Wednesday, January 16, 2019

So You Want to Be a CCXP...

Image courtesy of CXPA
Are you looking to earn your CCXP this year?

I get a lot of questions every week from customer experience professionals who are interested in taking the CCXP exam but aren't sure how to prepare for it. There's a website for the exam with a lot of details and resources; it now also includes a document that lists books, whitepapers, websites, etc. that you can read to help you prepare.

But there's no substitution for experience and having done the work.

As such, you need to make sure you're qualified to take the exam. You don't need to be a CXPA member to sit for the test, but you have to meet the following qualifications: you must have a bachelor’s degree and three years of full-time experience in a customer experience role or have five years of experience if you don't have a bachelor’s degree.

Once you've determined eligibility, you'll go through the application process and get approved to take the exam.

To study for the exam, check out the resources listed on the site, including training providers who offer courses that teach exam content. As I mentioned, the latest addition to the site is an Exam Resource Guide that provides just that. It includes many of the books that I typically recommend for exam prep:
  • Outside In by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine
  • Thee Ultimate Question by Fred Reichheld
  • The Ultimate Question 2.0 by Fred Reichheld
  • Answering the Ultimate Question by Dr. Laura Brooks
  • Chief Customer Officer by Jeanne Bliss
  • Chief Customer Officer 2.0 by Jeanne Bliss
  • Driven to Delight by Joseph Michelli
  • Everybody Matters by Bob Chapman
There are a lot of other great books to read, but you should have these in your library, for sure.

Also, check out Michael Bartlett's CCXP Exam Simulator and his CCXP Exam Preparation book. I've heard these are pretty good.

Hopefully this is helpful and points you in the right direction. Good luck with the exam!

Disclosure: I'm an active member of the CXPA. I am Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, a CX Expert, a CX Mentor, and involved in the CXPA SoCal Network. And, of  course, I'm a CCXP.

The way to a customer’s heart is much more than a loyalty program. Making customer evangelists is about creating experiences worth talking about. –Valeria Maltoni

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Resurrecting the Dead Horse Theory

Sleeping (not dead!) horse image courtesy of Pixabay
I challenge you think about things differently in 2019.

What got us here won't get us there, right?

I recently came across The Tribal Wisdom of the Dakota Indians, a 1999 article in the Guardian, that I felt needed to be resurrected. I had never seen this before.

You can read the article by clicking the link above, but here it is in its entirety. I guarantee that you'll nod your head and chuckle embarrassingly as you read it!

As a preface, if you're unfamiliar with the "beating a dead horse" idiom, it means that it's a waste of time to continue doing something where the outcome is already decided.

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from one generation to the next, says that when you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount

But in modern business, because heavy investment factors are taken into consideration, other strategies are often tried with dead horses, including the following:
  1. Buying a stronger whip.
  2. Changing riders.
  3. Threatening the horse with termination.
  4. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
  5. Arranging to visit other sites or countries to see how they ride dead horses.
  6. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
  7. Reclassifying the dead horse as "living-impaired."
  8. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
  9. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.
  10. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse's performance.
  11. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.
  12. Declaring that the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes more to the bottom line than some other horses.
  13. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.
  14. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.
Don't defend the dead horse (strategy, project, etc.). Don't keep doing things that aren't delivering results or making the desired impact. Don't go from one dead horse to another. Fix the things (people, processes, systems) that are broken. You know what they are. Stop talking about them. Make a decision and fix them. Make the change. Don't be afraid of change. Do the right thing.

Time to get a fresh horse.

Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go. – Herman Hesse


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

What #CX Professionals Wanted to Know in 2018

Image courtesy of Pixabay
What was on the minds of CX professionals in 2018?

And, most importantly, what does it mean for 2019?  That has yet to be determined, but "execution" and "results" are two words I'd like to see more of this year!

It's fun to see what was interesting for you - my audience - to read in 2018. I shared 58 blog posts (that includes a few posts from guest authors) in 2018; here are the top eight (because 18 would be way too many!) posts, the most-read CX Journey™ posts, that I wrote last year.

How Do We Ensure Employees are Happy and Engaged?
I'm excited that this post made the most-read list for 2018. It's about time that companies start focusing on the employees. As I always say, "Quite simply, without employees, you have no customer experience." And if your employees aren't having a great experience, neither will your customers. In this post, I not only defined employee engagement for the reader but also underscored that employee engagement is about some confluence of emotions and commitment between employer and employee, meaning: each is party to employee engagement. I outlined how each contributes.

How Do You Measure #CX Success?
This is an ongoing conversation: What does customer experience transformation success look like? How do we measure it? How do we show ROI? First, it's important to recognize that there are three different audiences of this transformation: employees, customers, and the business. In this post, I outlined potential success metrics to get your wheels turning. I'm sure you can think of others. Keep in mind, though, that you don't need a ton of metrics; decide on a one or a few, and stick with them.

What's in Your #CX Budget?
I think this is an important thing to consider - your CX budget. Traditionally, customer experience professionals are thought to have no budget. This is true. Kinda. They have no budget for making the fixes and improvements that they uncover in the course of their work. But, they do need funds to complete that work. In this post, I offer up seven categories that must be covered in the CX professional's budget. Please add to the comments if you can think of others.

Customer Experience and the Bottom Line
Similar to measuring CX success, this post/topic is an ongoing conversation: How does customer experience impact the bottom line? How do we show ROI? This is a 2016 post, but it's still getting quite a bit of mileage. I summarize some of the findings of a Sitecore/Avanade report that outlines the clear benefits of focusing on the customer and on improving the customer experience. The returns in their research are incredible.

The #CX Perception Gap
There’s this thing called the customer experience perception gap; it was uncovered by Bain back in 2005, and they referred to it as a "delivery gap." It states that 80% of executives believe that they are delivering a superior customer experience, while only 8% of customer agree. And, clearly, this gap is on CX professionals' minds. The reasons that Bain cites for it are real, yet trivial and overcome-able in the scheme of things. Let's fix these in 2019!

Customer Experience and Customer Service: What's the Difference?
I cannot write about this topic enough. Customer experience and customer service are not the same thing. They are very different. After having written about this three times prior, I'm glad to see this one hit home and got people reading and taking notice. One more time: Customer experience is the sum of all the interactions that a customer has with an organization over the life of the “relationship” with that company… and, especially, the feelings, emotions, and perceptions the customer has about those interactions. Customer service is one of those interactions.

Do Leaders Really Care About Their Employees?
I am beyond thrilled that this one made the top eight reads of the year. We have a crisis in leadership. The problem: leaders don't care about their employees; instead, employees are viewed as a cog in the wheel to leaders' and to the company's success. Leaders drive to growth, to the numbers, and forget about the needs and the lives of the employees who help them get there. In this post, not only do I define the problem, but I also propose a few solutions. Be sure to read this, if you haven't yet.

What Does the Future of #CX Look Like?
I'm often asked about the future of customer experience. And while I'd like to report that it's all about  omnichannel, digital, personalization, AI, AR, and VR, it's tough to talk about that when most companies can't even get their executives to commit to putting customers at the top of the priority list (right after employees, of course). What does this year look like? What should companies be focusing on? The same things I've been telling them to focus on for years. Only this year, they must execute!

The first step in exceeding your customer's expectations is to know those expectations. -Roy H. Williams