Getting CX Right, Starting with Process Engineering: Nicholas Zeisler

Getting CX Right, Starting with Process Engineering: Nicholas Zeisler


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On this week’s episode, we talked to Nicholas Zeisler about process engineering, and how designing more efficient CX processes doesn’t mean more layoffs – it means delivering on your Brand Promise and understanding why you do CX in the first place.

And we did it live! Check out our guest’s beautiful faces below:

About Nicholas Zeisler

Nicholas “Z” Zeisler is a Fractional Chief Customer Officer and CX Strategist, and Principal at Zeisler Consulting.  He’s been a Fortune 100 CX Executive and has helped clients large and small in industries as varied as tech, healthcare, insurance, energy, fashion, and retail, improve their CX, drive positive changes to their business processes, and build enduring Customer-centric cultures. 

In his new book, We’re Doing CX Wrong…And How To Get It Right, he outlines common mistakes we’re making with our CX efforts, and shows how to correct them beginning with understanding the reason for doing CX in the first place:  To drive alignment between our Brand Promise and our Customers’ experiences.  His proven CX framework includes Customer Insights based on using his Brand Alignment Score metric, leveraging Process Engineering to take action on the findings, and creating an environment in your company where CX can thrive.

After over 27 years in the US Air Force, Z’s current Reserve job is as a professor at the Air Force Academy where he teaches statistics, calculus, and how to develop curious and critical minds for future USAF officers.

He lives in Denver and Frisco, Colorado, where summers find him hiking with his partner and their awesome dog, winters find him on the ski slopes, and every day finds him thinking about CX and how fortunate he is.

Connect with Nicholas Zeisler

Follow Nicholas Zeisler on LinkedIn
Follow Nicholas Zeisler on Twitter @NicholasZeisler

Get Nicholas Zeisler’s book, We’re Doing CX Wrong…And How To Get It Right

Connect with the Voices of CX

Follow Worthix on LinkedIn
Follow Worthix on Twitter: @worthix

Follow Mary Drumond on LinkedIn
Follow Mary Drumond on Twitter: @drumondmary

About Voices of CX Podcast

The Voices of CX Podcast is a podcast that covers all things business strategies, customer decision insight, empathetic leadership practices, and tips for sustainable profitability. With a little bit of geeking out on behavioral science, A.I. and other innovation sprinkled in here and there. The guests span multiple industries, but all of them have years of experience to bring to the table.

Got something to say about CX or want to be featured on the show? Let us know! Email the Producer ([email protected]).


Mary: Welcome to Voices of CX season Eight, as usual, bringing you the very best thought leaders, practitioners, and academics all in one place. Our goal is to make your job easier by providing you with the tools and inspiration that you need to lead through empathy, one new idea at a time.

Hello, listeners and viewers. Welcome back to one more episode of Voices of CX podcast. For those of you who are watching us on YouTube, don’t forget to subscribe. For those of us who are listening, wherever you get your podcasts, subscribe as well. Why not? I mean, it makes it easier. It’ll just automatically pop up in your phone.

Today, I am joined by someone who’s been in my network for a really long time, even though we were never directly connected. And I’m really glad that we’re mending that today. So ladies and gentlemen, I give you Nicholas Zeisler. Hi.How are you?

Nicholas: I’m well, Mary, thank you. And yeah, all the lost time in those years that we never connected and we’re making up for it.

Mary: Yeah. You know what you know, at the thing that always kind of stuck with me is that we were both on the CX Question of the Day on Twitter and we’re always tagged on the same threads, you and I. And you’ve got such a mellow incredible voice, and you always record on your magnificent microphone, even when you’re doing Twitter chats.

And I’m like, yep, this man’s got a good microphone and a good speaking voice. So did you ever do radio casting? Did you ever do voiceovers?

Nicholas: Yeah. In fact, as I should say, well, I’m glad you asked that Mary. Yes, of course. I started, I wouldn’t say I started in radio, but I’d worked in radio younger. In a previous life-slash-career-slash-existence.

And these days, I actually am doing voiceover work. I have a separate little entity, it’s called VO 21 Media. You can find the link to it on my LinkedIn profile, VO 21 Wow. I wasn’t even expecting to promote that. Claim to fame and it’s a party trick and I love it.

Another connection that I know through people, through people, and she and I have been friends for a while as well, actually is responsible for the customer care at a certain very large retailer. I don’t know if I’m authorized to say, but I am the voice of their customer support line.

“So thank you. Your call is very important to them.”

And I had to learn how to say that if you want French, because it’s the North American. So it’s like Canada and the US to press, whateverfor French. And I don’t know French, I mean, I can say, oprima el dos pretty easy, but I don’t know the French.

So I had to ask a friend who knows French. I texted, do you know how to say this in French? Of course he speaks French. And he records it back and I’m like, I’m just going to hold that up to the mic when I do that. Like I say, it’s a great party trick, buys me lunch and, has for the last few weeks, since it’s gone live here, check this out and you call it up and there I am.

Mary: You know, back in the day, I used to make some side cash doing voiceovers for call centers as well. It was great. So, most of our listeners and viewers know that I grew up in south America, Brazil specifically. So whenever a company needed English. And the recording for the call center, they needed someone that spoke both languages and had such a wonderful mellow voice as well.

So I did a lot of that work. And like you said, it was, it would buy me lunches, for many, many years. So essentially what we’re giving people today is like an ASMR experience. And learning some CX here with people who have such amazing soothing voices. Let’s get into it. Nicholas, talk a little bit about your day job.

Nicholas: Yeah, gosh, you know, come to think of it. Mary. There’s so much going on. There’s the voiceover work, there’s the reserve military work and then there’s CX, but I think that’s probably what you mean is the CX.

Mary: I do mean the CX bit.

Nicholas: I am- well, thank you again. Thank you for asking. I just happen to do that.

I’m a fractional Chief Customer Officer, a CX strategist. I have worked in corporate and worked, as a consultant. I come, and I think that we’ll get to this, I come to CX from the world of process engineering was where I kind of got my start. And so that’s how I built out my framework and the deliverable and the product that I provide to my clients, which is a full soup to nuts customer experience as a no-kidding operational function within your company.

I come in and on a fractionals basis, build it all out and then I leave, help you as the leader of your organization hire a chief customer officer to step into those shoes and run that organization. That’s basically the pitch.

Mary: Well, it sounds amazing. And folks, I was telling Nicholas earlier, how much I love individuals with engineering backgrounds when they step into CX, because they give it a lot of structure and organization. And as a person, I’m the creative type. So not at all a Type A, I’m all over the place.

My mind is constantly just going off in some different direction of something new that I want to create. And I’m always carried away by my empathy and compassion and blah, blah, blah. But people that have that engineering mindset, they’re able to look at something, see the big picture and figure out which steps we need to take in order to get to an optimal result.

So I feel like people like you, Nicholas are so essential to actually bringing an operationalized form of empathy into organization. I mean, that’s what I think it’s all about. So I think we’re lucky to have you.

Nicholas: Well, thanks from your lips to my ideal client profiles’ ears, for sure.

You know what I found when I started my career in CX, I was recruited to be the director of CX at HP, for their customer support division. And when I was approached, it was somebody that I knew before already when I’d worked at HP in a previous existence say, HP, it’s the best first and third job you’ll ever have, that sort of thing.

But I was approached to work in CX and, my first reaction is okay, wow, CX, what does that mean? But, okay. And the thing is that I was recruited based on my Lean Six Sigma background. I’m a Black Belt. I’ve been doing it for years. As you say from an engineering perspective, my upbringing, my military training as in operations research.

And so it’s all about this process engineering work that I started. And one of the frustrations, as a black belt, as a continuous process improvement, business process improvement, business process management, whatever you want to call it, I call it process engineering. You’re in that business.

One of the things that you’re constantly pushing, the rock that you’re constantly pushing up the hill is convincing people that by implementing Lean Six Sigma, by implementing process engineering tools, you’re going to release a lot of resources into your organization. You have got a lot of inefficiencies.

You’re wasting a lot of time and effort and energy in the way you do what you do. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to come in and we’re going to streamline what you do. And then what every boss that ever wants to do this almost exclusively always says is “Great, because then we can lay off a bunch of people” and I’m always like, no, no, no, no, no.

And those of us who are true believers –

Mary: No, you’ve got the wrong idea!

Nicholas: Because that’s what you do. Yeah. That’s how you grow is by slashing your staff. But as stupid as a way of approaching it that that can possibly be, you’d be surprised. Like I said, as a true believer, as someone who’s a practitioner in process engineering and process improvement, how hard it is to convince decision makers,

“No, don’t do it that way”.

So my whole life, my whole experience as a professional, as a process engineer has always been trying to. Keep that at, you know, at a beta at bay. Yeah. And when someone approached me and said, Well, we want to actually leverage those skills, not even to necessarily improve our processes for

reasons, but we want to leverage those process engineering and process improvement skills to improve our customer’s experiences. I was just blown away. I thought, what in what an inspiring use of these skills and have this toolkit to do that, because then it’s like, it’s not even like, oh, then we’re going to lay a bunch of people off.

It’s like, no, it doesn’t even have to do with resource use in the first place. The beauty is of course, Mary, that as you can see. Both. Both things can be true at the same time because you’re improving things. You’re obviously going to save resources anyway. So you will be more efficient. You will be more lean.

You will realize resource slack, and that’ll be good for you because you’ll be more efficient in the first place. But the reason that you’re doing it the flag to rally around the reason you want to get everybody involved in doing it is because you want to improve your customer’s experiences.

So this is so much more inspiring, so much more exciting for folks to hop on board with that type of thing, rather than just. We’re going to improve our processes and save money. It’s like, no, we’re gonna improve our processes. Yeah, sure. We’ll save money. But the purpose of it is to improve our customer’s experiences.

So when I hear people talk about, what CX is and what it does and how great it is to live your customer’s lives and put them at the heart of everything and put them at the top of everything, put them in front of everything, put them at the heart of everything, wherever the heck they are, I’m thinking, Great, but what are you doing?

What are you, how are you improving the things that you do? So what do people think that the voice of the customer is the be-all end-all of customer experience and, you know, Worthix, you guys, right? You’ve got clients that are like, I really want to know what our customers think, what our customers want.

And I’m sure that once you give it to them on that silver platter, the really successful ones are the ones who say Great, now that we have this information, we’re not going to just put it up on a chart, talk about it every quarter, talk about it every month, see what our improvement or what our deficit is, and then move on with it.

We’re going to actually leverage these insights. We’re going to use the information that we got and we’re going to act on it and therefore drive those numbers because if all you’re doing is looking at it, you’re missing the entire point.

Mary: Yeah. Voice of customer is a step in the process, right? It’s the starting point let’s say, but then once you have that information. So yeah, my job is absolutely to get the very, very best version of the voice of customer and its rawest, most authentic form and be able to interpret and analyze and understand what customers need, ,want desire from that feedback.

But once you have it, having it isn’t enough if you never do anything with it.

Nicholas: And then- exactly! You know, you think about it too, what you just described, Mary, and what folks are doing on their own as well, too, simply sending out surveys and so forth. It’s a lot of work to understand what the voice of the customer is.

And when you think about it from again, the efficiency standpoint, why would you waste all that effort by saying Okay, great, now let me open up the chart and put a new dot on the line graph just to see where we are. It’s like, okay, you should be acting on it.

I hear people all the time. in, you know, little CX forums, you’re talking about, Question of the Day, and thank goodness for Jeremy Watkins. I mean, he really brings the community together with that, but I see people in that type of forum, talk about how they’re instituting this closed-loop feedback system. And it’s like, that’s great. But why does that look like you’ve just discovered plutonium?

It’s like, what were you doing with your insights all along anyways? Like you suddenly woke up one day and realized, Oh, well damn, I could do stuff with this information. Well yeah, no kidding! What were you doing otherwise? So welcome to the club. Now, get out there and take action based on what you’re learning from the voice of the customer.

Mary: Yeah. And I think that the action that we can take on feedback is so much more of a big picture than closing the loop. I’m actually somewhat annoyed when people discuss closing the loop as if it were, like you said the best thing since sliced bread.

Nicholas: It’s a revelation, yeah.

Mary: Because you see here’s the thing. If you solve the problem, that’s all the customer truly wants.

They don’t- I mean, sure, an apology would be good, but I think better than an apology or better than a call or better than any of that, is for you to fix the problem. You know, one thing that I always say is that there isn’t a single customer in the world who walks into a relationship with a company saying, I hope this company screws me over.

I pray this experience is absolutely terrible and that I have to spend hours of my life on the call with the contact center, the customer service or whatever, just haggling them and giving them a hard time. That’s what I desire.

Nicholas: I hope they’re off shore, too.

Mary: No one wants that! People just want brands to follow through with their brand promise, essentially. So if people aren’t getting what they want and what they need, and you think that you’re going to solve that by calling them and saying, I’m so sorry, here’s a 20% off coupon or I’m going to comp your next month subscription or- I mean, that does nothing to solve the actual pain to begin with.

So, okay. My internet does not work. We’re going to go into internet. Of course we are. But here we go. My internet does not work. Oh, I am so sorry you complained. You know what? Since your internet doesn’t work, you’re not going to have to pay your bill for the next three months. And you’re like, But my internet still doesn’t work.

Nicholas: Yeah. Thanks. That’s about what I would expect to pay for something that isn’t working.

Mary: So you build out a whole customer, like a close-the-loop program, and in the end you’re not actually solving the problem. So when I talk about the value of process-oriented individuals who go into an organization and actually solve the problem, for me that is so much more important than closing the loop.

Nicholas: Yeah. You know, Mary you talk about making your customers whole, which is what I like. That’s how I categorize what you’re describing there, but let me take it one step, like even further up, and that is: fixed the damned system that’s causing the damned problem in the first-

I dunno how salty we get on here so-

Mary: We can get a salty as possible.

Nicholas: Fix your shit so that your customers don’t have the problem in the first place. And here’s the thing. You always know that your system is going to fail here and there, you know, we live in the real world, in the same universe, where were things fall apart from time to time.

So it’s not as though you think, business leaders think, oh, everything’s perfect. And of course they know they realize that things fall apart. But here’s the thing. You have voice of the customer insights and you have voice of the customer insights that will help pareto it out, as they say, right?

Prioritize how you want to fix within your company, what you want to fix. If you have a process engineering department in your company, you have some black belts and green belts running around and fixing the problems. You’re part of the way there. How about this? Inject a little customer insight into how they prioritize what they fix.

And that’s going to make all the difference. Then you talk about we’ll fix your, you know, make your customers whole when they have to call in customer support. Guess what? Your customer support may not have to take as many calls because, based on the feedback, based on the customer insights, that you’re actively going out there and getting, you can prioritize your projects and your process engineering efforts to fix them before they happen, make the root cause go away.

One of the things, in something like the CX Question of the Day that you know, that we’ll participate in are all these other little heady discussions-

Mary: The chitchat.

Nicholas: Yeah. The chitchat will come down to like, okay, so, or, you go to the CX conference- do you remember Mary? I’m old enough to remember, there were these times when we would go to places, like all kind of like convene and one location in the city,

Mary: And sometimes we’d fly in and meet at the hotel bar after?

Nicholas: Yeah! And so one of the mixer questions is, So where is CX in your company, right? And all these practitioners go, Oh, I work for this work in that company, you know, I’m in marketing or I’m in sales or I’m in operations.

And one of the things of course, very frequently is, I’m in customer support. You know, the CX is in the CS organization. And I was like, Wow. That’s kind of interesting because if you’re doing CX right, if you’re getting CX right, which is of course, part of the title of my new book. That’s out Mary. Yeah.

If you’re getting CX right, your CX department’s job should be to drive CS out of business. And that’s aspirational. And that’s kind of silly to say, because you never do that. And you wouldn’t want to, you always, at least want to be there if your customers do run into an issue.

But if your CX is being done properly, if you’re getting CX right, you’re leveraging your process improvement efforts and your process improvement resources towards eliminating the problems that are driving most of your customer support, customer care, customer service, customer success, whatever you want to call it, issues in the first place.

The example that I use, or the analogy that I use is people will- another concept that will come up. What’s the difference between customer support, customer service, customer care, customer success, and customer experience?

And I say, well, customer support- and I realize and with all respect there, I do recognize the difference between customer support, customer service, customer care, customer success, but they all differ from CX in the same way. And that is this: any one of those organizations has this response. Oh, well, we’ve got a customer on the phone and the flange inside of our widget is broken.

So overnight them something, make them whole, right? Like we were saying, maybe give them a month free or whatever the thing is, but it’s to solve those problems, it’s to get them out the new flange overnighted right away, get them on the phone the next day.

Mary: They’re fire fighters, right?

Nicholas: Right, right. Exactly. They’re solving problems and thank goodness for them.

It’s definitely a vital part of the proper mechanism of your company. So their job is to get the flange fixed for that customer. CX’s job is to say, wow, why are all of the flanges in our widget failing? Let’s get product and engineering in here and let’s get to the bottom of this and fix the flange issue.

Fix the flange issue. That’s the title of the next book, fix the flange issue, that should be the theme for what the difference is between CS and CX. And it’s that taking action on what you’re learning from your customers.

Mary: Can I deepen the flange really quick?

Nicholas: Ohh, the sub-flange.

Mary: What if, not only – now I’m getting comfortable I’m like, my crossing my legs.

What if not only it was, Why is the flange broken? What if it was also, How much is the broken flange influencing my customer’s decision to leave me or not? So in the order of priorities of the tasks that I have, things that I have to fix in my experience overall, how important is the flange in order to keep my customer happy enough to keep giving me money?

And then ordering that correctly. So the flange may be a serious issue, but you know, what, if there’s some big ass bug that keeps crashing it entirely? That would take priority. So I think that not only is it identifying the problem, but identifying the impact of that problem in your customer’s overall perception.

So, because for instance, back to the internet example, right? If my internet isn’t working, that’s the core experience right there is broken. I can’t use the core service. Now I may be annoyed with something, like XFinity isn’t working properly when I’m out, but that’s not the core experience. The core experience is whether the Wifi works in my house when I’m home and I want to watch Netflix.


Nicholas: So it gets down there to “You have one job”

Mary: You had one job!

Nicholas: One job that you’re supposed to be able to do? You’re not delivering on it. Yeah.

Mary: Correct, but depending on the size of the organization, that one job could look differently for different types of customers. Right? So understanding the weight of each of these experiences that are discussed by customers and feedback and prioritizing the issues that are most likely to cause customers to leave you.

I think that is the job of CX and it makes me so happy to hear you describe it this way, because that truly is, when we talk about CX taking a holistic approach, we’re not talking about it trying to be God and be omnipresent, omnipotent, but we are talking about understanding how all of the moving parts inside of the organization are orchestrating in order to cause the customer to stay or not. That’s what it is for me.

Nicholas: I think you’re also chipping away at something that I think is another interesting part of the leverage of process engineering in your CX efforts. And that is, when I first started out in CX, like I said, it was a revelation for me to leverage this for improving customer’s experiences rather than simply saving money.

Cause that’s really what it all comes down to. And let’s not pretend that we’re naive, you know, everybody, like I say, we’re all in the business of business to make money. So I’m not going to go in and tell CEO, Oh, don’t do process improvement just to save resources, do it for CX purposes.

I think that I’m an advocate for that. I think that that’s a brilliant way of doing it, but when I try to convince somebody of that, this is another thing that I say, What’s nice is you don’t have to choose because, and I alluded to this before, when you were leveraging process engineering in your CX efforts, you’re going to save resources.

It’s going to be more efficient. You’re going to save money because you can’t really do Lean Six Sigma without saving resources, it’s kind of like part of how it all happens. Right? You’re going to become more efficient. You’re going to better use your resources. You’re going to become leaner. That’s great.

But then there’s this. And this Mary is what you were getting at. Your customers are going to like you more. They’re going to come back more. They’re going to buy more. They’re going to say that they love you more. They’re going to bring their friends on. So you actually are going to save money on the one hand, obviously, because that’s what Lean Six Sigma does.

That’s what process engineering does. But on the other hand, you’re doing it to keep customers and to make more customers and to make your current customers happy. Well, that’s good. Right? And I’m not going to get into the, you know, quantifying it and what’s the ROI because frankly, I think that’s a bullshit approach to it, is the ROI because CX should be something that’s intrinsic to the operation of your organization.

And when we talk about how people will do, people think only of VOC and they’ll stop at that. And that’s what they consider their CX. I think that part of the reason that that is all they do is because they think that NPS equals sales. And look, I’m a statistician, but I’m not the biggest analytical head on the block.

But nevertheless, when I see people and you see tons of white papers and case studies, and here’s a meta analysis that says that, for every one point of NPS, your revenue goes up this percent or your market share this or that. It just so happens that usually companies that are quote-unquote doing CX are also good at a whole bunch of other things like supply chain, like engineering, like sales and marketing, they’ve got this tremendous

Mary: Coincidentally…

Nicholas: It just so happens, right? Yeah. And so if you’re putting all your eggs in the CX basket and thinking, All we need to do, is this, you’re going to be disappointed when – here’s an example that I gave. Last year, 2020, I don’t care how great your CX is. I don’t care if you have been dedicating your company to customer experience and been the most empathetic and most with it on top of CX business ever.

If what you did for a living was manufacture and sell hydroxychloroquine, you had a bad 2020. Sorry. And it had nothing to do with how dedicated you are to your customer experience and how you put them at the front or at the top or the heart or anything else. It doesn’t matter. And that’s the thing that you have to keep in mind.

There are so many what we call in statistics, exogenous factors that are impacting what’s going on. There’s no market for a discount brand of this or that, or the other thing, because people want the real thing that they’re willing to pay more. So if your brand promise is we’ll save you money in the purchase of this product, you can be great at saving money, but that’s not what people are there for.

They want the quality, or they want the luxury, or they want the ease of use or whatever it might be. Whatever you’re sacrificing in order to drive your costs down for your customers is actually what they want. So, if there’s something else going on in the market that’s driving what people want, don’t sell me. Don’t try to sell me on an ROI for CX, because there’s too much else going on out there.

Mary: Yeah. So you’re right.

Nicholas: You should be doing it only for the purpose of reducing the gap that may exist between your brand promise, and you alluded to brand promise earlier, Mary, and that’s the heart of CX, making your brand promise real in the daily lives of your customers is the whole purpose of CX.

Don’t talk to me about NPS. Don’t talk to me about C-SAT or Customer Effort Score. All those are great. Sure. But talk to me about brand alignment. That’s why I created the brand alignment score. You should be asking your questions in your VOC, in your surveys, in your interviews, when you’re walking in your customer’s shoes,

“Here is the heart of what we’re all about. We’re here to provide a luxury experience. We’re here to provide an ease of use experience. We are here to save you money”. Pick one, but go with it. All right? And then ask your customers, Are we delivering on that? And how are we not delivering on that?

Well, you know, you say that you want to be a discount brand. You want to save me money, but the shipping process you use for your products is more expensive. So you’re losing, and I realized that you don’t run the shipping company. It’s not you, but you chose a shipping company that’s more expensive than the other. I’ll wait one more day because it’s not speed or accuracy or whatever that I’m coming to you.

You’re promising me discount brand. You’re promising me value brand. So give me value. It’s identifying those gaps that should be really propelling your CX efforts. And when we don’t concentrate on that as the purpose for CX, that’s how we get down the rat hole of NPS. That’s how we get down the rat hole of, Oh, well, we just put it on a chart and then we hope things go well next month.

And yeah, we went up, so that’s great. Well, why are our revenues not going up? I could go on all day, Mary I’ve gone tangential as it is.

Mary: But I think a lot of the frustration that we feel is because, in general, there’s so little practical knowledge, or how can I frame this better so that it sounds more clear?

I think what happens is there’s a lot of messaging, and this is one of the things that I set out to try to overcome with this podcast, which is look, there’s a lot of people that are saying the same thing. Let’s maybe shine the light on something different, or maybe let’s shift the focus into things that truly bring results.

Because one thing that I have noticed in the past four or five years that I’ve been doing this podcast and working at Worthix with voice of customer feedback, et cetera, is I have noticed that the industry as a whole is not- while it is growing, it’s not getting stronger in the sense that it’s proving more results.

There’s quantifiable value into every single CX program out there. It’s not one plus one equals two. There are so many variables that are affecting the outcome of CX programs, including what you said, where is it coincidence that the companies that have really good CX have also have really good everything else?

And it’s not. The truth is that the companies that do really good CX truly do really good everything else. And I don’t know of a successful brand out there that does really good CX while having a shitty product or while having a shitty product and a shitty service. It’s a combination of factors and CX comes in to be the maestro that orchestrates all of the moving parts, especially in large organizations that have multiple brands, multiple products, sometimes multiple organizations underneath their umbrella.

That’s where I think that the true value of a Chief Experience Officer or a Chief Customer Officer comes into play is to truly be the maestro of all of those moving parts. And when it comes to an individual in the organization, that’s just like the voice in the wilderness, begging people to please listen to the customer. I don’t really think that’s effective.

There has to be actual process being built into improving on the experiences and understanding that from the customer’s perspective, what’s working, what you need to keep doing in your organization and what you’ve got to do better. That to me, is the heart and the essence of understanding what you need to do in order to provide a good experience.

Nicholas: Yeah. And “do” being the operative word there. You know, Mary, if you look at these brands that are so well-known for their CX, you look at Ritz Carlton or something like that. They’ve been doing CX for years and years and years. They never called it that because they intrinsically knew what it meant to do it.

They said we are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen. That’s what they do. It is a luxury experience. It is a personalized experience. It’s a respectable experience, right? It’s a respecting experience.

You go there and you know that you’re going to be treated like a lady or gentleman, and they had that monomaniacal approach to, This is our brand promise and everything we do here is dedicated to that, insofar as we have processes, insofar as we have experiences, insofar as we have interactions with our customers that don’t support that, that don’t make that real.

Well we need to fix that. We need to improve it. We need to do it right. Guarantee you that Ritz Carlton, when they were ever listening to their customers earlier on, even, they weren’t listening to their customers so that they could put an NPS dot on the stupid graph at the end of the week, they were listening to their customers with the intent to learn about the ways that they are not living up to the brand of ladies and gentlemen, serving ladies and gentlemen.

When they found things that were missing the mark, they fixed those systems. They fixed those processes. They fixed those policies and procedures and rules even, probably. And that’s why everybody there gets a stipend of a certain amount to do anything that they need to help any customer. That’s why they go above and beyond because the whole organization, not just each person individually involved, but the whole organization’s processes and systems are built to robust up the brand promise in the first place.

Then somebody comes along and says, Hi, we’re some, you know, ridiculous brand, and we’re going to do NPS. And now suddenly we’re doing CX. I wonder why our revenue isn’t increasing. It’s because you didn’t internalize anything about what makes those brands that do it successful at it.

You just think, well, we signed onto NPS. I’m sure it will be fine now. All right, we hired some consultant that came in and helped us install this new survey and okay, that’s great. But what are you doing as a result of it? And that’s the difference. That’s why you need to hire a fractional Chief Customer Officer and build an Office of the Customer and put this framework to work.

Mary: Or buy a book.

Nicholas: Or buy a Book! I’ve got it right here.

Mary: Let’s talk about it. Wow. You don’t say, you’ve got a book there?

Nicholas: I’m glad you asked that, Mary.

Mary: Show me the book. One of the things that we talked about was about how your true, authentic self nowadays, Nicholas is just telling everybody about the book.

I’ve got a bookshelf back here of all of the people that have been on this show that have written amazing books. I read them all. I buy them all. And every time I read them, I learn something new. There hasn’t been a book I’ve read from anyone who’s been on this show that I’ve been like, yeah, yeah, no, there’s always something in there that starts a new pattern in my brain.

It branches off a thought and creates something new. And it shapes who I am. You know, when I started off in this podcast, one day out of the blue, somebody called me a CX thought leader and I was like…”Me?” All I do is ask questions. But that’s the thing, I think that asking the right questions is the secret.

And the reason that I am able to ask the right question is because my brain is able to learn from all these amazing people that I have the opportunity to talk with and, and ask questions and learn from. So when it comes to an individual who sat down and wrote a book and was able to get a methodology out there, there’s always some value, there’s always something that we learn.

Nicholas: Well, let’s put an end to that right now, Mary, because I’ll tell you.

Mary: Tell me about this. Tell me about the inspiration for writing this and then tell us where we can buy it.

Nicholas: Yeah, sure. I wrote it originally as a platform to get my framework out there. McKinsey, Accenture, or whatever, you know, I think best, and it kind of goes with the engineering thought process, I think best saying, well, there are three big pieces. You need, you need to do this, you need to do this and you need to do this. So I built a framework for my clients and for my practice as a fractional.

And so I said, okay, well this looks good. And to kind of ease the sales process, I figured if I just write this down and somebody says, all right, Z, you’re some CX Jack ass. You want to come in here and fix our thing. What would you do? I was like, well, here, read this. I’ve just kind of gotten lazy. I don’t like sales. I don’t like having to explain it all. So I just wrote it down and I needed a way to kind of tie it together.

And, in these forums we’re talking and all of these other thought leaders, enough questions and enough silly crap, just kind of kept coming up over and over again. Why do we ask this question about whether you’d recommend my product or service to somebody else? It’s not just to crap all over NPS, but it’s like, why would you ask that?

Right? Why would you ask all these questions and not act on it? Why would you put up a bunch of banners around the office and then call it quits and say, you’re doing CX by telling your employees that they should care about the customer? Well, thanks, coach. Good tip. Appreciate that. And what I really came down to me was, there were we’re missing a common theme and an understanding in that Simon Sinek “start with why” sense of, why are you doing CX in the first place?

 And the more I chipped away at it, the more I heard again, these preposterous discussions about ROI of CX. I thought ,if you have to convince a CEO that he or she should embark on a CX journey because they’ll see, great revenue returns as a result, then customers really aren’t the reason for them doing that, is it?

I mean, you just kind of admitted, that’s a means to an end there, right? So let’s take a step back and let’s reframe it. Why would we do CX in the first place? And it’s just what we’ve been talking about.

We want to further support our brand promise and make that real for our customers. That by the way, will result in greater revenue and more sales and better market share and all those things, don’t get me wrong. When I get the ROI question from business leaders, I was turning it around and I said, Do you believe that if in every interaction with your brand, your customers generally said, yeah, you’re definitely living up to your brand promise.

Do you think that if that were the case, you would have good business results? And of course it’s like, yeah, of course. I’m a true believer in things, you know, in, in starting with why I’m a true believer in mission and vision and values and corporate principles. I think that really is the foundation on which good strong businesses are made and thrive.

So, any business leader who believes in that has more or less sold him or herself on CX. It was like, I don’t need to talk about an ROI. If you think that’s going to be the case, then good. Now let’s talk about how we do CX, and that’s where I get into the book and in framing out what my framework and what my structure is.

And it starts with VOC. It starts with customer insights. And then it goes on to obviously the process engineering that we’ve been talking about, doing something with it. And there’s a really important CX culture piece as well. And I break that down into kind of like a substructure, which is, enablement, empowerment and encouragement for all your employees, make sure that they have the tools that they need to take care of your customers, make sure that they have the authority to use the tools in order to help your customers.

And make sure they’re encouraged, and there’s nothing more encouraging than to see the leadership of your organization takes seriously the reason for doing CX. Prioritizing your process improvement, process engineering efforts, based on what your customers are telling you that they want you to do better.

And then seeing that in action that way. So that’s kind of how the how the book works. There’s also a bit in there about hiring a Chief Customer Officer and staffing and Office of the Customer, what that takes and what the characteristics are of good one, as well as, you know, another cheap promotion for me, and that you should also hire a fractional and coming in and helping him do it.

Mary: Of course you should.

Nicholas: Natrually. In fact, I happen to do that!

Mary: You are in fact the missing link to everything that we’re talking about.

Nicholas: It turns out Mary, how about that?

Mary: Where can we buy it? Where can we find it?

Nicholas: It is on Amazon. If you are watching this on YouTube, or if you’re listening to this, I’m sure that somebody who is smarter than I am, has somewhere put a link to my LinkedIn in there somewhere. There may be a link to Amazon. It is out there. It’s actually ranked. I was like, I was blessed.

Mary: I saw that! You ranked in the top 100, congratulations!

Nicholas: Yeah. Thanks. It’s, it’s incredibly humbling and I put a lot into it and I’m just flattered and humbled by the response to it. More importantly, I hope to people just start doing it.

Mary: Great. Wonderful. Well, Nicholas, thank you so much for joining us and sharing your point of view, sharing your perspective, which is so very valuable.

And I, I truly hope that the folks that are listening and watching are able- if they have to take away one thing from today, I’ll tell you what I took away, which is: if you’re just collecting voice of customer feedback and you’re not doing anything about it, you’re failing. That’s what I’m taking away.

Nicholas: Yeah. And you’re wasting all that good money that you’re spending on Worthix’s wonderful product.

Mary: Yeah, there you go.

Nicholas: Don’t waste it!

Mary: Thank you so much. It’s absolutely wonderful to have you. I hope we continue to chat, whether it’s on Twitter or LinkedIn or on podcasts or anything else. And thank you so much into our viewers and listeners, thank you for joining us once again, and we will see you all next week.

That’s our show. Thanks for joining us. We hope we’ve brought you one step closer to leading through empathy. It’s our way of making the world a better place, one business at a time. Don’t forget to subscribe and hit the bell if you want to know as soon as we publish a new episode. Voices of CX is brought to you by Worthix.

I’m Mary Drumond. This podcast is hosted and produced by me, edited and co-produced by Steve Berry. See you next week.


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Mary Drumond

Mary Drumond

Mary Drumond is Chief Marketing Officer at Worthix, the world's first cognitive dialogue technology, and host of the Voices of Customer Experience Podcast. Originally a passion project, the podcast runs weekly and features some of the most influential CX thought-leaders, practitioners and academia on challenges, development and the evolution of CX.



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