Customer experience expert Jeanne Bliss joined us for a webinar where she spoke about her new book ‘Would You Do That to Your Mother’, and how businesses can provide customer service that would quite literally “make mom proud!”
Bliss urges companies to make business personal to earn ardent fans and admirers, by focusing on one deceptively simple question: “Would you do that to your mother?“
“Make Mom Proud” companies give customers the treatment they desire, and employees the ability to deliver it. They turn “gotcha” moments into “we’ve got your back” moments by rethinking business practices, and they enable employees to be part of the solution to fix customer frustrations.
About Jeanne Bliss
Jeanne is the Founder and President of CustomerBliss & Co-Founder of CXPA. She is one of the foremost experts on customer-centric leadership and the role of the Chief Customer Officer.
A consultant and thought leader, Jeanne guides C-Suite and Chief Customer Officer clients around the world toward earning the right to business growth and prosperity, by improving customers’ lives. Jeanne pioneered the role of the Chief Customer Officer and is an architect of the customer experience movement.
Since 1983 she’s been a five-time Chief Customer Officer, has Coached 15,000 global executives on how to earn admirable growth by improving lives, she has delivered 1,500 keynotes, and has authored four international best-selling books on Customer Experience.
Webinar: What we covered
As customers, we want our lives to be improved. We want to be honored, taken care of and shown dignity and respect and therefore our customers want the same.
Many of the lessons we learned as kids are things that we fundamentally know need to exist inside our business operations, in how we treat our customers and how we treat our employees.
Jeanne gives examples of people who grew their businesses by honoring the human at the end of their decision by enabling people to act in good conscience and remove actions that may be unfavorable to customers.
The practices Jeanne touches upon are primarily organized around the notion of, “Would you do that to your mother?” and making business personal.
The characteristics she identified as drivers for this behavior are:
- Be the person I raised you to be – Are you honoring the dignity of employees’ lives so they can honor the dignity of customers’ lives?
- Don’t make me feed you soap – Are you getting rid of those things that are complicated that make customers’ lives difficult?
- Put others before yourself – When you design or build or launch or create something, is your focus on your customers or on your business? What do you start with first?
- Take the high road – Do you establish a balanced relationship with your customers where both sides feel like they are in a united relationship? Don’t hold all the cards and keep a balance.
Jeanne points out how these 4 behaviors have become the standard for most of us with regards to how we act in our lives. We strive to apply the lessons we learned as kids to the way that we behave at work. As both employees and customers, we gravitate to companies who create environments that encourage and celebrate these behaviors.
Be the person I raised you to be
As a manager or business owner one should always enable people to bring the best version of themselves to work. To help them achieve this, it’s important that businesses entrust their people, develop them and enable them to take action.
This approach is absolutely critical to building a spirited and engaged employee relationship.
Before we move on to a case study ask yourself – “Would you leave your mom in the middle of a hospital hallway and forget her there?”
“It’s very important to wire care into our operating processes. As we’re enabling people to do their work, enable them to be Care Givers.” – Jeanne Bliss
In 2007 Toby Cosgrove, CEO of Cleveland clinic brought all his employees together and told them – “Patients come to us for high quality care – but they don’t like us very much”
So, what did they do?
- They decided to create a simple rule which was the ‘No passing rule’. This meant that nobody could walk past a call light without going in. Overnight everyone’s job became that of a ‘Care Giver’.
- They put the title of ‘Care Giver’ on everybody’s cards
- They identified the disconnect in how doctors cared for people and changed it so the approach is personal and connected. They did this by connecting the silos and ‘rounding’ or taking care of the customer, an approach that takes into consideration the entire family.
Don’t make me wash your mouth with Soap!
As business we inadvertently put our customers through some inconveniences we don’t necessarily realize. From waiting, lack of communication and not knowing your customer’s journey with our business e.g what their last purchase was or with whom they spoke with last.
Jeanne breaks it down for us by asking “Would you ask your mom to keep re-introducing herself to you?”
Around the world, many businesses require customers to remember who they spoke with last and what they purchased, which tends to create value erosion as customers aren’t known and honored for who we are.
Stitch Fix is a company that is (as Jeanne puts it) a Netflix for clothes. You give your info and preferences and a few weeks later they send you a curated box of clothes. Their approach involves getting to know you first and then curating clothes to support your life.
The folks at ‘Stitch Fix’ have built a ‘You know me engine’.
Here’s how it works:
- Ask and learn from customers
- They ask you to send over your Pinterest pins
- They use AI by looking at other people with similar likes and preferences and curate items that you would gravitate towards
- Adding humanity to the mix. They have stylists who listen and have conversations with their customers.
While other clothing businesses were losing money, Stich Fix saw unprecedented growth.
Put Others Before yourself
This particular characteristic is about honoring how you’ve built what you’ve built from your customer’s point of view. You need to remember to start with customer goals in order to achieve your own.
Once again, ask yourself – “Would you turn down your mother’s warranty claim only 3 days out of warranty?”
What would prevent this from happening is understanding the moments in your customer’s life when they’re going to need you a little a bit.
Jeanne tells us that enabling our front line and people with the knowledge of how and when to make exceptions is key. It’s about proactively developing things and gestures your people can do to help customers in difficult situations.
Alaska Airlines developed a “We trust you toolkit” for all their employees. They have identified the few things that may happen to someone while flying and identified these vulnerable moments people may find themselves in.
Every single person from the Baggage handler to the people on the phone to the people working at the check-in desk all have access to a mobile app with a series of options that they choose to take for their customers based on the situation.
Alaska Airlines’ CEO encourages ALL employees to act and help the customer without asking for permission. It’s all about acting in that moment, taking a decision, and empowering your employees to be able to help customers.
Alaska Airlines encourages their employees to connect with customers and act, by stepping up and delivering value.
Alaska Airlines has been identified by many as the #1 domestic airline.
Take the High Road
The companies that grow and earn the most admiration do so because their leaders create industry practices that end up defining their industries.
Lemonade Insurance is a disrupter in the insurance industry. They did a few things to build a foundation of trust.
- They charge a transparent 20% fee.
- They pay majority of their claims in 5 minutes.
- They ask you of causes close to you and give any money left over to these causes.
Lemonade’s model is built on trust. If you’re honorable and trust Lemonade, they will trust you and trust you’re putting in the right claim. They don’t have any forms to fill out, instead they have a mobile app: you look into the camera and do an honesty pledge.
This honesty helps deliver back to the organization as trust given is trust received. Lemonade trusts the claim you’ve put in is correct and pays anything that may be left over to a cause that’s close to you.
In closing, Jeanne pointed out that our responsibility is simple: it is to improve lives. She went on to list four questions we should all ask ourselves moving forward
- Are you developing your people and enabling your people to be the best they can be?
- When you’re re-thinking and building how your customer navigates your business, are you making it as easy as you can?
- Are you making this process the easiest you can? Is your focus your customer’s goals or your own business goals?
- Do you take the high road in your policies and fine print? Do a trust audit across your organization to do the right thing for your customers and your employees.
So as you’re doing all of this and building your business, one thing that will help steer your decisions and actions is the question: Would you do that to your mother?