The Net Promoter System Podcast
Host Rob Markey welcomes back Jeanne Bliss, author of the new customer experience book, Would You Do That to Your Mother? In her book, she argues that companies need to humanize the customer experience to help their employees provide the service that customers want. Jeanne also advises senior leaders as founder and president of CustomerBliss, and previously oversaw the customer experience at Land’s End, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker and Allstate.
In this excerpt from the interview, Jeanne and Rob discuss the importance of helping employees manage their stress and recharge, so they can bring their best to customers:
ROB MARKEY: One of the things I wanted to talk about is this concept from your second chapter: Be the person I raised you to be. You're really talking, in some ways, about instilling in people a sense of mission.
JEANNE BLISS: That's right. And honoring the employee so they can honor the customer. In the world we live in, where the pendulum has swung so far to technology being perceived as the answer to many questions, it's still a human at the end of the decision, and a human supporting another human being.
Yet we pen our employees in. We make them policy cops. We don't hire them for the right reason. We give them all these difficult tasks to do that don't raise the water level and give them a part of a greater whole so that they can feel that they have a role in improving lives. That they're not just coming in and executing these tactics.
ROB MARKEY: The other thing that you drew out really nicely was that, not only do people need to have a sense of purpose, and a sense of mission, and an understanding of how they improve the lives of their customers, but they also need to be given a little bit of care and empathy themselves.
I have watched people who are coming off the end of a shift in a store or a call center. I recently I watched drivers delivering packages. They're spent. I mean, they are just wiped. And they're not just wiped physically, they're wiped out emotionally. And-this is not extreme circumstances. This is just every day. They are dealing with, on the one hand, very mundane and almost repetitive jobs. And then on the other hand, moments of relatively high stress.
Can you talk a little bit about how you think about instilling in people, or better said, improving their energy level? You know, giving people a boost?
JEANNE BLISS: Sure. A really important part of that chapter was about enabling people to care and bring what I call the best version of themselves to work—to act congruent at work or to act how they do in their everyday life, but nurturing them. Because to your point, what happens, and we know this, is the dysfunction of the organization—our processes, what we do—roll to the feet of the people who are talking directly to customers.
And because many of them are so mission-based and service-oriented, they will do complete emotional, and sometimes physical, what I call “body slams” to make the customer whole. They also are, at times, the only person the customer can vent toward. And so in this chapter, we talk about how you nurture the givers, the caregiver.
There's an example of a practice that was started in Hawaii, in the hospital health care systems there, called Code Lavender. And in health care, you know, you're not only going through great physical angst from taking care of patients and families, but often emotional angst. But I would say that's a corollary to almost every industry.
What they've done that many of the great hospital systems are now doing is enabling anyone to call it without judgment, to say, “Look, I need a breather. I need an emotional connection with people to help me get back to center.”
So the one thing that was really important to talk about in my book was this notion of, What's your version of a Code Lavender? Do you know the signals to understand when your folks are spent? And do you provide them with that respite with no judgment to help them get back to center?