One afternoon in the spring of 2010, a colleague and I ducked into a fruit smoothie place in Manhattan. We had just finished a meeting and were halfway back to our hotel, put off by record breaking 95 degree heat and humidity on an afternoon in April. I settled in, opened my email and found a note from Aimee Lucas.
I’ve devoured Domino and am a follower on Twitter and am reaching out to begin a conversation….
…and I’ve been honored to say “I know Aimee Lucas” since that day. Aimee has been a force of nature at Crowe Horwath, one of the largest public accounting and consulting firms in the US. Over the past 2 years she has convened and driven teams of leaders and subject matter experts to define and execute a client experience strategy for the company. In a role that bridges both center of discipline and internal consultant customer experience leader roles we have discussed here before, Aimee champions the client across the enterprise and across channels.
I caught up Aimee recently and thought you would value hearing about what’s happening at Crowe – one leader and firm’s experience strengthening client experience and organization performance:
Across Crowe Horwath, is there a shared understanding of the target or ideal experience for your clients? Creating exceptional client experiences for our clients is one of the key elements of the firm’s strategy. So having a shared understanding of a definition of client experience is very important for us. We see that it’s both about what we and the client do and deliver but also about how clients feel as we work together.
Previously, we were thinking about client experience narrowly within service delivery ….when we delivered the technical work. Now we see the whole journey from the client’s point of view. And we have done a lot of work to define and agree on the common elements that embody “Crowe” in any engagement and which are also known to be important to our clients.
How does that guide your efforts? We are evolving our client – focused culture, with an understanding that success really starts with our people. Our core purpose is “building value with values” – and our client experience efforts focus on how we deliver value to clients – and subsequently to our people and the firm.
What are you working on now? Every day I have conversations that are about helping our people understand and get engaged in the big picture of our client experience vision, and about half my time is spent on executing quick wins. With the time leftover, attention goes to a couple of longer-term efforts we’re starting, and on-going work maximizing the value from our voice of the customer program. (Kind of like Yogi Berra’s quote about 90% and the other half…)
What is it about customer experience that energizes you? The work I do impacts our clients and I get to help our people be more successful. Right now, we’re in “the fuzzy front end” – what is it? What will drive performance for us? How can each person in Crowe see a link between what they do every day and the vision for clients? Finding the intersection of what’s valuable to clients and helping our people be successfully delivering that is such rewarding work!
What is it about customer experience that energizes you? The work I do impacts our clients and I get to help our people be more successful. Right now, we’re in “the fuzzy front end” – What is it? What will drive performance for us? How can each person in Crowe see a link between what they do every day and the vision for clients? Finding the intersection of what’s valuable to clients and helping our people be successful delivering that is such rewarding work!
What customer experience books, blogs, etc. do you turn to for insights and opinions? One of the first books I read was Domino. And PEAK by Chip Connelly. What I loved about Domino was that it was not just strategy but also an actionable approach. PEAK did a great job of describing how experience can be a covenant between employees, customers, and the organization –that matches our Management Philosophy: Win3 – balancing the needs of our clients, our people and the firm and delivering value to all three. Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness is a more recent impactful read that drove home the connection between client experience and an organization’s culture. I’m a voracious learner and seek ideas from numerous blogs, authors, and twitter chats.
If you were looking back on yourself at the beginning of your customer experience journey, what advice would you give you? Reach out and talk to people at other organizations who are doing this. Build camaraderie with people in the same place of the customer experience journey that you are – or even ahead of you. See how others are putting all the great thinking that’s out there into practice. Help others too. As I’ve been working in this area, adopting this approach helps me balance the big ideas with the tactics and detailed implementations.
Advice you’d give others who are in an internal consultant, or functional discipline role for their organizations? Like other shifts in thinking capabilities – know the context of what and who are driving decisions across your organization and where customer experience contributes to performance overall.