Monthly Archives

May 2020

The Customer Journey: Getting it Right

By | Insight, Inspiration

I don’t know about you, but every time I reach an important goal in my life I catch myself looking back on how I got there. What was difficult? What was easy? What surprised me about the whole thing? And, of course, what would I do differently. One of the things I’ve learned is that it doesn’t help progress to wait until the end of the so-called journey to review. I’ve learned to take stock along the way now. And course correction is my new best friend.

I believe the same is true for our customers. Nobody wants to wait until the end of a new IT project or solution to see how things work out. Waiting doesn’t help revenue, productivity or efficiency. Clarity guides the paths we take with customers now because it’s the only way to arrive at the new destination with complete understanding. Gray areas have no place here. What we aspire to are clear milestones to track progress.

Creating a Customer Journey that Matters

First off, each journey will be different. Not only between customers, but for each customer individually as their journey extends. Journeys aren’t meant to be static. And they aren’t meant to be cookie cutter solutions. We begin at the beginning but not before some serious exploration into customer aspirations and goals.

Before we make the first IT recommendation, we want to know why customers do what they do. What are their intentions? Who are their stakeholders? What made those stakeholders happy in the past? What needs work to get back to that place of success? What new paths can they take to not only satisfy—but delight—the stakeholders in their world?

The Calyx Customer Journey

At Calyx, we define our unique customer journeys by three consecutive phases:

  1. Get it Right
  2. Do it Right
  3. Keep it Right

Our overarching driver is to create a better way for each of our customers. We’re in the business of delivering better outcomes, consistently. That means putting the right people to work on their business. Accountability and buy-in rule. And milestone communications facilitate awareness and change.

Our initial assessment phase is how we Get it Right with customers. It’s here that we determine mutual fit —philosophical, financial and technical alignment. We build the groundwork for this through deep dives to understand a business’ current situation and their visions for what’s ahead. We dig in and do a total tech assessment complete with an IT cost analysis. We’ll come back to you with a 100% guarantee. And something else you probably haven’t seen in awhile. A promise—in writing—to improve your operations and profitability.

Then it’s time to get down to business in the Do it Right stage. This is the onboarding phase when we transition your technology to position your business for success. And we do it seamlessly, with minimum disruption. During this phase you can expect lots of planning from us as we define the implementation, assign teams, create configurations and more. We also provide training and stand right there with you as your new technology goes live.

Technology should be easy to use, highly secure and always available. Those are table stakes. But it must also be well supported. Just as we were steadfast during the first two phases, we’ll also provide continuous support in the Keep it Right phase. Tech is not a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. We back you up with continuing learning and support as your configuration evolves. We stay in constant communication via monthly reports, and ongoing analysis and feedback.

We also want our teams to align properly and that means the right people and the right values. Of course Calyx team members have the right skill sets and experience to support your business. That’s a given. But you may be surprised by the depth of their empathy and support. Your challenges are their challenges. And they’re not satisfied until you are. We hire people who are empathic, compassionate and operate with integrity. Those are qualities that you can’t teach, and you can’t join the Calyx team without them.

We pride ourselves on the core values instilled in everyone at Calyx. Every day we work with companies at different places in their journey. Assessment, implementation and review are in a continuous flow but you can also count on us for a steadfast commitment to our values.

We do what’s right. We challenge everything. And we own it. These are our guideposts.

Know that the development of our customer journey did not happen overnight. It took years of working to understand clients’ expectations, analyzing what’s worked, and rethinking what hasn’t. While every customer journey will be unique, there are common truths to consider on your quest to deliver just the right journey for your clients:

  • Begin with your ideal customer profile. Creating a customer journey that’s meaningful and valuable must begin with a clear understanding of who’s embarking on the journey. Your clients have wants, needs, desires, goals, and expectations, and you can only fulfill them when you really understand them. Deep insight into what motivates them enables you to deliver valued experiences beyond their expectations.
  • Consider every touchpoint. Touchpoints are all the places where your customers interact with your business, whether it be via your website, social media, in-person meetings, or email. Each touchpoint represents an opportunity to deliver value by understanding how clients interact with your business. How can you simplify the process for them? How can you surprise and delight them?
  • Know your resources. A well-planned journey requires the proper provisions for success. Realize that the journey you’re planning will touch every aspect of your business, from sales and marketing to customer service, to operations and human resources. Take inventory of the critical resources you have as well as those you may be without. This assessment will help you determine what’s needed to deliver the experience you envision.
  • Back it up with data. It’s a common (and dangerous) mistake to be presumptuous about the best way forward or the value you’re delivering. Use data to support your assumptions. Talk with your clients to get their insight and perspective. Always know where they stand. Make sure that you’re not putting obstacles in their way, or taking shortcuts that hinder the experience you’ve promised to them.
  • Accept that it’s a work-in-progress. Map your customer journey with the clear understanding that it’s an evolution toward something better. You’re likely to make bad assumptions or find gaps your team had overlooked. That’s part of the process, and it’s never-ending. Review it regularly. Reimagine and reshape, knowing that iterations are necessary steps toward creating a better way.

We’re interested to learn about where the journeys with your own customers will lead. What will be revealed at each touchpoint? What are their needs and pain points? How do you delight them? The answers will come. Clarity will arrive and you’ll find yourself in partnership, not in contention. That’s the importance of your willingness and discipline to create meaningful customer journeys.

Lessons Through the Crisis

By | Insight, Inspiration

The COVID-19 crisis has certainly altered our ways of working and navigating through our business and personal lives. I think I’m like most people and could never have imagined how different things would be in such a small time window. I’ve heard people call this our “silent spring” because the noise of an active economy and our sheltering in place have stilled almost everything we know.

But one thing I do know is that Calyx is doing everything possible—and then some—to make sure our clients have our full attention. Our cloud platform enabled customers a seamless transition to remote work so they could maintain their operations without skipping a beat. Calyx employees are still working from home to stay safe while maintaining client support.

One thing that has not changed for us, however, is communication with our customers and with each other. Communication has always been valued and welcomed at Calyx and we’ve ramped up efforts to make sure customers are really heard as they manage through the disruption. Members of the management team call customers daily to keep them up to date and learn where we can provide support. 

In addition to communications, one of our core values is to “challenge everything.” There’s always a better way. Whether that means creating a new cloud configuration for a customer or just learning how to encourage collaboration in work-from-home scenarios. At Calyx, there will always be a healthy measure of debates and ideas to create necessary solutions. There‘s even more need for that now.

We’ve always found that listening is the key component of communications. At Calyx, we pride ourselves on listening, digging deeper and providing meaningful solutions. During the early days of the pandemic crisis, we listened to not only what the market needed but, more importantly, to what our clients needed. It was necessary for them to focus on their families and the viability of their companies, so we decided to scale back sales initiatives and focus on projects such as our virtual sales platform and our potentially altered future environment. 

The Calyx executive team keeps us informed of daily operations as well as where we are on our plan for this pandemic crisis. They also know that people can’t do their best work if they’re distracted by personal hardships so they have made support available to employees. The best leaders can manage admirably through crisis operations but it’s the exceptional ones who remember that there is a human being behind every square on an org chart. The execs at Calyx just get that.

They also challenge us every day to create a better way. That’s our mantra for business but I recently discovered that it works for me personally too. My ten-year-old daughter was recently telling me about an art project while I was “multi-tasking” (aka half paying attention). A few minutes into the conversation she looked at me and, unable to hide her disappointment, said “Dad, you’re not even listening.”

Her reaction was an enlightening moment for me. I saw her hurt and also realized how subconsciously distracted I was. After sincerely apologizing, I helped her understand that my work issue had nothing to do with her value. What she had to say or what she does is very important to me and I assured her we would never have this conversation again. 

A few days later as I was headed to my home office, my daughter stopped me once again and said “Dad, come look at this real quick.”  I quickly went into auto-pilot and said “ok.” I then stopped and asked her what she actually wanted. She thought for a second and then told me that she made some bracelets and my looking at them would take less than five minutes. This effective communication allowed us to be present and enjoy a meaningful, small moment. 

This crisis has helped me realize the importance of effective communications and that some of my focus has been on the wrong things—things that have the illusion of importance. I’m now more aware that there is always a better way in business—and in my personal life. You just have to have the courage and vulnerability to pursue it. In the words of early 20th century businessman, Thomas Dewar, “Minds are like parachutes: they only function when open.”

Stay safe and pursue a better way.