Therese Steiner – Director of Strategy & Operational Effectiveness in Global Customer Success at Lexis Nexis [Journey Mapping]

Nick Glimsdahl  0:05 

Welcome to the press one for Nick podcast. My name is Nick Glimsdahl. And my guest this week is Therese Steiner. She  is the director of strategy and operational effectiveness and global success at LexisNexis. Welcome to the podcast race.

Therese Steiner  0:20 

I like Thank you.

Nick Glimsdahl  0:22 

I try to find a little tidbit that some people might not know about my guests and have heard all sorts of things of like people that have played hockey people that have met Michael Jordan and delivered pizza to them. All sorts of craziness, but tell me in my guest, what’s maybe one thing that people might not know about you?

Therese Steiner  0:48 

Well, Nick, I think one thing people might not know about me. Several years ago, I competed and made it to the national finalists round of the Stella Artois Draft Master competition. It’s basically a competition to pour beer following specific prescribed steps. And apparently, I was good at that. So definitely, I don’t know that

Nick Glimsdahl  1:12 

that is pretty cool. And so there’s, from what you had told me prior was there’s a local, and then there’s a regional and then there’s national, and then there’s kind of worlds, right? Yep. And so did you know the question that I hadn’t asked you prior is? Did somebody did you order a Stella Artois? at a bar one time and all of a sudden somebody’s like, Wow, you really pour one heck of a beer, you should probably get in this competition.

Therese Steiner  1:44 

Not quite how it came about? No, it was a group of women from work. We were out together one night, and we had no idea this competition was going on, or that it even existed. Yeah, we had all just went out to a bar one evening, for a little bit of a night out. And it just happened that they were running this competition locally at the bar that evening, the first round of it. And they asked us if we want to participate. And they said, Well, if you participate, you get a free glass of beer. So we said, Sure, why not? It was a free competition. And they’re giving us free beer. Sure. So they showed us the steps. And we did it. And there was actually three of us from the group, who did well and made it to the next round. And then at the Dayton area round, which was after that, I went head to head against one of my co workers actually, to win that round. So a lot of fun.

Nick Glimsdahl  2:39 

That’s awesome. And did you have Is there a trophy of sorts that you want at the regional level?

Therese Steiner  2:46 

There is I have a very large trophy, I have to send you a picture of it sometime. It’s about Oh, two to three feet tall, probably. That is a giant glass, Stella Artois Chalice on a wooden pedestal. It’s quite impressive.

Nick Glimsdahl  3:04 

So what I would do if I were you, and maybe you want to get your perspective on what you actually do, but I would take that to every happy hour that I went to, and just ask them to fill it up and say, Hey, don’t worry, I know how to pour it, but just poured into this trophy.

Therese Steiner  3:20 

I think that that would get me hopefully a lot of free beer. wonderful idea. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before.

Nick Glimsdahl  3:29 

So, um, you actually start off by going to a law school at University of Dayton. And so how did you transition from going to getting your law degree to customer service?

Therese Steiner  3:43 

Yeah, um, well, so I found where I went to law school. It’s interesting. There are many people in law school who can always want it to be lawyers. Lots of their family were lawyers. There’s dad was a lawyer they want to follow in their footsteps, you know, that kind of thing. And I think for me, law school was a bit of an exploration to begin with. I had never thought about being a lawyer before law school. During undergraduate I had interned for a semester at the district attorney’s office in Allentown, Pennsylvania, which is what made me think about giving law school a try. And I had made a deal with myself that was took the L SAT, if I scored well and qualified for a scholarship that would afford me the law degree that I would go to law school. So when I went it wasn’t necessarily to become a lawyer. And once I got there, I started working actually at LexisNexis. During the school breaks at the same time, and found that I enjoyed the work I was doing more than the law school. So when I graduated, I took a job in customer service at Lexus. I was working a second shift schedule at the time. And that allowed me to do some intern work as a small law firm in the mornings. So I kind of get a feel for both types of careers. And really, the Lexus one is the one that’s Talk about are with me, the customer service had a lot more complexity and learning to it than what I expected. There were more career growth opportunities, and really that continuous learning cycle that has been going on for over 20 years in my career at Lexus, definitely one out over the billable hours at the law firm. So struck my interest much more and enjoyed it much more than anything in law.

Nick Glimsdahl  5:28 

Yeah, well, it’s,  interesting on how that transition happened. Before we get to the main topic I wanted to talk about, you know that you recently wrote a book. Can you tell us more about what the book is called, and what’s in the book? Sure.

Therese Steiner  5:46 

And the book is called f notes facilitation for quality. And it actually releases next month, I believe it’ll hit the bookstores in late mid to late September. And, and it’s really a book I co wrote with a colleague and friend of mine, Tracy Owens, I had met Tracy when he started working at LexisNexis, as well, several years ago, and he’s a six sigma master black belt. And, and really, he had written a few different books in the quality profession, and is someone who I admire quite a bit. And it has been very inspirational to me in my career. And he had the idea of writing a book about how to facilitate good workshops around continuous improvement invited me to write it along with him. So we co wrote it. And it’s really all about taking the skills and the theories that you may get through a formal education program and in lean, and six sigma and continuous improvement, and applying those practically into real world contexts. So really taking that and really running successful workshops, successful projects, leveraging a variety of tools, and tips, and so forth. With the book coming out this year, as we are amidst the COVID pandemic, we also include a number of tips on how to facilitate events from a virtual perspective as well, and try to continue that could use improvement cycle virtually as well as in person.

Nick Glimsdahl  7:17 

Yeah, that sounds like an interesting book, I look forward to getting a copy of that, which is why I want to kind of kind of continue the conversation more on the continuous improvement side and talk about how using customer journeys, how can you use customer journeys to drive continuous improvement? So you know, how do how do we go about starting a customer journey map?

Therese Steiner  7:42 

Yeah, so I mean, customer journeys is definitely kind of a fundamental when you’re when you’re because customer experience professional, right? I come at it from a little bit of a different angle than some, my my context comes from Lean and Six Sigma and business process management. And so applying that into customer experience role, I think, a very process oriented approach when I talk about customer journeys. So the starting point, for me, as well as I think for really anybody’s customer is really in looking for pain points and problem areas. So where do you see customer complaints arise? What drives volume? Is your contact center? Where do you fail to resolve a customer issue in first contact? If we really start with that customer orientation first and where the customer is experiencing pain or experience issues? That’s really that voice of the customer? That’s the best starting place for a customer journey.

Nick Glimsdahl  8:36 

Yeah, so understanding a lot of where those pain points are, is, is definitely key. So how do you go about completing so you know how to start it. the easy part is, is starting it or admitting that you need to figure out how to build this journey map. But how do you go about completing the whole customer journey? What is that?

Therese Steiner  8:56 

Yeah, yeah, well, I start with gathering as much information as I can. So I want to be very data driven in my approach. And in lean, there’s a concept called a gamble walk. And a gamble walk is basically going to the actual place where work is taking place or work is occurring and walking the process. So literally go into work and walking the process of how something gets manufactured, for example. So applying that that context and that concept into journey mapping, I want to walk the customers experience as closely as possible, I want the gumba of the customers journey. So ideally, I want to interact directly with customers. And if you can, that’s great. A lot of times due to you know, whatever the turnover on that one. So for journey mapping, we want to walk the customers experience as closely as possible. If you can interact directly with your customers. That’s, that’s great. That’s perfect. A lot of times you can’t and then you really You have to consider what your listening posts are, what are the ways that you can look at customer data and get as close to the gumba of the customers as you possibly can. So you may read customer survey comments, definitely talk to people on the front lines, who interact directly with customers, and really analyze all the data that shows up and all the data that shows how you interact with customers, how they interact with products, services, and people. So really, before I put pen to paper, so to speak in mapping the customer journey. First, I’m going out and talking with as many people as I can internally externally, to find out what are those experiences. And then I’m looking at as much data as I can on really informing me what that customer journey is, once I’ve gathered all of those inputs, that’s when I could sit down, look across all the different inputs I’ve gathered and create a visual map of what the customers experience is. And then really bring it back to the team of people that I’ve talked with across the journey, the journey of creating the journey, and show them the map and talk about it and see what things I’ve missed or gotten wrong. And you know, really make sure that that map resonates with really what the journey is.

Nick Glimsdahl  11:12 

Yeah, no, I think it’s so important to kind of go through that and look at that, the the data points throughout the entire journey. But so let’s say that my listeners have understood the journey, they’ve started the journey, they’ve completed the journey. And now they’re like, Oh, I’m kind of stuck. So what happens after you map the journey of the customer?

Therese Steiner  11:36 

Yep. For me, I usually have a journey mapping improvement workshop at that point, where I bring together the key subject matter experts and decision makers who influence the journey. And then that’s when we really start analyzing the journey. So one of the layers, we’re looking for the moments of truth, the make, or break moments, the things that if we do well in the journey, that that secures that customers loyal customer, or the things that if we do poorly, we’re really at risk of losing the customer. It’s tempting for some people at that point to call everything a moment of truth, because in theory, at any given interaction point, you could lose the customer. But what is that bulk of data showing us? What is the things our customers really are experiencing? Where are we losing them? Or where are we really gaining their loyalty. So knowing the moments of truth, or the or knowing is knowing kind of where we need to be at our best. And that could be one of the ways to prioritize how to improve the journeys. If a moment of truth is also a pain point. Clearly, that’s something we need to dive in and work on right away. So that’s kind of one of the layers of analyzing the journey. The other thing I do, again, coming from a Lean Six Sigma background, is I’d like to think about the eight wastes that are concepts from lean, and use that as a lens to analyze the journey. So for example, one of the wastes is waiting. So I think, okay, if waiting is a waste, downtime is a waste? Where are there places in the customer journey, where the customer is required to wait for that next step to occur? Where are we introducing waiting for the customer? And then go through those eight wastes and ask about them. So where are we making the customer go through extra steps or extra effort to accomplish their goal, where their defects and what we deliver to the customer, and so on. And you can google the eight lead wastes and really go through in kind of a Socratic method, if you’re in a workshop, and ask those driving questions of how are we introducing those wastes the customer? How are we making them experience those wastes? And then those are things to look at for continuous improvement in that journey. The other piece we do to analyze the journey is focusing on the moments of truth in the waste areas. And you know, where what are the things that are really going really well? What are the things that are not going so well. You need to turn and after you map that outside view, map the inside view that the ecosystem or the environment. So literally below the line of the customer journey map, I then also do process maps of what are all the internal processes and systems that are the things that impact and deliver that experience that the customer has seen in their journey. So it’s the things that are invisible to the customer, but are the things that are the levers that organization can influence and control so that the above the line that directly impacts the customer? creates a better experience?

Nick Glimsdahl  14:52 

Yeah, no, I think that’s great. And the one thing that you had mentioned was that the tough part building this journeys is what it sounds like from me, and maybe correct me if I’m wrong, but everybody’s gonna have an opinion about what is the biggest pain points? And it’s the perception of them without data. Right? And that could get dangerous if that’s not what is right for the customer work finding ways to prioritize the pain points, but is that the best way from your perspective to prioritize the pain points is to do it based off of data? or What else? What other recommendations would you have?

Therese Steiner  15:33 

Yeah, as data driven as we can be, right? And we’re looking at the prioritization. What you want to be careful of Yes, that we’re not just prioritizing something, because it was the loudest pain point of the person in the room during a workshop, right? The danger in in this is that someone will come in with an agenda into a workshop to fix pain points that are maybe their internal pain points within their functional area, as opposed to what are the things that are most critical to the customer? So looking at data, but looking at it from that outside in perspective, right, looking at what is the data showing us? What’s the voice of the customer? What is the data showing us as the biggest areas that are impacts to customers? And then there is the operational impact? Of course, so a lot of times we’ll create a matrix, right of what are the biggest pain points and make or break moments, the moments of truth? But then also, where are the things that we can get wins? What are the what are the quick wins, what are the things that we can achieve on right, and so it might be prioritizing, depending on the scenario, it might be important to prioritize something that’s a little less impactful to a customer, but that we can really make a quick win on and achieve and get momentum off of, and get buy in across the organization into it and say, Okay, here’s, here’s something that we can really make a difference on, get a couple of quick wins, advertise them, you know, talk about them, and then start tackling some of the larger things. If you’re in a scenario where you already have that buy in, and maybe you don’t have to prove the concept so much, then definitely going after the the most impactful things to a customer. From a data driven perspective, the things that are most impactful, the customers are the right prioritization points, and then kind of working through the matrix from there. But it really depends on your starting point, right? Do you have to kind of prove the concept and make some quick wins? Is that really critical to really get the biggest bang for the buck? By making the quick wins first? Or? Or is it more of a scenario where you can dive right in and tackle the big gnarly things for the customer?

Nick Glimsdahl  17:38 

Right? Yeah, no, I think it’s, it’s also kind of the x y axis, what has the biggest mana? What’s the biggest amount of cost or the least amount of cost with the biggest effort that can reduce that friction for the customer? But, you know, kind of you touched on that a little bit, but you’re talking about, you know, buy in? How do how do people get buy in and for that matter, so you built this, you built this journey? You understand the customers, you understand now the pain points, you talked about little quick wins? And maybe that’s a maybe that’s answered my question, but how do you get buy in? And then budget from that buy in? From leadership? And then how do you take action on that plan?


there was that there was like five questions inside that question. So good luck.

Therese Steiner  18:30 

So yeah, so I think, um, as as real and tangible and close to the customer as we can get, the better. And from that, what I mean is to get buy in from the stakeholder, if I can make that stakeholder, feel the pain of the customer and really understand it, and also how it impacts us internally and what the business is, then then they’ll come along with it. So that’s why I think it’s important to do kind of never journey map alone, right? You don’t go Don’t go journey mapping alone in a vacuum, to bring a workshop of people along with it and work it as a cross functional effort. So that the people who are the people whose buy in we need in order to invest in making the improvements are there at the table here in the pain points of the customer, making it real to them and are also engaged in the problem solving. So that I’m not coming back with a bunch of things I want to change and influence and delivering it as an output to the stakeholders. They’re really engaged in the problem solving itself in an ideal way. If they’re engaged in the problem solving, then they have a stake in making sure that those solutions that they’ve stacked hands on are then actually implemented, right? Because they’re they’re part of the process. It’s not change happening to them. We’re requests that’s coming to them, they’re actually part of the process itself. And you know, really giving them ownership of some of the things So coming out of a customer journey workshop, I may have a list of prioritize actions and improvements that we want to implement. And, you know, really people from within that workshop are then owners of those action items. It’s not me, as the customer experience professional in the room, who’s taking ownership and making all those things happen. It’s all of the individuals involved in the workshop in their functional areas, who actually have direct ownership that in making that happen, and are invested in it from the start. Of course, if you could show the ROI in a dollars and cents way, that’s going to be the easiest way to get budget and by and right. But a lot of times in customer experience world, it’s a little hard to show that tangible dollars and cents ROI, we might be able to show the impact to customer satisfaction, or to first contact resolution, or to NPS. But then making that that leap into the bottom line financials can be challenging. So as much as possible, do the legwork and show that dollar impact. If we do this, we’re going to improve NPS. If we improve NPS and increase loyalty, our cost of sales will go down, our retention will go up. And here’s the analysis to show that if you can do that, that’s obviously incredibly powerful. But that definitely is a is a challenge to sometimes make all those connections. So tying people into it, and making them accountable and having them have ownership of the improvement, instead of it be something that the customer experience team is running off on the side, as ingrained as the function as it can be is, is the best way to get the most success. So I’ve given you five answers to your five questions.

Nick Glimsdahl  21:44 

is awesome.

So, you know, the

when it comes to that, though, you know, we talked about the budget and buy in? Is there KPIs to measure upon a project success of around a journey map? Or? Or is it? You know, like you said, the one thing that you I did want to touch on from the last question was, you know, if you’re, if you’re doing all those things, and you have the success, and you’re reducing, increasing loyalty, which reduces, you know, customer churn, you know, showing that long term value is the is the customer lifetime value. But you can’t say, hey, when we improve this journey map, we’re going to, you know, here’s our now our total cost of our customer lifetime value, you have to show that over time, which is why you need those, those quick wins. But in that Meantime, how do you measure the success of the project? Maybe some key performance indicators?

Therese Steiner  22:41 

Yeah. So at the outset of the project, and from a customer journey mapping as a project, first, I do lay out a charter for it. And I make sure that those involved both the stakeholders, the SMEs, the people in the workshop, as well as any champion that is really sponsoring the effort, make sure that they’re aligned on that charter. And within that charter, we’re defining, you know, what is the problem we’re trying to solve? What’s the scope, that’s, that’s critical for this effort, what’s in scope, what’s out of scope, but also how will we measure success, so that we know at the outset what that measurements are going to be. And depending on the scenario, it could be things that are survey related customer satisfaction, NPS, that sort of thing. It could be things like a cycle time improvement, how long it takes us to deliver something to a customer, possibly, it could be a revenue or a cost impact. But defining those metrics at the outset, and showing what the baseline is for comparison, is really important to begin with. And then everyone knows what they’re going to be what they’re going to be accountable for. And then making sure that you have a baseline for it, and then measuring, you know, as you go. So that’s one aspect. And then probably from a less quantitative perspective, and more from a qualitative perspective, one of the ways to measure success, is to make sure that you’re capturing the changes that have been implemented, and celebrating those along the way. And, you know, I talked about kind of the quick wins, again, momentum from them. So making sure that you have a documented path of here’s the improvements we’re going to deliver, here’s we’re going to deliver them. Here’s the schedule that we actually have achieved them at. And so you’re measuring success by saying did I did they actually deliver the things that I said I was going to deliver? They do it on time? And then was there a quantifiable impact from it? But even if there’s not making sure that you’re celebrating the the improvement along the way, if that makes sense?

Nick Glimsdahl  24:48 

No, I think that it’s definitely important though because not just to celebrate it with the people that are doing it with you, but selling celebrating how it impacts everybody else and showing the people More, you know, employees, peers and leaders and saying, here’s what we’re doing. Here’s what we said, we’re going to do, here’s how we said we’re going to do it. A, and we were on time and under budget, or whatever that is, but be transparent about that experience. Because that, from my perspective is how you get more buy in.

Therese Steiner  25:20 

Absolutely, yeah. And really, I do try to have both qualitative and quantitative measures for success. So one of the really simple ways of measure success of the of the workshop at least, is to say, I’m going to come out of the workshop with an agreed upon journey map, we’re going to know what the current state is. And we’re going to know where we’re headed, what the aspirational future state is, just having that visual, and having stuck hands on it, and having a prioritized list of improvements. That’s a success in and of itself, a lot of times, getting everyone to the table cross functionally, to see what that journey is, and being able to describe it, see it, view it seconds and agree that this is what the customer is experiencing. And here’s how we’re going to modify that and fix it and prove it, you know, create a condition cycle around it, that in of itself is a is a win, and a benefit from the from the project. But then yes, you have to follow through and actually deliver, deliver the improvements as well. And

Nick Glimsdahl  26:17 

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 question is, if you could leave a note to all the customer service professionals, and it could reach everybody, trees, what would it say?

Therese Steiner  26:38 

Okay, so for the for the book, I actually just started reading a book. I’m not very deep into it yet, but I’m kind of excited about it. It’s a book called good strategy, bad strategy. And for myself, I’m never sure if I’m being too tactical, I was feel like I should be more strategic strategies. And in my job title, I should be more strategic, how do I get more strategic. And there’s a lot of buzzwords around that. And so this book, from what I’ve read in it so far, it really kind of cuts through that Bs, and gets right to the heart of things, which are buzzwords and of themselves. There you go. But, but yeah, so far, that’s been a awesome read. And I can’t wait to see where it where it heads me down what pads I go from there. But that’s a book I definitely recommend. As far as leaving a note talk customer service professionals, the easy question, right, Nick, um, I think I think I would say to the customer service team, individually, you individually make a difference. You know, you never know when you’re on a phone call or a chat session or your, whatever channel of support you’re delivering or whatever kind of interaction you’re having with the customer, you don’t know who really it is on the other end of the line. And to remember that that person’s a human being, just like you are and you don’t know, what they’re dealing with, what context they’re coming from, what their background is, what their perspective is. And so just you know, when we’re interacting in customer service, remember that you’re interacting with other human beings and remember to be human and really just to interact the way you would want them to interact with you. And then lastly, I would say to all customer service professionals that they need to make sure that they listened to press one for Nick whenever you can.

Nick Glimsdahl  28:26 

Nice, nice I did not pay her to say that.

Therese Steiner  28:31 

He paid me

Nick Glimsdahl  28:33 

I paid her one really sweet Stella Artois trophy that I now have to promise to give her a beer full of that trophy cup. So trees what’s the best way for people to get a hold of you if they want to connect with you?

Therese Steiner  28:49 

Probably should LinkedIn I think you can share my LinkedIn profile but it’s a tree Steiner JD.

Nick Glimsdahl  28:56 

I think it’s trees, t h, e r, e s, e, and then Steiner is S t, e ai, n e, r, and then JD at the end of that. So I think if you just type in tree Steiner, on the search and look for a tree Steiner that has works at LexisNexis. That should work but really, yeah, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast and I look forward to keeping in touch and learn more about grabbing that book and digesting it.

Therese Steiner  29:31 

Thanks Nick.


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
  • Award-winning authors
  • Home Depotโ€™s Senior Director of Customer Care
  • Former VP of Disneyโ€™s Magic Kingdom
  • Lyftโ€™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.

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