culture needs to focus on the thoughts, beliefs, and actions of individual employees. That’s the foundation of a concept that Temkin Group introduced called Employee-Engaging Transformation (EET). EET is based on five practices: Vision Translation, Persistent Leadership, Middle Management Activation, Grassroots Mobilization, and Captivating Communications.
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EET is different than typical top-down, autocratic attempts at culture change. Those efforts either just don’t work, or they create unintended negative elements in the culture.

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Here’s an assessment that you can use to gauge your effectiveness at applying EET.

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For more information, check out all of our rich content on culture change, starting with these two reports:

The bottom line: Culture change is a necessary ingredient of CX transformation.

Report: The State of CX Metrics, 2016

1612_stateofcxmetrics2016_coverWe published a Temkin Group report, The State of CX Metrics, 2016. This is the sixth year of this study that examines the CX metrics efforts within large companies. Here’s the executive summary:

Temkin Group surveyed 183 companies to learn about how they use customer experience (CX) metrics and then compared their answers with similar studies we’ve conducted every year since 2011. We found that the most commonly used metrics continue to be likelihood-to-recommend and satisfaction, while the most successful metric is transactional interaction satisfaction. Only 10% of companies regularly consider the effect of CX metrics when they make day-to-day decisions. The top two problems companies face are limited visibility of CX metrics and the lack of taking action on metrics. Companies are best at measuring customer service and phone-based experiences and are worst at measuring the experiences of prospects and customers who defect. We also had companies complete Temkin Group’s CX Metrics Program Assessment, which examines four characteristics of a metrics program: consistent (does the company use common CX metrics across the organization?), impactful (do the CX metrics inform important decisions?), integrated (are trade-offs made between CX and financial metrics?), and continuous (do leaders regularly examine the CX metrics?). Only 11% of respondents received at least a “good” overall rating in this assessment, and companies earned the lowest average rating in integrated. Companies with stronger CX metrics programs deliver better customer experience and use more effort and likelihood-to-repurchase metrics.

See the State of CX Metrics studies from 2011, 201220132014, and 2015.

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Here are the results form our CX Metrics Competency & Maturity Assessment (one of 22 graphics in the report):

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Want Loyal Customers? Start Talking About Their Emotions!

Did you know that customers who feel adoring after an experience are more than 11 times as likely to buy more from a company than customers who feel angry? And customers who feel appreciative are more than 5 times as likely to trust a company than those who feel agitated?

That’s because how customers feel about an interaction has a significant impact on their loyalty to a company. So let’s talk about emotions.

Despite the importance of customer emotions, they are all too often neglected (or outright ignored) inside of companies. As a result of this negligence, consumers give their providers very low emotion scores in our Temkin Experience Ratings.

It’s time to start talking about emotions. To help spur this dialogue, we introduced a new vocabulary that we call the Five A’s of an Emotional Response.

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Every time a customer interacts with you, they feel one of these A’s:

  • Angry: Customers feel wronged by the interaction and will look for opportunities to tell other people (a.k.a. vent) about the situation. They will try to stay away from the organization.
  • Agitated: Customers didn’t enjoy the interaction and will think twice about doing business with the organization in the future.
  • Ambivalent: Customers had no significant emotional response and will remain as loyal as they were before the interaction.
  • Appreciative: Customers feel that the organization outperformed their expectations and are more inclined to do business with the organization in the future.
  • Adoring: Customers feel like company fully met their needs and will look for opportunities to tell other people about the situation. They will try to interact more with the organization in the future.

If you’re still wondering why you might want to talk about the Five A’s, here’s some data that will hopefully entice you to increase your emotion vocabulary. We analyzed the loyalty of 10,000 U.S. consumers based on the Five A’s of their emotional response to interactions across 20 industries – more than 100,000 overall interactions in total.

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As you can see above, the Five A’s aren’t just a set of words, they’re a strong indication of the loyalty of your customers. Compared with those who feel “angry,” customers who feel “adoring” are more than 11 times as likely to buy more, 17 times as likely to recommend the company, 9 times as likely to try new offerings, 6 times as likely to forgive the company if it makes a mistake, and 10 times as likely to trust the company.

If you are not talking about emotion, then you’re not being purposeful about customer loyalty. Here are some ways that you can start using the Five A’s:

  • Training. If you teach all employees this scale, then your organization will have a common vocabulary for discussing customer reactions. This framework will help trainees gauge how customers would likely respond to situations and discuss what they could do to improve the customer’s ultimate emotional response.
  • Coaching. Supervisors can ask their employees a very simple question after an interaction: “How do you think the customer felt about the call?” This can work for any employee that interacts with customers: phone reps, retail salespeople, cashiers, insurance agents, bank tellers, etc.
  • Designing. When you are creating a new experience (product, process, interaction, etc.), get feedback from customers about how they feel. Internally, you can have discussions like… “Most of the customers were ambivalent, but if we make this change then I think we can make most of them appreciative and even a few of them will be adoring.
  • Tracking customer emotions. Every time employees interact with a customer or make a decision, they can give themselves a score based on what they believe is (or will be) the customers’ most likely emotional response to their action:
    • Angry (-3)
    • Agitated (-1)
    • Ambivalent (0)
    • Appreciative (+1)
    • Adoring (+3)

The total across these interactions and decisions represents a customer delight score. Employees can calculate this score on a regular basis (daily, weekly) and track how well they are doing over time.

Having an emotion vocabulary will hopefully get you to focus more about this critical topic. And if you just start talking about emotion, you will help stimulate employees’ natural empathy. So… start talking about emotion!

The bottom line: Talk about making customers adoring, not angry.

Report: Capturing Insights from Online Customer Communities

1612_communityinsights_coverWe published a Temkin Group report, Capturing Insights from Online Customer Communities. Here’s the executive summary:

Companies across a range of industries use online customer communities to augment their customer support, marketing, and product innovation efforts. However, when used thoughtfully, these online communities can provide value far beyond their original purpose. Because these communities signify an ongoing relationship between the company and participating customers, customer insights teams will find that these forums contain a treasure trove of insights. As a result of these deeper relationships, online communities offer unique advantages to voice of the customer (VoC) programs, including Always-on Feedback, Broad and Diverse Insights, Continuous Dialogue, Peer-to-Peer Dynamics, and Employee-to-Community Interactivity. These unique advantages can help companies adapt to the five Customer Insight Trends that are changing the face of VoC programs: 1) Deep empathy, not stacks of metrics, 2) Continuous insights, not periodic studies, 3) Customer journeys, not isolated interactions, 4) Useful prescriptions, not past descriptions, and 5) Enterprise intelligence, not customer feedback. To help organizations get the most value from their communities, Temkin Group has highlighted best practices for capturing and using insights from customer communities across these five trends. Companies also must plan for the entire community lifecycle to be successful; this includes Determine Strategy, Structure Community, Recruit Members, Grow and Maintain, and Close Down.

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Online customer communities have some unique attributes that make them a valuable component to voice of the customer programs (one of the 12 figures in the report):

1612_attributesofonlinecommmunities

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Only 26% of U.S. Employees are Highly Engaged. How Engaged are Your Employees?

In our latest Employee Engagement Benchmark, we found that only 26% of U.S. employees are highly engaged.

1609ee_fewemployeesarehighlyengagedHow do we measure employee engagement?

Several years ago, we examined the attitudes that drive engagement levels of employees. Our goal was to identify a small group of key drivers and create a simple measurement for employee engagement. That led to the creation of the Temkin Employee Engagement Index (TEEI).

1609ee_teeiThe TEEI is based on the degree to which employees agree with these three statements:

  1. I understand the overall mission of my company
  2. My company asks for my feedback and acts upon my input
  3. My company provides me with the training and the tools that I need to be successful

Our research shows that engaged employees are an enormous asset. Compared with disengaged employees, highly engaged employees are more than four times as likely to recommend the company’s products and services and do something good for the company that is not expected of them, 2.5 times as likely to stay at work late if something needs to be done after the normal workday ends, and seven times as likely to recommend that a friend or relative apply for a job at their company.

If you’re looking for a simple, actionable metric around employee engagement, feel free to use the TEEI. We also have other great content on our Employee Engagement Resources Page.

The bottom line: Are you focusing enough on employee engagement?

Amazon Makes Smart Move to Positive Employee Feedback

Last year the New York Times published an article describing Amazon as having a “bruising workplace,” a performance-based environment that often brings employees to tears. It seems that Amazon is changing its ways a bit. It recently announced that it was adjusting the way it evaluates employees. A spokesperson for Amazon described the change as follows:

We’re launching a new annual review process next year that is radically simplified and focuses on our employees’ strengths, not the absence of weaknesses. We will continue to iterate and build on the program based on what we learn from our employees.

My take: Great move. There’s a growing body of research showing that people perform better when they receive positive feedback. 1611_positivitymattersIn my post Positive Psychology Meets Customer Experience, I mention an approach called “appreciative inquiry,” which is a technique for motivating employees that focuses on their strengths.

To highlight the impact of this phenomena, I analyzed our data on more than 5,000 U.S. employees. As you can see below, when bosses give more positive feedback, employees are more likely to recommend the company’s products and services, to do something good for the company that is unexpected, and make improvement recommendations.

1611_employeerespondtopositivefeedback

The bottom line: Positivity is a strong human motivator.

Business-to-Business-to-Customer (B2B2C) CX Best Practices

We often get asked by companies that don’t directly serve consumers if they can learn from customer experience content that seems to be more focused on business-to-consumer (B2C) models. The answer: Absolutely yes!

Our research does include some items that are B2C-oriented, but most of our core ideas apply quite well in other models, including business-to-business (B2B), government and non-profits.  We’ve had no problem using our insights to help a wide range of organizations.

In our report The Secret to B2B2C Customer Experience Success, we discuss a more complex B2B model, business-to-business-to-customer (B2B2C). The goal of CX in B2B2C is to:

Enhance end customer experience in a way that satisfies the needs of channel partners

B2B2C CX is all about four relationships:

  1. Company to Channel Partners. To deliver great CX to customers, a company also needs to nurture its relationships with its channel partners to help them be successful.
  2. Channel Partners to End Customer. In this relationship, a company can only influence how channel partners think about and deliver CX in the partner’s interactions with the end customer.
  3. Company to End Customer. These interactions provide the company with the best CX opportunities to deliver great CX to the end customer because such interactions are wholly under a company’s control.
  4. Company and Channel Partner to End Customer. These are times when a company and a channel partner engage the end customer as one unit. In these instances, both partners need to share a common vision of how the CX should be delivered.

1611_b2b2cfundamentalsIn the chart below, you can see how to infuse these four CX core competencies across the relationships:

  1. Purposeful Leadership: Operate consistently with a clear set of values.
  2. Employee Engagement: Align employees with the goals of the organization.
  3. Compelling Brand Values: Deliver on your brand promises to customers.
  4. Customer Connectedness: Infuse customer insight across the organization.

1611_b2b2c4cxcompetencies

The bottom line: Good CX practices transcend business models.

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