Episode 028 : Scientific Leadership by Design with Kay Valenzuela

Kay Valenzuela is an international award winner, founder of CXchange Institute, business entrepreneur and a recognize strategist of Customer Experience Design. Kay has been revolutionizing the Spanish speaking market with her own programme that focuses on customer experience, mastering the strategic competitive advantage of customer experience and she has implemented this certification in a number of Spanish speaking countries and is looking for great opportunities to launch into the English speaking market as well.



  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • As a customer experience expert, how do you feel about customer service/ customer experience on a global level?
  • What are some every day solutions that you would recommend to a small business owner to help them improve their customer experience?
  • What are some important considerations to take into account for an entrepreneur or online business owner you believe to be successful?
  • In terms of sustaining a service culture, how do you translate that culture to be part of their DNA that it spills over into their customer experiences?
  • What are some critical qualities that a leader needs to have in order to run a business that is customer service driven?
  • How do you stay motivated every day?
  • What is the one online resource, website, tool or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • What are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • If you were sitting across the table from another business owner and they said to you that they feel they have great products and services but they lack the constantly motivated human capital, what’s the one piece of advice would you give them to have a successful business, specifically as it relates to constantly motivated human capital?
  • What is one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – something that you are working on to develop yourself or people?
  • Where can our listeners find your information online?
  • What is one quote or saying that you live by or that inspires you in times of adversity?



  • Kay Valenzuela stated that she thinks of herself as a very curious person and out of curiosity, after working with Service Quality Institute for some time and doing the interactions with the participants she had before she would always take notes on “Where did they want to go, what were the resolutions they were expecting to find?” And she started keeping track of all those questions and all the things they had on their minds and the challenges they were facing, she just wanted to find the solution for them and for herself because sometimes solutions in customer experience are not that simple, so at the end of a 4 year period, she summed it all up and started partnering with people around the world and experts in the field that started to help her out putting all the answers together and they ended up having a research on development institute and now they have the certification programme open worldwide.
  • As a Customer Experience Expert, Kay shared that with customer experience, we are facing a very interesting challenge and the message we taking across is the following, people have been trying to change people for a very long time and that hasn’t taken us very far, so what if we just start looking more inward into the organization instead of the people. That’s like a different approach to the whole customer experience issue because we keep on having these figures and we keep on having all these budgets that’s basically blowing out in the air, not knowing exactly what we are expecting from it, so now we have the opportunity to set in place a strategy that can be measured, that can be controlled and can be managed and then after we have fixed the story what we have inside then we can go ahead and talk to people.
  • As a Customer Experience Specialist, Kay shared some solutions she would give to a small business owner and it’s that the first thing we need to figure out is where we are and where do we want to go and then after we have that clear answer then maybe we can set up in place a strategy that we can follow, a strategy that we can put into a plan and make sure we take into account everything that is really important for accomplishing this strategy and the first thing would be is “Knowing the kind of service you want to deliver, how do you want to make your customers feel?” That would be the first question that you would like to answer very clearly, clearly enough so that it can also be answered and understood by all the people in your organization. Number (2) would be listen to your customers and your employees, listening is a basic must to figure out what is the strategy that you have to put in place, it doesn’t work anymore when you go from the organizational perspective, you have to listen to your customers and make sure that you are following the right path complying with three major aspects that customers have today and that is: (1) what is the level of effort they need to put in placein order to get what they want. (2) How do they feel while doing that effort and what is their success rate achieving what they want to achieve in your organization. (3) Is you have to define the journey; you have to be in touch of what happens with you or with your organization and your customers at every touch point. Make sure you track their emotions, make sure you really understand what it is they are trying to achieve at each point of contact and you have to train your people to make sure you deliver the experience you discern from them.

Yanique commented that this may be a whole lot for a small business owner to take all in – she asked how do you move the small business owner from the mindset of training being an expense and rather an investment.

Kay shared in getting business owners to understand that training is not an expense but more of an investment and is directly linked to their bottom line. Kay stated that from her point of view, what happens before is that they are absolutely right, they have been training people but on the wrong issues so they don’t see the outcome of that investment and that’s why everybody thinks it’s an expense but when you figure out that it’s a perspective issue everyone knows and does what they need to do in regardless of what they know, not only what they are trained on. So every time you hire somebody, that person comes with an experience and they will put that into place at your organization, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’re a large or a small organization, you will face the same challenges if you don’t get that communication aligned. So what training does is align the vision and align the strategy you want to put in place. If you want to have a bakery and you have to hire chefs, if you don’t tell the chefs the recipe you want to deliver, then it’s impossible for them to figure out on their own, so training would be the first step but it definitely has to be in place within the strategy to deliver great service, it will not happen out of the loop. It’s impossible to have different kind of people with different experiences, ages and different generations to think alike and to deliver a consistent message if they are not trained on it.

  • Kay Valenzuela shared some of the considerations that an online entrepreneur should take into account is that the world is digital and the digital part of the strategy has to be in place whether you have a physical space or not, you have to take into consideration what is the journey your customers are going to follow and the trends are they will go to your webpage, they will go to your social media channels, they will probably get to know you so much better than you’ll ever get to know them by the time they reach you for the first time, in fact statistics say that 8% of the purchase decision has been made online before the customer reaches anyone for the first time. It’s about understating who is the person you are selling to, who is your customer, you have to have a profound understanding of the purpose of your business in their lives and what is it they are trying to achieve when they get in contact with you be it at a physical space or a digital space. You have to make sure you are managing the whole customer journey within the customer sales cycle and make sure that you are very fast at telling them what it is exactly that is so unique about you that they want to stay on your page and they really understand what it is that they are going to achieve by doing business with you. They say you have 6 to 8 seconds to catch the attention of anyone online, so with so much noise out there and so much competition worldwide and you have to come with a clear message across right off the bat when they go to your web page.

Kay Valenzuela stated that more important is what is different about you? Why are you unique? Why do you deserve their time and most likely their money along the way?

Kay also stated that value also comes from perspective, that’s why it’s so important to be able to draw your customer persona and make sure you have a profound understanding because if you don’t know who you’re selling to, it is very difficult that you are going to create that value right off the bat within 6 to 8 seconds, so you have to know who is your target audience, what is it that makes them feel comfortable with you. There are only 2 ways to stay in business today, it’s either you look like your customers or you only do business with the people that look like you, so you really have to define the personality of your business and you really have to define who is your target audience, not everybody that buys from you is a real customer.

  • Kay stated that from her point of view, it has to do with the owner of the business, it is that primary leader that already has a vision and a way to inspire in such a dramatic way that it doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner. It will be sustainable if the leaders that manage it have a sustained vision and a sustained attitude towards their business. They are role models and the leadership line has to be in touch with that, they not only being listened to but also being watched every second of the day, so sometimes it’s very difficult to have a great experience culture if you have a leader that would say one thing when he’s in front of the customers and probably something else when the customer moves away, so the culture begins with the leadership and they have to have a sustained message that comes across really clear to what it is that they want to be for their customers and it will follow along. She stated that she has a lot of noise thinking that culture is something that you can create, culture is something that you already have depending on your behavior, so if you have an inconsistent message, you will have an unsustainable culture, if you have a clear message, you will have a sustained culture, whatever it is, whether it be of quality or not much of a quality. Whatever you’re doing, whatever you’re saying in a consistent way, it’s what becomes your culture.
  • Kay Valenzuela shared some leadership qualities a leader must have – the whole experience must be like a story, so they need to have a clear story, there’s a story that invites people to be either apart or move away from what ever you mean as an organization, so when leaders have a clear story and that story is compelling enough, it will definitely help them out not only to sustained the culture but to also have sustained message for their customers. They have to have a clear story, it’s like their identity seal and they have to find a way to create along the touch point, how are they going to tell that story on and on and on again with the same level of engagement. People say that initially, you need more engaged frontline employees and it has been her experience that what we need are more inspiring leaders.

Yanique stated that in a country, the leaders of a country are the one that inspires the citizens and that’s why the countries who their GDP’s is better and their ease of doing business are better because the leaders in the country understand, they put themselves in the customers’ shoes which are the citizens and they really understand the importance of transcending that message in a way that is tangible and you feel that it’s easy to do business.

Kay stated that when you think of other leaders that are not organizational driven and you say what is it that makes them different? How come you have such a few individuals along history to have had the power to transform the ages and the way society runs and it’s because they have something to say and they feel it’s important to them and it rubs on and she feels passionate when she thinks about this. You think about what is it that they do different? Why do you have organizations that are so successful? Why do you have departments within a failing organization that is successful? So it always comes back down to the message the leader is taking across, how much does he believe in his own dream? What does it mean to be apart of that organization? What does it mean to achieve a certain goal because it makes us better, because it inspires us? And then people follow along and it’s not business dreaming, it’s leadership dreaming, it’s the way they communicate.

  • Kay Valenzuela shared how she stays motivated everyday; she stated that she is trying to follow a very clear line. It’s has been her personal story, when she started working with customer service, she also had an entrepreneurial ambition towards training, towards what customer service meant and the minute she started getting in touch with people and feeling their concerns and all the things they have to face and the same time the big gap they had trying to find some balance into who they were when they are not working and who they were when they are working and it created a whole lot of noise. When she was able to understand customer experience in a different way, in a way that it touched her as a person and understanding how making a great impact in somebody’s life also meant that she was writing a chapter of her own story then it made a whole lot of difference and gives her so much because she sees customer experience now as her own developing story every day. She wants a great story to be told about her day, she wants to be a part of amazing stories, she wants to be a part of stories that will transcend her own leaving time and space and it can only be done through interactions we have with people, it’s the stories that we create together that makes us relevant and that sense of relevance is something that everybody wants and she found it through customer experience and the interactions with people.
  • Kay stated that the one online tool she uses everyday is Whatsapp, it’s her primary line of connection to the rest of the world now especially when she is traveling.

Whatsapp is an instant messaging app that you can connect with others through your telephone number and you can send them instant messages, you can send them files, you can send them voice notes, you can send them pictures and it’s really a great resource as a business owner.

  • Kay stated that the books that have had the biggest impact and the first one that comes to her mind is “What Got You Here Won’t Take You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful” by Marshall Goldsmith. The ways that he makes you work through the latter of life thinking how did you get to this place? And do you think you have enough to keep on the journey? And he actual makes you reflect a lot on what are the possibilities in front of you and you are able to make those choices for the better. She also mentioned that there is a book in Spanish from a Spanish writer and beautiful speaker, the book is called “Transformation” by Mario Pooch and it talks about your ability to transform at any moment in time of your life, trying to achieve happiness, whatever that means to you and how you can reinvent yourself everyday to become better, to be better for others, to leave a legacy on society and creating a great story for yourself, one that will be worth not only leaving but also talking about it.
  • Kay stated that she would ask what motivates them because if their employees are not motivated then there’s got to be something wrong with the message they are listening to. She would try to figure out what motivates that leader; does he feel that he has the same kind of connection with his business to where he started? Ask him about how he has met his expectations? Ask him how does he feel? Because if they are enthusiastic and they are really connected it simple shows and it rubs on.

Kay stated that when it comes down to leadership, embracing the possibility of being vulnerable and being transparent, it takes so much weight from the leaders’ back because sometimes they feel because they are in a leadership position, they need to have all the answers, they need to have all the strategies and they need to know everything that has to be put in place and that is actually not true. When you think of the characteristics of combining your leadership position also with the capability that your team has to flow in with you and increase your ideas, make them richer, make them profound, you will always get so much more than when you put all that weight on your back thinking that you have to have every answer, when you think about your teams, they’ll be more than happy to share into those ideas they have with you because if you really think about it, they are the ones that knows more about your business than you can because they are the ones facing the troubles and challenges every day, sometimes we are too way back or upstairs and we forget to have those interactions with the customers. Sharing those ideas and collaborative style of leadership will always give you a wider perspective of what are the right steps to take and how do you manage better, how do you lead better and how you interact with your customers better.

  • Kay stated that the one thing that she is working on right now that she is really excited about is CX Mastermind, that is a certification, it’s taken 4 years to put all the programmes together, it’s 5 different programmes, it’s an interaction certification and they are really enthusiastic. They are already down to 6 different countries and right now she is in Mexico in a great alliance with the University of Technológico, Monterey. She is very enthusiastic about the impact that the programme has made on the participants and the fact that it’s based on Science more than philosophical or business orientation, it’s taking the conversation to a whole different level. The first day they spent talking about how much do you know yourself? And people think that they are talking about how much do you know about what you like or what you don’t like? And what they are referring to is do you know how you are biologically built? There are so many answers within our brain, finding the answer to the question. Why do people do what they do? They have found that answer and they have been able to put it in a very simple communication line that people can relate to, understand and you can see in their faces when they see those “blind flashes of the obvious” just lighting up in their faces like “oh, that’s why this didn’t work” “oh, that’s why my employees didn’t listen to me” or “that’s why I couldn’t find the solution.” And it all comes down to, we all have been trying to change something that is dynamically changing on its self and we’ve stayed with a fixed pattern of doing business and that is the one thing that needs to be relocated or redesigned. It not the people, you can’t change people no matter how many hours of training you put people through, you just don’t have the power to change people, the only thing you can do is either inspire them or you can model for them, they will decide what they want.
  • Kay stated that she has a few quotes and one of her favorite is “The only thing that your competition cannot imitate is how your customers feel when they do business with you.”The other one which is more inspirational is “It’s never too late to have a new dream and work to follow it through.”



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