The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode 121 · 1 year ago

121. 3 Ways to Elevate EX from the World's Best Workplace w/ Kristie Ornelas & Steve Cox


Employee experience and internal culture are not just a “nice-to-have,” but they bring material influence to bear on measurable business results.

In this episode, I interview 2 guests about CX through EX: Kristie Ornelas, Head of CX Marketing & Communications, and Steve Cox, Vice President of Digital Lifecycle Journeys, both at Cisco (named #1 on the World's Best Workplaces list two years in a row by Great Places to Work and Fortune Magazine).

Kristie, Steve, and I talked about:

- The focus on retaining employees and helping them to advance like customers

- To hire diverse people, create a diverse interview panel

- Enabling employees to serve their local communities

- The creation of role communities inside of their CX function

- Why your workplace should be a community, not a family

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

- Cisco

- Cisco CX on Twitter

- Cisco CX blog

- Nordstrom

- Yanni’s Bar & Grill

- Love Knows No Boundaries

Subscribe, listen, and rate/review the Customer Experience Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or Google Podcasts, and find more episodes on our blog.

How are we ensuring that we are retaining employees and helping them to advance their careers, just as we would want to retain a customer and advance them, you know, extend their footprint inside of our company? The single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Learn how sales, marketing and customer success experts create internal alignment, achieved desired outcomes and exceed customer expectations in a personal and human way. This is the customer experience podcast. Here's your host, Ethan Butte, three ways to elevate CX, empathy and outcomes. That's where we're headed today, and we're doing it in a way that we've not done since way back on episode thirty nine, with two guests on the same episode. Another similarity with episode thirty nine is that we're looking at CX today by turning our attention inward, toward employee experience and internal culture. The two people with us today are joining us from the company ranked number one on fortunes world's best workplaces for the second year in a row. She held communication positions like senior director of strategy and communications at sales force and chief of staff and director of business strategy for the America's enterprise at juniper networks. Today she's head of customer experience, marketing and communications at Cisco. He built a twenty plus year career inside Cisco, taking on a series of marketing management positions before evolving to senior director of digital experience and data science. Today he's Vice President of digital life cycle journeys at Cisco. Christy or Ellis and Steve Cox, welcome to the customer experience podcast. Thanks for having us. Happy to be here. Yeah, I'm excited to to kind of work this back and forth. I love what brought the two of you together inside the Cisco CX organization. But before we get into the details of that, let's start kind of high level. Christie, when I say customer experience, what does that mean to you? So I think getting simplest form, CS is the customers perception of the brand across the entire life cycle and at every interaction with the company. I think that perception word is really critical. Steve, what would you add to that or how would you alter that? I would not alter it, I would build upon it because I think when you take those perceptions I think CX has. Other important role is to take those insights, internalize them and look at based on what is working and what's not working across the company, to figure out where do we need to improve, optimize or maintain what we're doing well. So playing that role of orchestration within in interpretting those perceptions, I think are key. Yeah, and for either of you talk about that perception lay or like. How can we capture and understand that perception so that we can manage the experience more effectively? I guess Christ'll start with you. Okay. Well, Steve will do this even more justice I can say on the marketing front, right, that perception begins at the very beginning. So sometimes people talk about we know, what's the difference between customer success versus customer experience? Right, customer success, I see, is a very specific point on this life cycle. Or we're really trying to drive value and adoption for the customer. Cs is that brand across the entire engagement. So it started the very beginning, before the customers even bought anything. So the first experience they have with you, whether it's on the website or the trade show floor or call like this, and it's a company wide motion that you need to drive. So you need a very deliberate process to drive that perception, that value across the entire life cycle with the customer. And that's what Steve Does in his day job with customer journey, so he might want to add to that. Yeah, please. Yeah, so, the that is the definition of what we call the journeys... in case also digital journeys where we look at ways that we can use automation to respond to it. But we have a very explicit steps of going through and looking at and identifying what are the moments that matter throughout entire journey, because the moments that matter are the inflection points that, at the end of the day, you need to make sure you get right for the customer. And we do benchmarking that both listen to them, use the data and compare it to what we think the experience and should be. I think that's important because a lot of times the internal people think, Ay, we're doing something really well and oftentimes you'll find the customer has a different perception of it. Mapping those out from the customers perspective and then turning that into okay, what are the initiatives and projects that we want to organize our efforts to go and emphasize is that translation layer that I was referencing a little bit of a few minutes ago. Yeah, I think that the customer gets to decide. I think that's a really important key in all of this. is their perception matters and they get to decide what's good or bad. Can you go one layer deeper, Steve on moments that matter? It's something that's come up, as you might expect, pretty consistently over the course of a hundred plus episodes. A comes up regularly. But from a practical standpoint, how would you guide someone that's like, you know, we think we've been doing pretty well. We want to get a little bit more serious about all of this. How do you guide people to start mapping? And then the key here is to prioritizing the matter part of the moments. I think we can all identify the moments of decision, in the moments of perhaps transition, but how do you guide someone to recommend to someone to add that matters layer to the moments? So I think there's a little bit, in my personal opinion on this, some art and some science, and I would look at it that some of them through the art side or in the conversational topics as you go through and in, you know, in the focus groups or in the surveys, to talk about where either the stall points are or what is it they ultimately their define their own criteria of success on. We also use data and data science a lot because you can start to predict where the the you know, the the moment inflection points are, where people stall out, and so we use all the data steps as well. And, for example, you know, you find that the first sixty days of an experience with the product have a massively disproportionate impact on the entire way they perceive, you know, ongoing even if you do great a year from now. And so I think the other part I would say is moments are not just the actions that are taken or the experiences, but also, in context of time, of when that actually takes place. The only thing I would add to that, seve is right, that we know that success is very personal and unique to every customer. Right. So that requires us to give very proximate, very intimate with our customers to know what success looks like in their eyes then what they will be delivering that sentiment back to us on right. We know it's not cookie cutter and so we need to deliver unique experience to the extent that we can. Yeah, I think that's the holy grail that has become very obvious over the past couple of years in particular, is moving past persona or segment to the individual person and how can we create these truly personal experiences at scale? And it's something that so many people are approaching from so many different angles. And I just want to double back on something. You observe their Steve About this idea of the first sixty days. I think it's a lot easier year to go from a seven to a nine than it is from a seven to a too. So if someone feels pretty good out of the gate, you know it's going to be really hard to make them feel like you have to really fall on your face completely to turn it bad. Likewise, it's very difficult to take a three and turn it into an eight. It's more likely to go to a too or a four. So this this initial impression, which is something you offer to Christie's like from the first moment that we really have to make sure that we're leading the right way. I Guess Christie Star with start, give us context about CX WITHIN CISCO. CISCO, of course, is a world class organization, a giant organization. When did the CX...

...function within CX kind of how did it emerge? Where did it emerge from? Like? What does the origin story of CX INSIDE CISCO? Yeah, it started about two and a half years ago when our box ree Martinez, came to the company to head up this box of this function in particular. Right. So this was built from something that Chuck in the board had decided long before, right as we moved more to a software and serves this company and we knew that the portfolio which shift that way too. So we knew that was fundamentally going to change with a customer expectation of us was no longer could we sell them a bunch of routers and go away until those routers were end of life. We need the customer. We would have to work to earn the customers business every single day in this subscription model. So Maria came on board to unite several functions, one of which was services, renewals, customer success under the umbrella of the X, which happens to be the the name of our organization, but also the motion inside the company, both financially and you know how we recognize revenue, how we engaged with our customers and the kinds of programs and products that we build and services as well. Steve, how did you are you formally in the CX organization yourself and obviously you represent I'm going to go deeper into this shore lags. Want for context before we get into this initiative that you and Chris you're working on together inside the organization. You know, marketing, background, Data Science, digital journeys that obviously tease up CX. For example, Matt Sweezy at Sales Force was one of my previous guests and in his book and in our conversation said you know, marketing needs to own all of experience, and so it seems like you are on that trajectory. At the same time it's drawn a bit in Cisco out of services and and CS at some level. So how do you get brought into this and how cross functional was this kind of founding group? Yeah, so before Maria came in. So my function set in sales and in that function we're talking about the ability to go and drive digital acceleration. At that point for some of the sales, but all of the adoption and redual pieces. And so when Maria came in, one of the first things would actually take my team and a few other functions around that company and bring them together. And so there was very much a you know, we talked about the business model shift and I think crispy did a great jobs, you know, explaining that of moving to recline and revenue to cloud products, and I think as the market demanded those things Maria came in, it became the point of gave. We now need to allowing the align the way our organ is set up to bring the core pieces together to deliver on that market need. And so I vary, you know, specifically. You know felt that, as I they literally took my team and moved it into maraise organization. Awesome. So one of the things that's going on in the organization is that I think there are nine initiatives. One of them is people in culture and that is part of why the two of you are together with me today. So maybe share a little bit about where does this people and culture initiative fit within within the organization, and how did did you, Christie, get involved in it? Directly. Yeah, so we have prioritized this as our number one, I would say, horizontal priority across the company. So it's about differentiated talent and engaged culture. You know, we know we often Amin. Only know that you cannot build amazing customer experiences, which is our ultimate charter he don't first start with those employee ones. And we know that we have a very deliberate approach to how we sex, so why not have that same delivered approach to how we es with our employees? So this having this stewardship under Steve and I and of course we have an amazing tiger team of people underneath us that own very specific initiatives and metrics to ensure that we are ultimately driving the experience. Mean you talked a better earlier. We are lucky enough to... for a company who has ranked number one as the greatest place to work right. So that's fantastic foundation. But how do you make that meaningful? Two Employees? How are we ensuring that we are retaining employees and helping them to advance their careers, just as we would want to retain a customer and advance them, you know, extend their footprint inside of our company. I love it and it's a it's a necessary step to make sure that you can free Pete. That's Steve. Before we get into kind of the the three main ways that you're approaching people in culture, I'd love for you to share your thoughts or observations about the relationship between ex and CX. I mean, it's Christie said and I think is most listeners to the podcast would agree, it's difficult to impossible to have a great customer experience without a great employee experience first. But what would you what kind of contacts, context or nuance or color would you add to that relationship? So I think one of the things that I think it's different in the way that we've approached this is in and Christie spoke to it, but this is what this is not just a one of the nine initiatives and a nice to have. It is actually treated in this same way that we treat some of our business results, at the same level as how we measure redules, we measure customer success, how we measure engineering in development, to the point that we have very specific accountability in targets that every month the leaders have to come in and have a score card to read power report out on their progress on areas like diversity, community engagement, but they're doing around a conscious culture and things like that. So I think it's important that, while we want to go in and create norms and a cultural shift, we've put in it very explicit accountability, like it's a business target to ensure that, as we get greeted the plan in the instate we want to get to that, that we ultimately tie that in as the number one priority of our business plan. So good. Can you go one layer deeper on the score card? Like again, I'm and on behalf of a listener who knows that X is critical to sex and absolute necessary precursor, and they're like, well, you know, we do an annual survey, you know, of our employees and we do, you know, weekly or monthly one on ones and everything feels okay. If people want to take one more step to kind of formalize the process, maybe share a couple insights on your score card or the formation of a score card or how the measurement, internal measurement in an accountability around it, got implemented. I pick just one of the categories please. You know that there's a threaded through one like, for example, in the our focus on diversity. So, to give you an idea on the diverse city metrics, what we're doing is we actually have agreed that in this fiscal year eighty five percent of all people in the CX will have social justice train or attend to an event. Hundred percent will take consscious culture training. Next layer for our leaders, one hundred percent of them will have a proximity meetings, which we may go into later, which is how you start to engage and have a skip level meetings with people that are different from you, and we've had an initiative around. At the end of the day, it's not just the people you have but the people you bring in. So Christie and I've been working on how do we partner with recruitment, and I've brought in three new hiring sources and a require that as a means to feed new talent into the organization. And so all of those are specific targets, then, are that each of the leaders are required to report against on a monthly basis. I'll add just one more thing, which is turning that lends outward right about community impact and giving back. We are a big, big company and with that kind of great responsibility to serve the communities around us, and so we encourage our employees, of course, to give back, to, you know, volunteer where it matters to them. And this year in Covid and pleased to say, we added it's so norm standards five days. We added another five days because we know there are so many places...

...and people in need, and so just to be part of a culture that allows for time off for that is is truly amazing. It's we keep an eye on. Awesome let's I promised off the top and the introduction in three ways that we can improve empathy and outcomes in this area. It's obviously built on an excx connection. I'll list those three and then maybe go back and forth and just share some insights or recommendations around them. The first is higher diverse talent, which you already reference, Steve. To is elevate your internal giveback programs, which you just referenced, Christie, and then the third is to deliver a powerful employee experience, and I hope to hear more about this skip level, maybe outside your own team, because I think that super interesting. Skip level meetings or something we've been doing in there incredibly valuable. But skip level across teams is really interesting. So I guess Christy speak a little bit about diversity and hiring diverse talent. Yeah, so it's one of actually our core company principles, which take difference to heart, really meaning that, you know, inclusion will always be exclusion. So we leave with that. That goes as far, as you know, not only just a higher diverse talent, but to make sure that the diverse talent is also interviewing on the interview panels. We have metrics where we measure that and also how we are getting Coxima to that town, because again, one thing to hire them, but to to bring them to the table, right, and all different kinds of diversity, right. So we think about, you know, gender, neck racial diversity, but I we're even in a truleading through a transformation where we need to think about diverse city and thinking like Eq, you know, versus just Iq, right, and has res especially as we are the the people on the forefront interacting with our customers who are expecting a different kind of experience. So also important to us is that we get approximate to this diverse talent. So we need talent expos we do meetups and proximity. We have sponsorship opportunities and so it's making sure everyone feels invited to the tables so we can create that. You need a unique experience. We're building experiences for customers of all type work global company across all industries. We need to be making sure that we have the same people that are building those experiences that are receiving them as well. Really Good Steve. Do you have just from a from a data and data science perspective? I've seen, obviously, a ton of researchs not obvious, but I've seen a ton of research about positive correlations between diversity in a variety of forms and positive outcomes for for businesses. What are you seeing from a data or data science perspective related to that into related to these initiatives? Are obviously not doing it be just because it's the right thing to do, although that's the whole reason to do it, but I'm sure you can see some of the benefits of of achieving some of the targets that you're setting. Christy, feel free to jump in Ife this. I'll be honest. I have not necessarily done any direct correlation to business growth out of this. Now maybe it's been done else elsewhere. I think I'm working off of the research, same research you're talking about, an anecdotal feedback that we see where we have whether it be customers, partners or other employees in the way they share their experience back to say hey, this is something that was very positive for me. I also would say that I've seen a number of examples where it's not just the I think, effective in the customer and the way they work back, but I've had number of people that incredible talent that have come to work at Cisco because of the focus on this. And so people that have have taken jobs at that they may have not even taken the eyes out and say, okay, I want to be a part of something that has a mission like this. And some of the most amazing people that...

...have come to work in CX have come here because that's the reason. They want to be a part of something bigger than just going and, you know, delivering business results that are that we're talking about every day really good. We will add that we have something that we call the people deal right, and it's really kind of the core framework for, you know, how we kind of approach our talent and are what we call conscious culture and that we're deal is because the people, that the people of the deal, the most important deal that the company. While our strike and a a deal implies two ways, right in agreement between the employee and the company, because you no longer are employees just coming to work for a paycheck. We spend a discreport in an amount of time, especially now, at our employer and we have a different expectation of what that experience is and and perhaps our employers of us. And so there's always this, you know, this balance of a trade that's happening, and so that's kind of what we called the people deal. That's so I really appreciate that language and I think the observation typically you see it attached to you know, millennials seem to prefer purpose over like everyone prefers purpose. We all want to feel like what we're doing matters. We all want to be proud of the work that we're doing, want to be proud of the way that we're doing it and we want to be proud of our team members and outcomes, and I really like that people deal language. Christie already mentioned Steve The the a little bit about it. GIVEBACK programs. But if you want to take the first go at the second of those three areas, I'd love for any insights you have to share their yeah, I think one of the Christie and I wof we looked at this kind of look at it from two Lens, which is, I think, the most important one. That we want to provide is a platform for people that are passionate about her individual cause and give them the means to go do that. I think you know, oftentimes you know that in mind about why the major organizational initiatives by all you know, when we have a rapid response, when there's a catastrophy around the world, Cisco is all indigo and help amongst these things, and we're we have an entire process behind that to respond on. And you know, I think what we've really focused on addition to that is that second part, which is how we give people the means for what they're in their local communities, in particular now with covid how can they go in and help the people that are struggling at a local business, the locals homeless shelter and do those in in that we give sometimes ability to matching resources. We give them, you know, pairing people up through our communities. We got ways to share ideas so that you can go hey, who else is in there? Want to do this together? So you're not going at it alone. Give visibility to what they have going on, and I think it becomes that around swell from below. That, I think, why I personally, Chris, you may have other things that I think. I'm really proud of. That I think we've been able in the last year, in addition to the big headline things that we try to do. Yeah, absolutely, in a time where you didn't quite know how people were going to reactor it, because we all kind of help her down and got into fun protective mode, it was really amazing to see that people still have the capacity and the need to reach out and help others. And you know, we all realize that, certainly here in the silk and value we are most often at an advantage already. So I loved to see that. You know, we had a culture that, you know, we kind of say, in fact, one of our last checkends that theme was rising up and we have in fact risen up, and so that makes you feel proud, right. You talked about that purpose. Even consumers don't necessarily expect purpose from a product, but you expect it from from an IMP layer, from a job, and is it just one other way to give us purpose? I appreciate I appreciate that that constant lens shift between the the the large obvious moments, and what I what I'm imagining here is like this kind of constant presence, like we are community members, our team members are members of this community and we're going to participate in constructive ways in the company is going to support and enable that. And it's...

...interesting. It's this might sound a little bit tripe, but you know when you when you read packaging from like you know maybe some food companies that you like in respect, and they say things like baked with love, I think it makes a difference. I think this, this this the sense of purpose in the in the motivation to show up, I think comes through in the work that we do. Obviously for a customer facing people, because the customers can feel that coming off others. But I think, I think what you're doing has so many to the degree that it's immeasurable, it still has measurable benefits to it and I appreciate the scope and range of what you're doing there. Christy, maybe kick us off on the third one, around powerful employee experience, you know, supporting team members, equipping them, supporting thriving. These are just some phrases that I'm maybe just creating here to set you up. But talk about how this, this work that you and Steve are doing together, comes together in an experiential way. Yeah, well, we talked about, you know, creating these very deliberate customer experiences from day one. So we know that we need to do that for employees from day one and every day from there on out. One of the things that we've recently done is created, we what we call role communities inside of our CX function. So I believe there's twenty one role specific communities, and that's a platform for these birds of a feather to connect, to share best practices, to ask questions and share documents and just help to make their job a little bit easier. One thing that I particularly love about how we constructed these communities is that they are all open to anyone, so nothing is private and it also allows for, you know, as we evolved as organizations, you know, so rapidly, especially in tech, the jobs that many of us have today, we're not jobs that we could have studied for in college. So you need to always have, you know, a beginner's mindset in this learning modality inside of a company. And you know, so people need to remain personally curious and it's always be exploring their next job opportunity. So these forms allow people to jump on calls with these forums to observe the feed that's happening so that if they want to be a customer success executive at some point, even if they're not ready right now, they can almost shadow that. And so it's just another way for us to bring that just community but inclusivity to what we do. Of course we also do that with our customers. We have communities as roll up understive as well else. Try, I don't think, jump and see if there's anything that you have top of my I know there's more. Want to come back to you. The only part I way to add in is we talked in the beginning about the moments that matter and I would I'll tell you a story that just we went through the Christie and I so I had an employee in my organization that had our wedding plan and then covid hit and all of a sudden, obviously none of the attendees could get to Chicago to go to her wedding and when I found out about it, I called Christie. I'm like because you know, obviously she's devastated. This is talking about a moment that matters right, and Christie and I were able to go and find a film crew that was local in Chicago all the production. OBVIOUSLY CISCO MAKES Webex Technology, so we were able to bring conferencing in and we actually were able, within in under nine days, suddenly reset and move her wedding to be virtual so that all the people that suddenly couldn't fly in could actually now attender wedding. And you know, we just did it because we wanted to help her. Well, this this week that we actually took the production of a short clips from that in chuck played it in front of the entire company me to talk about look, this is some of the happiness that we can create in times of need. And I think the part that I think Chris an were most proud of was not the production of the video,...

...but immediately rebecca a wait in and said, you know, this is why I work at Cisco, because when I needed help all these people jumped in, help me take in a really a moment that mattered and make it wonderful. We can share that with you two and you can link it if you want it. That's on Youtube now. Yeah, please, absolutely. Yeah, so, froak folks who are listening. Of course we do short right ups on all of these episodes. I trim out some short video clips. We embed the full audio if you want to listen to it in a in a post. We put all of this up at Bombombcom podcast. I will absolutely take that link and I will include a heck, I'll probably just embed the video straight into the post. I think it's just such a great story and you know, I think at the end of the day, we've been talking around these just kind of human values in general and what all of us, what each of us wants most, is to be seen and appreciated, to feel like we matter. In this idea of supporting team members outside the bounds of the work that is assigned is just just creates a it's a just a lot more fun be, it's more satisfying and see, it does build a lot of that relationship and trust and like there's she knows the team is behind her. She knows that she's going to get help. If she needs to ask for her wants to ask for, it will be there, and sometimes it'll be there even if she doesn't ask, which is awesome. So I really appreciate you sharing that story and I have yet please. I Love I'm sure we probably all up. He said something last week that just really resonated with me, around that employers should be careful to not call their companies families but rather communities, because families don't furlow their their children when times get tough, right, and or and have to make some of those tough decisions, right that a company would. But it's better to call yourself a community because it's a place where people feel sense of belonging and care about one another. And so I think when you're doing culture right, that's what it feels like, that's that's what community is. Yeah, I like that. I think the original it came out of, like I think that Netflix slide deck, was this like you're not a family, I think you're a team or something like that. But I think community is this nice middle way through those two things that are you know, you can't get rid of that uncle even though you might like to like it's just like so so. The family isn't always paralleled. I think community is great language for it, just from a practical standpoint and not a personal curiosity, and for the benefit of Listener, Steve, tell me a little bit about these skip level meetings. I think for folks who aren't familiar, of course, this is when a leader doesn't just meet directly with her his direct reports, but rather the direct reports of those people. But I think I feel like I heard in there this idea that it might be happening across teams and even outside the bounds of, you know, second layer reporting. Yeah, it is not exclusive to people in your organization. But I think there's an important new wants, which is the goal in these is to uncover and recognize where we have unconscious by us. We are all at a product of who we are, to make up of the experiences we've had, and so every quarter we have these proximity meetings. Now the key is you have to be meeting with people that are different from you, and so sometimes I will be meeting with African American blacks, sometimes I'm meeting with women, sometimes I'm meeting with people from different countries and all of it. I think the HEA thing here is not to talk just about business, but if we open the conversation with look, I knowed I have unconscious by us in the goal in this is for you to help me see that so that I can take actions that help you know you in a way and understand what you need, whether it be the localization that's needed or the experience that certainly women have different from men in the workplace. And so it's not just about the business. It's in fact not about the business.

It's about the actual experience they're having and trying to become more aware of all the different ways that people are engaged. Excellent. Who is just again from a practical standpoint, so the people can put it into play. Who are executing these and maybe how do you like is it? Is this like thinking of some of the tools that have popped up since since covid broke us all apart physically. You know, some of these things that will do, like random matching in these types of things, like how, functionally, how are you creating these opportunities? Say we measure it, so we require feels like a strong word when you're doing something that is with the intent of building good culture, right. But this is this happens to become easy to us. We ask all directors class, which is a huge population inside of this go to have to proximity meetups a quarter. We do through we have inclusion of collaboration leads for each organization. So with them there is some matching that takes place organically. We are just networking, right. It talked about we have talent EXOS. This past our last quarter we did went around African, American and blacks, right. So we did round tables and mentoring sessions where you could sign up to be a coach or to a listener or be a listener, and also participants could sign up. So we do those across different kinds of diverse groups to allow to get that proximity and match people up really good. I would love to ask each of you just kind of a person like, just a direct question about your role and maybe how you got there, and I'll start with you, Steve. This this move into data science, obviously data, making data useful rather than simply using it for reporting, is a step we all need to take. For you, is this just like a natural arc of your own experience in your own career, or was this something that, you know, you put your head down and decided it was a direction you were going in and studied it directly for a couple of years? Like, how did this move go for you? I think more of US need more at this intersect of marketing and data science in some of the other work that you're doing. How did that go for you? So I think it would. I put it in to think the two areas one. I think there's a lot of, you know, information and focus on data science out there. So being just an interest level, but I think where I really got into it is, you know, I have an accountability to deliver a personalized experience for, you know, in the hundreds of thousands of people and customers, and so there was a you can there's only so much you can do with the processes in platforms and the content at some point. If you want to deliver that, you you fundamentally goes back to a conversation around data and then I think there becomes a you know, there's an entire podcast around the evolution of how you go through from hey, how do I get clean and usable data to actually how do I, you know, go along the journey to make that personalize and fundamentally and personalization is, you know, a derivative out of a data science orientation, and so I it's a commendation of an interest and to succeed my job at requirement so interesting and you in of course, you're right that it is a demand of the role. If you're going to be doing this, especially across that volume of of stakeholders, it requires clean Datas your reference and that is a completely that would be another hour long conversation that I'd be happy to have some time and I shot your time here with us. Steve Christy, a little bit about your role. You know you've had these these high level communication roles at a few different organizations, all very well respected. I would love you just your thoughts on the communication function in particular. I mean it's one thing to be doing all of this work, but obviously the organization, the sex organization, is Cisco for example, or some of the other teams and groups you've represented as a communication professional. Talk about that communication layer and how valuable it is and perhaps...

...maybe even the divide between internal and external, how much you're communicating managing communication internally versus managing it externally, you know, for for people outside the organization. Yeah, thank you. I would say, for you know, this role that I have right now, which is both communications and marketing, is the perfect marriage of both internal and externals. So really, obviously we're communicating out to our customers through our marketing motion, our partners, as well our entire ecosystem, and then it internally, which is, you know, very important, certainly that we lead the transformation all these stakeholders. You know, communication becomes that connected tissue across across whatever we do, and it, you know, is really enables how rapidly we can transform. And I think there's something the reason why I'm drawing to communications, I know many others are, is that there's just something about language that matters right. So for us, when we talk to our customers or an amounter, who it is? It is our employees speaking to them, you know, with words and language that resonates with them, that is meaningful. One of my mentors told me the other day that this function that I have right is the soul of our organizations. I really love to write how, you know, kind of thought about you know, we're the heart and the soul. We bring it to life because we know that stories matter and that's one of the most powerful tools that we have as human beings. So that's why I love communication. That's why I want you know, I took this opportunity to marry you know, marketing and communications, we can continue to tell those meaningful stories about our customers, for our customers, put our customers in that hero spot so others can continue to see themselves to it. There's a lot in there that I would love to pick up on, but I feel like you've already been so generous with your time. Specifically, the power of storytelling, I think, is in the emotional resonance of it, in memory, of course, is is a function of emotion. Without an emotional component, there's very little to to internalize and take in, and I agree that language matters and there's a lot there. I appreciate that for either of you. Is there anything about ex or CX that that obviously, with our limited time we couldn't cover everything is there? Is there any more? Is there any note that you would like to add related to ex or cx that you think listeners should keep in mind or take away from this? I think there's a overlooked opportunity. I will tell you that the part that I personally struggle with is you have to have a blend of creating accountability and also a part of it as creating norms and culture, and trying to figure out when you apply which tactic, whether you be talking about your employee experience or customer experience, is, I think, where I find myself. Trying to navigate between the two all times. So you can create explicit targets and get people to do things, but then they may just check the box and actually what the true and experience is when it becomes norms and am part of how you operate. Yeah, I think you really identified the crux of it. It reminded me a little bit of your reference to art and science, and that really is a delicate balance and and I appreciate that. For for people who are listening, I mentioned off the top episode thirty nine. That was with Lance risser and Levi Iris of Dutch Bros Coffee. They're both VP's of field operations, and so we brought but those two gentlemen together to talk about company culture as your competitive edge. That was certainly a theme here today, this idea of people joining Cisco or staying at Cisco, specifically because of a lot of the themes that you were talking about in the not just the work that you do but, more importantly, the way that you do it and why you do it really matters and creates a competitive edge, and that so I was episode thirty nine and then on episode seventy three, with Chris Wallace. He's the CO founder and president of an organization called interview group. I nne our interview group, and we call that marketing to your employees, not just to your customers, and so reminded me, Christi, of Your your inside outside communications marketing piece. It's this idea that what we talked about with Chris was, you know, it's one thing...

...for the organization to make strategic decisions, turn them into tactical plans and go execute them, but without the the awareness, of course, of all the front line employees and the understanding of why we're doing this at the front lines. And then, most importantly, and we do with the three of US talked about this in this conversation, the emotional buy in, like like the I don't just know what the company is doing, I don't just know why the company's doing it by agree. I understand. I understand in a way that that I believe in and can get behind. And it's when you can create that alignment from what we're doing, why we're doing it, all the way out to the front line, which is where the customer experience is it that that's the bridge between the excxpiece that that we spend some time on? These are two of my favorite questions and I get to ask them to two people. So we'll start with you, Christie. Two opportunities for you here, a chance to think or mention someone who's had a positive impact on your life, for your career, and a chance to give a nod or a mention or a shout out to a company or brand that you really appreciate for the experience that they deliver for you as a customer. Okay, I'm going to go rentro here. My first boss is, ever my parents, and because they taught me that personal touch matters right. So as a kid I couldn't use my presence before I wrote a thank you note and not do anythink you note. I had to say what I liked about it, how I was going to use it if it was money, and so I learned early on that stay with me. I'm the oldest of three girls as well. When I went off to college I got a note every single day from my dad. I thought that would stop and my sisters went to college, but it didn't. He did the same for them. So he taught me, the first one to teach me about the importance of creating a predictable customer experience. So I would say props to my parents. I'm gonna go also a little mainstream on the company right with the holidays having just passed northstrom. So I've spent more money than I care to admit there this season and I had had a sister who had worked there. And of course they stand for quality. We know that. But what I appreciate about Nord sterm is that they always start from a point of possible, from a place of yes. So they assume that any problem product that customer brings to them is their responsibility to solve, full accountability, and I love that both I appreciate both of those responses very, very much, for variety of reasons that it's not the first reference to nors from, but that is the first simple language that people can easily attach to and take away which is starting from a firm an assumption or a position of Yes, this assumption of possibility is so good and thank you. Notes are an absolutely lost art. Thank you notes or thank you videos or whatever. I and it's really, really sad. I think you were trained well and I hope that that training returns more broadly. I was trade the same way and my dad still writes me notes every single week. So it's a joy. Steve, same questions for you, I had. Am excited to hear what you have to share here. Yeah, so, coincidentally, sticking with a theme of family for influential but I'm going to refer what the talk about my wife, and specifically she has a life goal of going to eighty countries by age eighty. But it's not the number that matters, it's actually the experiences that we create, in particular for our children, and so what's come out of this, for example, is my kids have seen how you can play with children in four parts of Cambodia and have as much fun in that regard, and experiences like when we were in Buenas Aires and got on a subway and immediately the adults got up to allow the children to sit and I think starting to see how these different cultures to form your experience of what life should be like is been foundational to you know what I would define as how you apply business for life overall. And then the second question when to go a different direction, and I'm actually going to reference a local restaurant called Yannis here in San Diego, and the moment that I would call...

...upon was a few months ago. We all know the restaurant business has struggled through this covid situation. They actually shut down because a family member of one of the employees was exposed and they send something out and said look, in service to the local community, the we don't believe the employee is positive, but we're going to be proactive to make sure we're doing what's right by the local community, knowing full well the hardship they're going through economically. It fits what I can tell you because it's our favorite local restaurant where Yanni himself will come and check in on you when you're at the tables. It fits a broader thing, but it shows me to the point where he's up against the ropes and put his customers, the community first. That's me is the definition of experience. So good. What a great story, and I also like the reference to experiencing the different ways that people live their lives and norms, values approaches in this idea of creating something beyond our own immediate experience by collecting experiences in incorporating all the best pieces. So good. Okay, CISCO, CISCO, C X, Christie, where would you send someone to follow up with you or with CISCO? CISCO, C X? Where someplace you might send folks? All right, CISCO, sex, our twitter Handall, it can go straight there. It'll take you everywhere you need to go from there. Cool, and I will include a link to your linkedin profile in the right up at Bombmbcom, slash podcast and Steve, any any other places you like to send folks? They who have enjoyed this conversation linked it's perfect, like, let's start the conversation. I mean, I think, is this is a continual learning both directions. Awesome. Thank you both so much. Is this really fun? I guess I need to create more opportunities to have more than one list at a time. It's it's been really enjoyable for me. I appreciate your insights. I appreciate the way you approach the work that you do. So many things in the conversation that I enjoyed, specifically the way the company reacted organizationally to the shift in demand to subscription basis and, of course, all the things that you're doing internally to make sure that humans are supported in the right way so that they can execute in a way that they are proud of and can enjoy. We agreed time. Thanks for having to sleep them. Yeah, thank you so much. It's been great. Clear Communication, human connection, higher conversion. These are just some of the benefits of adding video to the messages you're sending every day. It's easy to do with just a little guidance, so pick up the official book. Rehumanize Your Business. How personal videos accelerate sales and improve customer experience. Learn more in order today at Bombombcom Book. That's bomb bombcom book. Thanks for listening to the customer experience podcast. Remember, the single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Continue Learning the latest strategies and tactics by subscribing right now in your favorite podcast player or visit Bombombcom podcast.

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