The Customer Confidential Podcast
Building a customer-centric culture requires everyone in an organization to prioritize the customer journey across all aspects of the business. According to Stacy Sherman, founder of Doing CX Right and former customer experience (CX) leader for an elevator service company, this process begins from within. Stacy suggests that by walking functional leaders and staff through customer journeys in the way customers really experience them, employees can feel more connected to the customer and the company.
With a customer-centric culture, an employee from finance, for example, may have once believed their role had little impact on customer experience. But bring the finance team through the customer journey in the right way, and they can develop a visceral feel for how their decisions and actions impact customer experience and loyalty.
Of course, it’s not just about journey-mapping exercises alone. Mapping out all the different customer journeys, putting them on big posters, and sharing them around the organization is just not enough.
Journey mapping is just one of a full set of tools that serve to foster an outside-in, rather than inside-out, culture. People who have worked in an organization for a long time often struggle to see the company, its processes, and its relationships with customers from the outside in. Thus, leaders need all the tools they can get to infuse the organization with empathy, not just for customers but also for each other.
“Everyone in the organization typically has good intentions to service the customer. What happens is there are boundaries and people are so busy, so they get tunnel vision,” Stacy says. “That’s a huge problem. And journey mapping helps ensure that communication flows to all departments.”
In addition to journey mapping, ride alongs, for example, can provide a great way to develop empathy and understanding for customers and employees. Not only that but these ways of engaging with customers and employees can build credibility.
“Union mechanics, salespeople, we're all human. When you have those relationships, and people understand the ‘why,’ you'd be surprised how much they're willing to shift the mindset,” Stacy says. “My team and I, every week, are out with the mechanics and the local branches, spending time with them.”
These techniques for building empathy also serve other important roles. They can reveal pain points and breakdowns in the customer experience that result from poor handoffs between functional groups or departments. They can help product managers and designers understand what it feels like to use their products. And they can offer a chance to give kudos and share customer success stories for improvements or elements of the experience that make customers’ lives materially better.
Creating empathetic employees, even among those for whom empathy doesn’t seem to fit into the job description, can change a culture. When you find and seize opportunities to fuel empathy among employees, the effects ripple through an organization to foster customer relationships that endure and employees who feel seen, heard, and supported.
In this episode, Stacy and I discuss why tackling the typical inside-out corporate bias is good for business. We talk about the real-world tactics that Stacy used to change a culture—and that you can use, too.
In the following excerpt, we start to discuss how journey mapping can help change a culture.
Rob: The words "journey mapping" have come to mean a little bit of everything and a little bit of nothing. What conditions make journey mapping a great tool? When is it the right thing to get involved with?
Stacy: I believe any business has the opportunity to do journey mapping, even if it's really small scale on the back of a napkin.
Because you can’t expect to deliver an experience that meets customer needs without intentional design. And the design—those interactions—are based on critical roles in the organization.
So how a customer is going to learn and become aware. You need the people that own those micro-moments. And so you bring all those people—even if it's a small entrepreneurial division—and you have to design it.
And when you do it methodically, people get it. They feel empowered, they take ownership more, and it breaks silos.