The Magic of customer Impact Management

Written by Monique Jansen for Buljan & Partners Consulting

Today the majority of businesses continue to be structured in a traditional manner, either through an organizational chart or a mixed approach (a combination of conventional methods and project management). On the other hand, although businesses are starting to enter the digital era, they are still very much in the process of adapting. As a result of this situation, there is a huge amount of confusion between different departments and project teams over who is the customer ‘owner’.

It’s highly likely that departments that have contact with customers will in turn have teams that take care of the digital marketing, CRM, customer experience, customer service, etc., and it’s also likely that in this scenario, it’s chaos that rules supreme when it comes to dealing with customers.

With the exception of several leading companies, there’s still room for improvement where coordination of customer impacts is concerned, since on occasion, it becomes a real drama. I’m not exaggerating: like many I’m all too familiar with the situation having experienced in from the inside (working for companies) and the outside (as a customer). The solution to the problem doesn’t lie in hiring a Chief Customer Officer, but rather firstly, it’s essential to create a base and restore order, creating a plan for customer contact/impacts with customers on a multi-channel and omni-channel level which brings real added value to the customer and the business, which requires a certain ‘magic’.

The Magic of Data Management

While in the majority of businesses, customer interactions just like sales, advertising, offers and issued invoices etc. are well integrated into the CRM, on many occasions what tends to be omitted are digital impacts and user navigational behavior – in other words, the digital footprint.

This can be seen in the impacts you receive as a customer when you surf the internet. One of the companies most guilty of this – to the point at which it becomes plain annoying – is, having not been able to distinguish real customer interactions from its retargeting campaigns, from those of people simply browsing the internet. Personally speaking, I am bombarded with hotel offers from the very sites I’ve already visited and made a reservation on!

This doesn’t just happen when I browse the internet: I also get emails reminding me how beautiful somewhere is that I’ll have visited several days earlier. This is a major faux-pas from a customer experience stand point: you can’t send a customer an offer for services or products which they’ve already got especially if they did so using your very offer – at least not if you plan on keeping them as a customer. Another prime example is Amazon. Although top of its game in many areas, it also falls short in others, for instance, when you get an email asking you to leave a review for a product you’ve already returned.

In my experience as a customer and based on their interactions with me, I would single out Tripadvisor, ESPRIT and Apple as market leaders in this area. I have never received anything irrelevant from any of these three companies. On the contrary, I only ever receive communications that bring me value. I speak from experience. The key lies in knowing and being able to manage – within a Smart data environment – both my online browsing behavior as well as my interactions (sales, complaints, recommendations, etc.) and doing so in an integrated way.

The Magic of Internal Communication

It seems like the more technology and automation we use, the more issues in communication tend to arise. Investing in technology doesn’t mean you can simply kick back and relax when the time comes to investing in talent and training people in communication, business, project and team management skills.

The phrase ‘back when we had an excel spreadsheet with the campaign planning and we had meetings to go through it all, everything was so much better’ can often be heard. Sound familiar? Well then, your company has probably invested in marketing automation software without really knowing what to do with it, or training people properly on how to use it or how to harness technology to optimize customer processes and internal communication.  Mapping a Customer Journey or an outreach strategy using the tools at your fingertips is easy and essential, but if the above isn’t something all employees can access or discuss, nor is it able to be actioned when required, then your investment will be wasted and won’t bring about the desired results.

The Magic of Self Service

We must assume that the social and emotional behavior of our customers has changed. For two decades, we have witnessed an interesting and heterogenous combination of customer profiles; active customers who are online a lot, others who are more reactive, traditional and in some cases even reluctant to embrace technology. It’s likely we will find ourselves in this situation for at least four more decades, at which point the generational transition will have occurred and we will reach saturation point in the ‘digital era’ and what’s more, there will be customers with greater or less need of human support and intervention.

Therefore, it’s essential to invest in self-service portals and to do it well, offering the scale of services the ‘active’ customer expects, and of course, to do so considering the Customer Service needs of the tradition customer.

Yes people, the world is changing and growing ever more complex. More options, more channels, more methods, more environments. More of everything. And, more investment in CX.

So How Do You Unlock This Magic?

Just drop us a line! We possess a wealth of talent and partners who can provide you with the adequate training and consultation; we can act as your consultants, trainers or mentorswhatever the capacity you desire. We are always delighted to help!

Monique Jansen is Managing Consultant at Buljan & Partners Consulting and Service line leader of Customer Centric Process Leadership. Monique is a customer centric management & engagement specialist since 1997.

More on Monique:

customer emotions

Managing emotions in stressful situation for clients

Written by Miguel Sanz for Buljan & Partners Consulting

The words “managing customers’ emotions” are tremendously attractive to companies and there is no doubt that they are key to establishing an emotional bond with customers.

What do companies do to manage customer emotions?

Let’s take a look at the essence of this topic, without delving too deeply into sophisticated but not so useful explanations. How do companies manage customers’ emotions? Are they able to detect and manage stressful situations when they occur?

The answer I’m about to give should not be taken as the last word on the subject (it is not in my humble nature to dogmatize). In my experience, many companies invest resources in training their employees (DISC or Enneagram of Personality) in order to identify the behaviors or the personality types of their customers. This enables them to better understand their customers and teaches them how to adapt to customers in order to more deftly manage the customer’s experience. It is also true that many companies do not invest in this type of training because they don’t believe in it, they don’t have the resources or they think that their employees already possess this knowledge.

Emotions management training for employees

I applaud the companies that invest in their employees to teach them how to manage their own emotions and those of their customers. But I’d like to reflect on three situations that lead me to believe that there is much more to it than just training your employees. In business management, it is very important to ensure that everything customer-related is coordinated in the same direction.

I’m going to explain how I felt in three different situations that were somewhat critical for me:

  • Some time ago, as a customer of Mutua Madrileña I called to cancel my car insurance and at the end of the process the agent asked me if I would like to take out health insurance with them, to which I replied that I was leaving the company. I was breaking off relations with the company and they were trying to get me to stay on by selling me a different product, without understanding how disenchanted I was.
  • Subsequently, as a Direct Seguros customer, I was involved in a minor accident due to a wrong turn taken by the other driver. I called Direct Seguros on the spot to find out how to proceed and although the telephone service was good (still in “shock” from the accident), the agent asked me if I wanted to supplement my coverage or something to that effect. I replied that at that moment I was not in a position to think about purchasing anything and that I just wanted to relax and try to resolve the accident that had just left me without the use of my vehicle.
  • As a “superfan” of ING I have to say that on one occasion I went to the ATM of another bank to withdraw money and upon seeing the high commission they charged I decided to cancel the operation. However, at the same time I received a message telling me that I had withdrawn €40 from the ATM and I confirmed that it had been deducted from my account. I called ING immediately (customer service was good as always) and they told me that the operation had been canceled but that the system took a while to update. What puzzled me was that at the end of the call I was asked if I wanted to take out a loan. Obviously, my response was to say, “thank you very much but now is not the time because I need to withdraw cash and I’m in a hurry.” Clearly, they did not know how to identify or manage my level of stress, which at that time was relatively high since I thought I had lost the money I wanted to withdraw due to a computer error or my own mistake.

In all three cases, I was not in the proper emotional state to evaluate whether or not I wanted to take out a loan, supplement my coverage or take out a new policy. In that moment, when my emotional stress level was at a peak, the only thing that mattered was to answer my questions, nothing more. Employees can be trained, but in designing business processes and objectives, everything goes hand in hand and common sense is paramount.

In concluding this post, I would just like to note that all three of these companies have taken some very good steps in the area of customer experience but the situations discussed here should be considered and avoided.

Miguel Sanz is Senior Consultant in Buljan & Partners Consulting. Miguel is Service Line Leader for Customer Experience Management and has experience in CRM and project management across different industries since 2009.

More on Miguel:

touchpoint organization

Our visit to a touchpoint organization

Written by Raquel Calleja for Buljan & Partners Consulting

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Buljan & Partners Consulting and as part of the commemorative events we’ve arranged visits to some companies of reference in CX like Loewe and Inditex. But we also wanted to pay a visit to the company we’ve always dreamed of being: the one that abandons the traditional silo structure and evolves for the good of its customers into a company organized around Customer Journey.

Below is a fictional interview with the Chief Customer Officer of a touchpoint organization:

B&P: What is an organization based on Customer Journey?

CCO: It means that the Customer Journey is our organizational model and that instead of traditional departments we as employees align ourselves around the different touchpoints with the customer in order to always keep their experience and their needs as the focal and in so doing ensure that all of their interactions with us are consistently excellent.

B&P: But how did you get here? What did you have to do?

CCO: I’m going to illustrate it for you so that you can understand how we created this organization model:

First of all, we identified all touchpoints very carefully, ensuring that they were all clearly and uniquely defined so as to avoid duplications and misunderstandings about where each touchpoint is located in the company. We then mapped the touchpoints to make sure that each one accurately reflected our customers’ experience in order to understand their impact and their potential.

This is also how we understand touchpoint flow, i.e., how the customer moves from one point to the next on the journey and what we could do better to enhance the transition. Here we listened very carefully to what our customers were telling us using different Voice of the customer programs and also different online and offline channels.

Secondly, we determined who within the organization was involved with each touchpoint and who was responsible for ensuring that the customer got to the next touchpoint in the most appropriate way. We also created a CX Steering Committee which is responsible for reviewing CX projects and making decisions to continue moving forward.

The third step was to create a touchpoint team whose mission was to start conversations that would engage the customer while at the same time finding solutions to problems and improving upon the experience at each T.P.

These teams, who work with agile methodologies, are responsible for:

B&P: If the “old marketing” is involved in several contact points, will it have to participate in the same number of points involved?

CCO: Exactly! The object now is to improve each touchpoint using their marketing expertise but especially by taking a customer-centric approach which means “doing new things that aren’t in the professionals’ job description”. We skip the protocol because what’s most important is that customers have the best possible experience with us.

B&P: What would you say was the most difficult part of improving the customer focus?

CCO: Aside from finding other companies that are transitioning to this organizational model, the most difficult thing was to convince the Steering Committee of why it was necessary to make this change and what the return would be.

We also encountered a great deal of internal resistance that had to be overcome in different departments of the company, which have always been there. Particularly since the company was doing well and no one could really understand the reason for the change. But once management got involved and the simplicity of it all became apparent, the response was overwhelmingly positive.

We’d like to thank our imaginary host for his sincerity and inspiration which we will share on our blog so that our customers, partners and friends can reflect on the benefits of moving their organizations toward a truly customer-oriented approach.

Raquel Calleja is partner and Customer Centric Talent Leader at Buljan & Partners Consulting. Raquel is coach and consultant for SMEs and international companies in the Talent Management area since 1992.

More about Raquel:

Apple, the best customer experience?

Written by Luis Hergueta for Buljan & Partners Consulting

In my opinion, it is difficult to find a remarkable customer experience in product centric sectors. There are some automotive companies with a genuine interest in customers’ concerns, which want to take the basic standards and processes to the next level, and which really care about customers’ needs and concerns.

Is Apple the benchmark for all companies concerning Customer Experience or has it lost importance? Is it still the company conceived by Steve Jobs or has it become a company controlled by marketing?

There is no such thing as the perfect company

As I usually explain in my talks, I believe that the perfect company doesn’t exist. However, there are companies with a nearly perfect customer experience, or that rise again, as great champions (such as Rafa Nadal) do, if their customer experience leaves room for improvement. They overcome their issues to achieve a very high level, that is, they know how to face adversities.

My last experience with Apple was everything but coordinated among departments or omnichannel. They didn’t go the extra mile to surprise the customer.

  1. A poorly trained employee who didn’t know that you can issue invoices to individuals.
  2. The flagship store in Sol didn’t answer the phone nor multiple emails. I received their 1st answer after one week. After 7 emails, they didn’t give me a document indicating “invoice”. They insisted on giving me a ticket, which wasn’t what I was asking for.
  3. Departments that weren’t able to coordinate by phone with the store to issue my invoice correctly. “We are bound hand and foot”, they even told me via email. “The store is the store and the technical support service is the technical support service”, they said. What a great omnichannel coordination!
  4. Overcrowded stores with enormous queues, where they were unable to send a digital invoice by email. “I can’t. Do you want me to scan it with my personal phone?” they replied. “We comply with the law, which requires us to give you a paper invoice”, they added. That’s right, but that isn’t going the extra mile.
  5. When I wanted to file a claim, I was only given one legal form (there are usually 3 carbonless forms) without a self-learning internal format. “We learn from the official one”, they explained. “What if I want to send a claim to Apple?” I asked. They indicated me a post office box address in Cork, Ireland. Shocking.

Their products are exceptional, with a high-quality design, and an excellent hardware and software. Their Apple Care service is also undeniable (in Spain we don’t have their Plus product, which is the one that really pays off), as well as their technical department, which always tries to make sure that your product is in good condition, but is that enough?

It may have been an isolated experience. Unfortunately, it was shocking. From my point of view, not only were they mistaken, but they didn’t know how to react. The points were they failed were:

  • Omnichannel management.
  • Dealing with reasonable customer requests, they should avoid using the “one size fits all” approach.
  • Lack of training.
  • Insufficient resources (overcrowded store).

Is it enough to have one of the best products/technologies? Is it enough to have a spectacular store? Frankly, I don’t think so. People, processes, customer experience, attitude and leadership can change everything.

Luis Hergueta is consultant at Buljan & Partners Consulting and specialist in customer centric marketing. Luis is consultant for customer centric and customer experience projects accross several industries at Buljan since 2011.

More on Luis:

Customer Experience with your partner

A seamless Customer Experience between you and your partner

By Buljan & Partners Consulting

The practice of paying for a service after using it (“pay-per-use model”) is becoming increasingly popular in current society. End customers and users are setting the pace of this trend as we can see in the private property sector (for example, housing and transport), which is decreasing in demand. Therefore, companies have to irremediably restructure their activity to meet these changing needs. Read more

Net Promoter Score resultrs

Are brands and employees manipulating NPS® results?

Written by Miguel Sanz for Buljan & Partners Consulting

We all know that the NPS® metric (Net Promoter Score) is commonly used by companies as a reference to measure customer experience with a single question: Would you recommend the product or service to a relative or friend?

We are not going to discuss whether NPS® is the best metric to measure customer experience or the best time to use it, but rather if NPS® results may be manipulated.
Read more

Customer Journey as a present

A New Year´s present for Aramon

Written by Monique Jansen for Buljan & Partners Consulting

 Aramon_Formigal_CX Journey Mapping

Customers often give free advice to the companies that supply them. So do I, especially when I really care and really believe in the company I am writing about. Or because the product or service is of extremely high importance to me.

This is one of those occasions. Aramon, the company that manages 2 ski stations in the Aragonese Pyrenees (Cerler and Formigal-Panticosa) and 2 in Teruel province (Javalambre and Valdelinares), with a total of 283 kms of slopes is the subject of this post. 

Read more

regain customer trust

7 tips to regain your customer’s trust

Written by Monique Jansen for Buljan & Partners Consulting

On Saturday, October 3rd, the Spanish press released the initiative of the Volkswagen group to create a customer call service for those affected by the scandal related to diesel engines, which immediately crashed. The company has also created an online form, but it could only be accessed from a computer and not from smartphones. Read more

“What I talk about when I talk about CRM”

The title of this article is inspired by Haruki Murakami´s book title “what I talk about when I talk about running”. I am not pretending to be a CRM all-terrain expert. When I talk about CRM I prefer to focus on “fit to process”, the “user experience” and the “effect this has on the end-customer experience”. I leave the technical evaluations over to the experts! Read more

CRM 2015 Las Vegas

We´ll be attending #CRM2015 in Las Vegas!

Written by Luis Hergueta for Buljan & Partners Consulting

At the end of March, one of the biggest CRM events takes place in Las Vegas: CRM2015 by SAP Insider. An excellent occasion for Buljan & Partners Consulting to once more travel to the US in order to meet other innovative CRM and Customer Centric leaders and mingle with other influencers. Read more

Dear Customer

Written by Monique Jansen for Buljan & Partners Consulting

WARNING: the content of the following post is FICTION. Although more and more companies are implementing customer centric strategies these days, CEOs still apologize frequently to customers while decision makers have to listen more to the customers’ needs. That’s why there is still a lot of work to be done. Read more

The importance of social media in customer service

Written by Monique Jansen Buljan & Partners Consulting

In today’s heavily competitive marketplace, it is essential that a company pursue multiple channels through which to evaluate and measure customer awareness and satisfaction of a product or service. Read more

A great example of the difference between CRM and CCM

Written by Ricardo Pereira da Silva for Buljan & Partners Consulting

A great example of the difference between CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and CCM (Customer Centric Management)

Or in other words, the demonstration that CRM is only a facilitator of relationships and interactions, but not enough per se to generate emotional loyalty between a customer and a brand. Read more

The importance of Partner Alignment in Customer Centric Management

Written by Monique Jansen for Buljan & Partners Consulting

Companies have many reasons to include external partners in their customer facing processes in Customer Centric Management. External partners can ensure a more efficient and therefore less costly service. They tend to save a company time in searching the right staff for the job, they ensure process effectiveness based on their subject matter experience and they improve efficiency though making advance of economies of scale.

However, outsourcing is not a light decision to take. Leaving a customer-facing process in somebody else’s hands is scary, as it is a crucial one in ensuring an A to Z aligned customer experience.

Read more

CRM Idol 2013: public voting for winner open!

Written by Silvana Buljan for Buljan & Partners Consulting

We finally made it to the last round of this year´s CRM Idol 2013 contest, and all finalists have put lots of efforts and motivation in creating their videos to compete for the title.

As reminder, they are uservoice, cirruspath, bluecamroo, mindtouch and next principles.

The big news is that now the decision of who will make the race is not in the hands of the judges, but in yours – have a look at the videos and make your vote before Monday Dec 16th.

Read more

CRM Idol 2013: finalists announced!

Written by Silvana Buljan for Buljan & Partners Consulting

Yesterday 5 out of 12 semi-finalists have made it to the finals of this year´s CRM Idol contest. They are mindtouch, uservoice, cirrus insight, blue camroo, and next principles. You can watch out their products and services on their websites, and have a close look at the demo reviews placed on

What I want to share with you is their mission statements, and how they market their business model by finding the right messages for creating awareness, attraction, and curiosity for trying them out:

Read more