Episode published: 25. January 2022
CX Goalkeeper & ECXO with Jef Teugels – E46 is about Customer Culture – Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper
The CX Goalkeeper in collaboration with the European Customer Experience Organization (ECXO) had a smart discussion with Jef Teugels
Jef is founder of Reins Group and an ambassador of the ECXO.
In this episode you will learn:
– Some highlights on the ECXO
– The definition of culture and customer culture
– The example of Air New Zealand transformation
– Several great insights on the 8 key ingredients of a customer culture
… and much more
His book suggestion:
- The Customer Culture Imperative: A Leader’s Guide to Driving Superior Performance; L. Brown, C. Brown
- The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation; T. Clark
Jef’s golden nugget:
Work on your sensitivity. Sense what somebody else is living or trying to convey.
“Work on your sensitivity. Sense what somebody else is living or trying to convey” Jef Teugels on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast in collaboration with the @EuropeanCXOrgTweet
How to contact Jef:
Thank you, Jef!
Thank you European Customer Experience Organization (ECXO)
#customerexperience #leadership #cxgoalkeeper #exco #cxtransformation #podcast #customerculture #culture
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my YouTube channel
Gregorio Uglioni 0:00
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the CX goalkeeper podcast. Your host, Gregorio Uglioni, will have a small discussion with experts, thought leaders, and friends on customer experience, transformation, innovation and leadership. I hope will enjoy the next episode.
Ladies and gentlemen, today is really a big pleasure if Jef Teugels together with me, I Jef, how are you? .
Jef Teugels 0:31
I Gregorio, thanks for having me. I’m perfectly fine. And looking forward to our discussion. How are you?
Gregorio Uglioni 0:38
Good as also, we had really a nice pre discussion about diversity, inclusion, and other topics. And I think we I am enough warm to start the discussion. And to start this this podcast together with you the main topic today, we’ll be customer culture. But before we deep dive in the customer culture, let’s talk first about you. And then later about European customer experience organization. As usual, I’m always asking the same questions. Could you please introduce yourself, Jef?
Jef Teugels 1:11
Okay, I will. So my name is Jef. I’m Belgium. And and I call myself an energy Explorer. In the fields, the overlapping field where customer behavior, organizational readiness and technology meets. So if you look at the Venn diagram, you have three circles for as the behavior well as the organization, we’re in this interesting technology. And when when they overlap, there’s, there’s always a friction there. Because we have naturally conflicting interests between customer behavior and organizational readiness. And technology keeps pushing both of them, not necessarily in the same direction. So with that energy fields created, we can do two things, we can use that energy to everybody’s advantage, or we can just undergo that energy and let it go to waste. So I’m much in favor of not letting it go to waste. So basically, I good at. I’ve been doing that for for a very long time. And as of late I’ve been viewing this in the context of sustainability. Because you see also on top of my head in my head my engineering panel that people first businesses, we haven’t been treating our our planet, right. So we have to look at through that lens as well. But that’s basically what I do. I do 80% of that working in the field appliance. And about 20% 30% of my time, is dedicated to research about it.
Gregorio Uglioni 2:50
Thank you very much for the short introduction. And perhaps also to mention that rains group, could you also please share with your insight about what what is the company? And where is the name coming? Because I think it was really interesting. So you share that with me.
Jef Teugels 3:04
Okay, well rains group is there’s no fantastic story behind it rains is literally the translation of my surname doodles in English. So it’s the the rains that you use to steer your horse. That’s rains and rains group, because I have a couple other small companies. One is an application development company. Other one is what I call a digital agency. And they are part of the rates group. And what the rains group does is it brings creators, people with very good ideas, but who do not often have the funding to really develop their ideas, bringing them together with impact investors. That’s mainly the goal of range group.
Gregorio Uglioni 3:57
And this is, I think, an extremely important match because there are quite a lot of good or great ideas on the market. And these ideas need to be implemented first, and then we need to find customer for for them.
Jef Teugels 4:11
Absolutely. And that brings us straight to the customer because like one of my gurus, Peter Drucker said it is ultimately the customer who decides what the business is what a business does, and whether it will prosper yes or no. And if we look at startups, 80% of startups fail, because of timing. We’ve been too early in the markets being too early for the customer. So customers played an extremely important role with it.
Gregorio Uglioni 4:39
And I think now it’s the perfect way to go to the European customer experience organization. It’s the perfect point in time to discuss about it. And I know that you are one of the ambassador of the European customer experience organization. Why did you decide to participate?
Jef Teugels 4:58
First of all, I’m very privileged that I’ve been chosen as an ambassador, why did I participate? For one reason, and that is that the view of European customer experience organization is holistic. And I believe that you, you have to look at customer experience in a holistic way, because it permeates everything that a company does. And if you refer back to, or think back to the three circles, or spheres I described, customer experience is in all of those three, and customer experience, whether we design it, or we don’t design, it is always there. But the European customer experience, organization, organization looks at it in this really holistic way, and bisects all the different disciplines that are needed in there. And it’s trying to uplift the knowledge that we have, and the quality of our knowledge that we have. And that’s, that’s the main reason why I’ve joined them, and I support them so much.
Gregorio Uglioni 6:02
Thank you. And it makes total sense. And as usual, full transparency. I’m also a member of this of the European customer experience, organization. And please have a look, think about the opportunity that I have to discuss with people like you, Jeff, and get a lot of Noel, exchanging ideas, and always ensuring that even if we have different points of views, that we accept our point of views, and we discuss about it, and what I find out or what we are finding out, it’s really, it’s extremely fast growing, from your point of view, why? Let’s say are we growing so fast, or the European customer experience organization is growing so fast?
Jef Teugels 6:44
I think it’s growing fast, because it came over from the US, like so many things came over from the US, but I think we need it, that European touch on it. But one of the major reasons why we grow so fast is I think we are relevant for a lot of people working in companies who find it difficult to differentiate their offering, on a purely product level. So if if we have three products or five products, and they’re actually all the same, technically, or what features they have, etc. What really sets the thing apart, or makes a customer choose for your product is the experience that’s around it. So there is a there is a competition field called experience on that. And I think that because of there’s there’s an avalanche of products and services available, so how do you differentiate yourself. And I think that explains why why we are growing so fast, because we tend to speak to a need, we address a problem that’s out there. And frankly, we must be more knowledgeable still about customer experience. Although customer experience is has been around since the first customer, the way we look at it now as a competitive advantage is relatively new.
Gregorio Uglioni 8:17
It make a completely completely sense. And as you are saying, for making the exact same example in the digital world, the competition is one click far away. And if you differentiate yourself only with the product, then it’s quite easy to switch. But if you’re offering, let’s say outstanding, better experiences, then it’s it’s it’s different. And I think it’s really great and nice to be part of the European customer experience organization. And what it’s important always to mention is if you want to join the community, feel free to do that. And it’s not fee free, but it’s also free of charge, you can have a look at and then you can taste as tasty community and you will see that that you will have quite a lot of additional value added that you can leverage in your company in your business in your industry, because at the end, what I really like also is the diversity of all these different countries and now also come to our main parts to different cultures. And what we would like or I would like to discuss with you it’s about a customer culture, before we start discussing about digital physical or amorphous and not amorphous because we could discuss hours, how do you define culture in a company?
Jef Teugels 9:35
Culture in The company is actually the shared beliefs norms, values, behaviors that are exhibited within the company. And there are two faults. You know the expression walk your talk. Your talk is actually the values that you espouse, and your walk is the values that use put it like that So there’s always a customer culture, just like I said, there is always a customer experience, there’s always a customer culture, no, sorry, there’s always a culture, not necessarily a customer culture. So that means that you can have a culture by default, or a culture by design. Now we’re getting into the culture by design. And let me explain what the customer culture is that the term customer culture is actually framed by Dr. Linden Brown, and Chris Brown, who published in 2015, their award winning book, the customer culture imperative. And there’s a really scientific research that preceded that book, where definitely the ground sets were what what does it what to some companies do differently than others? Why did they succeed in a tough market where everybody’s suffering, and then there’s a company succeeding in that why is that so, that sort of triggered his research and he found out that there is something like a customer culture. Now a customer culture is a form of organizational culture. To put it simply, the customer culture is a culture in which every employee believes that what is best for the customer is best for the company and ultimately best for him or herself. That is the Populists definition of customer culture.
Gregorio Uglioni 11:32
and he, I think this is this is relevant, and also elaborating on what you were saying, I think you already put the most important part, because it’s about the employees taking care of the customer. And the customer, let’s say, taking care of the shareholders, or they are owner of the company, there are quite a lot of definition around customer culture or culture in a company. One of the let’s say, most phonies, from from my point of view, is the one saying that it’s our employees behave when the managers are not there. And at the end is exactly what you were saying. And and I think it’s key and to add something and then come to the next question, why is also important to have the customer part of the culture because without customer, there is no business at the end our salaries as employees are paid by our customer, if we are in the b2b world or in the b2c world, at the end, there is a customer because we are selling products, services, or experiences to this, this customer. And and therefore we are explaining why it’s really relevant. Before we deep dive into that, do you have perhaps some really good examples of best in class, customer based practice?
Jef Teugels 12:55
The other is there’s actually one it’s an airliner called Air New Zealand’s and Air New Zealand was in big trouble a couple of some years ago, really on the brink of bankruptcy. And they brought in a new CEO, and he gathered all the people around and he asked all the employees, what what do we actually do, but to scare us Zealand’s do. And the response was, Well, we fly airplanes. And he, the new CEO said, No, we don’t we fly people. And that is a complete different mindsets. Yes, you transport people via air via airplanes, but what you do is you fly people, and Air New Zealand made a complete turnaround, it’s now a very profitable company. So it is relating to the humans. customer is always human and sincere relating to that, and having people relating to that. So that definitely is a very good example of what the real customer culture is, and how it can be designed.
Gregorio Uglioni 14:08
Thank you very much. And as you said, you’re speaking about designing a color true. And therefore I would have 20 questions. But let’s start with the with the first one, which are the key ingredients to define this culture.
Jef Teugels 14:24
The key ingredients from a customer culture for customer culture, there are eight actually and Dr. Brown calls them disciplines. So we have a disciplines five or external drivers and three or internal enablers. And they’re going to sound very easy. The first external driver is customer insights. And is what do we know about our current customers? How well do we know them? Who are they? And it’s not just tomorrow or sales important knowing how many people within our company know these customers? Because like you said earlier, Gregorio, our customers pay our salaries. So what what do you know about Burson? Are the persons who pay your salaries even if you’re working in the warehouse? Or if you’re working in finance, etc. The second is customer, four sides. What do we know about where our customers are evolving to a who will be on new customers. And then the third is competitor insights, who are current competitors. The fourth is competitor four sides, which are the competitors that we should see, but we don’t see yet. And the fifth, and last external driver is what’s called peripheral vision. That is a term coined by Professor George de from Wharton. He also wrote a very interesting book about it. But as we talked about customers, we talked about competition. peripheral vision is what’s what’s happening in the broader environment, you can look at it as a sort of the PESTEL analysis, what’s happening on political, ecological, economical, legal, social, and technological fields that pertain to our business and our markets. So those are the five external drivers, three internal enablers are, first of all, empowerment. And that is to what extent is an employee empowered to make a decision that is good for the customer. And remember, customer culture says, whatever is good for the customer is good for the company. So the what extent is an employee empowered to make a decision that’s good for the company without having to go up the ladder and ask for permission. So very important one, the second internal enabler is cross functional collaboration. And like I said, all these insights and foresights, they must be shared throughout throughout the company, throughout all the departments of the companies, and we tend to silo things. But if that information about customer flows through and there is a joint collaboration, for servicing the customer, that is one of the the second internal enabler and the third internal enabler is strategic alignment, which is to what extent are the employees aligned with the strategy of the company? So and those eight disciplines are measurable? And that’s what Dr. Levin Brown did found out.
Gregorio Uglioni 17:50
I really liked them. And based on my previous studies, I would say it’s pretty aligned also with the four forces of Porter. And and it makes total sense, I think, for the audience, perhaps to make that tangible. We spoke about customer, we spoke about competitors, and what it’s everything around it. And then we spoke about these three internal enablers. Empowerment, cross functional collaboration. And the last one is strategic alignment. And do you have perhaps on some examples, it’s, it’s not relevant which company, but how it is possible to implement them? Because I think it’s important to say we can design that, but as long as it’s only on paper, it doesn’t move move the needle unit to implement that. And then when we this after discussing the implementation, perhaps we could also discuss about how to keep it running. Do you have some some example out we implemented?
Jef Teugels 18:54
It starts with measuring it. So since culture is expressed in behavior, you can you can watch and observe the behavior. And market culture is the firm of Operating Round, developed what they call the market responsiveness index is a benchmark of your performance in those eight disciplines, against some of the top customer centric companies in the world. So the first thing is to benchmark it’s how strong is your customer culture? How strong are you in each of the eight disciplines? And it shows strengths and it shows weaknesses. It might be that you don’t know anything about or did you score very low in customer insights, but you score high in customer or competitor insights, then you’re not paying attention to your customer, but you’re looking at what your competition is doing. So might be not a fear of, I don’t know what but you first measure it, you put actually a baseline the zero measure And then you start implementing is, well first, then you choose maximum two disciplines to work on in 90 days, so we can get some quick wins. Let’s say, for instance, strategic or competitive, let me say, customer insights scores low. What are you going to do in those 90 days to increase your score in there. And for instance, the customer immersion program throughout the company is one of the best practices in there. If you score low, for instance, in strategical islands, then it might be worthwhile of explaining to everybody what’s what the company’s strategic direction is, because it hasn’t been really either understood or accepted. And we come back to culture, culture can break that.
Gregorio Uglioni 20:54
And I think it makes total sense. And basically, all right, to make that understandable for me, but also for the audience, you use the example of strategic alignment, and you said, If you score low, then you should explain the strategic views, the strategic roadmap, and then you can score a bit a bit, then you would score higher. First of all, do you measure it in a subjective way, asking people or in a in a quantitative way?
Jef Teugels 21:24
It’s it is actually a survey that you take where you answer questions on how you behave, and you score that behavior on a scale from one to seven. So for instance, do you and your team regularly meet to discuss strategic objectives and the progress towards them? If you say, well, we don’t do that, they you score very low. Okay, that’s the way it’s measured. But the important thing is in the MRI, with a with little wink to the medical thing, because what you do is actually take a picture is for each discipline, there is a set of 10 questions, but there is also an 11th question, which is an open ended question. So then we go into the qualitative, where the employee who fills out a survey, totally anonymously, can say in his or her own words, what could be done better, or what is going wrong, and that gives a wealth of information very, very rich information on what you can do, what actions you can take.
Gregorio Uglioni 22:43
Thank you. Now, it’s really better understandable how to measure that and get again back to this to this example of strategic alignment. If you score low, then you mentioned for example, that that team leads should share that do you have also perhaps a best practice out to share the new strategic roadmap, it’s not only about town halls and and making nice pictures, but perhaps we have some additional insights on it,
Jef Teugels 23:12
it’s actually to have some additional insights on that, like I say, downloads are fine, and pictures are fine, but it doesn’t really you have to immerse also your your employees into that they have to they are part of moving the company towards that strategic goal, which is preferably in line with the strategic goals of your customers. In, especially in b2b, but in b2c, people also have their objectives and their goals. So that is one one question. That is one issue that you have to raise, I can give an example without naming the company. We scored extremely high in empowerment, and extremely low in strategic alignments. Now, you’re very much empowered to do what’s best for the customer. But you score very low on strategic alignments. And what was the case there is that that was a company who outsources its staff. So yeah, they were empowered to do because they weren’t to the office, they were at the office of the customers doing their job and actually also becoming part of the DNA of their clients. But they weren’t in the office enough or in these times, they weren’t discussing enough. They saw them what they saw each other every three months or something. So much increasing just the communication and the frequency of the communication, increased the strategic alignment.
Gregorio Uglioni 24:50
Thank you. It makes total sense and I think this is one of the important learnings on quite a lot of topic is Communicate, communicate co communicate, not only once but but several times. The last question I would like to ask on customer culture and this the question that I often are, but nobody’s really answering it them, or there are not really good answer on that. And I want to challenge you a bit. We are now in a remote working environment, most of the people work from home, let’s say everybody’s really, really happy. And perhaps I’m saying something that not everybody will like. But a lot of companies are saying productivity is increasing, yes, it’s increasing, because people’s fought longer hours, instead, to have two hours or one hour to travel to work, they stop working on this finish working later, and therefore the productivity increase. But I think it’s less about productivity. It’s really about culture. If I’m working from home, I have my desk, I have my computer, I have launched, let’s say, together with my family, or our How is it possible, to progress to see or to create and to keep our real company culture? Because I also personally, I am feeling less from my company, because I’m working from home? What’s your view on that?
Jef Teugels 26:23
First, the productivity rise that we saw in the beginning, is over, that’s going down. Because we are all suffering from zoom fatigue. And yes, that was very good news for the executives. But it’s less good news for the well being of the employee. And then ultimately, for the well being of the, of the customer. Now, since a culture is you belong to a culture, and you have that feeling that I belong to that culture, I belong to these values, they’re my values, I can live with them. And then it depends a little bit, in my opinion, on your own character, your personal character? Do I need those physical contacts, contacts? Or am I better off and more productive at home? And then if I see people on Zoom, like we are seeing each other now, is that for me sufficient, and I guess for a lot of people it is, but there are people who really need that. That physical contact. The major thing is, even if you’re staying at home all the time, or you go to the office once in a while, is to keep feeding, and building on that culture. Because your culture is always evolving at the same time. So it’s keeping people informed, and engaged and that sort of thing that we talked in, while we were pre discussing this thing. The engagement levels in Europe employees are extremely low. And especially here in Belgium, Mariah, I know them by heart latest Gallup says that we have 10% of engaged employees, that means 90% are not engaged. Are they productive? They know, they show up at eight and stop at five, whether they’re doing this at home or at work, they might be at work physically, but mentally. Now, are these people disengaged? Yes. And no, they are disengaged at work, that they might be very engaged after work. So they’re actually very smart. Like friend of mine doctor or a pharmacist, they’re smart people, they’re just going in economy mode. I’m showing up, I’m doing the minimum, what’s expected of me to do and then I can go home and use all my passion and energy to do what I really like to do. Then you have a problem, of course, but with 90% of employees being in the non engaged category, that means you have something wrong in your culture as well. Because you’re not reaching them.
Gregorio Uglioni 29:15
Exactly. And I think this is this is really the key because also to to explain that I worked a lot in transformation. It’s quite easy to set up a transformation program, setting goals, achieving the targets, but it’s important to keep this culture up and running. And therefore it’s everyday effort that make the difference because everyday you need to repeat, explain, share all your ideas. It’s not the first six months 18 months of trying to implement the customer centric transformation. It’s really about keeping that up and keeping the the workforce motivated, engaged because you If they’re not engaged, then let’s stop speaking about outstanding experiences while moments and all the stuff, because if you are not engaged, you are not passionate about what you’re doing, then and feel that and you see that?
Jef Teugels 30:14
Absolutely. There’s a simple question and the responsibility and accountability for the employee as well. If you stopped your your days at the end, go home, and you have a moment of reflection. And you just think to yourself, have I contributed today to the overall goal that we have? What has been my contribution today to that? Have I contributed yes or no? The answer is no. You might do some soul searching for that, if the answer is yes, fine. You know, you have contributed, but you have to also allow your employees to have that sort of reflection. And then that is that is massaging and bringing your culture to life.
Gregorio Uglioni 30:58
Yes, and sorry, this is something that I need to mention exactly what you were saying. That’s one of the first thing that I learned at with my first employee, it was Accenture, our senior partner came to us really Junior analysts, and they told he told us, You should think every evening that you walk on from your customer. The following question, think about the question was I worked was I creating value for my customer in the amount of what I cost to the to the company, because you know, external content and ours, often expensive. And therefore, phrase in a consult from a consulting point of view was really was I really devalue, that my customer are expecting. And I think this is really great. I love this discussion. I we could discuss hours about it, I really like it. But I think also to value and proper culture and to value your time. Let’s go to the next phase of this of this podcast. Jeff, is there a book that you would like to suggest to the audience perhaps related to what we discussed, or something different, that you’re saying, this is something I suggest to the audience to read?
Jef Teugels 32:19
Well, there’s, of course, The customer culture imperative by Dr. Brown, that I would urge you to read.
On the topic, culture themselves, there are different books. But there’s not one that comes to my mind that actually jumps out of it. The best book I’ve I’ve read lately is I’m going to take a look at it. It’s actually a small book. And but you can’t see and so I’ll I’ll read the title to it’s by Timothy Clarke. And it’s called the four stages of psychological safety. And it’s about defining the path to inclusion, and innovation. And I think everybody should read that book. Thank you. Everything we said can only happen if there is a psychological safety for everybody, employees and customers. Sure.
Gregorio Uglioni 33:29
Thank you very much, Jeff. It is it makes total sense. And if so somebody would continue the discussion together with you, what’s the best way to contact you?
Jef Teugels 33:38
The best way to come to me through LinkedIn actually, just I connect with everybody who wants to connect with me, pretty open and not always available there and respond in a timely manner.
Gregorio Uglioni 33:51
Thank you very much, Jef. And I will share also in the show notes, and the link to your LinkedIn profile. But you are going to the opportunity to connect with Jef to the ECXO Plus, there, Jeff is also extremely active. If you have any questions, Bill, please feel free to contact him also to this platform. And this is also one of the big value added of the European customer experience organization. You can ask questions, and you always get an answer if the if it is the answer that you like. That’s a different question, but at least you get an answer. And now the last question, this is always the same question I am asking is Jeff golden nugget is something that we discussed or something new that you would leave to the audience.
Jef Teugels 34:36
Could you repeat that?
Gregorio Uglioni 34:38
Yes, if Jef golden nugget, it’s something that we discussed or something new that you would like to leave and to share with the audience at the end of this episode.
Jef Teugels 34:53
Yes, work on your sensitivity that’s actually a The task I would like to give everybody work on your sensitivity because we all have these are mouthfuls with diversity and inclusion. Live it, be it, sense what somebody else is trying to convey for what somebody else is living through. That’s actually what I would like to do and protect the environment. You know, I’m big sustainability fan.
Gregorio Uglioni 35:25
Thank you very much, Jef. I’m not commenting, your golden nugget because it was Jeff golden nugget. The only thing that I want to say thank you very much for your time.
Jef Teugels 35:37
Thanks for having me. Gregorio. I enjoyed it very much. And spectators, join European customer experience organization, if you’re in that field, it’s free. And it’s very rich in content.
Gregorio Uglioni 35:51
Thank you very much, Jef. And also from my side, thank you were much to the European customer experience organization for making that happen, because it’s thanks to the ECXO so that I can have such a great discussion. And as the end as usual, to the audience, I hope that you enjoyed this discussion as much as I did. It was really a great discussion. And I think culture is really a key ingredient for every business to have a long term view on on your business and to achieve your targets and your goals. And therefore Thank you very much grazie mille e arrivederci.
Jef Teugels 36:27
Gregorio Uglioni 36:30
If you enjoy this Episode, please share the word of mouth, subscribe it, share it until the next episode. Please don’t forget, we are not in a b2b or b2c business. We are in a human to human environment. Thank you
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