How Do You Make Business Personal for New Employees?

W. P. Carey School of Business, Where Business is Personal

ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business is committed to creating an experience for our students that’s uniquely their own by building a tight-knit community through small classes, team-based learning, and individualized attention every step of the way.  As one of the largest business schools in the country, we recognize that working towards this goal every day is a big commitment for our employees.  Ownership of this commitment has to be demonstrated not only by what our employees do as they fulfill their jobs, but also by their understanding of the service needs attached to this commitment. It’s about caring and having this ‘humane attribute’ that naturally flows through the bloodstream (metaphorically speaking).  So one of our overarching school goals is to ‘grow’ student-centric behavior and create a community of caring that is reflected in service performance.

Where do we start? How do we make a service focus to be a school-wide priority and translate it into action?

Together with the Center for Services Leadership, the HR Development team at the W. P. Carey School organized a workshop for its leadership— the faculty and staff who have a direct influence on the behaviors of employees who provide our services. The workshop was led by Dr. Amy Ostrom, PetSmart Chair in Service Leadership and resident Service Blueprinting expert.  She, first, introduced our front line leaders to Service Blueprinting. After that, 3 teams worked through a service focused blueprinting process with a goal to evaluate and enhance the orientation and onboarding experience for new employees – one of the key internal services that impacts the school.

Here’s what we experienced and achieved as we worked through the service blueprinting process:

  • We defined the current orientation and onboarding process and then identified ways to enhance a new employee’s experience.
  • We built a common understanding of the internal services which cross over into different work groups across the school.
  • We recognized the impact of individual roles and activities on the level of service.

As a result of the insights that surfaced, our team implemented the following changes:

  • Created a designated area on the school website that offers online resources to support new employees.
  • Developed templates for consistent communication, including checklists for service handoffs.
  • Created a sense of ownership in coordinating services to enhance a new employee’s experience e.g. breaking down silos instead of creating them.
  • Established an actionable plan with specific time and resource commitments, communicating the school’s dedication to providing a meaningful and well-designed service.

Where do we go from here?

The service blueprinting exercise revealed the differences between orientation and onboarding in terms of timing and priorities for each phase. We defined orientation as the initial “set up” phase during the first month, which later transitions into an onboarding process. The onboarding process continues throughout the first year accompanied by consistent interactions via interviews and surveys. From this blueprinting experience, we divided our services into two distinct, yet integrated areas – orientation and onboarding – and both are a reflection of how we care for our employees.

As a school committed to building a community that provides the services our students need, we have to continuously demonstrate how we care about our employees. We’re incorporating this caring and thoughtful approach in how we engage our employees starting from the beginning of employment and continuing through their time with the school. We do that by systematically checking the pulse of our employees’ ‘service health’ and by continuously looking for ways we can perform employee services demonstrating that we care – because we do.

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Beth Sepnieski has been the Human Resources Director for the W. P. Carey School of Business since April 2004.  She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resources and a Masters in Education with an emphasis in Counseling and Human Relations. Beth also has a senior professional human resources (SPHR) certification through the Society for Human Resources (SHRM) and has been trained and certified in the interpretation of the Predictive Index; a self-assessment tool used within the School to help improve communication, team interaction, and decision making at all levels.

Over her 30 years in Human Resources, Beth has conducted numerous workshops on a wide range of topics.  Her ‘hands on’ consultation and guidance has provided a variety of her customers with sound tools to cut through to problem solving possibilities in order to promote a more productive work environment.

Vixxo – Monetizing Data & Analytics

WEBINAR WITH WARREN WELLER,

VIXXO CHIEF SALES AND MARKETING OFFICER

This webinar was hosted by the Center for Services Leadership Community of Practice on Monetizing Data and Analytics.


About Vixxo: Vixxo is a leading technology-enabled asset management and business insight company providing integrated facility management solutions and services that unite asset and facility management. Through deep expertise across 100+ trades, time-tested processes, and a comprehensive technology platform, Vixxo delivers the complete asset management that allows clients to focus their energy instead on their customers.

About Warren WellerWarren Weller is the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Vixxo, responsible for all aspects of sales, marketing and profitable revenue growth. Prior to joining Vixxo, Mr. Weller held various leadership positions at IBM, serving as the Vice President, Financial Services and also as Vice President, Mid-Market Services. During his 25+ year tenure, he drove operational excellence and innovation across the organization.

Vixxo Case Study

Over the years, Vixxo’s core business model has evolved from providing traditional facility management services, such as lighting, plumbing etc., to offering asset management and optimization services. Moving beyond improving efficiency of traditional assets (e.g. refrigerating, heating), Vixxo has built a highly successful business model around improving efficiency of revenue generating assets, e.g. coffee brewing machines at Starbucks or the baking ovens at supermarkets. The company’s services enable Vixxo’s clients to understand how these assets perform over time, and subsequently make better asset decisions from cost and investment perspectives.

Vixxo currently supports over a billion-dollar worth of spend across 65,000 assets in over 250,000 physical locations. Its primary client segment consists of businesses with widely-distributed retail-estate portfolio (supermarkets, restaurants, convenience stores etc.), where ensuring effective asset management across all locations is a major challenge. By leveraging its expansive supplier network of over 150,000 certified local suppliers, Vixxo is able to provide high quality, consistent services in a very cost-effective manner.

Vixxo’s value proposition to the customers is driven by the company’s 15-year experience in data collection and analytics. Over the years, the company has been able to collect clean and reliable data by leveraging emerging technologies such as mobile devices (tablets, smartphones), to integrate information from clients, suppliers and service centers. Vixxo applies its deep analytics and data mining capabilities to generate insights for clients to improve their CapEx management programs – understanding which assets to repair, replace, invest in etc. for greater customer experience, product reliability and profit maximization.

In the next phase of its evolution, Vixxo is working to monetize IoT and M2M capabilities, by placing sensors inside assets to get real time asset performance information. Sensors can detect and signal issues in assets, allowing Vixxo to dispatch technicians even while the asset is still operating. Vixxo is also focusing on developing the entire IoT eco-system. This includes collaborating with manufacturers to help build assets equipped with IoT capabilities, in exchange for data & insights on asset performance.

Vixxo’s revenue model is based on charging clients for various asset management services they use. The company takes a strong position to ensure clients are paying a fair and transparent price for received services, while the suppliers are guaranteed a prompt payment by Vixxo after each servicing call. Vixxo achieves this by automating its entire work-order management process through the “Continuously Analyzed Pricing System” (CAPS) application, where each supplier locks details of each service they provide to Vixxo’s client. CAPS contains pre-determined and agreed on rates for each element of the work order management process (such as for labor, duration, materials etc), guaranteeing that clients pay a fair market price and receive an itemized breakdown for delivered services. Moreover, Vixxo uses other features such as geo-fencing and supplier rating system to ensure that suppliers provide high quality and timely service. In return, suppliers receive fair and prompt payment for their services as well as training and development.

Backed by its extensive supplier network and over 15 years of data analytical capabilities, Vixxo is a clear leader in the asset management services industry. By implementing and harnessing the IoT and M2M capabilities, the company will be favorably positioned to take full advantage of analyzing granular, real-time data for deeper insights, and to help clients achieve higher profits & operational optimization.

Congratulations to the Winners of 2017 Young Scholar Research Competition

The Arizona State University Center for Services Leadership and the Co-Chairs of the Third Annual Organizational Frontline Symposium (February 2017) are pleased to announce the awards for 2017 Young Scholar Research Competition.

The competition accepted research proposals focused upon ‘frontline’ topics, and the lead author was required to be either a current doctoral student or an assistant professor who is fewer than three years removed from graduation. Twenty submissions were received and evaluated by an expert panel of judges.

The awarded projects include (in alphabetical order):

corinne-kelley

Corinne Kelley, Florida State University, “The Ambassador Effect: A Frontline Tactic to Enhance Customer Commitment, Loyalty, and Prosocial Behavior

Advisors: Maura Scott and Martin Mende

 

blake-runnals

Blake Runnalls, Michigan State University, “The Impact of Social Networks on Sales Training Transfer and Performance

Advisor: Doug Hughes

 

sunil-singh

Sunil Singh, University of Missouri, “Email B2B Sales Negotiation: Dynamic Use of Textual Cues as Influence Strategies

Advisor: Detelina Marinova

 

We congratulate the winners of the 2017 Young Scholar Research Competition and wish the award recipients and all the applicants the best with their research projects!

Join the CSL for our Strategic Service Institute

The Center for Services Leadership is continuing its role as a leader in service education with the announcement of the Strategic Service Institute (SSI), March 13-17, 2017. SSI is the only program that provides an immersive executive education experience that focuses on the delivery of service excellence.  The development of this new format is the next evolution of service education. Two modules are now offered, one that delivers the foundational essentials for the managerial knowledge of service delivery and execution and a second that provides cutting edge toolsets and strategies essential to taking an organization’s service excellence to the next level.  An individual may take either one, or both, of these modules.

Grant OlsenDr. Douglas Olsen, Academic Director of SSI, explains advantages of the new format, “we provide incredibly solid grounding in service excellence during the first module and then, with these foundational principles in place, in the second module we introduce key frameworks for implementing strategies for leading service-centric organizations. Throughout the program we create opportunities for engaged discussion and collaborative learning.” The Institute curriculum is led by academics and business practitioners who are at the vanguard of service, and is delivered in a university environment at McCord Hall, of the W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.

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If you are interested in learning more about SSI and would like to register, please see our website.

 

Driving Business Value from Digital Transformation

Webinar with Dr. Michael Wade, Professor of Innovation and Strategy and Cisco Chair in Digital Business Transformation, at IMD Business School, located in Lausanne, Switzerland and Director of the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, an IMD and Cisco Initiative

Author of Digital Vortex: How Today’s Market Leaders Can Beat Disruptive Competitors at Their Own Game

This webinar was hosted by the Center for Services Leadership Community of Practice on Monetizing Data and Analytics

The Digital Landscape has changed over the past decade. While businesses and companies understand the power of digital innovation, many firms struggle with either taking advantage of the opportunities or reducing risks that accompany digital transformation. Automotive industry is a great example that demonstrates the impact of digital transformation. The push for development of autonomous cars affects a wide spectrum of industries: from transportation & logistics to insurance, law & order, healthcare, hotels etc. Similarly, other innovations such as block-chains, machine learning, virtual reality etc. will potentially have an impact on a number of industries.

While leading digital transformation, companies have to address two fundamental questions: “Why” and “How”. ‘Why’ pertains to understanding the opportunities and threats that exist because of a rapid digitization. “How” covers the capabilities and roadmaps traditional companies need to create to sustain competitive advantage. Yet, data suggests that most digital transformations fail – the reason lies in inability to push for organizational transformation alongside technology transformations.

Beyond technology, companies need to change their approach to business strategy. According to conventional thinking, strategies are developed with a clear understanding of where the company currently is and where it wants to be. However, in today’s world, predicting the future has become extremely complex. Instead, to compete in digitally disruptive environments, companies must build multiple strategies backed by core digital business agility. The following capabilities are key to building digital business agility:

  • Hyperawareness
  • Informed Decision-Making
  • Fast Execution

Hyperawareness is being fully alert to the internal & external environments, particularly to changes that spotlight opportunities or risks. Data & information collection are the core for this principle, which can be accessed by humans, IoT machines or sensors. Key metrics to measure hyperawareness include the company’s ability to capture insights about/from its employees, customers, partners internal operating environment, competitors and about new digital technology & business trends.

Informed decision-making pertains to collaborating & empowering people to make quick, evidence-based decisions. Decision making power needs to be pushed to the edge of the network (Intelligence at the Edge) to gain speed & accuracy. Informed decision making is measured by the business’s ability to make decisions quickly & based on analytics, to empower people, to share information across organization and to access & display important data in real-time.

Finally, fast execution is putting decision into practice rapidly, mobilizing resources dynamically and continuously monitoring options and progress against goals. Fast execution is measured by our ability to act quickly based on new information, turn decisions into actions, dynamically acquire & allocate people & resources, continuously learn & adapt.

IMD’s digitization piano is one of the tools to help companies navigate the “how” of digital transformation. This tool breaks down the organization’s value chain into 10 distinct keys, broadly categorized under Digital Strategy, Digital Engagement & Digital Enablers. Companies should play multiple keys simultaneously instead of trying to address one specific area in isolation as they navigate their digital transformation journey.

Finally, at the core of transformation, the critical questions that companies must ask are:

  • How to use digital technologies to improve performance?
  • How to use digital technologies to build a more agile strategy?
  • How do we digitize across organizations?

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ABOUT THE SPEAKER

BACKGmichael_wadeROUND: Michael Wade is a Professor of Innovation and Strategy at IMD and holds the Cisco Chair in Digital Business Transformation. He is the Director of the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, an IMD and Cisco Initiative. His areas of expertise relate to strategy, innovation, and digital transformation. Previously, he was the Academic Director of the Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA Program in Canada. Michael has been nominated for teaching awards in the MBA, International MBA, and Executive MBA programs. He obtained HonoursBA, MBA and PhD degrees from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, Canada.

CLIENTS & INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE: At IMD, Michael teaches in several open programs and has directed partnership programs related to strategy and digital business transformation with Vodafone, Ooredoo, AXA, Honda, Zurich Financial Services, Credit Suisse, KONE, and Richemont, among others. He co-Directs IMD’s Orchestrating Winning Performance and Leading Digital Business Transformation programs. He provides consulting services, executive education and expert evaluations to several public and private sector organizations. He has lived and worked in Britain, Canada, Japan, Norway, and Costa Rica.

RESEARCH AND THOUGHT LEADERSHIP: Michael has published works on a variety of topics, including digital business transformation, innovation, social media marketing, information systems strategy, eCommerce, and SME performance. He has more than 50 articles and presentations to his credit in leading academic journals such as Strategic Management Journal, MIS Quarterly and the Communications of the ACM. One of his articles was among the top 20 cited articles in business, management and accounting worldwide for five years, according to Scopus (the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature). He’s published eight books, more than twenty case studies and appears frequently in the mainstream media. His Latest book is Digital Vortex: How Today’s Market Leaders Can Beat Disruptive Competitors At Their Own Game. He was named one of the top ten digital thought leaders in Switzerland by Bilanzmagazine in October, 2016.

APPROACH “I define digital business transformation as organizational change through the use of digital technologies to materially improve performance. It is a simple definition, yet difficult to master. Certain industries have been on the vanguard of this changes. Other lag behind. Eventually, digital will become the ‘new normal’. I enjoy working with organizations to help them come to terms about what digital transformation means for them, and then to take appropriate action.”

The Moment of Truth: A Co-creation Perspective

The term “moment of truth” (MOT) is not new to me and I was happy to learn it was an integral part of the customer-experience community vocabulary.  As I have visited with many in the community, I’ve discovered there are various definitions for MOTs in relation to the customer journey. It is generally agreed that customer interactions are called “touchpoints,” and MOTs are the more significant touchpoints. However, the criteria for what’s “significant” depends on who you talk to. Some say the MOT is at the beginning when the customer decides to accept (or reject) the firm’s offer, while others point to the end of the transaction when they determine whether the whole experience was good or bad. Some identify various touchpoints where significant value is or is not realized. Yet another criteria is a touchpoint that shows the greatest likelihood the customer will “fall off”, or is most likely to end the business relationship. I contend there is too much ambiguity for the term to be useful in the context of a professional discussion.  At a minimum, the customer-experience community needs to agree on a more unified definition. I would go as far as to suggest a slightly different definition – one I think was intended by the first person to use the idiom in these contexts.

Richard Normann (1943-2003) is credited with the first use of the idiom “moment of truth” in a business context. Using the MOT concept, Normann was highly instrumental in the turnaround of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) in the early 1980s. Jan Carlzon, SAS’s CEO during that time, recounts the turnaround in his book titled Moments of Truth (1987), attesting to the powerful perspective the MOT provides and Normann’s more significant contribution to the effort. By removing MOTs which provided little or no value to their customers, and enabling employees to deliver the best experience possible in those that remained, SAS became profitable again by more than three times the first year target.  They also earned the rank of “top Airline” the same year, and held that distinction for many years.

Normann’s book Service Management: Strategy and Leadership in Service Business, Third edition (2002) gives us the greatest insight to his thought process regarding MOTs. I find it fascinating and affirming that his first reference to MOTs is directly preceded by a discussion about co-creation. Normann says:

“…the customer is often more than just a customer – he is also a participant in the production of the service. A haircut, the cashing of a cheque, education – none of these can conceivably be produced without the participation of the consumer. Thus the service company not only has to get in contact with the consumers and to interact with them socially; it is also necessary to ‘manage’ them as part of the production force.”

Normann is clearly stating that a customer is integral to the value creation process. This is co-creation – the customer and the organization working together to create desired value.  If the customer is not involved, no value is ever created.  No customer, no value.

With this backdrop, Normann introduces the concept of MOTs. He states:

“Most services are the result of social acts which take place in direct contact between the customer and representatives of the service company. To take a metaphor from bullfighting, we could say that the perceived quality is realized at the moment of truth, when the service provider and the service customer confront one another in the arena. At that moment they are very much their own. What happens then can no longer be directly influenced by the company. It is the skill, the motivation and the tools employed by the firm’s representative and the expectations and behavior of the client which together will create the service delivery process. A large service company may well experience tens of thousands of ‘moments of truth’ every day.”

From the very first mention, Normann is clear that when a customer comes into contact with the organization, it is a MOT. The two have come together to accomplish something in relation to creating the value the customer seeks – their job-to-be-done. We know from experience there are often many interactions per customer journey depending on the size of the job-to-be-done.

We also know customers judge the experience of each and every interaction as to perceived quality in relation to its part of accomplishing “the service delivery process”.  Customers have some idea of how much time and effort they should be expending. They have some expectation of how they should feel at a particular point in the process, and they judge the interaction based on whether their expectations were met. The quality of each and every interaction is determined and (either consciously or subconsciously) scored in the mind of the customer. Think of this as a “running score.”

When Normann first introduced the MOT concept, most interactions were face-to-face; but don’t take this too literally.  As technology emerged and matured, Normann realized the potential for applying technology to MOTs.  He says, “…new communication and information technology clearly increase the possibilities to ‘store services’, and to make person-to-person interaction in their provision unnecessary.” Customers understand that automation is still designed and implemented by “faces” in the organization.

Normann also talked about the cumulative and/or knock-on effects of MOTs:

“There is a well-known dynamic in interpersonal interactions whereby positive action creates positive reactions, which in turn leads to mutually positive feelings which in turn leads to mutually positive interaction. Or the reverse can apply. A positive attitude and efficient action on the part of the service supplier will encourage the client to participate more, and more effectively, which in turn encourages the service supplier, and so on. A ‘virtuous circle’ has started.”

Normann continues at length to point out when the interactions are positive and customers feel the experience is valuable, a “virtuous circle” ensues.  Furthermore, the outcome of each interaction or MOT sets up the likelihood of a similar outcome at the next interaction. Good interactions tend to foster more good interactions, while poor interactions tend to lead to yet poorer interactions.

Perhaps Normann is the clearest in defining the MOT when he said:

“The quality experienced by the customer is created at the moment of truth, when the service provider and the client meet in a face-to-face interaction. The most perfectly designed and engineered service delivery system will fail until things work out then. Thus, any enquiry into quality must start from the microsituation of client interaction, the moment of truth (emphasis mine). The important question is: what mechanisms lead to and reinforce the client’s experience of quality and good value in that microsituation?”

In defining what Normann meant by the ‘moment of truth’, focus on the most consistent and defining vocabulary he used throughout: the words “interaction” (used consistently) and “microsituation” (used specifically), and more importantly, the juxtaposition of the two – “microsituation of client interaction.” From my reading of Normann, MOTs are each individual interaction with the customer – not high-value interactions, not high-risk interactions, not just the buy/no-buy interaction, and not the last interaction, which are all macrosituations.

The organization typically dictates the customer’s journey, and therefore, determines the time and effort required from customers. Unfortunately many organizations tend to think of some interactions as trivial and inconsequential. All too often, what the organization considers innocuous, the customer perceives as a waste of time and resources. Furthermore, the cumulative or knock-on effects of multiple or poorly executed interactions could culminate at a relatively innocuous one – the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

From a co-creation perspective, each interaction either increases or reduces value to the customer. In other words, that running score really matters. Is every interaction equal to another? Absolutely not, but they are all weighty! We need to consider each and every interaction and what it contributes to customer value in relation to all other interactions.

Therefore, a co-creation perspective takes into account the value exchange of each and every interaction with a customer.  As the customers navigate their journey, moment by moment they are sizing up how they feel about the potential of achieving overall success, and with a few exceptions, they can drop out at any interaction in the journey. Though the organization may identify a particular interaction in which customers typically drop out of the journey, this doesn’t necessarily indicate that interaction is the culprit. The root problem is just as likely to be poor execution of one or more upstream interactions. The customer journey is part of the co-creation ecosystem and systems thinking needs to be applied.

Please keep in mind my purpose is first: to create a better and more common understanding in our terminology, and second: help us leverage the brilliance of Normann’s work. I’m not necessarily suggesting the customer-experience community change its vocabulary. However, I do recommend we at least apply Normann’s research and concepts to whatever the corresponding vocabulary is. Every organization’s success depends on creating Normann’s “virtuous circles”, yet these are only possible when we acknowledge the full significance of what he called the MOT with their cumulative, knock-on effect in the co-creation ecosystem. Call them what you will, interactions, touchpoints or MOTs, but for the good of the customer give every single one their due consideration.

Compete Through Service Symposium 2016: Recap in Pictures

Thank you to everyone who attend this year’s CTS Symposium! Save the date for next year’s symposium: October 25 – October 27, 2017. We hope to see you next year!

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