Pioneering woman leadership and CX
Cheryl and I grabbed a table at the back of a coffee shop at Caesar’s Palace where she'd just finished participating in the year's biggest CCWomen's Event. CCWomen is a woman lead organization that works together to raise the profile of women in customer engagement roles, pursuing success, developing new skills, and learning the value and power of our community. Her passion for empowering women was immediately evident, and the glow coming out of the CCWomen’s event was palpable. Here’s the conversation we had next.
A legacy of 51 years of CX Experience
In a way, Cheryl's lifetime of CX accomplishments started 51 years ago with her mother, who as a role model for women everywhere, laid a foundation of achievement for women and the CX industry. Cheryl spoke about her childhood and the impact her mom had on her. In a time before #metoo during the 1970s Cheryl's mom grabbed the corporate ladder and bravely climbed it rung by rung and retired as a VP. She forged a path for women everywhere, and Cheryl followed in her footsteps.
For the last 20+ years, Cheryl has proudly done the same. I can't sell you a bridge, but I can keep you from jumping off one. Over her career at Citizens Bank, she's held many customer experience roles. She began her career as an agent taking calls which lead to supervisory and managerial positions. She started managing a small customer care team where she developed a reputation as someone who could “fix” issues. That reputation led her to take on more challenges, each time delivering high value to the organization, not to mention balancing her life as a wife and mom in a time when women had to redefine workplaces everywhere if they were to succeed.
Today she is a Director and SVP responsible for the day to day credit card customer servicing experience.
I can't sell them a bridge, but I can keep them from jumping off one.
Over the years, Cheryl passed on a tradition of customer care to hundreds of specialists and managers under her leadership. She has a fundamental point of view that gets to the core of every customer experience, and it's Listen, Listen, Listen. Simple, Savvy, Smart Customer Experiences To manifest her Listen, Listen, Listen philosophy, she actively participates in calls with her teams. She's an active leader with high emotional intelligence (EQ) who listens to both agents and customers alike.
Simple, Savvy, Smart Customer Experiences
This high engagement management style reinforces the connection between the brand and the marketplace. “Great experiences should be the basic premise of everything we do” She takes the stance that her role is to address the things that pull customers away from great experiences. She focuses on how the customer wants to do business. I made the connection to the book from Robert Fulghum All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten and she agreed on the importance of the fundamental importance of kindness, warmth, and being friendly and the impact that has on the success of customer care agents, and ultimately the customer
Mobile phones are changing the CX landscape.
When I asked Cheryl about the future, she described the changing landscape of banking and the impact that mobile phones have had on the industry. She's seeing in increasing desire for customers to use their "channel of choice" to engage. She believes the future of customer service for many banking needs will shift to "self-service" which is consistent with the things we heard from Joshua Tye from Compass Group who believes the customer mindset today is oriented around self-service.
Cheryl holds out that not everything will become self-service, and retail banking customers will always want a personal touch. The more things change, the more they stay the same. When I asked Cheryl about her thoughts for the future of CX and any advice she has for those starting careers. Her parting words were simple and clear: