Guidelines and Guardrails — the better way to lead

In the intense, interrupt-driven world of customer-facing operations, very few organizations can consistently deliver outstanding customer experiences and provide a truly fulfilling work environment. Those that do have one thing in common — teams that know how to approach unexpected problems even during inevitable moments of chaos.

How do we get more people to be like the few that know what to do? As leaders we end up on one end of the spectrum — creating nice-sounding but vague statements like ‘whatever it takes’ (yes, I was guilty of this) to the other — creating soul-crushing rigid rules that inevitably don’t cover all situations.  To address the many gaps in between, we either send people to training (50 – 80% of which is forgotten within 24 hours) or parachute senior people in to avert disaster (the hero complex).

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Measures, Metrics & Madness

Background
For a few years now, leaders at customer support organizations have talked about moving customers from a ‘transaction-based’ service and support model to a ‘relationship-based’ one. This involves changing customers’ perceptions, from contacting you only when there are break-fix or how do I questions, to one that understands their business, including the technical and business context of their queries.

With this new approach, you don’t just wait for customers to contact you and then react. Your teams embed knowledge sharing into their practices to reduce or eliminate the ‘known’ issues that customers call about, leaving time for ‘new’ issues or queries that need a personal touch to resolve. You help your customers’ business become more successful by improving the way they use your products and services. This evolution in turn is an important first step in moving from
an expert for hire to a trusted advisor.

After early successes in this journey, many organizations run into a seemingly impenetrable wall. Your senior team ‘gets it,’ but this understanding does not seem to trickle down to most mid-level managers and frontline teams. You are able to get people to share knowledge to tackle the proverbial low hanging fruit (answers to simple issues or frequently repeated questions), but you can’t seem to convince other groups to share knowledge around complex and rarely-repeated processes.

Do they just not get it? What exactly is going on?

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Welcome to the Smartest Next Step in Taking Care of Your Customers (and Employees)

Wow. It has been almost 30 years since I began a career dedicated to taking care of customers, and with the upcoming launch of Klever Insight Beta, I feel proud that everyone who takes care of customers can benefit from the next digital leap forward: with Klever Insight. The world’s first digital advisor for Customer Success and Support teams connects strategy to execution, so everyone always takes the smartest next step.

Strategy must be guided from the top, while the changes required are done by front-line managers. Klever Insight helps with both, plus places at your fingers the experience of an entire industry–because we’ve applied open-source principles to running operations. We’ve seeded the platform with customer success and support expertise and templates, and everyone who uses it helps to improve it–paying it forward by improving results for the next group of people that uses it.

Klever Insight:

  • Recommends the smartest strategic focus for your department or group, based on the success of other organizations and your ability to execute.
  • Guides managers to execute by doing just one small thing every day.
  • Measures success with an open metrics standard.

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An AI-powered HiPPO with Big Ears: A Better Way to Plan

Quite often people ask me why on earth I decided to move from my (allegedly) lucrative consulting practice to become a tech start-up co-founder and CEO, with all the hard work, heartache and risk that it entails.  Well, because I experienced for myself and saw the pain my clients went through without the time, data and directions to actually do the right strategic work that would make a difference. Not to mention the constant struggle to properly implement it and sustain success (always a challenge), but also to prove it generated the right results.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the annual planning process, currently underway at many organizations.  My last post walked through my flawed past approach to annual planning, and in this post I’ll share my learnings and abject failures, all leading to Klever Insight’s birth.

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Executive’s Guide to the Few Acceleration Metrics that Matter

This is the final post in a six-part series on each of the Categories of Focus suggested by the new standard Open Customer Metrics Framework (OCMF). Learn more about this modern, open framework and its five categories of focus in my first post on this topic.

OCMF suggests that executives should spend about 10% of their time on things that make a difference — the “Acceleration category”.

You know how crazy this sounds. We barely have enough time to deal with our day-to- day (and overnight) emergencies as it is.

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Executive’s Guide to the few knowledge metrics that matter

This is part five of a six-part series on each of the Categories of Focus suggested by the new standard Open Customer Metrics Framework (OCMF). Learn more about this modern, open framework and its five categories of focus in my first post on this topic.

OCMF suggests that executives should spend about 20% of their time on knowledge management – the “Knowledge/Collaboration category”.

For those of you keeping score at the office, this is the *same* percentage focused on customers and employees. Yes, it is that important. Your employees know this.

Klever’s State of Knowledge Sharing 2016 survey asked the following question: “If people in your workplace were sharing knowledge as well as they possibly could, it would improve productivity by:”

Nearly 50% of respondents believe that their organization could be at least 30% more productive if they shared knowledge better. Think about that the next time you think knowledge management is too fuzzy a concept to address.

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Executive’s Guide to the few employee metrics that matter

This is part three of a six-part series on each of the Categories of Focus suggested by the new standard Open Customer Metrics Framework (OCMF). Learn more about this modern, open framework and its five categories of focus in my first post on this topic.

The OCMF suggests that executives should spend about 20% of your time on work regarding your employees – the “Employee Category,” which we’ll walk through here.

Let’s admit it. While we talk a lot about how important employees are to us, it’s appalling how little time we actually have to spend on them. After all, employee engagement is a leading indicator of financial performance[1] including customer ratings, productivity and profitability. We spend a lot more time worrying about what our customers say and think, and making sure our financials are in order (Business Category, in OCMF parlance) than we do about employees.

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