Jeanne Bliss has a wealth of experience in Customer Service Industry and has held the position of Chief Customer Office at high-profile companies such ast Lands’ End, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker and Allstate Corporations in the United States. Jeanne’s role involves liaising with each CEO on what companies can do to enhance their customers’ experience and transform for the better.
Now the President of CustomerBliss, where she guides the C-Suite and Chief Customer Officers around the world on earning business growth by improving customers’ lives. Her clients include AAA, Johnson & Johnson, Brooks Brothers, Bombardier Aerospace, and Kaiser Permanente.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your background?
I’m the Founder and President of CustomerBliss, and the Co-Founder of The Customer Experience Professionals Association. I was the first CCO for Land’s End in the ‘80s and, since then, I have been a CCO for five major corporations in the United States. I’ve always fought to get the customer on the strategic agenda, redirecting priorities and creating transformational changes to help brands put customers first.
After 25 years serving as a CCO in the various companies, I founded CustomerBliss to help companies transform their thinking by bringing the silo-based operations together to understand the customer perspective.
What’s the importance of Customer Experience for companies?
Customer Experience continues to be a competitive advantage for companies because it’s a differentiating factor. A customer experience that makes customers feel valued and respected is a component that leads to more company loyalty and trust. Companies that transform how they grow and are deliberate about it, do so because they think about the people at the end of their decisions. The intent of their work is to “earn the right” to grow by improving their lives. This is what makes all of the difference.
What’s the most significant change in terms of customer behaviors you’ve observed lately?
I think due in part to companies like Netflix and Amazon, a significant change is the customers’ increasing desire to be known. We want recommendations tailored to our likings, we want check out processes to be smoother – we want to feel like we’re known and understood. This means that companies need to spend more time getting to know their customers’ wants and needs, as well as developing journey maps that anticipate these needs and understand their pain points. There’s definitely more of a focus on creating a human-centered design in order to accomplish this.
Can you tell us more about the idea around your latest book “Would You Do That To Your Mother?”
The idea behind this book is that I’m encouraging business leaders to stop and say to themselves: when you act, speak, respond, or decide—think about the person you love on the receiving end. Picture the frustration your mother feels when she’s calling an 800 number and gets passed through multiple people in order to have her problem solved. And not only that, she has to keep introducing herself and her problem to each new person she encounters on the phone. We’ve all had this experience. If you’re leading your business operations and ultimately, the customer experience—is this what you’d want your mother to experience?
I’m asking people to question, “How would your company act if every customer were your mom?”
According to you, how can companies improve their employee experience to positively impact customer experience?
Just like customers, employees need to feel valued and trusted. Companies can improve their employee experience by authentically engaging with team members. Find out what motivates them, what their desires are, what’s the role they want to play in the company? Connecting with employees on a human element is extremely important to the success of your company.
Also, I always stress the importance of a good hiring process. Hire employees with empathy, those individuals who have a certain light behind their eyes. When you’re deliberate about focusing on talent and retention, you cultivate a strong team and spend less time on replacing employees and dealing with turnover.
Can you tell us about the best Customer Experience you’ve ever had? And the worst one?
To be honest, I have experienced so many great CX moments, but a recent experience that comes to mind is: I was presenting a keynote at a conference and a CX quote of mine was actually on the hotel room key cards! The company also wrapped the stairs with the names of attendees on it for all to see; it was such a good feeling because the company showed how appreciative they were of the attendees and speakers. It’s always good to feel appreciated.
In regards to bad customer experiences, I actually shared an unpleasant experience I had in an airport in one of my Daily Dose vlogs. An airport representative treated me in a way that was quite unwelcoming and rude; he actually told me that he wasn’t going to apologize for his behavior. I had to complain about this treatment to his manager. It’s extremely important that your frontline is trained to care and be empathetic.
According to you, what will be the key Customer Service trends for the next 12 months?
Well, for customer service, it seems that there’s more and more AI integration to enhance customer autonomy. While I think it’s great for customers to have self-service check-out options, we can’t forget about the importance of the human element. There should still be customer service reps available in a store, and we should still be able to easily access customer service reps on the phone when we’re in need. I also notice there’s an increasing focus on employee experience, which I hope can also blend nicely with our integration of AI.
What would be your top advice to deliver a remarkable Customer Experience?
It goes back to the question I ask in my book, “Would You Do That To Your Mother?” Seriously, I want companies to think about how they’d want their mother or loved one to be treated when it comes to making decisions that affect our customer’s lives. Companies really need to learn how to show respect at all times, anticipate needs, and be patient.
Originally published Apr 25, 2019, updated Jan 30, 2020