Dan Brousseau [Customer Experience]

Dan Brousseau – Solutions Senior Principal – Financial Services at Medallia [Customer Experience]

Dan talks about:
  • What it means to have a double bottom line
  • How to turn insight into the impact
  • And the steps to take to get impact
The person who has influence Dan the most in the past year:
The Power of Moments by Chip & Dan Heath: https://amzn.to/3eQIAlL
 His note to all customer service professionals:
β€œDo everything you can to stay really close to the business.”


Nick Glimsdahl  0:00 

Welcome to the Press 1 for Nick podcast. My name is Nick Glimsdahl and my guest this week is Dan Brousseau. Dan is the former head of customer experience at City national. And he is currently a freelance customer experience consultant working with MCorp. Cx as well as the low code tech startup. Dan, welcome to the Press 1 for Nick podcast.

Dan Brousseau  0:19 

Pleasure to be here Nick.

Nick Glimsdahl  0:21 

pleasure is all mine, Dan. So what is one thing that people might not know about you? I asked every single guest this is not I’m not just calling you out. But I’ve gotten some pretty interesting things and wanted to ask you what that might be for you.

Dan Brousseau  0:37 

That’s a good icebreaker, I suppose very few people know, outside my my main circle that I’m one of seven siblings, big family, Catholic in the beginning. And you know, all of what that comes with that, you know, learning from lots of siblings, parents sort of out of the picture while the kids are running around crazy outside, seek all hours competing with one another. So all the all the big family stuff.

Nick Glimsdahl  1:03 

Yeah, that is a lot of a lot of kids. From my understanding is when the more kids that you have at the table, the faster you have to eat at the dinner table. Is that true?

Dan Brousseau  1:14 

Absolutely Are you are you lose the last piece of Bacon’s gone pretty quick.

Nick Glimsdahl  1:22 

That’s so funny. And so one thing that we’ve had a few discussions and I have a handful of questions that I want to ask in. And we could turn this into a five part series if we really needed to. But the first one is, is Tell me more about what you mean by you mentioned the the double bottom line,

Dan Brousseau  1:42 

it’s really a great concept, it’s it’s pretty simple, I can’t really take the credit for it, I worked with a colleague at Citi national, who actually worked at Capital One where they use this and the whole idea is that most companies have, you know, review their bottom line numbers and QB ours and monthly and annually. And all it’s really saying is about making cx performance, an equal part of that business conversation and keeping customers at the center of the business, when it comes time to review the numbers. So you know, in addition to financial measures, reviewing the numbers, revenue, net income, operating income, and so on, is really having another bottom line for the customer at shows whether or not and how much we’re winning or losing in the same timeframe, as the business numbers. And so looking at customer growth, revenue per customer, customer profitability. And of course, there’s some kind of a cx metric, like an index score, perhaps NPS if if the, if the organization is, is using NPS, but it needs to be you know, what’s really most relevant to the business at that time. could include something like complaints, which you know, for different kinds of businesses, complaints are right at the top, and how many are we getting? And what kinds so I’ll just say, you know, it’s it’s an overall gauge of business, customer performance, it really helps keep that interdependency of customer success and financial outcomes, really top of mind. And it gets leaders talking about both sides of the equation. Yeah, I

Nick Glimsdahl  3:18 

love this thought of having the double bottom line, because there’s so many people are so many leaders or executives that are only thinking about revenue or shareholder happiness, not necessarily about customer happiness or employee happiness, and what does that mean? And how do you drive efficiencies or create a better experience? And so having those two, you can hopefully run them parallel, and maybe there’s direct correlations between the two. But if leadership can see that from a higher level, and they can see it maybe from one dashboard, per se, it’s a better experience for them. And they can help make that make them move or not make them move based off of that bottom line.

Dan Brousseau  3:57 

Yeah, totally agree. And, you know, it needs to be numbers that they get like if you just flash NPS, or a five star rating, it looks nice on the QPR, but nobody’s talking about it. But if you say, how many customers do we acquire in this time period? How many do we lose? How about our revenue per customer go up or down, or subscriber revenue or ARPU, or whatever the right number is, and then our customers have more happier with us or less happier with us in this timeframe. And you know, so those are things that your typical business leader could understand and then make the connection to the numbers on the financial side. And nobody wants to.

Nick Glimsdahl  4:37 

Nobody wants to sound dumb, or feel dumb. So when you’re going in, you’re talking about NPS or a customer effort score, fill in the blank another metric or some acronym when it comes to customer experience. The leader is just going to bluff it off as if he or she doesn’t know what the heck you’re talking about, because they don’t want to feel incompetent. That’s true. So one of the other questions that I had for you is, we talked about this, about this thing about being thinking horizontally. And so that can mean a heck of a lot of things to a lot of people. And I just want you to clarify what that really means.

Dan Brousseau  5:14 

Well, I mean, you know, I looked at that, and we talked about earlier, it sounds a lot like sleeping, I think horizontally is maybe dreaming, but it’s really not. So I think a better term is, is thinking laterally. You know, we talked about lateral thinking and lateral thinkers versus linear thinking, but it’s lateral versus vertical, basically. So, you know, the problem statement here is that many of organizations, you know, the mindsets of leaders and teams is oriented, the vertical that they focus on that units work, their objectives. And then you know, when it comes time to doing customer facing projects that cross multiple or boundaries, politics, five times turf battles, conflicting KPIs and goals, KPIs and goals can get in the way of getting the right people across the organization to work together, and create the right experience for the customer. And so when, when an organization has a lateral mindset, that’s that’s not the case. So they recognize that customers don’t care really how we’re organized, and they don’t care about our structure and, and how the ways that we work and get in the way of delivering a great experience. So the premise here is that we can’t create and deliver great customer experiences that involve different parts of the organization, if we’re only focused on solving for what we can do in our silo. And so it’s really an anti silo mindset, and a set of practices and just the way we do things culture, when the customer is at the center of the business, you know, I’d say you see it in action with customer facing projects across multiple parts of the organization, like onboarding at a bank, you know, that onboarding, journey crosses, sales, the branches, the contact centers, digital operations, and so on. And so we’ve discovered a problem with onboarding right away at the initiation of the project people are talking about who should be involved in this across the organization without any consideration of should we conduct that person’s boss or their manager to see if they’re available? Should we create, you know, a kickoff meeting in three months to talk about this with all the right people and get leadership buy in, you know, it’s like, tomorrow, we can get a team together. Because we know there’s a problem. Not only that, we know, we could probably fix it in a day or two if we got the right people in the room. So it’s easy to get those people across those functions. And p&l is in a room, they’re empowered to take a holistic, agile, multidisciplinary approach. And that really tasted collaborative culture with low or boundaries, low hierarchy, low politics and high transparency. And you’ll see that young cx leaders, they really exhibit this sort of mindset is this lateral mindset to getting things done for the customer?

Nick Glimsdahl  8:04 

Yeah, with a customer, we’re all customers. That’s the beauty of the marketplace is, we all feel that experience, if you’re a customer experience, leader or not, we are all consumers of a product or service. And when I have a bad experience, I try to do everything possible to solve my problem. And it’s most of the time, it’s it’s with the most amount of pain possible. Which is frustrating because I see that organization, as one organization, I don’t see it as individual silos or individual departments or people that are saying, I’m only in charge of x. So I’m sorry, due to my company policy, I can’t help you. Well, that’s not good enough for me anymore. It’s it’s all about meeting customers where they’re at. And in customer service, it’s on the channel of their choice. And it’s within the least amount of effort. And then taking that when they do have those pain points, which we’ve kind of talked about, is when it’s cross collaborative, how are you communicating and understanding what those pain points are, and maybe taking that feedback and pushing it back upstream and saying, This is the frustration that the customer had? Here’s what we did for it? Let’s not maybe have it happen again. Let’s talk about how we can solve it right the first time or the second time, I guess. So we can continue to alleviate this pain point. Are you? You feeling that pain as well?

Dan Brousseau  9:33 

Yeah, yeah, definitely. And, you know, over and over, and you can see it getting better and better as these groups come together that the common ones are between say, how a customer flows between a personal interaction with sales, what’s happening in digital, and then what’s happening in the contact center. Often it feels like three different companies, right? And how do we make that feel like one company in one journey? The only way to do that is get them all in a room and say, here’s what’s happening when the customer goes through this, they’re touching you, you and you, here are the pain points, what’s a better way to make this happen? And, you know, you just don’t solve it. If sales goes away and says, we’ll do this, and hope for the best, right without, yeah, you know, digital to make this change, you know, on the post login site, and without, you know, contact center, recognizing, you know, this particular issue when a customer, you know, calls in

Nick Glimsdahl  10:33 

100%. Agree. So there’s all sorts of processes and procedures in organizations, there are some really good ones and some not so good ones, but on the process that you want to move forward, the right things to do, how do you take that process and turn it into something that you can do something with, so turning that insight into action, or impact, per se?

Dan Brousseau  10:59 

Yeah. And we talked about this, I used to go around and say, you know, let’s not just do voice of customer, for voice of customer, you need insight to action. And then over the past couple years, it’s not just about action, it’s about impact. So we can get some insights, we can go do some things, but unless you really aim for an impact or a goal that affects the business, then it’s still not that much to be really crowing about too well. So I think a big part of what a cx leaders and teams job, it needs to be much more than providing the insights, they need to really guide teams and help teams and bring the information and analytics to the teams to get to that impact and understand what that impact is, and then they, you know, it needs to be measurable, verifiable, and tangible. And that’s what business leaders need to see from their investments in cx. So a lot of issues that cx teams and leaders have, as business people don’t understand the value. Well, when everything you’re doing is oriented to a measurable impact that affects the business, that light bulb goes off that business leaders mind. And they see the impact and power of cx to really affect things in an on an inordinate scale for how many people are really focused on it. So, you know, what I’m really excited about in that direction is how, you know, the different tools and practices have come to fruition that can really automate and speed up and scale up. And really tailor how customer insights and analytics are captured and analyzed and presented, distributed and used by different users across the organization, you know, with with, with platforms like Medallia Qualtrics, a moment, those sorts of things. And then the integration with CRM systems on the sales side, and tools like JIRA, on the digital side and tech side, you can really create workflows that pop that information in there, in basically real time from from and really shrink the amount of time that you hear the customer. And that people can use that information can apply it. And so for an example, a digital team can use a tool like JIRA to prioritize and plan the next set of enhancements in the mobile app. Well, you know, you can get a feed of cx insights on the top pain points, to give those teams the customer data, they need to really prioritize the work. You know, I was in a situation where we were getting a really good feed of voice analytics from the contact center that was a big blinking red light on the login experience and pain points throughout the login experience. And it was great, because we had already set up the workflow integration between the analytics and JIRA popped in there. And the teams were struggling to figure out well, what should we fix next? What should our next sprint be? And they had a long list? Well, as it turns out, you know, when you’ve got customers saying, this is a huge pain point, and they’re dropping out of the journey, and it’s affecting the business and driving contact center called times and pain through the roof, this is an easy one to go after it makes it to the top of the list. And so instead of you know, having to write a big PowerPoint deck and presenting to the digital team on a monthly meeting, here’s everything we’re saying, it just flows straight in there, and then pop it into their spread prioritization process. But you have to ask question, what about big initiatives like transforming a whole journey? I think that’s that, you know, that’s really a different animal, the insights, you know, that lead to that conclusion, the journey is broken, and we need to take action have already happened, right? And people know this. But there’s still a lot of action, a lot of daylight between the action and the impact when you’re transforming a big journey like that. So you know, getting getting journey teams together using design thinking kind of meets agile sort of approach, the focus needs to be getting those that business case together and the KPIs established early on, and really tracking that and making sure that you know, you keep your eyes on the prize toward the impact that that journey transformation is going to have, as opposed to transforming the journey because it’s Sounds like a good thing to do.

Nick Glimsdahl  15:01 

Yeah, I always joke about customer experience or even customer service sometimes or it in general talk about the pixie dust and fairy tales of it, people like to tinker with a nice, cool technology, the customer experience necessarily doesn’t have the business outcomes or business objectives or business impact in mind. They’re kind of focusing and running as fast as they can in the right direction. But it might not be aligned with what they want to do across all the departments. So taking a lot of this and making sure that the you have the right data and insights and then almost reverse engineering that and back to the organization is starting with the end in mind. No, that’s what it sounds like what you’re trying to accomplish.

Dan Brousseau  15:43 

Yeah, you said that well, starting with the end in mind. And so often you see groups are like, we don’t like the way this particular journey is happening, you know, the buyer journey or the health journey. And there’s really no end in mind that the focus is it painful, or there’s a lot of effort. But even that is not really useful as this is the outcome we’re really seeking. And this is how that has line of sight back to the actual work, we’re going to fix that. So if we want to happen faster, if we want them not to drop out during a certain point, if we want them to do a particular transaction, and raise this KPI, then that can really guide the kind of work and focus that the team does.

Nick Glimsdahl  16:28 

Yeah, I like the fact that you kind of talk about the importance of the customers creating these red lights with with data. Because per department, I can see also where everybody has their own objectives or what they’re measured on. And sometimes their red lights are not true red lights, but they’re red lights for them. So keeping that customer focused, and keeping the the lights on for the customer making that a smooth transition. Is it more than important sometimes, then then what the red lights are per department?

Yeah, well said.

So there is one other thing that I want to talk about as we close out. But do you need to democratize insights?

Dan Brousseau  17:11 

I mean, it’s almost a rhetorical question, in my mind. And, you know, if you talk to any customer insights person or a vendor of customers as platforms, they’ll say, the short answer is yes. I think what’s interesting for this conversation is directly related, you know, to, to insights to impact. There’s been a lot of research done here, and a lot of evidence provided that the more that all employees across the organization, understand the customers and apply that voice of customer in their work, the more customer centric, the company becomes, and the more capable that organization is at taking action on insights. And so the more that insights are brought to the right people, the right insights are brought to the right people at the right time, in a way that they can use it, then it’s it’s powerful. And so, you know, on the flip side, if it’s compartmentalize, if customer understanding is not easily shared, or it’s slow or dated, or latent, you know, it really constrains action to improve customer experiences. You know, we used to say at Forrester, if you’re guessing about what to improve for the customer, it’s assumptive. It’s purely assumptive, you’re, you’re basically making a guess, a swag that we should do this. Yeah. And so without real customer information, those guesses are gonna be oftentimes totally wrong, or just sub optimal. This also connects to horizontal versus siloed type thinking, if you restrict access to customer insights along organizational silos, the less you’ll be able to really act on those insights.

Nick Glimsdahl  18:48 

So yeah, even even the weatherman predicts off of data. And he’s only right, or he or she is only right 50% of the time. So if you don’t have data here, you’re right. Even less.

Dan Brousseau  19:00 

Yeah, yeah. I think about how client feedback dashboards in detail, you know, it’s collected through surveys or text analytics, and social listening, you know, can be shared, you know, right away and right now in the format they need with with with salespeople, and their managers, you know, they need that information right now. They’ve got customer conversations going on today, that if they had insights that come from those customers can really help them right now, in the moment, on the next conversation, that the salesperson is having a relationship manager, or the customer success manager is having with that customer. And it’s surprising how many companies are sort of sitting on customer information that can help those people really amp up the relationship that they have with the customers and experience that they give them.

Nick Glimsdahl  19:48 

Yeah, there’s so much data available. It’s just how am I who do I have to find it, collect it, clean it and then making it actionable to improve And that is the biggest struggle that are one of the biggest struggles that I see in organizations is they may not know they have it, or they may not know where to find it, and then they don’t know what to do with it once, once they find it and taking that in, like you said, gone through this entire process is is having that insight to impact is is crucial to the organization to build the experience that you need moving forward.

Dan Brousseau  20:24 

Yeah, I would add to that prioritizing that is also sometimes a struggle, right? There’s a long list of things that it needs to do dealing with technical debt and fixing this and fixing that. So when does then customer insights and they need to get the right insights to the front lines rise to the top. And this is where the inner connection from insights impact really matters, right? And you need to be able to show that if we get this information to these people, when they need it, how they need it, it will have this business impact for you. And for people that make decisions and do budgeting and have to make the calls and where to spend the money. You know, that can be a big leap of faith. And this is where the rubber meets the road for the CX team and cx leaders and chief marketing officers, anyone whose job it is to, to make that connection with customers. Yeah,

Nick Glimsdahl  21:17 

well said, Well, I wrap up every podcast with two questions, Dan. And the first one is, what book or person in customer service or customer experience has influenced you the most in the past year. So put parameters around it, and meet, you can get all this other parameters if you want. And then the second one is if you could leave a note to all customer service or even customer experience professionals, it’s going to hit everybody’s desk Monday at 8am Road and say,

Dan Brousseau  21:43 

Well, the first one I’m going to achieve because it wasn’t in the past year. I’ll confess I have not read full away through a cx book in the past year. But not that long ago, I really got hooked on to the power of moments by Chip and Dan Heath art moments. It’s a great read on the topic of creating amazing experiences by designing in peak moments based on behavioral science as Stanford professor and Dan Heath is another university professor. They hang around with the likes of like Dan Ariely and people like that, who really studied behavioral economics and behavioral science. And so they apply that to what does it mean to create a great journey? It’s, it’s fascinating. And I had the pleasure of CO facilitating a couple of workshops with chip Heath based on that book. And so it became part of my, my thinking and the way I consider what makes a great customer journey, you know, so, if I could leave a note, tomorrow at 8am, I think it’s more of a reminder, just stay close, stay really, really close to the business. And the people in the business that are trying to grow their business. I see cx teams, kind of sometimes off in their own space, and not super connected and do everything you can to be really closely connected to the business.

Nick Glimsdahl  23:07 

Sound Advice. Dan, what’s the best way for my listeners to get in contact with you?

Dan Brousseau  23:12 

You know, go ahead and do a LinkedIn reach out. I think my emails right there or send me a message. Sounds good. Dan,

Nick Glimsdahl  23:19 

thank you so much. I continue to learn and pull insight from every guest. And now you’re included in that and I appreciate your time and looking forward to what you’re going to be accomplishing here and 21

Dan Brousseau  23:31 

Thanks a lot, Nick. I really enjoyed it.


The Press 1 For Nick podcast is both educational and engaging, and each episode offers listeners a dynamic blend of insightful stories, best practices, and invaluable lessons.

Nick’s guests – each with a unique wealth of knowledge – include leaders from a variety of backgrounds and industries. Some of his guests include:

  • Customer service & customer experience leaders
  • A hostage negotiator
  • Award-winning authors
  • Home Depot’s Senior Director of Customer Care
  • Former VP of Disney’s Magic Kingdom
  • Lyft’s Head of Partner and Customer Engagement
  • Deputy Chief Veteran Experience Officer from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

On every episode Nick asks his guest two questions:

  1. What book or person has influenced you the most in the past year?
  2. If you could leave a note to all the Customer Service and CX professionals, what would it say?

You can find all the podcast guests’ answers under their episodes below.

If all you want is the guests’ book recommendations, you can go here.

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