CX foundation and leadership with Jeannie Walters – E64

released on: 7. March 2022

CX foundation and Leadership with Jeannie Walters Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper

The CX Goalkeeper had a smart discussion with Jeannie Walters

Founder and CEO of Experience Investigators, Customer Experience Speaker, Trainer, Podcast Host.

In this episode you will learn:

– Customer experience is more than a customer journey map or a Net Promoter Score.

– It creates fewer ruined days for customers

– CX is all about 3 things: a mindset, a strategy and a discipline

… and much more

Her book suggestion:

  • Chief Customer Officer, Chief Customer Officer 2.0 – Jeanne Bliss
  • The Leaders Voice Boyd Clark, Ron Crossland

Jeannie’s golden nugget:

Know your mission, know what you are doing and make sure that you carry that in your hearth and that makes everything else a lot easier. @Jeanniecw on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

How to contact Jeannie:

Jeannie’s and Adam Toporek’s Podcast “Crack the Customer Code”:

Links to Jeannie’s courses in LinkedIn:

  • Customer Service Blueprinting:
  • Creating a Positive Customer Experience:
  • Customer Experience: Journey Mapping:
  • Journey Mapping: Case Study in Action:

Thank you, Jeannie!

#customerexperience #leadership #cxgoalkeeper #cxtransformation  #podcast

click here to subscribe
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 you will enjoy the next episode.

Ladies and gentlemen, today, it’s really a big, big pleasure. I have Jeannie Walters with me, the real one.

Jeannie Walters 0:29
I’m great. It’s my pleasure to be here. Thank you for inviting me,

Gregorio Uglioni 0:33
it’s really a really a big pleasure to have. I am quoting that “a CX influencer, you should know”. And, and therefore, it’s really, if you are looking on the rankings on the awards, Jeannie Walters, it’s always on the top of them, because she’s always delivering great value to our customers. And not only the customer, but also to the audience, because you’re really active on LinkedIn, with our courses, but also with our outstanding newsletter that I am getting and reading each time because it’s full of insights. But before we start deep diving in customer experience, where we are all passionate about, perhaps Genie, could you please introduce yourself?

Jeannie Walters 1:16
Sure, I’d love to thank you. I’m Jeannie Walters, and I’ve been doing some form of customer experience work for more than 20 years now. And I’m really just excited about helping leaders understand how powerful customer experience can be. So I’m the founder and CEO of a company called experience investigators. And there we help leaders really create meaningful customer experiences that drive business results. And we do that through training and workshops, as well as some different consulting packages. And then, as you mentioned, Gregorio, we are really dedicated to just kind of the CX industry, I think so many. So many CX leaders do amazing things every day. And so we try to share as much content and value as we can to support that community because everybody’s working really hard. And we want to make sure that we provide value as much as we can to the industry at large as well.

Gregorio Uglioni 2:15
No, that’s, that’s clear. Thank you very much for for your introduction. And it makes totally sense. I think you have quite a lot of customers in the USA, less in Europe, you are not so known as you are in the USA. And this is also I think, what I would like to do to share in Europe, the insights from really thought leader in customer experience, like like you are, before we really kick off the discussion on seeks Foundation, and we start the discussion. Could you please share with us? What are your values that drives you in life?

Jeannie Walters 2:54
Yeah, that’s I love this question. I think a big one for me is humor, like finding, finding the joy in things and just taking it, you know, a day at a time, I think is really important, especially in the world that we live in now. I also really believe in transparency and honesty, sometimes that means saying, Hey, I don’t know the answer, but we’re working on it. And I also am, you know, very dedicated to just being a you know, I think family and friends and showing up as who you are to all people. So being your authentic self. That’s kind of what drives me as well.

Gregorio Uglioni 3:32
I think these are great values. And if I can pick up one you more, this is what we are also listening and really feeling on your outstanding post podcast. Correct the customer, the customer code together with Adam Toporek it’s really us more than 400 episodes, I would say 470 or something like that. Right? And there are a lot of seasons and it’s also really nice and I am asking this question based on the on your podcast, which Bourbon do you like most?

Jeannie Walters 4:04
Which bourbon? I love this so yes, for those of you not in the know the the legend is that we created this podcast in 2014 Believe it or not over bourbon. Adam likes to say he was teaching me about bourbon we were and then I had this crazy idea and said how about we start a podcast and here we are almost 500 episodes later. Yeah, so bourbon is is tough, because there are so many good ones. Blanton’s is one of my favorites, and Adam did introduce me to that. So I will give him credit for that. And then we just did. We just recorded our bourbon summit, which we do at the end of every season. And I tried a new bourbon, which is a blend called barrel. And I’ve been enjoying that one too. So it depends on the mood and the season. But yeah, I think all bourbon there’s a place for all bourbon really.

Gregorio Uglioni 4:54
And it helps also to smoothen the discussions.

Jeannie Walters 4:58
Yeah, exactly.

Gregorio Uglioni 5:02
Thank you very much. Jeannie, we I would like to discuss with you the topic around seeds Foundation, because there is a lot of discussion around that there are a lot of allow me to say one RBC X professionals, and you are really one of the great sort leader that you are doing that since more than 20 years, as you’re saying, What is your understanding on customer experience. And before I end over to you, I am also reading from your web website, what you are saying on your website is customer experience is more than a customer journey map, where a net promoter score, it’s the actions your team’s takes on a daily basis to use these tools to serve your larger organizational goals. And I think this is this, this, this is really key. And, and for me, it’s mind blowing, to share that and to have the opportunity to share that. But instead of me reading through your website and learning from your courses, I have you on the show, and therefore I end over to you to explain that.

Jeannie Walters 6:04
Thank you. Well, thank you for all your kind words. That’s very nice to hear. Yeah, so one of the things that we see a lot in customer experience in general is that people think it’s either kind of this easy thing, you can just kind of wave a magic wand and say Be nice to your customers and good things happen. Or it gets translated into just collecting feedback, just tracking metrics. And that’s it. And people say we’re doing customer experience, because we’re tracking something like net promoter score. And we saw this again and again. So a couple of years ago, we started creating with our clients, this idea of what are the building blocks that you need in any, any established successful customer experience management program, because what we do on the inside of the organization is really customer experience management. And the your your customers are having a customer experience, whether you say those words or not right, they are just having an experience with your brand. So we started really digging into what makes different leaders successful, different programs successful. And we identified how the first thing is they know exactly who they are and what they’re delivering. And that’s around their mission. And so I’ve talked a lot about the mission of my organization, which is to create fewer ruined days for customers. And we we use that as a guide for how how will we work? Who do we work with? How do we hire? What is the promise that we’re really making, because in, in all customer experiences, you can’t be all things to all people, you have to make a decision about who you are. So we start with that customer experience mission statement. And then we develop what we call a success statement. And this is something that comes up because a lot of times I asked, what does success look like for customer experience in your organization? And they say things like, well, we’re going to be the best, or we’re going to do it our way, or we’re going to be a customer centric organization. And the follow up question is always okay, how do you know if you’re doing that? And if you can’t measure it, if you can’t really understand your progress, then it’s really easy for a leader to walk in a year later and say, Well, I guess this customer experience thing doesn’t really work. And so by defining what success looks like, you start with your organizational goals, and you define against those, how will customer experience help us achieve those goals. And then you think about your leaders, because your leaders all have different goals, they all have different outcomes that they’re seeking. And if we’re talking about customer experience, in vague terms, or in nice terms, it sounds very nice to have a great customer experience. But if we talk about NPS going up, and the chief revenue officer, or the chief financial officer is sitting there thinking, so what, then we’re not speaking their language, we need to translate what we do into the language of the organization and our leaders. And then we need to get really clear and really realistic about what we can do. Because sometimes if you’re starting from scratch, it takes a while to establish that foundation to get this program going to get the buy in from the leaders that you need. And so you need to be realistic about those baby steps that you take to get there. So I’ve seen over and over again, great leaders are not set up for success around customer experience, because they don’t take the time and they’re not asked or supported to really get these foundations, right. And if you get these foundations, right, everything else gets easier, then you can make choices based on where you’re going. Not just because somebody said you needed a journey map.

Gregorio Uglioni 9:48
Exactly. It makes total sense. And elaborating on what you were saying. Often often companies start measuring NPS and then you have an NPS Number or failure. And you can also make one step further and saying, I’m an example you have 10% detractors, but at the end, top management doesn’t really care about 10% detail, because because they don’t understand that. And if you can explain to top management, you lost, I don’t know, 1005 500 customers in the acquisition, which it’s exactly roughly I don’t know, 10 millions in revenues, because the process was was difficult, or they didn’t went through the complete process, because it was too complex. This is something that they understand. And they will also react on that. This is only my example, to to really understand and to make, to make an example of what you were saying. But basically, it totally makes sense. But I think you go into these companies, and you explain that. And not everybody says, oh, let’s start let’s see what happens after this, this great explanation.

Jeannie Walters 10:59
I love the way you you position to that question, because it’s very real life, right? Like, we say, no, look, customer experience is amazing. aren’t you seeing this? And they go, yeah, no, no. And I think customer experience leaders are asked, really every day of their career to kind of prove their value, right? We are asked to say, No, this is important, because this is important, because and it’s it’s, it’s tough. It’s a disadvantage, you think about other leaders. I mean, Chief, if you talk about sales, nobody’s saying Yeah, but why are sales important? Nobody says that. Because we understand that’s part of the business. We have to treat customer experience. Like I always say it’s three things. It’s a mindset. It’s a strategy. And it’s a discipline. It’s a business discipline. And so you can’t have a strategy, without putting rigor to it without putting discipline to it without those daily actions that you you mentioned earlier in the podcast. And so when we are looking at really trying to get leaders to understand and buy in, it’s it’s almost, we have to think about it as a communication strategy. Because it really is about winning hearts and minds, it’s about getting them to understand that yes, sometimes it’s just the right thing to do. Because sometimes that’s what customer experiences, we want to show up for our customers in the way that we’ve promised to show up. And sometimes what that means is saying, Wow, we have to admit we were wrong, we have to follow up with them proactively, even though we know that they’re not happy. We have to, you know, make other promises to them, because we messed up on the first one. Those are hard things, but we sometimes it’s just the right thing to do. So that’s where we have to win over the hearts. But then the minds, this is where we get into the business, right? This is where we talk about what are our goals here as an organization, what we can’t do anything without customers. And when we lose them, we’re not just losing the people who walk out the door, we’re losing other potential customers, because those folks are probably going out with some negative word of mouth, they are not going to refer other customers to us, they aren’t going to tell their friends to even apply for a job here, which right now in 2021 is a big deal, right? Like we need employees in many, many organizations, all of that fits together under that customer experience umbrella. But if we’re not making the case, again and again, and connecting those dots for those leaders, then we kind of act like everybody is on their own with their different departments. And nobody wins like the organization doesn’t win, the customer doesn’t win, your employees don’t win because nobody wants to work in a place where customers are complaining all the time. And so we really have to help other leaders connect all those dots and, and embrace the idea going back to the goalkeeper and the sports metaphors here. But embrace the idea that it’s a team sport that we need everybody in order to really move this forward as an organization. That’s how we win.

Gregorio Uglioni 14:08
And and based on the fact that we are speaking about a team sport and the goalkeeper, thank you very much for the course. Basically, I think that’s something that you’re often repeating in your keynotes and in your videos. It’s find the right people and train the processes. And what’s your view? Because if you’re speaking about the customer experience foundation, I think employee experience it’s it’s part of it. What’s your view on that?

Jeannie Walters 14:38
Yeah, I think we have long underestimated how connected those two things are the employee experience and the customer experience, it’s really easy to talk about things like you know, we want to make sure we have a great employee experience, but we don’t define that as very well either. The way I like to think about this is if you define your customer experience mission, a certain weigh, if you define who you are and who you want to be to your customers, you have to live that mission inside your organization. And you have to show up the same way for your colleagues and for your teams and for your leaders. And so when we are defining that customer experience mission, a lot of that is about who are we to each other, as well. And so if we can do that, if we can align those values and that vision, then you’ll have employees who number one, understand their role in the customer experience a lot more than they used to. And they’re more willing to solve problems, to be empowered to actually do things not just for the customer, but for their fellow employees who are serving customers to improve the internal process so that they can reach out to customers in a more proactive positive way. And that’s what you know, if we can align those things, that’s where the magic happens, really, that’s where we see these organizations who are constantly innovating around the customer experience, because employees know that they won’t be punished for that either. They know that that’s part of who this organization is. And that’s what their leaders are expecting from them. So that all has to go together as well. And we can’t really discount that, like, I think we have in the past.

Gregorio Uglioni 16:16
Now that that’s true, but this is something that I am seeing in the in the customer experience community, that there is great agreement on, take cares of your employees, your employees will take care of your customers and your customer will take care of your shareholder. And in this, let’s say, first employees, then customers and at last, and the last point is about about shareholders. And there is common understanding and common agreement on that. Basically, I think we start we start speaking about a customer experience foundation, you shared also the first insights out normally your customers are reacting, we discussed about employee experience. And I was wondering, now let’s say you start your project, you’re the your customer understands the need of doing something. What are the common mistakes that that your customers are doing in this? Let’s say transformation?

Jeannie Walters 17:17
Yeah, I think I want to reframe that a little bit, because I think we all learn from these things, right? So they’re not always mistakes. And changes. Yeah, or challenges or yeah, all obstacles, all those things. Because I think what, what often happens is we are starting from a really good place of intention, people are like we want to do this, we want to put CX first, I just saw some data recently that said, it’s the number one priority for all these leaders for 2022. But then when you look at the funding, it’s not there. And so we often talk a big game about it, but we don’t put the funding or the resources toward it. And so I think when we think about what leaders should consider number one, it’s hard to say this, because I’m a big dreamer. I love thinking big, but sometimes we think too big and we say, Oh, we can take this all on. And I know I’m only a team of one person, and I have no funding and no support. But I’m going to change the world here. And that can set somebody up to really not succeed. And so we have to get more realistic about our goals, and how long things actually take. We are many of us are worked for organizations that have been around for a very long time. And they didn’t have customer experience. They didn’t even say those words until about 10 years ago. And now they still don’t have a customer experience leader, they still don’t have certain pieces of that. And so we’re retrofitting this whole strategy and idea and discipline into these organizations that literally have been around for a century in some cases. And we’re setting goals for like a year, that should be for really five years. So getting realistic, which again, I hate to say that because people want change, and they want to see it and they’ve got such good intentions. And I support all that. So that’s one thing. And the other thing is really not sharing success when we have it and not connecting those dots enough. So that when we start seeing the positive response to the work that we do to making sure that, you know, wow, the employees now really love working here, the employee surveys going up, because they say that they understand their role and what they’re doing for the customer more. Well, customer experience, folks should be, you know, raising the banner about that and getting out the noisemakers and saying hey, look at this, everybody. But sometimes we don’t really connect those dots for other people enough. And so leaders don’t always see the progress in the way that they should. And that’s what I love about that success statement because it forces us to think about it it forces us to think about if we do this, how will that impact are organizational goals. And then you start talking about it over and over and over, you start reporting on it, you start sharing your wins, sharing customer stories, which are so important, dashboards are great, but we need people, we need humans, we need stories. And we have to put all that together. So those two things I think are most important is and really just standing up for our customers wherever we can, in a way that everybody in the organization understands that we all win. When we do that.

Gregorio Uglioni 20:33
It’s, it’s, it’s really great. And staying in your example, and you spoke about the game at the end, if you want to win the championship, then you need to win each match or let’s say each match. And the end, it’s also important to have great leaders, let’s take the example of the trainer that’s could do this, the end of six are the VP of Customer experience. And this is a key role to motivate all the employees and to motivate the company around what’s your view? Or what are the most important traits of customer experience professionals or this dis people that requires to win the championship? From your point of view?

Jeannie Walters 21:19
I love I love that we’re just going all in on the sports. Yeah, I think the the captain, if you will of the team, they have to really be this wonderful combination of that head and heart mentality, right? Like CX leaders have to be able to speak about the actual results, understand data, understand how to leverage data, understand how to really look at data in a way that’s meaningful to gather those insights. And then they also have to be storytellers, they have to be people who can connect on this very human individual level, to turn that data and those insights into action. Because the the thing that I see again, and again, is that there are some very data driven leaders. And in the last 10 years, we spent so much time obsessing about data, that we decided that that was the ultimate truth no matter what. And the problem is, we ignored other data, we ignored anecdotal data we ignored when customers told us things that we knew were true. And we would say, well, we better send out 20,000 surveys to find that out, even though we knew that was true, that is still data. So we have to bridge that gap a lot between the human aspect and what we know and doing what’s right. Along with, okay, the data is telling us this, and so we have to act on it. So really, that is one of the most important characteristics that a CX leader needs to have. And then communication in general, both with the team and with the organization at large as well as with customers, right? Like, we have to close the loop with our customers too. So there, you know, it is a tall order. And I think as the industry has matured, we’re seeing more specialties, which can help. But we also need to make sure that the leader really understands like I am not me personally, I am not somebody who’s going to go in and slice and dice the data and do things like that. That’s not my strong suit. But I need to trust that person enough who’s doing that, that we can work together and say, I’ve got a question about this. What does this insight tell us help me understand this. And that’s super important to to have those coalition’s throughout our organization. So we can access the right data, the right information at the right moment on behalf of our customers. So I’m curious, what do you think? What do you think are the good traits of a CX leader?

Gregorio Uglioni 23:54
Commenting first on what you are saying, and I think it’s back to not today we are in sports. And it was not pre discussed with you, you know that. But what you’re saying it it makes sense, because you have a lot of data, you can calculate all the figure all the statistics, but it’s like a soccer game. At the end only one figure, it’s really count. It’s the result, you win, or you lose and it’s not how many shots on the on the goal. How many passes are many tackles are many for how many falls, it’s everything can be relevant. But at the end, the one metric that counts is the result. You win the game or you lose the game, and exactly, exactly what you’re saying. And I think it’s also one of my learnings in my customer experience career. It’s really what does for example, the CFO wants to see because he is the one owning the budgets, and it doesn’t care about NPS not because not because it don’t want to care about it or it doesn’t want to care about it. But it he doesn’t understand he has other topics or other disciplines to take care of. And, and therefore you need to really start selling your stories, creating compelling stories, sharing experiences, because experiences are human. And the figures, the numbers and the data are not human. And therefore you need to share the stories move to feelings, but at the end, you need to return the return on investment. If your CFO is giving you x, you want to see return offsets that need to be bigger than the X that was invested. And this This is this is quite clear, as you’re saying and not not willing to repeat everything what you said, what I think it’s really extremely important is the communication. Oftentimes, it’s we are focusing on the communication in one direction is to the top telling them what we are doing good and what is going well. But I think it totally makes sense all to spread this communication in the old company. Because at the end, the more support you get. And back to sports. Sorry, the more the most fans that you have, the more supporters you have. And then they help also to win this C. C escape.

Jeannie Walters 26:15
It’s true. It’s true. Yeah. And I think you you mentioned something that is really important, which is that, you know, at the end of the day, we can track all the data we want, we can have all the metrics we want. But if customers are going well, yeah, you’re okay. And they’re not really dedicated, then all it takes is one disrupter. All it takes is one organization that says, hey, you know what, we will solve that for you over here. And then all those customers will just leave. And that’s the ultimate goal. Right? That’s, that’s what we’re trying to get to is Bing, bing, disruptor proof with our organizations.

Gregorio Uglioni 26:54
Yes. And these disruptors are coming. And now it’s COVID. The next time can be financial credit crisis, or something different, or a new innovative company that comes in in your industry? That makes sense. Thank you very much. It was really a great discussion. Let’s go to the last piece, because I still want to ask three questions to you. The first one, is Easter a book that you would recommend to the audience that you said that helped me during my career?

Jeannie Walters 27:25
Yeah, well, I mean, I, one of my early mentors and guides, Jeanne Bliss, I think she’s fantastic. And you know, her Chief Customer Officer, and then Chief Customer Officer 2.0, I think are classics for a reason. So shout out to Jeanna on those. And 10 years ago, I don’t even think this book is still in print, but it’s called the leaders voice (by by Boyd Clark (Author), Ron Crossland (Author), And that really changed how I thought about communication, and understanding how our brains interpret things and everything else. So that one stands out to me, too.

Gregorio Uglioni 27:57
Thank you very much. And if somebody would like to connect with you contact you, what’s the best way?

Jeannie Walters 28:04
Yeah, well, as you know, I’m all over LinkedIn. So feel free to reach out to me there. And then we also have a program called year of CX year of And, you know, some of those things I mentioned today, the mission statement and the success statement. We have different workbooks and guides that are available for download there. And we were offering that to the community through that year of CX program. And then of course, experience is another good way to find me as well.

Gregorio Uglioni 28:32
And please, please black, also your podcast. That’s right, your LinkedIn courses flat? Yes, I Endor victory.

Jeannie Walters 28:42
Thank you for that. Yeah. So Crack the Customer code, wherever you listen to podcasts. Please go ahead and subscribe. We love hearing from CX leaders. It’s always funny because everyone’s well, I’ll get a random email. And it’s from somebody I’m like, Oh, my gosh, you were listening. Who knew? So it’s fun to hear from you. And then yeah, there are four LinkedIn courses available for you at LinkedIn learning. They’re about creating a positive customer experience. There are two about journey mapping, including a case study one and then service blueprinting, as well, those are all available at LinkedIn learning as well.

Gregorio Uglioni 29:15
Thank you very much. And really transparent. I did two of them. They are really, really good and full of insights. Thank you very much for that. And now we are coming to the last question is the genie golden nugget. It’s something that we discussed or something new that you would leave to the audience.

Jeannie Walters 29:34
Just know your mission, know what you’re doing and make sure that you carry that in your heart and that makes everything else a lot easier.

Gregorio Uglioni 29:43
Thank you very much, Jeannie. It was outstanding to have you on my podcast on the CX goalkeeper podcast. It was really a big, big pleasure. Thank you very much.

Jeannie Walters 29:53
Thank you so much. It was my pleasure as well. Thank you.

Gregorio Uglioni 29:57
And I hope that also the audience enjoyed discussion as much as I did, it was really an outstanding discussion with Jeannie. Thank you very much!

If you enjoyed 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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