Jason Bradshaw – Chief Customer & Marketing Officer at Volkswagen Group Australia
Jason talks about the importance of customer feedback, setting clear expectations, and explains the biggest roadblocks in delivering great CX.
Nick Glimsdahl 0:05
Welcome to the Press 1 For Nick podcast. My name is Nick Glimsdahl. And my guest this week is Jason Bradshaw. Jason is the best-selling author of the book. It’s all about cx. He is a keynote speaker, a chief customer and Marketing Officer at Volkswagen Group Australia. And Jason, welcome to the Press 1 For Nick podcast.
Jason Bradshaw 0:25
Hey, Nick, it’s so great to be a guest on your podcast. Thanks for having me. And hello to your listeners. Yeah, yeah,
Nick Glimsdahl 0:31
absolutely. I’m, I’m excited to get this thing going. One thing that I have, and I asked every single guest is what’s one thing and you probably go and speak and do keynotes all over the all over the world. And but what’s one thing people might not know about? Jason?
Jason Bradshaw 0:51
Well, look, I don’t think many people know that. When I was just two weeks of age, I was already going into an office every day. I’m absolutely not joking. I was born in a regional town in Australia. And at two weeks of age, my mother went returned to work and I literally was in a court in her office. So yeah, he’s been around a business a long time.
Nick Glimsdahl 1:15
Yeah, yeah. You say you were you were trying to retire? What 25?
Jason Bradshaw 1:21
I think if I had my time again, if you tried to retire at age eight, I could just live the good life. Right?
Nick Glimsdahl 1:27
Yeah. I’m sure that they, they paid you full benefits and unlimited milk.
Jason Bradshaw 1:36
That’s for sure.
That’s very cool.
Nick Glimsdahl 1:38
So your role today is the chief customer and marketing officer. Tell me what you do in the current role.
Jason Bradshaw 1:48
Yeah, so as chief customer Marketing Officer for the Volkswagen Group, have a very large remit. And when I first started a Volkswagen Group, I was the chief customer officer and later added the marketing portfolio. So to give you any details around the breadth of my role, so I have context and operations, I have 24 hour customer roadside assistance. I also have customer ID platform. So think of CRM systems, and anything that is about customer data or facing facing the customer. I have, you know, as you’d expect customer research and insights. But I also have perhaps a little bit less expected, I have responsibility for our network training and development team. So the employee training within our dealerships, which of course, all independent franchised businesses, so that rounds out the bulk of the CX side of my role. So I also have some initiative managers within the CX space. And then I have the traditional marketing functions, you know, digital transformation, I say, difficult digital transformation is definitely difficult these days, digital transformation marcomms know, all the all the normal things that you’d wrap up under marketing. And as I said, I didn’t always have marketing I that that added to my portfolio about two years ago now. And perhaps controversially, I insisted that customer was the leading part of my title, because I believe, and, and I’ve got many a story where people have disagreed with me, but I believe that if you start with the customer in mind, the marketing will be better. If you start with the marketing in mind, then someone will have to be trying to fix the promise that the company is not ready to deliver.
Nick Glimsdahl 3:47
yeah, that’s well said. I think if you’re going to do an additional keynote, you can just continue to talk about that.
Jason Bradshaw 3:58
Well, it’s funny you say that I was a closing keynote speaker at the chief marketing officers conference here in Australia, about, gosh, eight years ago. And one of my statements right towards the end of my speech was the chief marketing officer should report to the chief customer officer. Well, it was a long time just for direct between drinks before I got invited back. But I have had me back but it took them quite a number of years to get over that one. Yeah.
Nick Glimsdahl 4:28
Yeah. They kind of paused and said, Did he really just say that? what’s what’s our clause to pay this fellow or not?
That’s awesome. Well, um, you know, I read your book and and thoroughly enjoyed it. The one funny story that I had when I first received the book was I got it in arrived, went to my front door, and we have an Alexa in our garage and actually, it had an alert, it said Hey, you know, obviously it had the yellow ring. So as I’m bringing the kids in the whole family with the wife is is is there and I said, Hey, Alexa, what’s the notification? And the first thing she said it was your packages arrived. And the book is it’s all about sex. And my kids have no idea because they’re young enough to not know. But my wife gave me a very interesting look. And I said, it’s, it’s it’s a professional book, and I’m having him on the podcast. And I think the first initial thought was, who the heck is he doing on the podcast? I thought this is a customer experience podcast.
Jason Bradshaw 5:42
Well, I have to say, that’s one of the best stories I’ve heard around someone receiving the book, I, I’m wondering whether there’s something I can do with Amazon to make sure that everyone gets that experience. But my good friend, Jay Baer talks about the power of a talk trigger, and that would absolutely be a talk trigger. If, if you had that happen, happen all the time. I I once gay, I once was the keynote speaker at a conference in Las Vegas, and I was on the opening speaker on the second day. And of course, the night before they had their award ceremony. So you had you had people in the room that had a good night’s sleep, you had people that were coming in off the casino floor, you had everything. And it took, you know, I started my warm up act, if you like to my keynote. And I don’t mention the book until about four or five slides in. And as soon as I said, So today, I’m here to talk to you about six. I had everyone’s attention in the room, I had to quickly clarify that I meant customer and employee experience. But look, if you want to wake up a room in Las Vegas, if you’re giving a speech in Las Vegas, you want to wake them up, just say that you want to talk to them about sex, I guarantee you’ll get some eyeballs, eyeballs looking at you.
Nick Glimsdahl 6:54
There their interest was at least piqued for a moment of time until you flip the side. And they said I think he spelt that wrong.
Jason Bradshaw 7:03
Nick Glimsdahl 7:05
And Awesome. Well, inside the book, there was a ton of awesome nuggets. But I’m one of them, I mentioned that you got into customer service at at a pretty young age. So tell me about the time that you turn your parents lounge and dining room into a call center because that’s normal.
Jason Bradshaw 7:24
Look, I think I had a habit of turning my parents lounge room into something over the years. So at a really, really young age, I decided that I was going to bottle oil and sell it adjacent to something my father used to do. And so I literally was sitting on carpet in my parents lounge room bottling oil, you know, foil to polish word, that sort of thing. But to do the example I share in the book, I had started a domestic and commercial cleaning company. And it was going well. But we had office space on a shopping mall. And it seemed a little bit out of place having a you know, a domestic commercial cleaning company having office space in a shopping mall or on a shopping strip, I should say. And I was thinking to myself, how can I make this more? How can I How can I make this make us more money, reduce costs and what have you. And the reason behind going to the mall was great advertising, we’ve always got the company in front of everyone. But of course people rarely came in because it it was basically a call center. And you know, you know you don’t go out and pick up your your fish and chips or your hamburger and decide to get your carpets cleaned or book in your pest control. And so our thinking was, what can we do in this opportunity presented itself? So I decided that I was going to turn the front of the shop into a video rental store. This was well and truly before Netflix was a thing. And then I had the problem of where do I put all my telemarketers. So mum and dad. We’ve got a very large house, I think we’re going to turn the lounge room and the dining room into a call center and literally I moved all the furniture out into into dad shed, I put the desks in we had a had a phone system installed into the house and the rest is history as they say it look it you know it certainly was cost efficient. But I’m not sure. You know, I don’t think I ever asked the question but can you imagine being a telemarketer while next to the room you’re sitting in? You can smell tonight’s dinner being cooked.
Nick Glimsdahl 9:47
Right? Like Yeah, so
my question is,
did they get benefits? Where were they said hey, you get a home cooked meal every
Jason Bradshaw 9:56
they certainly did. did get There’s a fair share of traits that social, whether it be lunches made or baking or, you know, at the call center would would start from eight in the morning. So people would be there at breakfast time. So
would I do it again, probably for the right reasons, but it was it was a journey, I have to say. And, and kudos to the team members that just rolled with the punches. Well,
Nick Glimsdahl 10:21
I mean, just think of the the team member that said, you know, hey, congratulations, you got the new gig. And they’re like, great, where do I start? Well, you know, trainings at my mom’s place. Um, we’re gonna start here, and you will move into the dining room, and you can sign the papers in the kitchen.
Jason Bradshaw 10:40
It was exactly like that. Yeah, and I got even the neighbors, right, the amount of amount of traffic that we created in that street job with, you know, team members, there were always, you know, a dozen cars parked out front of our house, because, you know, change your shifts. It was, it was, it was it was fun time.
Nick Glimsdahl 11:04
That’s awesome. So, from moving it back into customer experience, or just experience in general, from your perspective, why does experience matter?
Jason Bradshaw 11:16
Well, I think companies have have two choices. They can every year do things to grow. Or they can try to save their way to failure. There’s really only two things. Now most companies that focus on experience, thrive and grow over time you think about the taxicab industry. And what’s happened to happen to them now, there was nothing stopping the taxi cab industry go, maybe there’s a better experience that we could deliver. But they got dumb, fat and lazy and said there is no competitors. So why would we change? And well, I think they understand now why they should have changed. And my argument would be that it doesn’t matter whether you’re, you’re a solopreneur, or you’re the leader of a fortune 500 company, if you don’t have a culture of continuous improvement, one that’s focused on delivering to an experience that your customers want to talk away and talk about in good ways, then you really are just making it harder for yourselves to be more successful, you need to spend more money getting people to come and buy your product, you’re you know, you have to save your way to failure. As I say, you’re constantly finding ways to keep the lights on and to keep all the stakeholders happy. Now, every fortune 500 company wants to, you know, report greater profits, better shareholder return, yet, the one thing that many of them fail to do is to have a systematic approach on continuous improvement that’s focused on the customer. And, you know, the research company Forrester does a report every year on the forest of cx index index, and what I one point improvement in their index would mean across 18 different industries. And they’re talking about billions of dollars of revenue that sit on the ground. Or to be You mean, yeah, P Yeah. Billions of dollars across 18 different industries. Now, no one says that, you know, a company can only only is allowed to improve 1%. No one says that, you know, company x is only allowed so much market share. Why are we leaving this money on the table? No, I think we should be trying to improve the lives of customers, employees, and the benefit of doing that as a commercial one. But even if you’re only motivated by money, which is perfectly fine. That’s what some people are. But if that’s what you’re motivated by, why are we leaving money on the table, when there’s a better way to do it, and, you know, a way that gives people joy, so everyone wins. And I think that organization’s now more than ever, a finding that it’s the relationships that we have created over time, that have sustained us during the pandemic. And the pandemic has disrupted it, every industry in different ways, some good some bad, and those that have deep rooted relationships with their customers have found a way to continue to serve them, but those customers have in turn continued to support them. And I think that that highlights you know, just the fundamentals of white but a focus on experience.
Nick Glimsdahl 14:38
Yeah, yeah, brand loyalty isn’t what it used to be. But you can continue to gain it through that that Brian loyalty through the consistent experience that you have over time and and yeah, you you’re going to not be perfect, and you may drop the ball, but it all comes back to the history that they’ve had. with you over that length of time, and that length of time is going to get shorter from my opinion. But they’re still that that leash, quote unquote, where they’re going to give you before they say, Hey, I’m out of here. Or Arnold Schwarzenegger says awful lavista.
Jason Bradshaw 15:19
Exactly. But you think about Amazon, most of us don’t actually interact with Amazon, in a person to person context. Yep. But people trust Amazon. And why do they trust Amazon? Because when Amazon promises to do something, they deliver on it. They’re absolutely fanatical around the one click experience. And yes, there’s a commercial payoff for them. They’re absolutely fanatical about, you know, if we say that it’s going to get to you tomorrow, it gets to you tomorrow. And because of that rusty element, and one of the things I talked about in the book is customers, you know, measure their experience on three lenses, one of those being a human connection. And I always say Amazon creates human connections. And the challenge I get back is, but I don’t ring Amazon. I don’t speak to an Amazon associate. I’m like, No, but you trust Amazon. And what’s more human than the emotion of trust? And whether it be Amazon or FedEx with it when it absolutely has to be overnight, right? These organizations have become famous for delivering on their stated promise to customers, and then being slightly ahead of the curve when it comes to their competitors. You know, I think it’s a fallacy that organizations need to be 10% better than their competitor, they just actually have to be 1% better, because and deliver it consistently. And that’s the key. Being 1% better consistently will win out every single time over someone that’s better some of the time.
Nick Glimsdahl 16:46
Yeah, yeah. 1% better continuously, will destroy their competition.
yeah. So tell me about why is feedback. So important? So
Jason Bradshaw 17:03
I think we all can relate to the situation when you’ve sat down with someone, and you’ve said, Hey, Nick, no love working with you on the team? Can you give some feedback about me? And then you turn around and say, well, you’re a great guy. And I love working with you. That that’s feedback. But it’s not necessarily completely transparent feedback. So I encourage people to find ways to get feedback in multiple ways, but in ways that create safe environments, for the person providing the feedback, to be really transparent, and open and honest with their feedback. Because with that feedback, that’s where you’re going to find those nuggets of gold, those little things, those one percents, that if you focus on them, if you remove those friction points, that you’ll turn someone that say, a detractor to use NPS language into a promoter, and is all about finding the friction points so that you can focus on fixing them, but also celebrating when you’ve got something consistently, right? Because how do you know if you’re not actually measuring it? And asking for that feedback? And when I say asking for feedback, I’m not talking about the question, you know, on a scale of zero to 10? How, how much would you recommend us or on a scale of 05? how satisfied were you? I’m talking about the actual words that people write, not the scores that they give you. Because the real gold is in that verbatim statements, where they’re just pouring their hearts out, saying what they loved or didn’t love. And within that, you can find the stuff to double down on because they create raving fans, all the stuff that, you know, creates friction. And I would, I would suggest that you don’t have to fix everything. But now if you’ve got this cycle of feedback, each quarter each year, you can, you can identify some really big friction points that you can start removing, and every time you remove them, you get a step closer to loyalty.
Nick Glimsdahl 19:06
And so when it comes to feedback, maybe tell me a time when you took feedback, and turned it into action. Because from my perspective, there’s a lot of people that receive feedback, and maybe it’s not the clear and transparent and it’s it’s the Hey, Jason, you’re, you’re killing it. And, you know, high five and look forward to grabbing chili with you later. But it’s the honest feedback. It’s the real feedback that maybe isn’t comfortable at all times, but it’s what’s needed. But how do you take that feedback? Maybe give me an example of how you turn that into action? Because I think that’s where some people struggle.
Jason Bradshaw 19:41
Yeah. So let’s, let’s take an example that went from the employee world into the customer world. So I was leading a large transformation project with a with a telecommunications company and with their call center And, you know, every year, we would ask the team members, you know, how do you love working for us. And of course, some did, and some didn’t. And they would always be these things that come through, though, I thought, so process heavy, it’s the workload, so big, etc, etc. And at the same time, we had these metrics that showed that we were meeting all of our customer metrics, you know, answering the calls, in a certain time responding to emails in a certain time, how many days to case closure, all of those metrics were, were great. We were an award winning contact center. But our employees were telling us in the main, that there was opportunities for improvement. And so we took that we took some of the insights from that, and some of the feedback was around the process, as I’d mentioned, and the process was great, you could literally take someone off the street, and they can follow every single step. And they would get to an outcome, and it would be all auditable, and everyone would be happy, or maybe not the customer, but the process would have been followed. And it was, it was so painfully detail, you know, press f5 on your keyboard, then have to hear like if it was a process and a work instruction, highly detail. And I it was, it was a massive document, we took that process, and that feedback, and the problem with the process and took a group of team members into a workshop. And that process, which was 100 odd pages long, and turned it into a 20 page guide. In doing that, we also started serving more customers. Because we stopped taking out waste out of the process. Yeah, so our team members were happy because they weren’t getting a work quality order that said they didn’t press f5 in the correct sequence or you know, some crazy thing like that. But because they were actually focused on what mattered, they could serve more customers, and give the customers a better outcome. Because they word the process wasn’t in the way of them connecting with the customer. Now, that organization went through some difficult times through competition and what have you, but despite the fact that they had to reduce the size of the contact center over time, and what have you, because the employee metrics continue to improve and so did the customer metrics, because the process was changed based on employee feedback to be to enable them to care about the person in front of them, as opposed to the computer system. And, and I, I love technology, you know, you had your Alexa story, Apple hauls a keynote, and I’ve got my credit, my credit card starts to quiver, right, because it knows that I’m going to be ordering something, you know, whether it be in the corporate world, or in the in the personal space, I love technology. But technology should allow people to get a word out from the process, and in front of serving the customer, it should make it easier to create a human connection. Yeah, and and, you know, in that example, we it started from the employee feedback, we at Volkswagen Group, we just recently launched an augmented reality tool to consumers, that pool is nothing glide the tool that we first launched to our team members in training two years ago. And, and we’ve used their feedback around that tool that we originally used, we used augmented and virtual reality tools in training and, and we have a constant feedback loop. And we we listened to what they did and didn’t like, and use all of that to focus on launching a consumer facing tool that was easy to use, that was immersive and accessible. And so you know, I think that you know, feedback is important, but focusing on on listening to the employee or, or the customer and finding one of those common themes. So, you know, if I think about the employee survey that led to the process change, it wasn’t one person talking about the process, it was 35% of them, you know, if you have to play the numbers game, unfortunately, you can’t always fix every piece of feedback, but when you do, there is a great payoff, which is more efficient, better customer outcomes, and hopefully better employee outcomes.
Nick Glimsdahl 24:37
Yeah, I love that story. Um, you know, changing gears, not having action is is can be a little bit dangerous. So what is the risk from your perspective of status quo?
Jason Bradshaw 24:55
Well, you turn into Kodak or the taxi company, you will get destroyed rupt it, the more you stand still, the more that you are ripe for disruption. And that might be an extreme view. So the less extreme view would be the more you stand still, the more chances you can, your competitors have to deal that customer. And you don’t want to get into the place where you’re pre paying on a price war. Yeah, if if your experience is one that customers want to pay for, then all you have left to compete on is price. And price is not a winning game when it comes to growing your business. Because you can always make a cheaper bill of meaning making profit by actually creating an experience that people are willing to pay for now. And I think there’s some examples of where companies perhaps don’t focus on the experience, but they still have a really loyal customer base. But they have a customer base, loyal customer base, because there aren’t any alternatives that are viable, which again, leaves them open to disruption. Think of think of the subscription TV industry, the cable TV industry. Now, I was just talking to someone the other day, it was it, there is no reason why those companies couldn’t be thriving. But they just wanted to keep on upping the monthly, monthly charge. And people started to move away. And that’s you know, we all know the story of Netflix and other streaming services, which are, which are everywhere. But the thing that’s really that I find really funny. And all of that is, you know, if you’re paying $100, for your Comcast TV, and you decided no, I’m going to go to Netflix. So you cancel that. Most people after six months, 12 months, they still spending $100 on subscription TV, they’re not it’s it’s not purely to save money. They’ll have a Netflix subscription, or Hulu and then a Disney plus and an Apple TV in probably spending more than $100. So it’s not about the size of the wallet spend. It’s about the experience, the product that everything that you were delivering to me no longer delivered value in my life. And someone came along that at least got me as a customer based on a promise that it would be a better life. No. Why do we change jobs? We think they’re going to be better. Why? Why do we you know, get the new boyfriend or girlfriend, we think it’s going to be better than then you know who we had last time. We always as create humans crave for something better? So if we’re not creating an experience that is is better. People start looking elsewhere.
Nick Glimsdahl 27:29
Yeah, it’s a kind of goes back to, if you’re creating the friction points and you create those increase the friction, they will reduce the loyalty to you. Yeah, so I think that’s a it’s an interesting parallel. But so I wrap up every podcast with two questions. And the first question is what book or person has influenced you the most in the past year? And then the second one is, if you can leave a note to all the customer experience and customer service professionals, it’s going to hit everybody’s desk Monday, damn, what would it say?
Jason Bradshaw 28:07
So, look, the first that first book, or the book that I talked about, is a book called cult status, how to build a business people adore. It’s by a gentleman, a friend of mine, Tim Duggan, he’s the co founder of a media company here in Australia. And the thing that I love about about his book, you know, is he, he’s not a consultant. He built a business people adore and sold it for an undisclosed sum of money. Reducing means it’s a big number, right. But in the book, he takes a really practical approach to helping you implement improvements in your business that will lead to creating raving fans or or people that adore your business to use his language. So that’s by Tim Duggan cult status. And this is just a really practical from experience book that now he interviews a whole pile of different companies in the book and much like mine, you can you can read the book and start making improvements tomorrow. You don’t need to spend three, you know, three years and 75 strategy consultants to get something out of his book so called sellers by Tim Duggan. And do your question, what’s the one thing I’ve put on a post it note, I’m paraphrasing and put on everyone’s days. Don’t wait for the dirty map to be done. start improving today. So a bit of energy behind that one there, Nick. But I I am sick and tired of walking into companies. And they say we’re going to get a consultant to do the journey map. If you don’t know enough about your customer’s journey to start improving without mapping it out. Then you know you’ve got bigger problems than not Having a journey map?
Nick Glimsdahl 30:02
Sounds like you you have some experience with that, huh? It’s quite a bit.
Jason Bradshaw 30:07
And look, there is a place for journey mapping. I tend to get some hate mail from people that do journey mapping. There is a place for journey mapping, but it’s not the you don’t need one to start improving is my point.
Nick Glimsdahl 30:19
Yep. So So anybody listening that is a consultant on journey mapping or an expert in journey mapping, do not send Jason a nasty gram. That is my advice for today. But Jason, what’s the best way for people to get ahold of you?
Jason Bradshaw 30:34
Yeah, so I’m Jason s. Bradsher on all the social channels including LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. And my website is Jason s bradshaw.com. absolutely vital that that your listeners remember the s in Jason s. Bradshaw. If they dropped the s, then they might be looking at some lovely real estate in California. So unless they’re on the market for some, some gorgeous, out of my price range houses in California, it’s Jason s bradshaw.com. And if they go forward slash sign up, they’ll actually get the first two chapters of my book with my compliments, as a thank you for listening to the podcast today.
Nick Glimsdahl 31:16
Very well. And what is the best way to get a hold of your book?
Jason Bradshaw 31:22
Well, all all good places. We’re all good books are sold, I should say. You know, Nick, you’ve got a great Amazon story. So if someone wants to come home and and be told that their sex book has turned up, I would definitely recommend Amazon. But Amazon, Barnes and Noble, all all the normal places where you can find good books.
Nick Glimsdahl 31:42
Yep. Highly recommended. Anybody wants to find another customer experience book and not sure where to go next. Pick up. It’s all about sex. And, Jason, thank you so much for your time. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Jason Bradshaw 31:55
Thanks so much, Nick. Appreciate 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:
- What book or person has influenced you the most in the past year?
- 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.