That Loving Feeling: How Companies Lost It, And How To Bring It Back

Knowledge / Inspiration

That Loving Feeling: How Companies Lost It, And How To Bring It Back

Product Direction
UXDX Europe 2018

Why would a major Las Vegas hotel consistently have a room service waiting time of 1.5 hours? Why would a major airline consistently have delays that torment a well-known design and usability consultant based in Boston? Why would a major financial services company try and cross-sell a credit card when a customer is in the middle of the highway reporting a car accident?
What we've got here is a failure to communicate. Businesses are complex, with thousands of people, processes, business rules, systems, and products all impacting thousands of touchpoints that millions of customers interact with. If left unmanaged this complexity can be disastrous for the customer.
An organisation's biggest asset is its employees, the way they work, communicate, and collaborate. This system needs designing just as much, if not more so, than the customer-facing experiences we spend most of our time on. It's time we turned our talents inward and designed ourselves.
The concept of Enterprise Architecture has been around since the 80's. Management consultancies like Accenture have made it a staple offering and books have been written about it. Unfortunately, they're all wrong, or rather missing one key component.
In this example-filled, thought-provoking session the audience will be challenged to think about their organisations differently, introduced to the missing component, and given a framework and language for effecting a cultural change amongst their business and technology partners.

All right. Good morning, everybody. So, design, product management, engineering. They go together like chocolate vanilla and strawberry and Neapolitan ice cream. They're the three cornerstones of creating exceptional experiences. But I'm here to tell you that they're not enough. Our companies and our organizations are at risk. And design, product management, and engineering alone are not going to be enough to save us. If I can hear you all thinking at risk of what? Let me tell you a couple of stories. Who here has had room service in the hotel in the past few weeks? Okay, this was what your room service experience was like, right? Crisp white linens, freshly pressed orange juice, gourmet food, million-dollar view. No? This is more like my room service experiences. I was at the Venetian hotel in Vegas late last year for the money 2020 FinTech conference.
Money 2020 is one of the biggest FinTech events in the world is about 15,000 attendees hosted at the Venetian and Sands conference center. The Venetian itself is the biggest hotel complex in the world. It has over 8000 rooms and suites. And on the first morning, while I was getting ready for the event in my room, I thought I'll call for room service. So I picked up the phone, "hey, could have a couple of eggs and some toast and some orange juice?" Well, yes, Mr. Dalton, of course, we can have that to your room in 90 minutes, nine zero, an hour and a half. It's like, well, it's only going to take me 15 minutes to jump in the shower. So I'll pass thanks. I thought nothing more of it. I went downstairs, I found a bagel and life was good. Second morning, I thought I call again for room service. "So well yes, Mr. Dalton, we can have that to your room in 90 minutes".
So for the next three mornings, five days total, I called for room service for breakfast, not with any expectation at that point of actually having room service just because I wanted great examples of customer experience failures for talks like this. And sure enough for the next three days, five days total, the Venetian, the largest hotel in the world could not get a couple of eggs and some toast and orange juice to my room inside of 90 minutes. Now, they knew how many people were staying in the hotel, the hotel is pretty good at that. They knew that they were completely booked because of this 15,000 person event downstairs. They knew that all of these businessmen and businesswomen would be getting ready in the mornings and wanting to combine their activities and but they couldn't figure out how to get some eggs to meet with inside 90 minutes? It's a pretty bad customer experience.
What about flying who flew here to be in Dublin? This was your experience, yeah? Lay flat bed, pillows, windows, slippers, and pajamas. No? That wasn't the experience of this unfortunate United Airlines passenger a few months ago either. Many of you may remember the story. This is Mr. David Dao, whose crime in life was wanting to get from Chicago O'Hare Airport to Louisville, Kentucky on a United Airlines Flight. Turns out that United also wanted to get some of its own crew from O'Hare Airport to Louisville, Kentucky to crew a flight leaving Louisville later that evening. And as is their common practice, they decided to put their crew on one of their commercial flights, that flight happened to be false. So they did their standard practice of saying "Would anybody like to get off the plane and take a later flight? And we'll compensate you with $200?" How about $400, $600? Will somebody please get off the plane for $1,000. Nobody wanted to get off. Apparently, Louisville was very popular that evening. So United decided to go to one of their fallback methods, which was to use an algorithm and pick some people and tell them to get off the plane. So they used information, I'm sure like when people had purchased their tickets, how much they had paid, whether they were travelling alone or in a group, what their frequent flyer status was, I'm pretty sure they didn't ask any you know, premium select global world miles travellers to get off the plane. And they picked a handful of people including the unfortunate Mr. Dao. And they said, "Hey, you have to get off the plane". Well, Mr. Dao was a doctor. He had some business in Louisville that evening. He didn't get off. He said, "No, I'm not getting off". So United sent onto the plane, what we can only generously describe as a couple of thugs from the O'Hare airport security force, who basically assaulted him, concussed him, and dragged him bleeding with chipped teeth from the plane in front, of course, of all of the passengers who were videotaping and photographing it and who later tweeted, and posted on Facebook and pretty much every media outlet in the States. And I'm sure many around the world, wrote stories on this United had to offer multiple apologies because first their CEO basically came out with a knee jerk statement that said, well, they should have just gotten off. So they had to apologize for that, too.
It was not a good day for United. It was not a good day for the people on this flight. And it certainly wasn't a good day for Mr. David Dao. But now, it's not just United. We see stories like these on social media all the time. I'm sure many of us have experienced bad customer experiences, hopefully not as bad as Mr. Dao's.
Quite frankly, we could all do a united to our customers at any time. Why is that? It's because of unintended consequences. Like this one. United didn't intend to drag Mr. Dao off the plane. It happened because a bunch of I'm sure well, meaning United employees deep in the bowels of United potentially even years ago made some decisions about policy and business processes and business rules, without any awareness of the horrible, horrible unintended consequences that that could have on the customer experience, Mr. Dao’s experience.
Let's go back a couple of hundred years. Think about what businesses were like then. Life was simple was a simple time, businesses were simple. They were the shops on the corner, customers would go into the store, interact with the owner across the counter. It was less a customer experience, a more human experience. The owner was able to make policy decisions on the fly right there. But then technology happened. Technologies like the postal system, telegrams, telephone, computing, Internet, mobile, and that allowed businesses to scale massively. But it also moved the human and the policymaker out of the equation. As customers started to interact a lot more with the mobile screens and web pages and voice systems that many of us in this room from a design product and engineering perspective of building and designing for 20 years.
But the customer experience is just the tip of the iceberg in most companies lurking beneath the surface is the rest of the business, the 90% of the organization, that is business rules and operations and legal and compliance and HR and facilities. And all of this beneath the water has a massive impact on the customer experience above. And the problem is that these well-intentioned people at the bottom of the iceberg have little to no awareness of the unintended consequences of the decision that they make on a daily basis and the impact they can have on the customer experience.
The problem is one of causality. We don't have models that we can use to understand how everything at the bottom of the iceberg impacts the experience above the water. Consequently, we can't predict and prevent problems, like Mr. Doa’s or my Venetian example from happening. Nor though can we look for areas to delight? Now there is a practice and a discipline that has tried to work in the space over the past 20 or 30 years. It's called Enterprise Architecture. Companies like Accenture have made hundreds of millions of dollars consulting on this they'll go into a business and help them understand that people process technology and information call it PPTI. Books have been written about this field. But unfortunately all of these books, conclusions were all wrong, actually stupidly. Because all of these books, and all of the models that they contain, talk a lot about strategy and capabilities and people and process information. But all of these models, they all omit the most important thing. They just connect things beneath the water. They don't bridge the gap. And by the way, there are solutions in the top of the iceberg to customer experience, Journey management solutions, and systems. Now, don't get me wrong. These are great systems. They'll help you manage your cross or multi or omni channel, what are we calling it these days? They're helping you manage all of your different touch points across channels and understand how they interplay with each other and who's using them and the patterns of usage and how they're helping you sell more products or lower costs. But they really don't connect beneath the water either. We don't have solutions to bridge the gap.

So this seems like a pretty complex problem to try and solve. Where do we look for inspiration? This is the USS Truman's flight deck. USS Truman is a Nimitz class aircraft carrier in the US Navy. US Navy has 10 of them. It's got a couple of nuclear reactors on board, 5000 or 6000 crew men and crew women at combat aircraft, simultaneous launch, and recovery, four and a half acre flight deck. This is a really complex system to you know, mistakes here, they don't mean you wait 90 minutes for your eggs and your orange juice. Mistakes here are life and death. And this is one of Amazon's fulfilment centers. Amazon's got millions of products. They peaked at over 600 orders per second one prime day a year or two ago. 300 million active users a couple 100 billion in revenue. Another really complex ecosystem. What do they both have in common? They both have management systems.

This is the Ouija board, which is basically a six foot long table. It’s a scale model of the flight deck on a carrier. And the flight operations officers the guy in yellow here, they move little scale model aircraft around on the deck to indicate where they should go. They put little coloured nuts and bolts next to them to indicate whether or not they're armed or fueled, ready to take off, whether they should be parked with the tail on the deck or the tail off the deck, depending on whether they've got maintenance to do on it. This is how they manage their ecosystem. Interestingly, they're digitizing these systems. Now it won't be a physical table. It'll be a digital system so that the information can be disseminated throughout the carrier, the pilot ready room, the hangars, the maintenance department. So that every one of the five or 6000 crew men and women aboard can understand how they contribute towards the most important thing on a carrier, which is the launch and recovery of aircraft. And this is Amazon's Kiva system. Kiva is a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon consists of imagery and supply chain management solution that knows where every product is in the supply chain, where they got it from, who supplied it, how many they have, how much they weigh, how much they cost, which customers like it, which customers have bought it recently. And then they pair them up with these cute orange robots that go get things from the shelves.
Now both of these management systems have been optimized to achieve the outcomes that these organizations cared about. The Navy cares about speed of operation, safety, and ability to operate in all weather conditions. So they're optimized for that. Amazon cares about speed of operation, low costs, and eliminating mistakes. And so they've optimized for that. If we care about our customer experiences, we need a management system that's optimized for it. Imagine having the ability to map all of your customers experiences through the journeys in their lives, and all of their different tasks and emotions, and map all of that to the multi channel touchpoints, the webpages, the mobile screens, the calls, the emails, all of that stuff in the tip of the iceberg.

But then imagine the ability to be able to link each one of those touch points to everything beneath the water or the business rules the products projects the program’s, legal and compliance findings. Take marriage as an example. For those of you familiar with this, look, this is very similar to an Indi Young style mental model. above the horizon line on the top of the diagram, we have the customer experience representing all of the tasks and emotions. So the boxes appear would be because you can't read it, the boxes appear would be things like popping the question, finding a ring, purchasing a ring financing a ring insuring a ring, finding a venue booking a honeymoon. And all the boxes beneath the horizon line on the bottom of the diagram represent the multichannel experience to satisfy those tasks. So all the webpages, the mobile screens, the calls emails, so you'd have web pages for things like opening up credit cards or arranging financing for a ring, mobile screens for applying for insurance, phone calls for changing names or addresses. You may be able to see here, we could colour code some of those in red, green or yellow to indicate the quality of those touch points and how well they are satisfying the use of tasks that they're associated with. Now, this is a mock up. Most of our touch points would be outlined here in gray, which is the most dangerous of dashboard colours even more so than red. Because now it means you have no freaking clue how well your touch point is satisfying its task. Imagine being able to tap on one of those touch points and zoom in to see everything that touch point that webpage or mobile screen is connected to at the bottom of the iceberg. All the processes, the business rules, the training, the products, the project's, the financing. Imagine having a system that our accountable executives could use to understand the quality of the touch points within their scope. So that they could use that to determine which touch points their agile teams should be working on, hey, let's go work on the red things. Instead of the green things. There's an idea or at least let's make that decision knowingly.
Imagine having a system that showed the 127 different touch points that a business process was connected to. Too many times I've seen a team within a business say hey, we're gonna change this business process to fix this webpage, completely unaware that that business process is also connected to these 126 other touch points which are about to screw up. Unintended consequences at work. Or imagine having a system that our designers and our product teams could use to kind of check out in a version control way customer problems. So that if a different team in the business somewhere else started to work on the same or similar problem, unknowingly, they could be notified and collaborate together. I'm pretty sure that if that united analyst who made the decision to set the limit at $1,000. I'm sure they were well-intentioned, and I'm sure that they had a lot of models that said $1,000 is the right limit to set to get someone to get off the plane so that we can minimize our costs. But if they'd have had a system that in that moment of making that decision, had highlighted the possible impact on the customer experience, they may have thought twice about it.
So we're working on this a Capital One. We have been working for a number of years to develop empathy in all of the people that work beneath the water. So at Capital One, we have about 50,000 employees, most of whom are in the States, about 5,000 of them work explicitly from a design product and engineering perspective on the stuff above the water 45,000 work beneath the water. And these are all really talented people with good intentions. And we've been working with them for a number of years to increase their level of empathy for the customer. I'm sure many of you have got similar programs, right? We invite them to usability testing, we invite them to view research, we tell customer stories internally. We even invite them to do ride along listen to customer calls, or even answer customer calls.
In fact, our flagship event for this just happened a couple of weeks ago, it's a big internal event that we put on the design team hosted. It's kind of like TED Talk like event we call it Pam People and Money. Thousands of people view it live and on video, and it's rich in customer context. But building empathy is great. We're going to continue to do that. But it's time that we systematize these causal relationships between the bottom of the iceberg and the experience of the water.
So we are building an experienced management system and developing the education and the roles and the change management to implement it correctly. Because we really want to give every one of those 50,000 employees, regardless of whether they're above or below the water, a view on a daily basis as they're doing their jobs and making decisions of how they impact the customer experience. Now, I've been pretty negative so far. But it's not just about preventing errors. There's an opportunity for delight and for joy here.
A couple of years ago, one of our customers, Christina, was going through a pretty difficult breakup, her fiance had dumped her, she had to move out and buy whole load of new furniture. Amidst all of that her credit card was put on hold because of possible fraudulent activity. When she called in, she talked to Tonya one of our customer associates, Tonya was moved by her story. And as she was fixing the problem with the credit card, she gifted Christina 4,500 additional rewards miles just to you know because Christina wasn't going on a honeymoon, she's had this stuff going on in her life, Christina was pleased by this. But a couple of days later, when Christina saw the flowers that Tanya had also sent her, she was amazed and delighted. Just, you know, Tanya was thinking of her, she wanted to know that.
This random act of kindness is something that we encourage Capital One we have programmed for it. It's supported by business rules, but it's just scratching the surface. It's an indication of what's possible when the bottom of the iceberg supports the top. But can you imagine the possibilities for customer joy, if every single one of our associates has that visibility on a day to day basis? This is critical for the success of our organizations and our companies for our very survival even. Because while not dragging people from planes and cussing them, is a laudable goal. It's a pretty low bar to set for our customer experiences. And I know that we can all do better if only we can turn unintended into the intended. Thank you.

**Host: **Thanks, Rich, great talk. Thank you very much. So we'll have time for some Q&A. If anybody has questions for Rich. We're going to have a few folks with microphones. So if you have a question, feel free to raise your hand don't be shy. And while they start to disseminate the microphones I have a few questions. So a lot of what you talked about is building the systems to get these people below the water engaged with the customer experience. That takes a lot of company cultural change. So besides designing the systems, and I assume software behind that, what were the biggest challenges to the cultural changes?

**Richard: **I think one of the biggest challenges is the incentive systems that we have the mindset, a Capital One's only a 25 year old company, which in financial services terms is pretty small, we actually consider ourselves a tech company that just happens to be in banking, not a bank. But that still means we've got a lot of financial service people that work there who are have been incented over the years to sell more products to lower costs to you know, on the stuff that the business cares about, not the customer experience. So changing that or balancing that incentive model to include metrics that they can be accountable for that are customer experience facing is a big challenge.

**Host: ** That's great. Excellent. Do we have any questions out there for Rich? Well, great, I have one more for you. We have a lot of startups, we have large companies in the audience. And we have a lot of startups and smaller companies earlier stage companies. What would your recommendations be at the earlier stage when they're building the company's DNA to avoid becoming a United like process?

**Richard: **Yeah, yeah. So I think one of them is related to the last answer says looking for this customer experience facing metrics that you can bake into your business and your culture from the get-go. I think a lot of this happens fairly organically in small companies. But really starting to think about how a company can start to diverge away from this. So looking for those examples for where we're starting to see a company scale. When a company gets to a certain point, it starts to bake the policies in place and rule and people start to lose sight of, you know, their impact on the customer experience. And so finding those kinds of inflection points and making sure that we're putting policy put putting systems in place to counter that is key when we're scaling companies.

Audience: That was was really great. Thank you for the talk. So my question was that you said that you were just systematizing, that process of mapping that connection between the two above and below the water? So are you assigning a special team to do this? Or are you getting people above or below the water to do specific aspects of their or, like, who is basically doing that mapping?

**Richard: **So it's a great question, it's both. We don't want us to be a little team that's off the one side, kind of figuring everything out behind closed doors. We do have a central team to act as a kind of catalyst for that. But it's very much a collaborative effort working with people above the water and below the water in all lines of business to kind of pull them in and take them through that process because that's part of the adoption cycle of a system like this as well. Thank you.