I have to admit that even after this interview I still can’t say “Touchpoint Dashboard” three times fast I want to thank Annette Franz (Gleneicki) for taking the time to discuss the importance of customer experience mapping and how a business can gain deeper insight into buyer behavior.
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): Hey, how are you?
Andrew Mounier: Hi Annette, how are you doing?
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): I’m good, I’m good.
Andrew Mounier: Excellent, well I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me today.
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): Absolutely, absolutely, I’ve tried to hide some of my office loveliness back here. I have my kid’s drawings and stuff on the wall.
Andrew Mounier: Oh no problem at all, that’s great that’s great. Well, so today what we are going to do is really to focus on customer experience.
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): Ok.
Andrew Mounier: And you as the thought leader in customer experience, you know, I think you’ll be a great person to talk to and enlighten our viewership at CMO Brain.
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): Oh, I love it, I love it, Ok. (Both laughed)
Andrew Mounier: So I’m going to give a little brief introduction so that people, you know, are familiar with who you are and kind of what you’ve done and then we’ll kind of go through a few questions, it’s just an open conversation, ok?
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): Ok, alright that sounds good.
Andrew Mounier: So, Annette Franz who is sitting here with me and talking is a customer experience thought leader who is passionate about helping to build people focused organizations, and she has built and led global teams of consulting services professionals and guided them to sell, design, implement and operationalize enterprise wide customer experience solutions. She is a certified customer experience professional, has worked with JD Power and Associates, Mitel, Bizrate (just to name a few). She is now the Vice President of customer experience at Touch Point Dashboard, and on top of all of this she’s also been featured as one of the hundred most influential tech-women on Twitter by Business Insider and, according to the Huffington post, the number seventeen of the top one hundred most social customer services pro’s on Twitter. So did I forget anything?
Annette laughs and said: My head is swelling I think. (She continues laughing) that’s awesome thank you.
Andrew laughs and said: No problem, well again I appreciate you talking with me today. Could you kind of tell me a little bit about, you know, what led you into customer experience optimization?
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): Well, you know it probably happened a lot of the same way that it happened to other people, I just fell into it you know, and you mentioned that I worked for JD Power Associates, that was twenty plus years ago and when I took that position, or took several positions within JD Power within the course of the five years when I was there, I really got a passion for listening to the voice of the customer and really, you know, improving the customer experience as a result of that feedback. You know, we didn’t call it (and I don’t think we even called it) customer experience back then, right? I mean we referred it to customer satisfaction and customer loyalty and that was it. The customer experience terminology has really come about in the last, I don’t know, ten years or so, where people are really using that phrase, well in sometimes, to its detriment too. But you know that was sort of the start of it, like you said from there I went to Mitel and then I worked for a couple of other research firms and joined Bizrate, and I think that might be where we started to talk a little bit more about experience at that point, that was really the start of my foray into the technology side of things, all the tools that facilitate creating that great customer experience. So from there, you know, I’ve been at several BOC and EFM vendors in various leadership and consulting roles. So yes you know I just kind of started from there and snowballed and now I’m at Touch Point Dashboard at a whole different level and I’m really enjoying it, it’s really where I am now and I’m going to talk about this in a bit for where I am now, it’s really where people need to start when they are trying to transform into customer experience.
Andrew Mounier: Perfect, perfect. And since, you know, that the name of customer experience has changed and adapted so much especially recently, could you kind of talk to me about what customer experience is? You know, for those who have no idea.
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): Sure. The way that I define it, and I think a lot of the folks define it this way as well, is that it’s really the sum of all of the interactions that the customer has with an organization and that’s throughout the life-cycle of their relationship with that, it starts even before they are customers, right? It starts when they have a need for some product and they are really thinking about where do I go to get this product or where do I go to get this service, and then it goes all the way through to when they leave because even when they leave and when they are no longer customers, we hope at some point that they’ll come back and be customers again. And think it isn’t just interactions, it also includes things like product and price and everything that has to do with, you know, all the different ways that the customer touches in an organization and the ways that an organization touches the customer.
Andrew Mounier: Definitely, definitely. And now that, you know, each organization is trying to get into the customer experience and trying to take the organization to the next level, to engage and communicate and really build that following, what are some of the first things that an organization can do to really start mapping their customer journey?
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): So shifting over to the journey map and where they need to start. One of the first things they need to do is to have executive buy in for all of the things that they are trying to do. Because if we start to have all of these little skunk works projects and all these little projects that we are trying to do here and there in different departments and everybody is doing it because they have right, you know, they really want to do the right thing and they want to improve the customer service. But if we don’t have that executive commitment to do all the things that we wanted to do, you know, we are not going to get the resources whether it is human or capital or whatever resources that we need and the entire organization involved in improving it because you know it really perpetuates that style of thinking and the styles that some of the organizations have today, so if you don’t start with that executive buy-in then we can’t do anything.
But going back to your question, actually journey mapping is a great way to get that executive buy-in as well because what it does is it can really bring the customer story to life and bring the customer experience to life, and it’s an “ah-ha” moment for executives when they see, these were the thirty thousands steps we have the customers going through when we’re trying to have them call up customer support. You know, stuff like that so it really is a great tool to get buy-in. Other than that, where to begin is really in understanding your customers, who are you mapping for and who are you trying to figure out, what experience is it that you are trying to figure out and what is going on. I tell people that they need to start with a persona, and what that persona and that group of customers was trying to do, and then map the experience from there and so.
Andrew Mounier: Definitely, definitely. And persona is a whole huge undertaking and it takes quite a while, I guess just, without going into that topic in too much depth, you know understanding your customers what are some tools that people can use to understand their customer better? Like do you guys use, you know, surveys? Do you do customer focus groups? What really are the strategies that you would recommend individuals to take in this first step?
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): Yes, you know it can be both qualitative and quantitative research, it’s definitely customer listening in any of the formats, it’s the customer data that we have in our CRM systems, right? It is what we know and what customers tell our frontlines everyday. So there are a lot of different avenues for getting information or data and really understanding who our customers are, but it’s definitely all about listening and however you do it.
Andrew Mounier: Ok, great. This is kind of shifting a little bit; you know you are the Vice President at Touch Point Dashboard, and it sounds like it’s one of the first systems or first dashboards out there that really helped people map this journey, without I guess manually putting up a billboard and putting, you know, sticky notes on there and everything like that, could you talk to us about how Touch Point Dashboard actually helps in this process and what does it do?
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): Absolutely, you know it is purpose built software, right? It was built because people are using that butcher paper and sticky notes for their journey maps, but most of the time that’s where it ends right? You know, really journey maps were just to begin, so Touch Point Dashboard, because it’s an online software and it’s a SAS platform, allows people once they build the map within the system to collaborate because you can give different viewers or different users access to go in there and collaborate and they can also share, it’s very easy to share because it’s online, or you can just PDF your map and you know email the file or whatever, which you can’t do with something that’s hanging on the wall. The other thing is that it makes it easy for people to update their maps, so I think those are three really big rules about maps is that they have to be collaborative in terms of how they are created and then shared, and then also they are not a one and done, I mean they have to be updated as you’re updating the experience, and as your business evolves and as your customers evolve, the maps have to be updated as well, so it just makes it really simple to do all those things.
Andrew Mounier: Fantastic, and this is kind of going back to, you know, mapping and everything, why should an organization map their customer journey? I mean that’s what we were talking about it and a lot of higher-level organizations know about it, but let’s say you are a startup and you are just like ok what I want to do is to just sell my product, I want to sell it and they jump into that, they launch their E-commerce store and business and they’re like putting all the Ads out there and everything, but why should they take the time to sit there and actually go through the customer mapping stage?
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): Yes, that’s a really good question and I have two answers to that. The first one is, and this is something that I’ve been saying a lot you probably get sick of hearing me say this. You can’t really transform something that you don’t understand, and maps help you to understand the experiences that customers are going through. The other thing is that when we develop processes and, you know, let’s say it’s just something as simple as calling someone. And we create this, let’s just talk about the IDR, you know, the phone tree that we make people go through to get to a live person to get help, you know, we do it based on internal thinking, right? We don’t do it based on what the customer is and who they are and how they use the system and what their needs are and what they are trying to do, so maps really help! They are an eye open right? They help you see Oh my Gosh who have to do it in twenty clicks just to get to a live person and how ridiculous is that! So I think that those are two key messages for mapping.
Andrew Mounier: Ok, perfect, perfect. And I guess you know that the last question that I have for you is if there was one piece of advice that you could give to the CMO Brain community, what would that be?
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): Well, additionally enough this is, you know we’ve been talking about the customer experience, but I think the biggest piece of advice that I could give outside what we’ve already talked about is to focus on the employee experience because employee experience does drive the customer experience we know that, and there is a ton or research out there to prove that this is the case and so a lot of times the employee experience is an afterthought or people don’t even think about the fact that we need to focus on employee experience and what it impact is on the business, so that’s my advice is to focus on the employee experience.
Andrew Mounier: Ok, perfect, well I really appreciate your time and that’s all I have today, so thanks again for taking the time to talk with me.
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): Awesome, thanks for having me I appreciate it.
Andrew Mounier: Thanks and if you have or need anything feel free to reach out.
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): Awesome thank you, same to you.
Andrew Mounier: Take care.
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): Alright, you too.
Andrew Mounier: Bye
Annette Franz (Gleneicki): Bye.