We have been hit by monumental organisational changes in these last few months as customer needs and expectations have shifted drastically. All industries have had to adapt and innovate to stay on top. One of the challenges most business leaders had to face is that of change management and organisational inertia.
Given the overall focus in most organisations has been to be adaptive in the face of external changes brought upon by the pandemic and therefore, the big question is how do we overcome this inertia to ensure we deliver the best possible customer experience to remain category leaders.
CX Live and The Customer Institute's Leaders Connect with Hussein M. Dajani, Head of Customer Experience, Nissan Motors; Mike Wittenstein, CEO, Storyminers; Sue Duris, Founding Principal, M4 Communications; Sebastien Munar, Managing Director, Clientrika.
What exactly is organisational inertia and what causes this?
Mike: I think we tend to think about people who are stuck and people who aren’t stuck, and we always put ourselves in the unstuck category. It’s really a matter of perception. I think one of the healthiest ways to look at organisational inertia is to analyse that when you’re on a track you are unaware if it’s taking you to a place that you don’t want to be. When we look at it that way we realize that everybody makes choices. We have thousands of employees in our companies and they make thousands of choices every day about where to spend their time, and their energy, where to invest their emotions, where to work hardest and where to excel.
So, if we have a different sense of where the track is going, we can kind of get a little stuck in it and lost. Yet it may be a very comfortable place to be. Therefore, it’s more about perception and maybe re-perception of where we are and why we’re doing what we’re doing.
Sue: One thing that has been interesting to me is – and I think we really have seen the organisational inertia during this pandemic – everybody rushing to be digital, digital-first and the two big areas that I saw was the companies that already had a digital plan They wanted to speed that up and the companies who really weren’t working in digital suddenly figured hmm if we do digital, that’s gonna be a new revenue channel for us. But are companies being digital for the sake of being digital? Companies need to go digital to create a competitive advantage and be ahead but when digital first eclipses customer first and even employee first, that’s when we run into some issues. It's important to address 3 questions.
What’s the purpose and how does that impact your company? What is the business or customer issue you are trying to solve? And what is that going to optimize your customer experience?
Hussein: I would add one more thing – it’s when an organisation loses sight of the Why term, and this resonates very well with what Sue was saying is we want to turn digital – Why are we turning digital? We need to transform – why do we need to transform? So, true. You’ve got the external factors taking place but there must be more reasons of why are we doing this? Why do we need to do it? What’s the end purpose of it? What exactly are we trying to achieve? Because there are many organisations that actually became digital due to covid but digital did not serve their purpose. So, it’s not about implementing a transformation in the organisation if it doesn’t serve its end purpose and this is where it becomes extremely important. Again, you have got to make sure you serve two kinds of customers: your end customer and your employees. So you really have got to get the buy-in from everybody on what you are doing in order for you to succeed. So when we are talking about changes it can be COVID, it can be anything of that sort. Right now, if you take a look at what’s happening in the world, and how it's going to lead a lot of organisations to re-adapt their businesses.
The why always needs to be answered, and organisations must figure out how they tackle that, and this why needs to be revisited regardless of the external factors.
Another interesting factor is the semiconductor. As you know this is a major issue. It’s not only affecting the automotive industry where I’m working, it’s affecting every single piece of electronics that’s out there – be it smartphones, be it fridges, microwaves, TV sets – anything of that sort. Again, this is an external factor. You’ve got a factory which doesn’t exist anymore. It was supplying the world’s needs of semiconductors – how do you address that?
In the last couple of months or years, we have seen an increase in this inertia, we know it is mainly due to the pandemic and the changing landscape of the way business is being done and things like working from home, online shopping etc. Are there underlying causes and driving forces behind this increase other than the pandemic?
CX Live: When we look at the external circumstances, especially for any organisation that operates on a local, regional or global level, there are so many external factors that have played a part until very recently in creating organisational inertia. It’s the situation in Russia and Ukraine but then there are the federal interest rates that are going to be rising everywhere. They're obviously the new expectations that customers have and irrespective of geographies and boundaries, all of them are driving internal transformation that causes a shift in the thinking and culture and again makes us circle back to the ‘why’. Why is it that we are embarking on a journey to change?
Sebastian: I find it interesting because I actually thought that inertia is like it’s one side of a coin, you know, we have a coin and there are two sides. And the other side is the change management theory.
Steven Robbins, an author who investigates inertia, mentions that organisations are by nature, conservative and mundane and want to resist change. So, when there are inter-dependent systems, and departments in a company, it’s really difficult to drive change and that’s where inertia starts. This challenge of interconnecting all the leaders, all the departments is massive and a company has to accept that when it plans any modifications.
Is organisational inertia caused by a wrong mindset, culture, or company structure, What is generally wrong internally and how can the culture and structure be improved?
CX LIve: Organisational inertia is an issue that’s affecting every organisation at this point in time. Given that we are all dealing with this problem internally, can you shed some light on what is generally the way it can be improved? Is it the mindset, is it the culture, is it the structure? How can we improve organisational inertia?
Mike: Good question. Well, my first answer was about perception, so let me stay on that track so that there will be some different points of view. Let’s assume for a minute that inertia is not a bad thing. What does inertia do for us? Well. It provides efficiency because the more people do the same way, the more routine they are and when things change and ships get stuck in the Suez Canal, and wars break out and chips are available, that’s not that good a thing – doesn’t work all the time. But if you are going to your favourite restaurant and you want that special dish prepared that special way, you want it to be the same every special time. So consistency and inertia go together and loyalty and inertia go together. So I would say that there are certain parts of your business that you need to foster this inertia. One of the places that it’s missing is emotional connection. Lots of businesses try to standardise the way they work like my bank here in the Atlanta area just merged with another one in the last couple of weeks and everyone’s been going through the difficulty of this marriage and it’s interesting. Where we’re missing a lot of inertia in a good way is in the emotional side of things. When things go well and we feel good, as we’re buying in the store, and then we buy online, and then we do some other kind of buying and it feels the same, we really appreciate that from the brand. This bank is doing a very good job of making sure that the customers feel the same even though everything behind the scene is really different. So that’s part number one.
Part number two is where do you need to make the change. Sebastian and Hussein hinted at organisations are really complex and there need to be changed in lots of different places but it doesn’t have to be the same effort applied in each of those areas. So if you’re looking to increase the aperture for change, maybe you should look at things from the place where does change need to happen? And who wants to change? So, you could do something that involves making it easier for the employees to do their job right now so they have a few free cycles. At the strategy level of an organisation, you might introduce new capabilities around what we learn. Inside the organisation, we are kind of stitching the parts together, like Sebastian said, maybe there is some kind of an exchange program where people can experience each other’s lives and work and decisions and things like that. So, we don’t have to just look at processes or matrixes and try to get everybody the same. That’s actually very boring.
Each micro-part needs its own little surgery and it’s up to us as customer experience facilitators, designers, thinkers and doers to figure out what’s needed in different parts of the organisation. But you don’t have to change everything at once.
Hussein: Mike, I liked a lot what you said, it’s spot on. I would add just one thing. It’s that the more an organisation grows, it falls into the trap of its own silos where every single department starts working on their own and for their own objective rather than the collective objective of the organisation. If you want to make sure change happens in an organisation, you must make sure you break the silos. You must make sure that organisations are working with each other, coordinating very well and working towards one objective. This is extremely important. The other thing is the culture of agility in the organisation in order to be able to manoeuvre, in order to be able to adapt to change in a seamless way rather than feel like a titanic of a ship that is so hard to steer it to the right or to the left. This is extremely important. For the change to happen, you must have the mindset, the culture in an organisation must be there. You need to welcome and encourage and always push employees in order to adapt to this culture of change, So again I would say the emphasis should be on breaking silos, being more agile and last but not least having an open channel of communication in an organisation. This is extremely important so where we talk about the voice of customers, I talk here about the voice of the employees. Because sometimes, some employees are able to foresee things that others cannot, and they are the ones who need to raise the flag about them in an organisation and say hey, be careful, we see this happening. Especially when you are talking about a multi-national company made out of so many different nationalities, each person can come with objective and learnings from their own countries and so on.
Sebastian: The most important thing is to accept that you have the problem of inertia. We have to move, we have to continue, we have to innovate.
And for this companies must have processes that allow employees to collaborate, to talk, to really be in touch with different teams so you can have different points of view, and decentralize power – this is important to accelerate innovation and avoid inertia in a company.
CX Live: It’s interesting how innovation ties into this because at the end of the day, the whole point of this stability, Mike and Hussein what you spoke about having the agility, a lot of it is actually dependent on how – unless that foundation is there for that innovation to happen, it’s actually quite difficult and we can’t sustain in today’s day and age without that creative and innovative bend as well. As Mike when we started this conversation you said that in some ways it is a good thing, it’s actually true because unless you can have the confidence that okay a lot of my people know what they are doing, so if I just have to pick up a team to work on a new exercise, it’s much easier done than trying to get everybody geared up to bring that change. Sue, I think you had a point of view that you wanted to express?
Sue: I was going to tie it all together with a nice little bow. I really liked Mike talking about consistency and my favourite hated word “silos” from Hussein and Sebastian talking about awareness, I know that consistency is really key and I think a lot of people get confused, “is consistent the same as being the same?” and it isn’t. I know that customers want consistency in their journey, in their experience. I know Salesforce even said that when they were polling, they said over three-quarters of their respondents said that we want that consistent experience because consistency breeds trust. The more trust drives loyalty, drives customer lifetime value, drives growth.
When you can have all those connectors, where culture and employee, employee experience and customer experience are aligned across the organisation, then you eliminate issues, and you actually maximize and optimize the customer experience.
So when everything can be aligned, it’s actually a really good thing. Of course, it’s easier said than done and you can’t do everything at the same time. That’s where prioritisation – where’s the value for not only employees but also for customers?
Ayusha: that’s a very interesting viewpoint, Sue and that brings me straight on to one of the thoughts that always come to mind when we are talking about CX and that’s about that internal alignment and those partnerships and that collaboration, that sets the foundation. Given that with all the disruptions that have happened in the last couple of years through the whole ecosystem, we’re seeing that there’s employee experience and then there’s customer experience and then there’s this whole wave of automation and digital transformation that’s driven all that change.
What role do partnerships play in overcoming inertia? Do they rub off each other?
Sue, would you like to start commenting on this given that you’ve just summarized the earlier viewpoints beautifully? What is the best way of forging partnerships and making them collaborations rather than competition in the race?
Sue: I like to think that the CX leader is the master uniter in an organisation. I use as an example of the CX leader’s relationship with the chief technology officer. One of the things that I hear a lot from CX leaders and I’m sure that I would have a unanimous feeling amongst our panellists here is that technology – driving CX technology in an organisation is much easier said than done. But as CX leaders, what we can do – and I think it’s the beauty of where we are – we sit centrally a lot of times and we see what’s going on in different groups, how we can help improve processes, the whole customer journey looking at gap analysis, where the holes are which in turn are opportunities. I brought the CTO up because if there are things that the CX leader can do and it’s nurturing relationships. Do we talk about how can we influence?
Well, to be able to influence, we need to have a recipient listening to us. And from a CTO aspect, for instance, if the CX leader is trying to develop relationships with the CTO, and they want their projects to go forward, why not take on your CTO as one of your internal customers, find out who they are, what drives them, what’s their agenda and help them, because what you’re doing here is you’re adding the customer-centric viewpoint to their project so they’re first understanding – I really get this customer-centric thing now.
This is very important and the CX leader is also showing how much value they’re adding to the conversation. So it’s really a win-win for both sides and that drives influence and that drives more solidifying of customer experience throughout the organisation.
CX Live: Now Hussein, obviously, in the case of Nissan, there has been tremendous adoption of technology and digitization in the last couple of years. There are a lot of initiatives that you’ve rolled out which clearly shows that that collaboration, internal alignment that we are talking about was set in stone before you went ahead to commission these projects at Nissan. Can you shed some light on how you were able to achieve it? What were some of the success parameters that you set out for yourselves and how were you able to go through that entire transformation so beautifully?
Hussein: I just want to go back one step into talking about when we talk about inertia, it’s not necessarily just in an organisation. If you remember very well, we’ve always had a Chief Marketing Officer. Then we started having the Chief Digital Officer and then we went into the page that Chief Marketing Officer be removed and turned into Chief Digital Officer. And then we got customer experience. So the Chief Marketing Officer became the Chief CX Officer. Now we are witnessing the metaverse. If you go to LinkedIn and you just type Chief Metaverse Officer, you will notice that title growing more and more. So change is happening all the time and this is what I’m talking about. it’s not necessarily – these factors are outside the control of any organisation and once the metaverse started coming out, the whole organisation is like okay what do we do now? Do we need to jump on metaverse? What’s the ROI from jumping on metaverse? So on and so forth. I was just giving a context when talking about inertia.
Moving back into Nissan, 2020 -first of all let me go back to when we– the customer experience department at Nissan has only been there for the last 5 years. I’m talking from a global level and in the region here. And when we first created it, and let’s be very honest, it is very normal to feel opposed or basically objected to by other departments because let’s face it a customer experience department is not the department that is implementing things. the customer experience department is the department that – and I hate saying that – is “policing” things, making sure that things are working in the right way, directing, putting strategies but you have the other departments which are implementing what you are suggesting to them. So, many departments will feel that you are tapping into their territories and they will be like okay, who the hell are you? Move away. So what we created in order to get the buy-in from everybody is the customer experience steering committee. So the starting point was we went to every single department, we pitched to them who we are, what we’re doing and most importantly the fact that we need them to nominate one person from their department who will become the customer experience champion for their department sitting with us on the customer experience steering committee. That committee met together once a month and the objective behind it is number one: to create cross-functional discussions and communications among all departments, number two: to break the silos, number three: always make sure that collectively we are working towards the objective of meeting the customer wants and needs versus the individual department wants and needs.
So fast forward to 2020, everything was going great and we started hearing about Covid. And I remember very well, you know my colleagues were like – including myself – yeah it’s just happening in China, nothing is gonna happen over here, day in, day out sweeping the whole world – Europe, middle east, Africa, and so on and so forth. As an automotive brand, people were not coming anymore to the showroom, were not taking their vehicles for service maintenance. We are not an NGO at the end of the day, we got shareholders, we got ourselves, we have to make revenue. So this is when collectively we brainstormed together - the customer experience steering committee and here’s the great catch about it. We were not looking at a short-term solution, rather we were looking at what are the short-term threats to the business and what are the long-term anticipated threats? Because what we came back with to senior management, proposing to them was not a countermeasure to covid, it was more of a business transformation, that said: it’s a new era where we are going to start a business in a new way. And this is where we created a customer promise proposition called Shop at Home with Nissan. You are sitting at home, you can’t go to the showroom, not a problem, we’ll bring the showroom to you. On our website, you’ll be able to – as if you’re walking inside the showroom, have the 360-degree view, so on and so forth. You’ve seen the vehicle, you like it but you still have questions – hey I need the sales consultant – not a problem, you click on a button, you will do an instant video call with a sales consultant regardless of where the sales consultant is, you’ll have a video call with that sales consultant, you’re interested in it, but again, buying a vehicle is the second biggest investment you do in your life, so I want to touch, I want to feel, the vehicle, we provided home test drive where you get to choose according to the date, the time and the location you want, we come to you, fully sanitized, fully disinfected the vehicles. You do that so the whole thing. We enabled ecommerce, we enabled finance calculators, we enabled free finance applications where in 30 minutes, you’ll get an answer on whether your loan is accepted or not – so, the whole shebang. We looked at the whole customer journey. We looked at how that customer journey is being disrupted and how can we actually turn this into an advantage to the customers. But that’s the easy way of talking about it.
Let’s look at it from the perspective of the employees. You have the salesperson who’s been used all his or her life to sell a vehicle face to face with the customer. Now you are telling them you’re gonna have to sell a vehicle through a smartphone while talking to a customer and trying to convince them that this vehicle is right. They’re not used to that; you’re disrupting the way they’re doing – they used to do business. So just like they were disrupting the customer, it’s being disrupted as well for the employees. This is why answering the Why for everybody is extremely important. This is why ensuring proper training; education is very much important. This is why breaking silos is very important. This is why being agile is very important. I can’t disclose the numbers but the Shop at Home proved to be a very big win for Nissan. It did deliver a lot on the objective that we have – the financial objectives I’m talking about here. Shop at home, even though now we’re starting to come out of covid, Shop at Home is a customer promise differentiator that’s not going away. It became on our website; it became very much over there. It’s being used on every single piece of communication that we send out – that be SMS, emails, new Marketing, and so on and so forth. It’s always there. This is what differentiates us from our competition.
CX Live: And again, the key learning that is coming evidently from what you just described is when you know the Why so clearly, when you know why you’re doing it and it’s not just a short-term fix to a problem that’s just popped up, but there’s a long-term vision and the entire energy has gone into a complete business transformation with a very defined goal of what success looks like, everything else starts falling into place and I think we forget how important that is.
We forget that when there’s a pandemic, we become reactive to that pandemic, whereas if we still take that long term view, we end up achieving that success with a far larger magnitude, and that convincing internal stakeholder is so much easier because people know why you’re doing it.
And congratulations, I think it’s a fantastic case study that has clearly showcased the strength of CX transformation in an industry like automobiles where – at least I can relate so clearly to the culture that Hussein was talking about – where it’s like a family exercise – everybody goes to the showroom, everyone likes to see what you’re going to buy, how’s the seat? How’s the tech? How’s the dashboard? To make them understand all of that digitally is just incredible. So, well done.
Hussein: Thank you, and if I could add to that, something which is extremely important, as you know during covid, everybody is sitting at home during quarantine. But again, a solution that might be great to me might not be great to Mike. This is where it’s very important to really – whenever launching something new, if you’re not living in normal conditions, as in you’re in quarantine, you have to make sure to let the data speak to you. This is where data plays a very important role and the data starts with your employees because they are customers at the end of the day. And then it goes to the customers out there. This is where you keep looking at the data in order to keep adapting and making sure that what you are proposing is adding value. Here’s where I always say I don’t work in customer experience; I say I work in human experience. Because be it your employees, be it your end customers, we sometimes forget that they are actually human.
Employee inertia. The biggest part of change is the people. How can you influence and change people’s thinking, when they themselves are stuck in that state of inertia and are struggling to buy into or accept the changes?
CX Live: Given that you’ve just brought up employees as the cornerstone here, I want to delve down a bit more into the employee inertia side of things because a lot of the times, the change that you also referenced and I think Mike and Sue, you also brought it up in your conversations is that dynamic change that needs to come into the mindset and making sure your employees are with you in that journey. Now, if there is a problem with employee inertia, how do we fix it? How do we make sure that they are with us on this journey and they are not falling behind – there are no silos there, we can’t afford those silos. Mike, what are your thoughts on that?
Mike: I had a manager when I worked one summer at an aerospace company right out of high school. Her name was Merge Bell and she told me a story and I’ll share it with you. She said you can’t teach a pig to sing – it’s an old expression. It doesn’t work and – this was her revelation to me – it pisses off the pig. You can’t change people. We use the word change so much and it’s so – it’s filled with bias and concern because let me ask you a question. Sebastian, when was the last time you were “changed”? Sue, you’re next and Ayusha, you’re next.
Sebastian: probably never.
Mike: Sue, has anybody tried to change you and did you like it?
CX Live: I think some things do change you but I think in an organisation context, Mike, we can’t be changed and we’re not there to be changed. Intrinsically, we are going there to work and we do take that part of our lives as being very methodical, very cosmetic. It’s not the place we want to be any different from what we are external. Having said that, we can be moulded to some degree but as managers, we should not want to change someone and make them completely different, and that is the way we should be approaching it.
Mike: yes, so there’s a second part to the story here and thank you for setting me up so brilliantly just now. There are a lot of things that we like to do when we work. You like to grow, you like to learn new things, you like to find out just how good you are. You like to get feedback from other folks especially when it’s positive. So work feeds us, it supplies us, it nourishes us with lots of things besides the money aspect of it, we kind of call that employee experience but here’s what I would suggest. Get rid of the idea that you can change other people. It just sets up this very contentious way of thinking. Let’s put that to the side. So what can you do instead? I think because we are in periods of intense change, where most of the work that folks are doing is first of a kind, we’re not doing the same old thing, we’re asking people to do new things, new ways, new outcomes, and there’s no playbook. So what I think we can do is paint a picture for them of what the future holds for them. And by that, I don’t mean just saying nice things about “oh, the world is gonna be so great” and playing a little music in the background, and bringing them some dessert, and get them to feel excited that way. That’s not very authentic. What you can do by painting a picture of what the world is gonna be like in the future is tell the future story of your work. Instead of saying, here’s a PowerPoint chart, and you’re down here on this little data element, with 8000 other people and you have to hit this goal, it’s gonna be very hard but I want you to work very hard, you can say something like, it was 8:30, and Sebastian rolled out of bed expecting it to be a day just like any other. Little did he know, what was gonna meet him when he rolled into the parking lot at 10:30 – it takes him two hours to get to work. Okay, you start off with a story, and you do hard work to design what that future is gonna be like for Sebastian. What kind of tools is he going to be using? Who is he gonna interface with? What times are his meetings? Does the company supply smartwatch to remind him of what time it is to go to the meeting? Does some other service help?
As you figure out, in detail, how to make somebody else’s life better, how to help encourage them on their learning journey? How to give them the comforts that they’re used to, the feelings that they’re attracted to?
As customer experience designers, I think the best way to create change is to make it, to design it. Put those principles into a little workspace.
So, how do you actually do that? You can hire me to find out, okay, but what it looks like is either a story or a play. In a story, you just use some words, and you write everything down, just like I started to give a narration about Sebastian’s life. You can also present it as a play. And I don’t mean in a theatre with lights and orchestra and things like that. But I mean that people are very kinaesthetic. They enjoy, and they learn, and they operate well in conjunction with others, even if they are in a home environment, secluded because of covid. You can act out or prototype using people, what the actions are gonna be like, how the conversations are gonna flow, what it’s gonna be like to deal with a new boss. Hussein, you talked about what it was like for the sales associates to – you’ve got this phone for the sales associates – what’s it gonna be like for them? How do you get them to want to add their thinking and their preferences to the new reality that you’ve created? When you bring a story or you use a play or a poem or anything that’s in the creative realm, people don’t resist. They want to see what happens. We intimately care about what happens to characters, to other people. So there’s real power in creating future stories and it’s hard work because you have to sweat the details, but if you’re willing to do that, for a few folks, and they go “oh, that’s not so bad, you know what, we could also do it this way” and you incorporate their feedback and you make it that way so don’t build you software all the way until you get your feedback. Don’t set your processes until you get some feedback and then what happens is those people become ambassadors and they tell their friends, and their friends, and their friends – it’s the same technique that we use when we use great customer experience on the outside – we just need to use it on the inside and create futures that people will love. So first, don’t try to change people, and don’t drive 100% by the numbers. That’s my two cents for today.
CX Live: It’s so interesting, Mike, that whilst you’ve literally just taken us on a different journey, on a different path, where Hussein started off is exactly where you’ve summarized it.
Unless you have a design thinking methodology and there’s been stakeholder engagement and consultation, and unless you’ve seen the data and unless you believe in the data before you actually take it to your internal and external stakeholders and make them understand and make them realize the benefits of change, you can’t achieve success.
So, thanks for actually showcasing a very different side to the whole picture but eventually when we bring it together, and when the entire approach and methodology is based on the design principle, it does have its impact and the amazing success that Hussein spoke of. Sue, would you like to add something to this?
Sue: I loved Mike’s story – it was absolutely great and I was thinking about not telling but showing. When you can show employees how they fit into the big picture, speaking their language, how it impacts them, how they can drive change, how they can be part of a solution – that’s what they want, they want to – it’s all about inclusion. Including employees, in the entire picture, when you can speak their language, you can speak their language and how it affects them, that’s how they’re going to buy into it. And speaking of ambassadors, when that can happen, they can be a very strong ambassador and that’s where employee engagement comes in and we all know that when employees are engaged, they’re going to drive that customer experience.
Mike: I just wanted to add one thing. In my opinion, there are people who lead businesses well and people who just kind of sit in the chair. The folks who just sit in the chair only do well in one area: which is finance. That’s usually where they go – they optimise the bottom-line for the shareholders – that’s not that hard. It’s not that hard because they make it hard on everybody else. That’s how they squeeze their wins. A better strategy, better leaders, more human individuals who help us make it so that everybody gets more of what they want. That’s harder. That’s the definition of strategy – making one decision that yields multiple positive outcomes. So when I heard Sue speaking, when I heard Sebastian, Hussein, when I heard you, I’m constantly reminded that we need to work very very much with others’ interests at heart and solve for as many of those at the same time as possible. Because people want to show up at work and not do the least, they want to be the most. They want to give the most. They want to grow. Those are folks that I know mostly. I know there are other people that aren’t wired like that. But if you’re in a high-performing organisation, do as much as you can for others and help them get the most they want.
Hussein: going back into asking about the Why – with covid, a lot of priorities are employees changed a lot and I think we are starting to see the implications of that with the great resignation. Is anybody taking a pause and asking why are all of those people resigning their jobs? I think what happened during covid is a lot of employees started relooking and evaluating their purposes, re-evaluating the organisations in which they’re working in, re-evaluating their objectives from life, from anything of that sort.
So, again, employees do have their own objectives as well – it could be their personal objective, it could be their professional objective and they did the re-evaluations of that which not many companies took that into account and we’re seeing the results of it with the great resignation. That’s not only happening in a certain region but actually happening globally.
CX Live: That’s a very valid point, Hussein, and I think it does tie very well into the employee inertia that we are talking about because you’re so right that the great resignation that we are seeing is being witnessed across the globe, in different industries – there is a very personal element to it but obviously it’s very well connected with the culture, with the organisation, it’s connected with what they want from their own lives and questioning whether the organisation is actually the means to an end or is it an enabler? And I think that enablement is what people are looking at, at this point in time. They are looking at being the orchestrators of change in some way whether it’s in personal life or in a larger societal context and we’re seeing so much of that happening right now. So thanks for actually bringing that point, Hussein, because it’s very very important when we talk about organisational as well as employee inertia. Sebastian, would you like to comment?
Sebastian: Actually, I have an opinion on that because, I lived for some time in different countries in South America, a lot of it in Chili and I’m Peruvian but I have been travelling a lot and taking advantage of the fact that I can do this. So I have teams in different parts of the world – I work with people in Thailand, in South Africa, so that’s great because 5 years ago, it was not impossible but it was hard to have these situations and that’s now normal. Returning to the first topic, I will separate the impact of employee experience depending on the level of seniority. My first story is one that I had some time ago when I was in AT&T company. We had a big call centre in Cali, Columbia, with more than 5000 people. This is frontline, so it’s really difficult because there needs to be a lot of motivation and incentive given to people to really understand the why, the purpose of the company, and we achieved that using the customer awards room. A lot of social listening, talking with people and they loved that senior leadership were there. I was based in Lima, Peru but I travelled a lot to Columbia, maybe 10 times per year but it was important for them to – their leaders there in the same call centre because they feel that we were far away, in geography but also in feeling. Then in middle management, whilst it was important to understand the power of relationships, implementing agility was really a challenge because a lot of people felt that they were losing power because of this new team.
CX Live: That’s true.
Organisational inertia is so closely tied to customer success and customer experience success and the more we delve into it, the more we realise that eventually, it’s about that human connection. And it’s about making sure that we’re able to tap on it every time every single time we want to drive change, and leverage dialogue and data analytics to achieve success.
Any closing remarks from your side, Hussein?
Hussein: It’s going be a very interesting era looking at organisations and how they adapt to the next world of digital and as we know it’s not slowing down at all. Could that be with the metaverse, could that be with all future events happening? So it’s very important to try to see how organisations will re-evaluate what they stand for, their purposes, how they integrate employee experience in everything that they’re doing, how they ensure cultures in their organisations start adapting to the new now, if you will, so it’s a very interesting era and I really keep looking at organisations everywhere and I will tell you one thing that working in the customer experience field, is the fact that I sometimes hate that I work in customer experience because when I’m dealing with any organisations, I know exactly the shortfalls of that organisation, I know exactly where the problem is and that frustrates me a lot.
I really hope that the gap that’s between senior management and the employees who are on the ground gets smaller so everybody is involved in what we call customer experience because as long as customer experience is just a department in an organisation, the change would be very hard.
CX Live: that’s true, Hussein, Mike would you like to say something for closing?
Mike: It’s been a fascinating conversation. I have learned a lot from my colleagues. I’d like to leave with a quote about the customer experience that I’ve known for a long time that I think applies here as well.
No matter how hard you try, or how much you spend, your brand can’t be any better than what people experience. The idea is that you’ve got to focus on how you show up, how you model, how you build, how you think, how you work, how you show up on video, how you speak all those details matter all the time. It’s not just what happens in front of the customer when they are about to buy, it’s all the time for everyone.
CX Live: It’s been a pleasure, Sebastian, would you like to say something?
Sebastian: I believe that for inertia, it’s important to negotiate and cooperate. It’s like this game theory in economics I really love because you have to look for a win-win and then a third win situation – the company wins, the customer wins and now also we know that employees have to win. So that’s the idea, to really have a balance of the business and really be aware of that and all the people actively participating.
CX Live. Sue, last but not the least, we’d just like to invite you to summarize it.
Sue: I think we all need to be much more inclusive in CX and that’s not just about un-represented groups, un-represented thoughts and different ideas and if we can include more of our employees, more of our customers – that’s gonna be the glue that’s going to align everything and drive things closer to what we all want and that’s growth.
CX Live: Certainly, so let’s find that stickiness in all these organisations that we are a part of. Thank you so much for joining us today and we look forward to hosting you again soon.
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