NPS Blog

The wisdom of Jeanne Bliss: Stop chasing the CEO’s pet peeves and put customers first

Jeanne Bliss of CustomerBlissWhen a company lacks a thoughtful method for listening to customers and making systemic improvements, some executives tend to jump on every middling complaint and business fad rather than tackle deeper issues.

I saw this phenomenon in action at a financial services firm. I was meeting with executives at the company to discuss its bold plan to use customer service as a competitive weapon. I expected to be blown away by an ambitious plan, but what they showed me was a list of 10 problems that had irritated the CEO so much that he demanded they be addressed. One of the listed issues involved a tech setting in the company’s mailing system that caused a board member’s friend to see his name mangled on bills and letters. Chasing the CEO’s pet peeves is not how long-term, enduring change happens.

Jeanne Bliss, who has helped companies such as Bombardier and Pella Windows become more customer-centric, says this reactionary attitude gets in the way of meaningful improvements. She recently joined me on the Net Promoter System Podcast to discuss her approach to developing the processes that support strong customer experiences at major companies.

Jeanne is probably best known for pioneering the role of chief customer officer (or as we call it at Bain, the chief advocacy officer); she has held the position at Land’s End, Microsoft and Allstate. More recently, she has coached many of these leaders at other companies, helping them to consider how their products affect customers’ lives.

Net Promoter System podcast“People chase the shiny object, and it’s interesting, but it doesn’t change the culture,” Jeanne says. “Just start with renaming the stages from the customer’s life point of view.”

Jeanne has a lot to say about how you turn around an organization that constantly chases the latest customer complaint, research report or executive field visit. In her new book, Chief Customer Officer 2.0, she shares five competencies that serve as a framework for uniting a company’s leadership around serving customers. It’s powerful advice that speaks to the struggle many companies face as they try to understand their customers.

In our discussion, Jeanne broke down some of the common pitfalls executives encounter as they try to make broad operational changes. She shared some of the companies she admires and the qualities that make chief customer officers effective.

You can hear more from Jeanne on the Net Promoter System Podcast. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or listen to this episode through the player below. Click here to browse more Net Promoter System podcasts.

Subscribe to the Net Promoter System podcast on iTunes

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