Built to Win with Annette Franz – E87

Episode released on: 16. August 2022

Built to Win with Annette Franz Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper

The CX Goalkeeper had the great opportunity to interview Annette Franz

LinkedIn Headline: Coach | Keynote Speaker | Author | Putting the “Customer” in Customer Experience


  • 00:00 Game Start
  • 01:25: Annette Franz’s Introduction
  • 02:42 Annette Franz’s Values
  • 03:51 Where did the idea of the new book come from?
  • 05:25 The 10 principles in the book
  • 06:57 which principle did you enjoy writing the most?
  • 09:29 which principle is the most undervalued rated?
  • 12:53 the principle you forgot
  • 16:11 which principle was for you the most difficult to write about?
  • 17:13 which principle did you wrote as the first one?
  • 18:11 What is for you the most important message out of out of the first chapter? (Culture)
  • 19:41 What’s the key message out of the second one leadership?
  • 20:17 What’s the key message out of the third chapter?
  • 21:09 The future question (CX in 10 years)
  • 23:39 Annette’s contact details
  • 24:20 Her book suggestion
  • 24:54 Annette’s golden nugget

and much more

Annette’s Contact Details:

Her book suggestion:

  • “the customer comes second” by Hal Rosenbluth

Annette’s Golden Nuggets:

  • It is my probably my favorite quote or favorite mantra, and that is “actions speak louder than words”. And I think that’s such an important thing for everybody to remember in business and in life. “Actions speak louder than words.”

This is probably my favorite quote “actions speak louder than words”. And I think that’s such an important thing for everybody to remember in business and in life. “Actions speak louder than words.” @annettefranz on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

#customerexperience #leadership #cxgoalkeeper #cxtransformation #podcast


Gregorio Uglioni 0:00
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the CX goalkeeper podcast, your host, Gregorio Uglioni, will have 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, tonight, it’s really, really a big pleasure because I have the big opportunity to discuss again with Annette Franz. But before we discuss about the books, the latest book that she published, it’s really an outstanding book, let’s really start learning something about Annette. she’s recovering from from COVID. And therefore, first of all, Hi Annette, how are you?

Annette Franz 0:00
I am good, thank you, I’d like to let you know, it’s it’s been a rough couple of weeks, but we’re back in business. And we’re, we’re all feeling good again. So thank you.

Gregorio Uglioni 0:00
Thank you very much for accepting my invitation. And it’s really outstanding to have CX thought leader like you accepting to join podcasts to discuss about customer experience, experience and spreading the word of mouth and therefore, thank you very much tonight we would like to discuss about your latest book is built to win. And and it’s really a great book full of insights, and really packed with a lot of really interesting insight and tangible things that we can do throughout our customer experience transformation. This is the topic for tonight, but first of all, Annette, could you please introduce yourself?

Annette Franz 1:32
Yeah, of course. Well, again, thank you for having me, I really appreciate it, you know, I appreciate that you have this vehicle where we can talk about all things customer experience and employee experience and, and just really help to, you know, get the word out about about all the things that need to be done, right. But I have been in this customer experience space, since this is my 30th year 1992. I started at JD Power and Associates and has spent over the last 30 years time both on the vendor side running consulting services organizations, and then on the client side working on customer experience strategy within organizations. And then about five years ago, I left the corporate world at least somebody else’s corporate world and started my own. And for the last five plus years, I’ve been you know, consulting and coaching and doing all of that. So you know, doing all the things that I love. So I’m really enjoying this, and they’re even 30 years later, I still love doing this work.

Gregorio Uglioni 2:30
But if I’m good at math, it means we you started working when you were two years old. Is it allowed?

Annette Franz 2:37
Yes, my story is always that I started when I was four. So So thank you, I’ll take two as well.

Gregorio Uglioni 2:42
No problem at all. But we really appreciate you having in the in the CX community, sharing all your knowledge. And I think one interesting thing is also to learn a bit more about you is which values drive you in life.

Annette Franz 2:59
Oh, goodness, there’s, there’s so many. I think probably the biggest one for me is health and fitness. That’s a one that’s really important is to do whatever I need to do to stay healthy and stay fit. Loyalty. I’m I’m a very loyal person. So I really thrive on that on that value. And live it absolutely respect. Gratitude. I try to practice gratitude every day and be thankful for everything that I have and everyone around me. positivity. I think that’s another good one. I think a lot of people have always said and that you’re you’re always so positive, you’re always so happy. And and you know, yeah, even during the bad times, I try to see the good things. So. So that’s probably those are some of them. I’m sure I have more. But those are the ones that are sort of top of mine.

Gregorio Uglioni 3:51
Sure. Thank you very much. And you said during the bad times, you tried to look at the good side. And with your first book, you wrote a letter to CEO, and perhaps not everybody understood that. And therefore you decided to write them again. With “built to win”. And this is really a great book. And thank you very much. Which which by sharing this, this this book together with with us. Where does the need for a new book come from? Because it’s really full packed. We discussed that. Was there the right point in time after COVID? Well, how did you came to this idea?

Annette Franz 4:29
Well, you know, I think I think there are a couple of different things. I think one of them is that I don’t think people really understand what it means to be customer centric. And I don’t also have found that culture is just such a people just think culture is such a fluffy thing and it doesn’t have any impact on the business and it can shift and change and be whatever it needs to be or wants to be in the moment. And that’s just not right. And so I wrote this to really help people understand what it means tends to be customer centric. And then also, obviously, the importance of, you know, culture being the foundation of the organization. You know, there’s that saying, out there culture eats strategy for breakfast. And it’s, it’s so true, you know, if you don’t have that solid foundation to the business, the rest of it is a lot more challenging than it needs to be. And so, so I wrote this book to inspire leaders really to think differently about culture and about being customer centric.

Gregorio Uglioni 5:25
Thank you very much. And you wrote 10 principle, I am reading them building a winning organization routed 10 foundational principles that ensure you drive value for customer and for the business. This is really a great, great vision and purpose of this book. How did you came to summarize everything in 10 different principles?

Annette Franz 5:49
Well, interestingly enough, I actually started out with eight. And I had been, I had been doing presentations and writing about and talking about eight principles. And, and hadn’t really gotten to 10. Yet, although I in some way, shape or form had always talked about the other two as well. And so, you know, there may be more, there may be more than the 10 that I wrote about when I felt like those were really the strongest pieces of the foundation, the strongest principles, or the strongest disciplines that had to be in place, in order for an organization to be to be customer centric.

Gregorio Uglioni 6:25
And what I really like and enjoy is the structure with a simple simple structure, you have 10 pillars, 10 principles, and you can start working on them. And you can also see how they are interlinked and connected among themselves.

Annette Franz 6:42
And that’s a great point, because a lot of people ask me, Well, which one, which one should I do, or which one should I start with an ISA, they’re really all 10, to your point, they’re all linked, right? And so they all they really do all go together, but you need to do all of them.

Gregorio Uglioni 6:56
It’s clear, and as you’re stating, with other words, in the book, you cannot be truly customer centric, if you are not employee centric. And if you don’t have a governance, you cannot create a culture because at the end, somebody needs to take decisions. And therefore it’s really extremely interesting. And we pre discussed also that I would like to structure the discussion bit in a different way, because you were on all different podcasts, you presented the 10 principle several times, and therefore I said, Let’s transform it in within a game and ask different questions. Now, coming back to this to the principles, and therefore I kick off, which principle did you enjoy writing the most?

Annette Franz 7:41
That’s like asking me which one is my favorite child? Right?

Gregorio Uglioni 7:46
One, perhaps,

Annette Franz 7:49
Alabama, and Georgia? I would say probably, if I had to pick one, it would be outside in thinking and doing versus inside out thinking and doing. And I think, you know, most people talk about, most people talk about it. Well, a couple a couple of different reasons why that one was probably the one I enjoy writing most. Most people talk about outside in thinking, but they don’t talk about the doing, we have to, we can’t just think that’s not going to solve the problem, right? So we actually have to do. So that’s really important. And, you know, just outlining the differences in what the what a business looks like when we’re when we’re outside in thinking and doing versus inside out. A lot of companies, the example that I love to use is a client that I met with a couple of years ago, and we were all sitting around a table. And we were just getting ready to talk about upcoming journey mapping workshops. And we were talking about the customers and the personas. And I said, Well, who are your customers? And they kept saying, We think I think our customers, we think our customers and I was like, whoa, whoa, hang on a second. Every time you say I think or we think our customers about $1 in the jar on the table there because what we’re doing right now is we’re doing inside out thinking we think we know who our customers are. But we actually haven’t done the work to really know who our customers are. So the difference between inside out in a very simplistic way the difference between inside out and outside in is an inside out we say I think the customer and when we’re outside in, we say I know the customer because we’ve done the work and we’ve brought the customer voice into everything that we do. So that’s that that was a fun one for me, right? I like it.

Gregorio Uglioni 9:29
And I really like how you’re explaining that because you start with I think and you you say we need also to do stuff. And for me, the thing that I always mentioned is a customer journey always look extremely, extremely good on paper. If you if you have it on PowerPoint in your steering committee. It’s the perfect customer journey. But the big point is then the customer start going through the customer journey. He or she is facing the first the first issues and therefore it’s totally make sense to truly really under Stan understand the customers? Yeah. Going to the next question, again, a super simple question for you, which principle is the most undervalued rated?

Annette Franz 10:13
I think the most undervalued one is the second one, which is about leadership, commitment and alignment. Um, I think that and the reason that I say that is I’ve, first of all, I’ve talked to plenty of leaders who don’t, like I said, the book it was was written to inspire leaders to think differently, who don’t understand the concept of customer centricity who don’t understand, or there have been plenty of tables that I’ve sat around leadership tables that I’ve sat around, where we’ve talked about the impact, or the importance of the employee experience to the customer experience, and then looking at me and saying, Oh, I never even thought about that, you know, those kinds of things. And so, really helping the leadership team understand why this is important. And getting their commitment across the board, right, and every leader has to be. So that’s why it’s commitment and alignment, because every leader has to be on board, if we don’t have every leader across every department, across every business unit on board, then when the customer goes to interact with the brand, they have different experiences with different departments or different business units. And it feels like five different brands after interacting with five different departments. And so that’s really important. So we need leadership commitment to the resources that we need to do the work, whether it’s time human financial capital, whatever resources we need to do the work that we need to do. And then we also need to commit their commitment to the success of what we’re about to undertake. And so, and I focus really heavily on commitment, and the difference between commitment and buy in right the buy in is just Yeah, that sounds great. I’ll, you know, do what you got to do kind of thing, whereas commitment is, I’m putting everything on the line. And I’m giving you what you need my support my resource, you know, the resources and everything we need as an organization to get this done. And so I think that’s, that’s a really important thing. And again, the alignment is really important, because alignment is a choice across the leadership, team alignment is a choice. We need everybody to be heard, pros and cons. And everybody get there, get everybody from the leadership team, get their voice heard, and then come out of that meeting come out of that decision with everybody is in support, everybody has decided that this is what we’re going to do. And so there’s no meeting after meeting, there’s no bad mouthing the decisions that were made, we leave the meeting, we leave the you know, making that decision to move forward with with the work to improve the experience and the culture and everything. We leave that meeting and we just go out to our teams, and we get them to dive in and do the work rather than like I said no meeting after the meeting, no bad mouthing did this decision. So I think that’s a really important piece is, is how important leadership commitment and alignment and especially alignment is to to this.

Gregorio Uglioni 12:53
Yes. And and I think that this is really key. So it’s also what I am often facing that leadership, give this or give the buy in. But then when they need to really to take decisions. They say, Oh, no, let’s let’s quick look at the business case, let’s introduce this fee, because we need to we need to ensure our financial stability. And the next time we will do something for the customer, they will will not find that they won’t find out that. And I think what what you’re saying it’s really key. And and for me extremely important also in another principle that you are mentioning is we need always to take the decision in favor of the customers. And not every 10th Or every fifth because then at some point in time somebody remember us or somebody went again to an outstanding a net France course. And they checked Oh, they’re speaking about customer experience. The next meeting, I will speak about customer and in two meetings, after two minutes, they will forget about it. And that totally makes sense. I think indeed, this is something that you’re also mentioning in the book, you forgot, allow myself to say that you forgot one principle that you added after after the submission. But what’s happened?

Annette Franz 14:08
Yes, I know. I know. That was one where, you know, I’ve talked about this concept. So many times in relation to customer experience that being customer centric and everything and I like like I said in the book I wrote in the book and I said I woke up in a sweat one morning and said How can I forget this principle? How can I do that? And that principle is governance bridges, organizational gaps, organization gaps, right? Such an important part of of all of this right? governance has two parts to it the structure which is all the cross functional committees and then what I call the operating model and the operating model is you know, the data, the tools, the processes, the people who are going to do the work and who who are going to get things done right and how and how they’re

Gregorio Uglioni 14:58
sorry, sorry that I interrupt you but I allow myself because in the book, there is an outstanding picture, exactly what you’re saying about this topic. And there, I really suggest to the audience to look at this picture, because it’s explained in a super simple way, what needs to be done. And it’s something that you can leverage to explain to others. I’m super sorry that I interrupted, you know, that but it was, it was really, for me mind blowing, I did really a picture of that. And I said that to my to my boss, and I told them, we need to talk about that

Annette Franz 15:30
this is we need to do this. Yeah, definitely. Well, thank you for that. Yeah, you’re you’re absolutely right. That’s a great point, it is that simple way to look at that. And quite honestly, governance is, you know, it’s, it’s really also about how we get the entire organization working together for this common goal and this common outcome. And a customer centric culture is one that is collaborative, by nature, and by definition, and so this governance really is an important part to getting the customer centric culture that you want. So yeah, so like I said, I woke up in a sweat one morning and said, How could I have missed this one? Or how did I not put this in the book. But it’s in there now. So.

Gregorio Uglioni 16:11
And we enjoyed the reading, reading. Thank you very much. Another interesting topic, it’s perhaps which principle was for you the most difficult to write about?

Annette Franz 16:22
Probably that one, I would say the one about governance. And and the reason behind that, and because as you know, when you read that chapter, at the end of the chapter, I apologized, I apologize for making it a little bit more technically heavy than the other chapters are. So just for that reason, I’m because I tried to, I tried to you probably because we’ve talked before, you probably know, as you’re reading the book, it’s really in my voice, it’s how I say things. It’s how I talk about things, right. And that’s how I wanted this book to come across as well, as you know, it came across that way in the first book, and I wanted this book to come across that way as well. And, and this one was a little bit harder for me to get it into my voice, because it’s a little bit more technical and detailed when it comes to governance. But but it’s there. But you know, it that was that was probably the hardest one.

Gregorio Uglioni 17:13
I can understand that. Because it’s also technically technically complex, which which principle to do, did you wrote as the first one.

Annette Franz 17:24
But you know, I pretty much wrote the book in the order that it is, and I may have jumped around here and there, but definitely wrote the first one cultures of foundation first, because I do believe that is the foundation. And then you probably, I think maybe I skipped around when once I got past six or seven and just started, you know, doing other pieces and just trying to add on and go back and build on some things that I already said. But for the most part, I wrote it in the order that the principles are in it. And so because I also view them, especially the first three, culture, leadership and employee experience, probably the three most important ones in there. So don’t don’t quote me on that don’t. Don’t let anybody hear that I said that. But

Gregorio Uglioni 18:11
I hope that people continue reading the book, not only goes to the chapter three, and then as you’re mentioning this to two are extremely important, perhaps to give some some highlight to the audience. The cultural topic is extremely important. What is for you the most important message out of out of the first chapter?

Annette Franz 18:34
I think it really has to do with the importance of knowing that culture is core values and behaviors, and that we have to define the core values, we should have at least one customer driven one in there. And if we don’t have a customer driven per se, like, you know, people first or something like that, that very specifically mentions the customer or people that we then define the associated behaviors, acceptable and unacceptable behaviors for each value. And tie those two outcomes outcomes for employees, outcomes for customers and outcomes for the business. And I think, I think that’s the biggest message that I wanted to get out there core values is is or I’m sorry, culture is core values, most behaviors, you’ve got to define the behaviors associated with each core value, and then you have to socialize and operationalize it. And I think that’s where a lot of times culture falls down. As we’ve got these core values. We don’t define the behaviors. And we don’t socialize and we don’t operationalize. And so I think that’s probably the key message coming out of that chapter.

Gregorio Uglioni 19:41
Thank you very much. And based on the fact that we have the pleasure to chat with you. What’s the key message out of the second one leadership?

Annette Franz 19:49
Yeah, but as I mentioned before, just you know, the commitment and the alignment alignment is key, and I don’t think a lot of people think about alignment. There’s a lot of talk about leaders You’re buying. But like I said, we want commitment, not just buying. But we need that alignment, we need everybody on the same page, we need every department head, we need every business unit had every leader in the organization on the same page. Otherwise, we’re just we’re just going to get stuck.

Gregorio Uglioni 20:17
It totally makes sense. We spoke a lot about organization, culture leadership. And I think you mentioned the church, the third chapter, it’s about the employees. What’s the key message out of the third chapter?

Annette Franz 20:29
Well, the key messages is that is really around if we want to put customers first we have to put employees more first, they’re both important. They’re linked employee experience drives customer experience, we don’t necessarily want to say one is the priority over the other, right. But if we’re gonna put customers first, we have to put employees more first. Because if we don’t have customers to design, build, sell service, whatever your products and services, who’s going to do it? Where are they going? where’s it gonna come from, right, and so, so we do need to make sure that employees have a great experience, which will ultimately lead to great customer experience as well.

Gregorio Uglioni 21:10
Thank you very much, Annete, for all these great insights about your book. And now the audience, it’s your turn, please pause this podcast, go to Amazon and buy this outstanding book. It’s really a great book, a lot of insights. And it’s worth it to buy it. But as a matter of fact that you are still read if one or two question addition for you. And it’s the question that I really like to discuss, because you’ve wrote two books that are really great. And now let’s pause for a second and close our eyes. We are in 10 years time from now. And we’re speaking about customer experience. What are we speaking about?

Annette Franz 21:50
Oh, gosh, I honestly don’t know, I don’t have an answer. Because like I said, you know, after 30 years, I thought that things were going to be different, every 10 years over across those 30 years, right. So I’ll give you an example. When I was at JD Power associates in the early 90s. I would go and talk to clients about Well, it’s great that we were listening to the voice of the customer, but we listened to employees as well. And and you know, people would say, we’re listening to customers now we’ll listen to employees later. And that’s a message that I kept getting out there over and over and over again over the years. And I think finally now companies are we had to go through a pandemic for companies to realize that, hey, we need to pay attention to our employees. Right. And so, so what did that take? 30 years? I don’t know. And probably even longer. I’m sure there were there were people beating that drum long before I was so. So I don’t have a good answer for you. But I will say that I hope it’s better than today. And it’s better because companies are including customers in the design process. They’re cooperating with customers that really listening to customers, and, and designing the experience that meets their needs and helps them actually solve problems. So finding, as as Seth Godin says, finding products for your customers, not customers for your products. And I would also from a professional standpoint, for customer experience professionals to no longer have to prove the ROI of designing and delivering a great experience. Because everybody gets it right. Everybody gets that the business is all about the customer. And if we don’t have customers, we have no business. Right? And so those are, those are not necessarily, you know, those aren’t trends. But those are my hope for the future of customer experience.

Gregorio Uglioni 23:39
But I think this was an outstanding answer, not only a good one, but it was really great because it’s what we are trying to do. And it’s really the vision that that we have. Now we are coming to an end of this small game that we had together. But I would like to ask three questions to you. The first one, let’s say the easiest one, your contact details, if somebody would like to contact you what’s the best way?

Annette Franz 24:04
Yeah, um, you can reach me through through either one of my websites, either Annette Franz .com, or CX-journey .com. Or connect with me on LinkedIn. I love connecting with people on LinkedIn. I’ve met so many amazing people through that network. And, and that’s pretty awesome. So

Gregorio Uglioni 24:20
thank you very much. I will put all this information in the show notes. The second last question, it’s a book suggestion is a book that helps you throughout your career also or during your life.

Annette Franz 24:35
Oh, gosh, I don’t know if there’s one that’s I’ve read so many books. I will recommend one that I that I think every customer experience every employee experience every leader out there should read this book. I think it’s a I think it’s such a great book. It was written it was actually written in the early 90s. And when they talked about the technology that was there in the 90s you know The mainframe and the fax machines, and all of those things and how they talk about that technology and adopting that technology. It’s sort of the same conversation that we had were having 30 years later about different technology. So it’s actually a really interesting book. So the book is, “the customer comes second” by Hal Rosenbluth and like I said, it was written, I believe it was written in 1992. And he just gives such great examples of hey, so Hal Rosenbluth is the founder of or CEO of our Hal Rosenbluth international travel travel agency. And if you just give so many great examples, and so many inspirational ideas and suggestions of how to treat your people, well, both your employees, especially your employees, but he gives them some examples for customers as well. So it really is a great read.

Gregorio Uglioni 25:53
Thank you very much for your suggestion. And now we’re coming to the last question. It’s Annette’s golden nugget. It’s something that we discussed or something new that you would like to do.

Annette Franz 26:05
I leave you with this. This is my golden nugget. It is my probably my favorite quote or favorite saying our favorite, whatever you want a mantra, and that is actions speak louder than words. And I think that’s such an important thing for everybody to remember in business and in life. But actions speak louder than words.

Gregorio Uglioni 26:24
Annette thank you very much for your time. It was really a great pleasure to have you back on the CX Goalkeeper podcast.

Annette Franz 26:30
Thank you for having me.

Gregorio Uglioni 26:32
And I hope that also the the audience enjoyed this discussion as much as I did. And we really enjoy getting getting your feedback, please let us know myself or I met directly to our website, or to LinkedIn. In this case, I would like to conclude this podcast with one sentence out of the book of Annette. It’s again a part of the letter to the CEO. And this is something that sticks out for me and I try always to remember, “if you don’t infuse the customer into your business and into everything you do, then I don’t know why you are in business. It’s not to maximize shareholder value. That’s an outcome be the means to get there is to relentlessly focused on the customer day in and day out.

Annette thank you very much. Thank you.

Annette Franz 27:21
Thank you for having

Gregorio Uglioni 27:24
if you enjoyed this episode, please share it 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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