Episode 145 : Understanding the Power of Delivering an Amazing Employee and Customer Experience

Jason S. Bradshaw is a global strategic adviser to C-suite executives and start-ups, a keynote speaker on customer and employee experience, digital transformation and leading through crisis.

He has led transformative change with some of the most recognizable brands like Target, Fairfax and Volkswagen. Delivering phenomenal customer-centric growth including over 200% increase in lead generation, $36 million in e-commerce sales in year one, and decades of customer and employee metrics improvements.

He is a best-selling author on customer and employee experience, recipient of over 40 industry awards and voted 1 of 30 global gurus on customer service and experience.

Questions

  • In your own words, can you share a little bit about your journey, how you got to where you are today?
  • Can you maybe share one or two examples of just experiences you’ve had either working in an organization where you saw that the employee experience is just as important as the customer experience or even in a capacity where you played a leadership role and you saw that it really played an impactful part?
  • What are some areas that you think organizations have had to maybe give a little bit more emphasis to, especially in light of this global pandemic?
  • Could you share with us maybe what’s the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely can’t live without in your business?
  • Could you also share maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you, it could have been a book that you read recently, or maybe a book that you read a very long time ago, but it still has had a great impact on you.
  • We have a lot of listeners who are business owners and managers who definitely feel that they have great products and services, but sometimes they feel that they lack the constantly motivated human capital, so constantly motivated human people. If you were sitting across the table from one of these persons, what is the one piece of advice that you would give them to have a successful business?
  • Could you share with our audience, what’s the one thing that’s going on in your life right now that you’re really excited about? It could be something that you’re working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you’ll tend to revert to this quarter or saying, it kind of just helps to get you back on track or get you refocused.

Highlights

Jason’s Journey

Me: Even know we read your bio and it really does sum up all you’ve done in your lifetime. We always like to hear from our guests, in their own words a little bit about their journey, how they got to where they are today. And I have quite an idea because I’ve read about half of your book, it’s all about CEX so I do know a little bit, but maybe you could just share that summary for us so that our guests can get a great understanding of who you are.

Jason shared that his journey started at the age of 14, like so many young teenagers, he wanted to buy stuff and he could have gone and worked at a local store or he could do something different, he went down the path of doing something different and started selling his own telecommunication and computer hardware and software.

And it really came about because he had this undying curiosity of this thing called business, his parents had side hustles, his grandparents had their own businesses and he just thought, there’s got to be a smarter way than just going to work at the local supermarket and getting minimum wage was not the fast track to get the nice shiny gadgets he wanted to buy.

So, it all started at that first business, but at the age of 12, he can remember saying to dad, “Can you buy me this business magazine?” And he looked at him like he was some crazy kid, but he did in a way. And when he was interviewed at 14 years of age, he said, “I can’t compete on price, but I can compete on the service that I deliver.”

And that has been the hallmark of his career. For over 20 years, he’s worked with some of the world’s largest brands, helping them significantly improve the experiences that they deliver through caring about their customers. And this is a journey, not a destination.

So, certainly over the 20 years, the way he talk about it, the things that he’s done and the results that he’s delivered has improved, but it all comes down to those very early days where he was curious about business and at the same time of having that curiosity, he wasn’t just reading about how to sell stuff but he was reading people like Tom Peters and his book The Pursuit of Wow!: Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-Turvy Times, and about how you can differentiate yourself in more ways than just through product and price.

The Importance of Employee Experience and Customer Experience

Me: Now, as I mentioned earlier, I started reading your book, It’s All about CEX!: The Essential Guide to Customer and Employee Experience. And I just want you to maybe share one or two examples of just experiences you’ve had either working in an organization where you saw that the employee experience is just as important as the customer experience or even in a capacity where you played a leadership role and you saw that it really played an impactful part. Because as you mentioned in the book, there are times when you said some senior leadership persons see customer experience as a feel good type of thing and they don’t necessarily see the bottom line impact of it.

And you gave quite a few examples of if you take care of people inside of course, they will take care of external customers, and that will create loyalty and retention. But just give us maybe two examples that you’ve had, as I said, either as a leader or just working in an organization as an employee.

Jason shared that he can remember starting a job with a telecommunications company as the National Customer Service Manager of an enterprise team and he didn’t know it at the time, but sometime after starting one of the people more senior than him said to him, “The reason we gave you the team that we gave you was because we figured it’s been broken for so long, if you get it wrong, what’s it matter?”

It’s been broken for so long. And what he walked into was he thinks he would call it the departure lounge, because people were leaving the team, leaving the business just as fast as you could recruit them when he turned up. And you can imagine what that’s like, you’ve got new people that are worried about getting through the trial period, of their probation period, you’ve got new people that absolutely have not got the skills or the ingrained training around what they’re meant to be doing.

And then the only tenured people or the majority of the tenured people within the team are there because they’re fearful that they can’t get another job. And so, you don’t necessarily have the talent, you have what you have.

And every metric and they were serving corporate customers, every metric that there was, was failed.

And wind forward just six months, and every metric was being achieved, they were no longer being referred to as the departure lounge, because they had some turnover when he first started, but that was intentional turnover as they rebuilt the team.

And rebuilding the team was about really being clear with their team members about what success looked like, about providing them with regular coaching bites. So, not expecting someone to know everything from day one, or trying to train them everything from day one, but consistently improve their skills.

And then the third thing was bringing humanity into the team. So, if someone made a mistake, not using that as a reason to chastise them, or belittle them, but rather using that as an opportunity to help them learn and grow.

Now, there is always a limit to that one, someone can’t make a mistake, the same mistake every day for 50 days. But if you take it a genuine approach that people turn up wanting to do a great job, and you enable them to do so and when they have a misstep, you walk them through that, the results are phenomenal.

And like he said, in 6 months, in under 6 months, we went from meeting no metrics to being the only team meeting all the metrics. And those metrics, importantly, weren’t just organizational metrics, they were every month judged by corporate performance of their customers.

So, the customers that they were serving had contractual service levels that were different to each other, and they had to meet them all. And so, he thinks that’s a real testament to what can happen when you actually start caring about the employees.

And, of course, it’s not just in contact centres where that may makes sense, it matters everywhere. And equally, not caring about your employees can have the opposite effect of what he was just explaining.

He worked for a company where there was a new senior leader joined the leadership team and that individual believed in one thing, cost cutting.

And if you had a conversation around, “Do we have the $2 biscuit or the $2.10 cent biscuit in the lunch room, in the break room?”

Well, then the first response was, “Can we get the $1.90 biscuit and we’re going to limit the number of biscuits we put out each day because people can’t have two biscuits.” And when you have someone come in and disrupt a culture in that respect, what ends up happening is a whole lot of inefficiencies because people spend their time talking and gossiping around how things have changed for the worse and inevitably start looking for work elsewhere as opposed to being focused on the mission of the company.

Areas Where Organizations Have Place Emphasis in Light of the Global Pandemic

Me: So, the employee experience is just as important as the customer experience. I know you’re in Australia, I guess you could share a little bit about how COVID has impacted customer experience in your parts of the world. But are there some areas that you think organizations have had to maybe give a little bit more emphasis to, especially in light of this global pandemic?

I know a lot of people have to be working from home, have you seen any trends where people had to make a change or shift in terms of their approach to employee experience and customer experience since the pandemic versus pre pandemic?

Have people had to exercise a little bit more empathy and compassion towards people and is it a case where employees are less tolerant if organizations are not extending these types of behaviors to them, and does that impact the external customer?

How have you seen it playing out on your side of the world?

Jason shared that across Australia and North America where the majority of his clients are, the number one thing that he knows the pandemic has impacted organizations is the level of trust that they have in their employees.

And he means that in a really great way, think of the organizations 13/15 months ago would have never considered letting people work from home. And through necessity, they had to, and they had to also trust that their employees were going to do the right thing when they were working at home and he feels that that trust has been paid back 10 times by employees.

The real challenge now as different parts of the world open up again, is will that trust be extended, was it a situational trust?

Or was it really the turning point that led to trusting and we’ve certainly seen a lot in the media around different companies and how they’re embracing or not embracing a flexible work environment.

But definitely, he sees that on the main there is a greater willingness to have that flexibility with employees, which ultimately leads to a better experience for customers and that’s because if an employee feels empowered and trusted to do the right thing, then they’re going to do the right thing more times than not.

The other thing that has occurred is and he loves the word empathy that Yanique mentioned, is that to an extent, customers have become certainly in the early parts of the pandemic, that they themselves have had more empathy towards who they were doing business with because everyone was in this together, nothing more like a common cause to bind people together, whether it be customers or employees.

The real challenge though is what companies have done and learned through the pandemic. So, at the very beginning of the pandemic, you had empathy from customers, because they were living the same pain that the people that were serving them were living them regardless of socio demographics, everyone’s lives got disrupted, some more than others but everyone’s lives got disrupted. The real challenge though is that we’re 18 months in some countries, we’re 18 months into the pandemic and there are companies still using the pandemic as an excuse for bad customer service.

There’s a telephone company that he won’t name names, but the telephone company is a very large company and when you contact them today, whether it be via telephone, by web form, via online chat, the very first thing that they say to you is that, “Due to the pandemic, there we are experiencing significant delays.”

Now, they have a large outsourced operation that, yes, 18 months ago was having some problems, but they’ve also had 18 months to find a solution to that problem. And organizations need to move beyond the pandemic as a reason for not delivering a great experience for customers.

And the research is there to back that up, 30% of consumers will now leave a business after just one bad experience and it’s easy for them to do so. There are companies that are doing things today that they just 2 years ago would have never thought they would be doing but they’re doing it because they have to survive.

And that becomes the customer’s new expectations, once you start doing home delivery because of the pandemic, as soon as your country opens up, or your city opens up, that doesn’t mean the customers just suddenly doesn’t enjoy the benefits of home delivery.

And so, he thinks the real challenges that we’ve had this is massive injection of empathy up front on every side of the coin but organizations are not taking the lead during the pandemic to reinvent, to fix their broken things that were broken in the beginning so that their customers don’t have a reason to look elsewhere.

Me: So, those are really, really good things that you brought up and I’m happy that you were able to show us where it is that customers have been placing an emphasis on especially since the pandemic as well as where organizations have been putting their emphasis on.

App, Website or Tool that Jason Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

When asked about online resources that he cannot live without in his business, Jason shared that he’s going to say the Qualtrics Learning Network. Qualtrics is a large software company that provides research solutions in the experience management space.

And whether it’s Qualtrics, or someone else, what he’s saying here is, and the reason he says Qualtrics is because there is almost every day new case studies, new thought leadership, new information to help individuals in small businesses or in large enterprises grow their practice, their intentional practice on delivering great customer and employee experiences.

And so, he thinks the best online resource for any entrepreneur out there or leader is one like the Qualtrics Learning Network where you can constantly get fed new thought leadership and new ways of doing things and not because you have to change what you’re doing every week, but a healthy curiosity and openness to see what is class leading today will help inform your decisions and ensure that you continue to grow forward.

And he thinks that’s the biggest challenge that most companies have, especially small businesses have is that they start with this really great ambition to be better than the store down the road and perhaps at first they are but they fail to continue to evolve and innovate so that they stay competitive and mindful that today their experiences that they’re delivering are being judged not based on the last time he had his car serviced, or the last time he went to a bank, it’s been judged on the best experience, his last best experience regardless of the industry. So, something like the Qualtrics website where you get exposure to the evolving nature of business globally he thinks is really great.

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Jason

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Jason shared he’d already mentioned Tom Peters The Pursuit of Wow!: Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-Turvy Times, it was one of the very first business books he ever read, he thinks everything in that book still plays through today, anything by Tom Peters will certainly get you thinking. But let’s move to today, there are three books:

  1. ICONIC: How Organizations and Leaders Attain, Sustain, and Regain the Highest Level of Distinction by Scott McKain
  2. The Convenience Revolution: How to Deliver a Customer Service Experience that Disrupts the Competition and Creates Fierce Loyalty by Shep Hyken
  3. Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact by Phil M. Jones

He mentioned those three books because any of them will absolutely help you start to get clarity and start to move forward in creating a better experience for your customers and your employees. But here’s the thing, none of those books are about hugging your customers, it’s about making really strategic steps to improve the commercial viability of your business, while also differentiating your business through the experiences that you create and deliver.

Advice for Business Owners Who Lack the Constant Motivated Human Capital

Jason shared that the first thing piece of advice that he would give is ask your employees “When was the last time they had experienced achievement in your business?”

“And what’s preventing them from having achievement more regularly?”

So, humans, employees, measure their experience and their engagement with us is really impacted across three lenses, did they have success or achievement in their day, everyone wants to go home or in their working day by feeling that they actually were useful, that they achieved something, that it wasn’t just the same old, same old.

They of course, want things to not be handed to them on a silver platter, but they don’t want things to be difficult for the sake of being difficult.

And the third thing is that they want to feel a human connection with their leadership and with their business.

So, if you ask your team members, “When was the last time you had achievement and tell me why you aren’t having achievement more often?”

You will start to unearth the real challenges in your business and if you turn around and start taking action in small ways, and big ways to remove those barriers to achievement, your employees will start to see that you genuinely care, they’ll start experiencing more achievement, because you’re removing the roadblocks and through that, you’ll build engagement and loyalty and motivation.

What Jason is Really Excited About Now!

Jason shared that the number one activity that he’s working on right now is finalizing his manuscript for his next book. So, he has a new book coming out in quarter 1 – 2022 and this book has completely changed in direction at least two or three times as a result of the pandemic.

And he’s really knuckling down to finish it off, because this book will really help organizations and leaders in businesses of all size, take their business to the next level, and be really practical, and filled with great case studies to help organizations in any industry move forward. And so, he can’t wait to have it finished but he also can’t wait for people to get it in their hands, and importantly, taking action as a result.

Where Can We Find Jason Online

Twitter – @jasonsbradshaw

LinkedIn – Jason S Bradshaw

Instagram – @jasonsbradshaw

Facebook – @jasonsbradshaw

Website – www.jasonsbradshaw.com

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Jason Uses

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Jason shared, “The standard that you walk past is the standard that you accept.” We can all get so wrapped up in the busyness of the day, of the crisis, of the moment, but the moment we start walking past people in our organization, or start letting ourselves slip in our standards, and then we start to dilute the overall experience of our customers and employees. So, the standard that you will past as the standard you accept, let’s lead by example and set the standard.

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Links

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