17Jun Andy’s 3D Thoughts 17th June

3D Thoughts

It’s 3D iDeas time and we’ve got some great lessons from the NHS, IKEA and Charity:Water to name but a few. We start with the NHS reducing readmissions to hospital by 41% by a single phone call, we’ve got 5 examples of businesses utilising technology to improve customer experiences and an insight into a truly Dramatically and Demonstrably Different charity that donates 100% of donations to the areas the money is meant for – that’s Charity:Water!

All you need to do is just click on the image to listen… it’s all in around 3 minutes!


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12Jun Utilising Technology For Great Customer Experiences – 5 Examples Of Businesses Doing It Right!

Creating a proactive customer-centric organisation, cross departmental collaboration and keeping up with evolving customer expectations are the key challenges that businesses today say they face when it comes to customer service. That’s according to the recently published State of Customer Service 2020 report which has over 1500 respondents from around the world and brands including the likes of Uber, Zurich, Mastercard and Microsoft.

Along with the fact that integrating AI and machine learning into customer service operations is rated as the most challenging aspect businesses are facing, among the many insightful statistics, the one that particularly struck me was the top 4 priorities for customer service departments in 2020 are:

  • Creating a customer – centric organisation and collaborating internally – 18.7%
  • Scaling to keep up with evolving customer expectations – 17.9%
  • Moving from reactive to proactive customer support – 13.4%
  • Synchronising channels to deliver a seamless omnichannel customer journey – 13.1%.

It’s clearly about a mix of getting the culture right and utilising technology to create outstanding customer experiences, but how are businesses actually doing that? I’ve written in the past about great examples of culture  at the likes of fantastic 3D Businesses like Zappos (which I’ve written about frequently), but what about the ‘technology’ side of things?

Well, here are some examples that I’ve seen recently…

1. Shop Remotely At IKEA…

IKEA has launched a new app that allows customers to shop remotely for products and visualize the products in different scenarios in their own homes. It saves time and effort for customers and makes them easier to buy from by allowing customers to ‘personalise’ their browsing and then purchase goods. The app also uses augmented reality to allow customers in store to point their phone at a piece of furniture to see other textures or colours and to see it in the context of a room back in their house. Again, it’s all about ‘personalisation’!

How easy are you to buy from and deal with?

2. Accor Hotels Make It Personal…

Personalising the customer experience has always been a source of ‘Dramatic Difference’ and Accor Hotels maximises the information they have about their 58 million customers they have on their database across their whole chain of hotels to allow them to personalise the experience. In seconds, a receptionist has access to details of the customer’s habits and preferences so they can quickly respond to, and even anticipate, their customers needs.  It’s about using information to ’empower’ people to create outstanding customer experiences.

How well do you maximise your customer data?

3. The Drop…

The Drop is an online business that allows you to buy a tailor made suit from as little as £295! You let them have your measurements, details of the fabric and style of your suit and it’s delivered to you in 5 weeks, or 3 weeks if you pay £50 extra. They are a great example of a business that has looked at the traditional customer journey and ‘digitalised’ it making it simpler, quicker and cheaper.

How could you ‘digitalise’ (part of) your customer journey?

4. Redbrik’s Virtual House Tour…

In days gone by, if you were looking to buy a house, it was all about scanning the local newspaper property guard, visiting the estate agents and booking an appointment to look round the property – not anymore! Local estate agents (and clients of ours!) Redbrik offer virtual tours of the houses that they are selling with 3D Walkthroughs. You can literally ‘walk through’ a house using virtual reality and a get a real feel for it!

They can be viewed on any internet-enabled device and provide the most realistic and immersive property viewing experience without being in the property. The incredible ‘dolls house’ view shows the home from a 360-degree perspective and even allows you to see floor-by-floor. It saves customers lots of time and effort and helps them focus on the properties that you are really interested in. Check out what it look like here.

How could you save your customers time, effort (and money)?

5. Virgin Media Reduce Cancelled Visit Numbers…

Apparently, lots of people (about 10%!) forget that they have an appointment with a tradesman coming to their house and this can obviously cost the business lots of money in wasted time and resources. Virgin Media identified this as a big problem for their installers so to fix this they partnered up with a business called ContactEngine. They helped them implement an automated proactive SMS and voice conversation process a couple of days before the installation. Customers would get a message to confirm the correct address, and importantly that the customer would be there when they visited. The automated conversations also allowed customers to cancel, reschedule, or correct the address if necessary and there was also the opportunity to talk to a ‘real’ person if required. The results were impressive, with significantly reduced cancellations and financial losses, and I suspect an increase in happy customers.

How could you improve the customer experience and save yourself time, effort (and money)?

Clearly, technology on its own is not the answer, but, it’s obvious – it’s definitely not going away. In fact, you could argue it’s being commoditised and if you’re not maximising it, your customers are the ones that will!

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10Jun Andy’s 3D Thoughts 10th June

3D Thoughts

How ‘Easy’ are you and your business? This week’s 3D iDeas focus on doing things that make you easier to do business with and have examples of Walmart and Amazon taking a Dramatically and Demonstrably Different approach to making it work for their customers. There’s also some ideas to ‘Value Your Values’ and avoid 7 common mistakes we see businesses make.

All you need to do is just click on the image to listen… it’s all in around 3 minutes!


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05Jun Valuing Your Values – Avoid These 7 Mistakes!

Culture is often seen as the ‘soft’ side of business, but the reality is that it’s often the hardest… the hardest to establish, manage and change. The definition of  ‘culture’ I like is ‘The way we do things around here’, although I do also love the founder of Southwest Airlines 3D Thinker Herb Keheller’s  definition It’s what people do when no-one’s looking”.

Our research suggests 3D Businesses work hard to create an UBER Culture that creates real competitive advantage and reinforces their ‘Dramatic Difference’. They ensure that: everyone Understands the culture and what’s expected of the them and that employees consistently behave in line with that culture; Systems and processes are Built to reinforce and support that culture; employees are  Empowered, Engaged and Enabled to live the culture; and they Reward and Recognise those that ‘live’ it!

A starting point is to establish a set of core values. So, what’s the ‘value’ of values?

Well, your values ‘can’ help…

  • Define the fundamental character of your business
  • Shape how “We do things around here”
  • Create a sense of identity and help build the brand and reputation of the business
  • Determine how resources will be allocated
  • Reduce game playing, politics and confusion
  • Provide guidance for acceptable and unacceptable behaviours
  • Recruit and retain the right people

I stress the word ‘can’ because it all seems easy…on paper. In fact, it is easy on paper but unfortunately, it has to go way, way beyond that! Simply producing a ‘set of values’ is NOT the answer! Here are some of the common mistakes I see businesses make when they look to establish their values:

Mistake #1: Lip Service….

Many leaders think once they’ve ‘ticked the box’ of establishing their values, they can leave it at that.  I hear so many directors and business leaders say ‘Oh yes Andy, we have a set of core values’“What are they?” I ask. “Something to do with ‘delighting’ customers, teamwork – all that sort of stuff. You’ll see them on a board down in reception”. They’re just playing ‘lip service’ to it all and there’s no meaning to them. Even worse, their actions as leaders actually contradict what those lovely posters say! That’s a common occurrence – According to the Mercer Hr Consulting Report only 45% of UK employees feel that their managers behave in a way which is consistent with organisational values!

Mistake #2: Too Many….

They are basically a list of things put together that don’t really define how you want things to be. This ‘catch all’ approach dilutes things and the result is they all become meaningless, and even contradictory.

Mistake #3: They’re Somebody Else’s….

Someone’s seen another organisation’s values and says ‘We’ll have them too’! They actually believe that by using the values of a ‘successful’ organisation, they too will be like them. Even worse, they bring in a management consultant to provide them! Let’s be honest, Zappos is Zappos! Pinching their 10 core values isn’t going to work in your business… that’s not to say that you can’t learn from them when it comes to establishing a culture that works (Check out 40 lessons here)

Mistake #4: They’re ‘Off The Shelf’….

Even worse, they pick out some nice ‘common sense’ words and phrases. The problem is that they don’t shape the behaviours they want and certainly don’t help establish the things that are unique about the business.  According to Booz Allen Hamilton and Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program researchers, most organisations’ values include similar words and ideas: 90% of them talk about ‘ethical behaviour’ or ‘integrity’, 88% mention commitment to customers, and 76% cite teamwork and trust. There’s nothing wrong with those words per se, but, let’s be honest, they’re just ‘the same as’ and ‘same as’ sucks!

Mistake #5: The Focus Is All On Making A Nice Word….

This is when they start to get all creative and make sure that the values they create a nice word when they are read in a row… For example, we offer

  • Good quality…
  • build Relationships…
  • Exceed expectations…
  • take Action and…
  • work as a Team!

It often feels ‘forced’ and lacks credibility, especially with the employees who see all the effort that’s gone in to making a nice word, rather than something that spells out how they want things to be!

Mistake #6: The Meaning’s Missing…

We’re back to the idea of lots of lovely words and phrases, but people don’t really understand what they mean for them in their day to day. It’s often a result of some of the things above,  but a key reason is that they don’t shape behaviours because the behaviours themselves are not spelt out. In other words, the value statements are open to interpretation.

Mistake #7: They’re Not A Leadership Thing…

3D Businesses live and breath their values and this is set and driven by the leaders. That doesn’t mean that they are the only ones involved, but they do reflect their passion, personal drivers and the things they value and think are important. That’s not to say they don’t involve and engage others in the development of them – in fact the best leaders do invite people to get involved in shaping the behaviours they want. It’s not about ‘designing them by committee’ and it’s definitely not about abandoning them to HR, or even worse those management consultants again!

So, what can you do?  Here are 3 basic steps to consider..

Step 1: Get Thinking, Get Writing…

Take some time out and establish ‘How do we want things to be around here?’ Don’t worry yet about the  ‘wordsmithing’ of things, just get stuff written down. Write lots – ‘Post It’ notes are good!

Here are some questions to consider to help shape things up.

  • What’s important to us in terms of how we do business?
  • What beliefs and principles shape our decisions?
  • What would we / do we never compromise?
  • What do we do that differentiates our business?
  • What do we dislike about how other businesses do things?
  • What would we never do?
  • What behaviours should we demonstrate in everything we do? 

Use these questions to get the words and phrases out there. Feel free to involve others, but if you’re the leader, please do not compromise on your core beliefs. Here’s an example of a design business client we worked with and the words and phrases they came up with….

Step 2: Shape Them Up…

Once you’ve written everything down, look for groups of words and phrases that can be linked together – don’t be afraid to add words and phrases prompted by what you see. Equally, feel free to ‘delete’ any words and phrases that, on reflection, don’t fit.

From this mix, aim to establish your ‘core values’. Use words and phrases that means things to you and your business – Don’t just generate words that will look nice on your website. Make sure they reflect how you want your business to be and what you are looking for in your people. Here’s what the design business came up with…. (They have a lot of young, creative employees and chose the words to mean things to them – not suggesting you have to use the same phrases!)

(You’ll note they didn’t create these to be published externally!)

Step 3: Make Them Meaningful…

Your challenge now is to make them meaningful and that means turning them into ‘tangible behaviours’… the things people would be doing if they were living these values in the ‘day to day’. The more ‘tangible’ they are, the easier it is use these things to make things ‘real’ and to help you reward and recognise those who are acting in line with them, and, importantly…. dealing with those who aren’t!

Our experience suggests involving your people in this process has real benefits too – It’s not about ‘designing things by committee’, but it’s about getting ‘buy in’ and, shaping them, making them meaningful and creating ‘ownership’!

This is what one of them looked like for my design business client….

Be Honest…. We are honest in our approach to customers, suppliers, each other and ourselves

A team member will demonstrate this by...

  • Being truthful with colleagues and customers so problems aren’t masked
  • Being as transparent with customers as possible
  • Being prepared to admit mistakes and learn from them
  • Ensuring transparency so people can step in to help – not being a ‘lone wolf’
  • Being self-aware and acknowledging strengths and weaknesses so they can play to their strengths
  • Not promising what they can’t or won’t deliver
  • Speaking up and sharing their opinion

It’s important to make them ‘measurable’ to allow you to assess whether a particular individual consistently does this, occasionally, rarely, never.  In the design business, to reinforce how serious we were about these things, we got all the staff to anonymously rate the directors and senior managers against each of the behaviours and published the results!

Now, that’s much more impactive than just a simple set of words on a wall! Saying that, I absolutely love this picture of Julian Hearn, the founder of nutrition food business Huel demonstrating the behaviours he wants from his people!

Clearly, it doesn’t stop there… it’s just the start, but hopefully, it will get you ‘on your way’.

So, 5 Questions For You…….

  1. Do you have a set of ‘core values’?
  2. Have you spelt out the preferred behaviours you want your people to display to live these values?
  3. Have all your people ‘bought in’ to these values and behaviours?
  4. Do you recognise and reward those who consistently display them?
  5. Are your leaders ‘role models’ when it comes to this stuff?

If the answer is ‘no’ to these questions, then there’s a fair chance that you’ve got some work to do!

A starting point might be to download our Free eBook which expands on the key elements of UBER Culture, and crucially helps you see how you measure up – The answers you get might not be pleasant, but at least you could start doing something about establishing and reinforcing your core values now! JUST CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO GET IT!

Hope you find it ‘valuable’!

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03Jun Andy’s 3D Thoughts 3rd June

3D Thoughts

This week’s 3D iDeas are all about customer service and taking a Dramatically and Demonstrably Different approach to making it work in your business. There’s news about the best and worst high street customer service on the high street, an innovative idea from Ikea to be easier to buy from and a lovely example of outstanding customer experience from a young employee at Clarks.

All you need to do is just click on the image to listen… it’s all in around 3 minutes!


If you never want to miss another 3D Thoughts and want to hear other past episodes or want to sign up for a little reminder when they’re out, just click here

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20May Andy’s 3D Thoughts 20th May

3D Thoughts

It’s ‘Good News’ in this week’s 3D iDeas with a couple of stories of entrepreneurs taking a Dramatically and Demonstrably Different approach to employee and customer delight. The news about Julian Richer donating his business to his employees has prompted some great lessons from this 3D entrepreneur; there’s a wonderful story about investor Robert F Smith delighting his ‘customers’ at a graduation ceremony, and there’s a little ‘prompt’ for you to take a simple 3D action!

All you need to do is just click on the image to listen… it’s all in around 3 minutes!



If you never want to miss another 3D Thoughts and want to hear other past episodes or want to sign up for a little reminder when they’re out, just click here

Alternatively, if you want to get all ‘modern’ and never miss one again then click on the icon to…


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