Monthly Archives: May 2012

Leadership = E=mc2?

Could it be that managers focus on linear relationships, while leaders focus on exponential ones?

Managers look for year-over-year, organic progress; boards, analysts, investors, and banks love predictable progress.

But, if  you want exponential gains, you need to unleash the forces that will move you up an exponential curve.

Einstein figured out the relationship between energy and matter

E=mc2

In a flash, all the linear progression of the bomb-maker’s art were left in a cloud of radioactive dust near White Sands, NM.  The heaviest conventional bombs used in WW2 were 1 ton bunker-busters, the first nuclear test was of a 20 kiloton weapon, or 20,000 times stronger than the prior state of the art.

What can you do to convert your mass (inventory or service capacity assets) into energy (cash) using the speed of light squared as your multiplier?

Leaders focusing on transforming the moment of detonation/conversion, the moments/touchpoints of customer/company interaction, might be a place to start.

Customer Experience Management and the Service Profit Chain

Customer experience management. Possible?

Analyze, measure, improve every customer touch point?

Energize the entire organization in a maniacal devotion to creating intensely satisfying customer experience every time?

How can that be done, really?

Customer experience leadership, simplified by the Service Profit Chain

To understand the drivers of customer experience and to communicate how to affect those drivers throughout your organization, you need a clear conceptual model, something, to structure people’s thinking about the wildly complex set of variables that mix in moment-by-moment business activities.

Even the models are complex, here’s a graphic of the Service Profit Chain:

Source: Heskett, et. al, HBR.org

But, how to bring this actionable clarity?

Simplifying Customer Experience Leadership by Simplifying the Service Profit Chain

The graphic above would be useless in the hands of a front-line, customer-facing supervisor trying to help an associate better serve a customer.  It is fairly complete, but overly complex.

Ockham’s Razor, that the simplest complete explanation for any phenomenon is the most preferable, would lead us to parse the Service Profit Chain down to that arrow that connects employee retention and employee productivity (customer-touching employee work) with external service value (the moment of customer experience).

Hosting Conversations, Hosting Customer Experience

If we think of every customer interaction with our brand (web, call center, product, service, billing, etc) as a conversation between two people, we begin to have a conceptual structure that  is clear enough for even front-line supervisors to use in the heat of the moment.

We are hosting a party and we want ALL of our guests to have a lovely experience:

  • Socially connecting
  • Energizing
  • Satisfying, with a hint of the sublime if possible

What type of conversation are you hosting today?  One constrained by focus on/measurement of:

  • Average Handle Time?
  • Average Order Value?
  • Up-sell/Cross-sell Rates?

Scoreboard v. Playing Field

Are we looking at the scoreboard while the game is being played and lost out on the field?

Is your organization aligned behind hosting an exceptional conversation between your customer-facing people and your customers?  In word, yes, of course; but in deed, really?

The basic work of our organizations, where our long-term financial success will be won or lost, is in hosting exceptional conversations, be they be real-time person-to-person or asynchronously, enabled by the web (see a Zappos employee selling shoes and Fogg, Persuasive Technology).

Does this work?

Ask Zappos who used these ideas to create what they call a Wow! machine and a billion dollars in sales in 10 years.

Have your conversations built that kind of organic growth over the last decade?