Jeb Dasteel – Owner of Dasteel Consulting [Customer Effort]

Jeb Dasteel is the Owner of Dasteel Consulting, and he is also the author of the book “Competing for Customers” – Why Delivering Business Outcomes is Critical in the Customer First Revolution.

Nick Glimsdahl  0:03 

Welcome to the Press 1 For Nick podcast. My name is Nick Glimsdahl. And my guest this week is Jeb Dasteel. Jeb is the owner of distill consulting, they offer csio coaching and customer performance assessments. He is also the author of the book competing for customers, which I highly recommend. There’s a I showed him earlier that there’s a ton and ton of corners bent and highlighted. But, but it’s all about why delivering business outcomes is critical in the customer first revolution. So prior to his current role, he spent 21 years at Oracle with the last 12 years as the chief customer officer at Oracle. Press 1 For Nick podcast, Jeb.

Jeb Dasteel  0:45 

Thanks very much, Nick. Glad to be here.

Nick Glimsdahl  0:47 

Yeah, yeah, so one thing I always try to find a little nugget, either your, you know, you toured the world with with Led Zeppelin or you know, you have a you’re, you’re secretly really good at guitars or you’re a rapper, underground rapper. But what is your nugget that you want to share with the listeners? Oh, man, I

Jeb Dasteel  1:09 

wish I could say that any of those three things are true, but they’re not especially the Led Zeppelin one that would be awesome. I grow avocados we grow it we’ve got about 25 big avocado trees on the property and we we grow a few 1000 pounds of avocados every season.

Nick Glimsdahl  1:24 

Wow. And so how many how many of those pounds do you eat?

Jeb Dasteel  1:30 

You would be amazed how much is consumed right here.

Path maybe a quarter maybe half it’s a lot of avocados. It’s a lot of avocados. And I I’ve even tried shipping them and they believe me trust me Don’t  do this. They don’t ship well. And I actually kind of think it’s maybe not entirely legal to do that. So not a good idea.

Nick Glimsdahl  1:51 

Yeah, this this is not being recorded. Oh, well, it’s a it’s a podcast. So the one note to self is if you’re going to learn anything from this episode is is don’t ship avocados.

Jeb Dasteel  2:03 

Yes, exactly.

Nick Glimsdahl  2:06 

The main topic I want to talk about today is adapting to change and understanding what your what you went through as the as the CCL? So how did your job change from the first day to the last day is customer officer?

Jeb Dasteel  2:24 

it? Yeah, changed massively. Actually, I saw that. So literally the first day, I think you probably mean figuratively. But literally on the first day, I, I brought the new team together, which was just kind of vague. Have you just kind of a miscellaneous combination of functions that didn’t quite make sense together. And we spent probably two thirds of the day trying to figure out what our name should be. And then the other third of the day, which Yeah, classic, the other third of the day was really about deciding what we thought our priorities ought to be. But basically, in a nutshell, aside from that first day, you know, we really went from the tactical, I guess, to the strategic so so early on in the team’s formation, we were very focused, for example, on on feedback, and being a great advocate for customers or Ombudsman for customers, we had a lot to do with customer references. So we were really trying to globalize a customer reference team and really be effective in that regard. And what we’ve done since and it really was quite an evolution to get to this point was just just to be developed and kind of followed and just continue to work on evolve a comprehensive, more comprehensive model. You know, in the end, that model really represented all the feedback components, all the customer engagement components, all the brand advocacy components, and value realization, which is something that you and I in fact, were just talking to talking about a few minutes ago.

Nick Glimsdahl  3:54 

Yeah. So looking back, would you have changed anything that you guys? Did?

Jeb Dasteel  4:00 

I yes. So for sure. I, you know, I think we could have been faster, I think we could have done a better faster job of engaging the sales and marketing. We could have done more to support customer deals, we could have done more to resolve customer thorny customer issues, we could have been even better brand advocates, as opposed to relatively tactical customer referencing. And I kind of wish that we had focused on a few more things really well. And that’s probably my I guess, my natural tendency which kind of bled into the, to the way that this team function to a degree was just, you know, I hear of a challenge, I hear of a problem. I want to jump into it and try and solve it. And the risk of course, when you do that as you you spread yourself then and do many, many things. mediocre Lee, I suppose. So focusing on a few things and doing those two things really well, I think would have would have made a big difference. The biggest The other thing that I would have focused on more earlier because I learned later About this is storytelling, especially as it relates to talking to finding an interesting, new, impactful way to talk to your own organization, about what customers are actually experiencing, that is really impactful. And I feel like if I could have gotten onto that train maybe two or three years earlier, we would have been further along. And I guess the last thing maybe I would have done a little bit differently is to acknowledge that and really broadcast and really institutionalize the fact that we were really agents of change, we got we got really good at being change agents, try driving change management. But it took, you know, took that took years to get to that point to have the credibility and the capability and the people with the right skills, you know, ready to to tap into?

Nick Glimsdahl  5:48 

Right? Yeah. So going from amid smashed of people, on the very first day trying to figure out your team name to Yeah, driving results for the customer. I think it’s an ever evolving experience.

Jeb Dasteel  6:02 

Yeah, totally.

I mean, the other thing I should

mention, too, is that I literally did not know a soul another person who was a chief customer officer, or who ran a customer programs team. So this was all kind of invention on the fly, which was great. And I felt like the good news is, I felt like we had the license to do that. And, and incubate some really interesting things. And I think there was big payoff in that. But it also can be a little, a little nerve wracking, unless you’ve got some sort of a framework to start with.

Nick Glimsdahl  6:33 

Yeah, do you? So fast forwarding today, and somebody was the chief customer officer, do you feel like somebody has a license to do that, since there are so many people and as a chief customer officers, or having brand?

Jeb Dasteel  6:48 

Well, you know, Nixon, since those early days, as you would hope, um, years later, I’ve talked to a lot of Chief customer officers and I, and I, and you know, I’ve talked to a lot of CMOS, who basically are as part of their normal job performing at least aspects of the function of a chief customer officer. And I’ve talked to customer success leaders, and every single person, I mean, truly every single person does their job differently, their scope of work is different the way they do, it’s different, the way they’re measured, is different. So I think it should be that if it is that wonderful, I felt like I had that luxury. And we work for it, too. I mean, we had to work to you know, to earn the right to do some experimentation. One of the things that I that, you know, that comes up in a lot of conversations I have with CEOs and other people that think about this stuff is well, how, you know, I really want to build an invest in a large organization, and the larger the organization, the bigger influence it might have, I feel like the absolute opposite is true. And I think in this kind of a role, which is really all about being a change agent, as mentioned a few minutes ago, you are best served, almost in every case, your best serve, and having a relatively small organization that’s more of a staff function than a line function. And can you know, kind of, I would say, sort of fly under the radar. And in fact, in doing that, be able to experiment on some things and, you know, take on board the things that work, and then even just push those things out to some other some organization that can really operationalize it, and then you move on to the next interesting thing. So I think the short answer is it. It doesn’t happen most of the time, I’d even say, but when it does, it’s great. And if you think about an org design, with that in mind, I think that would be really helpful.

Nick Glimsdahl  8:35 

Yeah, yeah. Sounds like sounds like a great plan keeping, keeping the customer focused, and inside the organization, you know, as leaders, in customer experience are so focused on on things like what journey mapping and net promoter score and design thinking, and that they fail to translate their great initiatives back into business results. You know, from your perspective, why is that?

Jeb Dasteel  8:59 

I may have a bit of a contrarian view here. Okay. Perfect. Okay, good, good, good, that’s acceptable. I feel like I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with those things individually and breaking down what they’re supposed to do. But what I do think is that it becomes it can often become To be fair, it can often become more about the process versus the outcomes. And what I’ve very carefully tried to avoid doing in my my years doing this stuff, is I try to avoid in any way feeding into the perception that customer experience is all about workshops and process. I mean, it’s really got to be about business results for the company you work for. And that being derived from business results that your that your customer or client achieves. I do think that cx initiatives get somewhat of a bad rap. And I think the more that any of us feed into that the the more legitimate that that rap can be. So you know, working on outcomes. versus process, I think is a big deal for me. So I’m not a big fan of the, you know, the workshop or the journey mapping sort of activity.

Nick Glimsdahl  10:10 

Yeah. So why why not the journey map? You know, you just shared how you’re not a big fan of it. Why? What’s the where’s the pain? point? I, let’s, let’s keep ruffling the feathers. Yeah, that’s

Jeb Dasteel  10:20 

fine. That’s fine, we can ruffle those feathers. So

I, you know, I

think that for the most part, and this has certainly been the case with lots of people that I’ve talked to, whether it’s clients, customers, you know, my team, you know, Oracle’s customers, I feel like, you kind of already know the answer. And, and what, and I think what, what can happen oftentimes, is you you, as the chief customer officer, or somebody with a similar title or responsibility, you know, comes in brings a bunch of people together into a workshop, and you end up spending, unbelievable resources, cutting to what you already know, what, you know, may be imperfect, and it could be refined, but I think there’s a there’s a point and the points relatively early in my mind, where you hit, you know, diminishing returns. And I think the, you know, the other aspect of this that I think about is that when you get people engaged with that sort of a laborious process, and I really do mean, laborious, literally, it’s, it can be a lot, I think the chance that you take is the risk of quickly disenfranchising the people that are participating in that process, because of their expectations versus your ability, then to take that and back to the, you know, to the premise of your question, actually get something done, actually realized some benefits for, for what you’re what you’re spending. And the I mean, I guess the other thought that I have on that is that, you know, the role of the chief customer officer has been around for, I don’t know, probably a dozen years, maybe 1314 years or something no more than that. And I think that if you look at this whole idea of whether it’s process oriented or results oriented, that there’s a there’s a reason why the idea of a chief customer officer is largely unfulfilled. And I think that’s very much I think it’s very much rooted in the fact that there’s this idea that people are spending a lot of time developing an executing process with with really no, at least not a quick enough result that you can grab onto.

Nick Glimsdahl  12:24 

Yeah, in, is it because it’s not aligned with enemies? Because they didn’t accomplish those quick wins? Is it because it’s not aligned with business outcomes? What is the main reason? Is it because they didn’t get by into a senior leadership team? Like, what are the one or two things that why cx executives and cx leaders fail?

Jeb Dasteel  12:44 

I think it kind of goes back to my earlier point about having spoken to so many people that that really are doing this day in and day out, and everybody’s doing it differently. There’s no, there’s no framework, like if you’re if you’re a chief financial officer, or a chief operating officer or a CMO, you know, there’s a pretty clearly defined a may not be written in law, but there’s a pretty clearly defined idea of what you need to get done, how you go about doing it, how you organize how you’re measured, and all of that, there’s nothing like that for chief customer officers. So So one of my one of my missions at this point in my life is to say, there, you know, follow, follow the framework, the framework will necessarily be a framework, it’ll be imperfect for you, in specific situations, but adapt it, make it short, make it your own, but start with something that gives you you know, an overarching view of what the customer strategy for the organization should should look like, and how it could be measured and how you could be interacting with the other executives management in your in your organization.

Nick Glimsdahl  13:49 

Yeah, that’s great advice. What so so you’re not a huge fan of journey mapping? What What should companies do instead?

Jeb Dasteel  13:57 

Um, I, you know, one of the things that I recommend that you do early for the proverbial quick win is to, is to look at ease, ease of doing business. Yeah, I don’t talk about it a whole lot in that book. But I’ve written a number of blog posts about ease of doing business, and I’m pretty passionate about it. The whole idea is to find the ease of doing business hotspots, my thesis a few you know, from before that, you know, more than you think, and that you don’t need to spend a huge amount of time with the organization discovering what’s already discovered, you know, come up with what you know, to be in what the organization can tell you with relatively minimal effort. The what are the big hotspots, you know, what are the things that are really creating the most amount of friction for customers and knock out those obvious things and they and they tend to be I mean, over and over again, billing and contracting, and transacting. The other thing to think about and I think this is consistent with what I’m saying, too, is that you know, if if you’re in Employees are feeling the pain, you know, forget that they’d be great for them to go talk to a customer and kind of get interesting insights from that customer, or you should, too. If employees are feeling the pain with billing or contracting or, or any kind of commercial transacting, odds are, you know, odds are the customer will, your customers will too. So it’s things like those things that you can bring the team together and address shared problems, but with a thesis already prepared, so you can get quick buy in and then move on those things. I mean, I, I think over and over again, in the the interviews that I’ve done with organizations, you know, addressing those two or three, even one or two, you know, ease of doing business challenges or areas of friction can make an outsize contribution to your customers level of satisfaction and loyalty.

Nick Glimsdahl  15:54 

Yeah, so when it comes to hotspots, how often should you be paying attention to those hotspots,

Jeb Dasteel  16:02 

I would do it on a quarterly on a quarterly cycle. What we used to do, when I worked at Oracle was we used to put together a list of these kinds of hotspots. And most of them were used to doing business related, but not all of them were, and we were on a six month cycle. And if I were to add another thing, if I were to do it over again, I probably would have said, you know, we really had to do this on a quarterly basis instead of instead of a six month basis. But that can be a big impact. And and and basically just just the just the notion of having a list that is widely disseminated across the company that shares at a moment in time quarter to quarter or half year to half year, whatever, you know, kind of what the key themes are, that need to be addressed across the company to make a big impact. That’s, that’s, that’s really impactful, some of those things will be owned by an individual, you know, within the organization that’s relatively self self contained. That the that but the biggest impact is with the other issues that are owned by larger, you know, but by by a number of different organizations, and they’re inhibited from being really successful because the handoffs aren’t quite right. Or their priorities are different, or they’re they’re measured in a different way that drives different behaviors. But having that list and using that list fundamentally is sort of a change agent tool can be really powerful, and a lot of that season doing business oriented.

Nick Glimsdahl  17:29 

Yeah. Do you think that organizations will need to continue to escalate that. So it’s is now will eventually turn into monthly reviewing of those hotspots because of reputations?

Jeb Dasteel  17:43 

And yeah, but I think there’s a point where doing those reviews, you know, monthly instead of quarterly and and maybe one would argue the quarterly instead of half yearly, just gets you so far bogged down in the process, that it’s that it’s self defeating? So I’m not sure that I would, I would go beyond quarterly but but I think just having that level of visibility and being really consistent, and communicating broad and deep into the organization about it and getting people engaged because believe it or not, people will generally come forward and say, yeah, that is an issue. And how can I help? You know, that happens more than, than you think? or certainly more than I thought when I first started doing this stuff?

Nick Glimsdahl  18:22 

Yeah. Yeah. So the biggest thing that customer experience struggle with is trying to find buy in, find a way to talk to the C suite. So how do you go about building a business case around the ease of doing business with your company, and then going in and talking to the C suite and saying, hey, it’s, it’s, you know, fall time, it’s q3, going into q4, I need to start planning for the next year. Here. How do I how do I show them that I need capital for that buying?

Jeb Dasteel  18:56 

There’s Yeah, the good news is that there’s, I think, a very repeatable process that you can follow. And it really is all about identifying, you know, what the basic ease of doing business drivers are for your organization. And it could vary by customer segment. That’s, I think that’s an important point. And then you can take those drivers and glean from what those drivers tell you, you know, really what the hotspots are. And again, if you just ask 10 different people across your organization, they would probably jump straight to the hotspots and forget the drivers and be pretty darn accurate, but to be a little bit more disciplined about it. And to set up somewhat of a process that you could do repeatedly and easily communicate to the organization and pull the organization into, you know, I would set up the drivers I would, I would select the hotspots coming out of those drivers. I would go through an analysis and prioritization effort, which basically, it’s as simple as you know, how much value versus how easy or hard it is to to execute on that particular thing. And then it’s a matter of developing initiatives and action plans and then working with the organization either as as somebody who is actively driving it or even as a More, you know, sort of passive facilitator, developing and executing on those action plans, and the strategy and then putting some measurements in place as well. So, I mean, I think and none of that really is, is at all new and revolutionary. But I’m going to just the whole point, I guess what I’m saying is that you need a level of discipline. That’s not to process oriented, but sufficiently process oriented, that you actually can can do it repeatedly and communicate it clearly.

Nick Glimsdahl  20:31 

Yeah, yeah. So it’s important to have a relationship with that C suite. But you had mentioned, I think it was in a blog post the importance of having the chief customer officer and the CIO, kind of close at the hip or a close partnership. Why is that so important?

Jeb Dasteel  20:51 

Yeah. So I, I got to thinking and i and i read some articles and journals about, I was really focused on technology. And it kind of occurred to me and this was, and this was actually even in the last year, post my my Oracle years as chief customer officer there, that you really need the ccoo to be able to, or the organization that’s responsible for customer experience, and customer strategy, to help the CIO set their priorities. I mean, if you think about what the CIO is set out to do, even even or especially these days, with, with the pandemic, we’re all wrestling with how to how to get through and then cut out the back end of you know, what are the biggest impacts on the customer? What are the biggest impacts? And and the CIO, I can assure you is thinking about that, and I can assure you is making some assumptions about setting his or her priorities. And, again, I’ve missed it may seem obvious, but I think it should be has to be the see CEOs job to jump into the CIOs process or jump into the CIOs office and say, Look, I need to help you set those priorities, I can at least validate what your assumptions are, and give you a maybe even a more reasoned, educated view of what you know, what our customers are saying, and what do we what do we need to do if we lost market share, because of because of the global pandemic to recapture that market share? What do we need to do to do a better job of engaging with customers in a completely different way that we didn’t have to do pre pre pandemic? And not 100% of the time, but but almost always, there’s a major technology component, and there’s a pretty, you know, easy marriage that can be had between the individual that’s responsible for deploying technology and the other individual responsible for really having an effect on the customer experience.

Nick Glimsdahl  22:54 

Yeah, in, you know, in your book competing for customers, excuse me, you talk about looking at understanding business objectives, understanding that and then and then reverse engineering that and working back toward the technology is not necessarily you going to the CIO, and or the the people below them and saying, hey, I want this new technology. And, yes, the CEO or javis, saying, Hey, wait a second, based off of what I see, it’s probably not the best fit, and here’s why. But having that that trust and transparency between those two leaders will drive the focus back to the customer.

Jeb Dasteel  23:33 

Yes, exactly. Yeah, I mean, I think the bottom line in this the messages, don’t, you know, don’t do what everybody else does. And that is go to the CIO and say, I want this technology because I need it. My folks want it and and I think it’ll it’ll, you know, improve the world for me, you know, put the case together and have the conversation and and I can almost guarantee that at least nine times out of 10 your sense of priorities rooted in the customer experience, and how to drive how to how to help customers derive value for what you’re doing with them, will line up very nicely with what the CIOs objectives are in terms of making decisions about what to deploy next, and then deploying whatever that is next.

Nick Glimsdahl  24:18 

Is there specific questions that the customer experience leader or csio should be asking the CIO on a consistent basis?

Jeb Dasteel  24:29 

You know, I think it’s as simple as saying, Hey, would you show me what your current plan is, and helped me understand the thought process you went through and how you set the priorities, because I may have a different view or I may even help you argue for the investments that you want to make, because what I have if I do my job properly, is the customer’s input that talks to what results that the customer needs, but also reasons through you know what the impact is on Our own firm our own organization in terms of top line or bottom line impact.

Nick Glimsdahl  25:05 

Yeah, and then the risk behind that is obviously, it’s not focusing on the customer. It’s not driving business outcomes or aligning what the CIO wants, but, you know, you potentially, you know, lost lost revenue or lost customer, because you’re not doing what the customer wants. But is there anything else that on the risk side of not having that partnership?

Jeb Dasteel  25:33 

Clearly, it really is. Knowing is not having any sort of coherent, or holistic customer strategy, if you don’t have a cohesive or coherent customer strategy, you’re, you’re going to have a hard time. And if you don’t have and I don’t care if it’s a CEO, or a CMO, or somebody who’s titled, you know, head of customer success, you’ve got, you need somebody who wakes up every morning and thinks about what that framework is how that framework should be adapted to this business? And how do I really use it to develop and demonstrate that there’s a coherent customer strategy? And it’s really, I mean, it’s invariably, I think, in all cases, it’s in some combination of acquisition, retention, customer effort, or ease of doing business, which we talked about, which I think is so important. Customer Engagement, the connectivity, by the way, between employee engagement and customer engagement, I think is a big deal. Driving customer adoption of your product or services, deriving the or calculating the actual value derived by the customer. So value, and then and then brand advocacy, those are if I counted, right, if I got them all that seven or eight things that I think that every cohesive customer strategy has, and if you don’t have that, you are going to feel the impact or make a a less than acceptable contribution to any of those things, acquisition or retention or ease of doing business or engagement or what have you.

Nick Glimsdahl  27:12 

Yeah. Great, great stuff. And last question is, you mentioned that the, the correlation between customer engagement and employee engagement, why do some organizations not understand the correlation between the employee experience and the customer experience?

Jeb Dasteel  27:32 

Yeah, it’s funny, I, I feel like in my own personal experience, and kind of developing that, that level of correlation. I hadn’t really thought about it much until I stumbled on it. I don’t know that it’s, it’s completely I mean, it seems intuitive now, but I don’t know that it’s entirely intuitive to most people. And And generally, there’s not a lot of connective tissue, I think between, say, the chro of an organization, and marketing or customer success, or the CC Office of the Chief customer officer, I just think you have to be deliberate about it. I don’t I don’t think people just put a lot of effort into thinking that through. But I’ve found pretty much 100% of the time that if you improve the employee experience, whether that employee is in the front office, like a like a rep or a solution architect or a sales consultant, or an account management, you get as much benefit for those folks as you do. Or you excuse me, you get tremendous benefit of his front office or back office related activity.

Nick Glimsdahl  28:35 

Yeah, I would agree. Every podcast with two questions. The first question is what book or person has influenced you the most in the past year? And then the second question is, if you could leave a note to all the customer service or customer experience professionals and it would reach everybody what would it say?

Jeb Dasteel  28:57 

Ah, okay well for the first one if you’ll let me be my allowed to be a little bit political Yeah, sure. Yeah. might impact your your your viewership or

it 50% of them there you go.

Now that could be Yeah, I you know what i found and it may and may seem like an obvious one for certain for a certain percentage of the population but but in the in the current strange world we’ve been in We’ve been living in. I’ve found actually, Brock Obama to be inspirational to me. I found him to be inspirational to me, because there’s a certain sort of calm and reason and intelligence, Grace and empathy, all those sort of things I get from that. I think it’s a it’s a very strange world we’re living in It’s a strange place to bring children and grandchildren in, in my case, grandchildren. And I think somebody like that sort of the voice of reason with that calmness and grace is at least for me, I can only speak for myself is very helpful to me. And I think if it’s somebody else for people who are maybe on the complete opposite end of the spectrum politically than I am, I’m sure there’s somebody that would give that same sense of common reason. Well, let’s see. your other question was, oh, what would I? What would I do?

Nick Glimsdahl  30:16 

Yeah, if you could leave a note to all the customer service, your customer experience professionals and, and Jeb could reach everybody? Well, we’ll

Jeb Dasteel  30:24 

look at what to do, and relate it to what your customers outcomes are supposed to be. And if you don’t know the answer, by the way, go get it. Keep asking questions until you do. And when you do have that answer, talk about it all the time, talk about it all the time, and that that kind of seep into where permeate you know, really what you do the programs, you’re contemplating how you set priorities, how you work and communicate with other parts of your organization, you can’t go wrong. It’s great

Nick Glimsdahl  30:53 

advice. You can connect with Jeb on LinkedIn at Jeb de Steele and his j Eb da STLRTL. And the website is distill. Jeff, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast and look forward to learning more on staying connected on LinkedIn and growing to learn more what you’re up to.

Jeb Dasteel  31:21 

Thanks, Nick. I really appreciate it. Great conversation. Thank you.


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.

Nickโ€™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
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  • Former VP of Disneyโ€™s Magic Kingdom
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  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?

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