Jimi Hendrix and I were both in Monterey in 1967 (unfortunately I missed the show) and I thought I’d borrow the title of his debut record album for my debut blog posting to the Foundant Community. Granted, my interest in “experience” probably differs a bit from that of Mr. Hendrix. In my new role as VP of Customer Experience, my focus is on understanding and improving all aspects of our customers’ interactions with Foundant.
So what exactly is Customer Experience (abbreviated as “CX”), why do we feel it’s important and how is it manifesting itself at Foundant?
To quote from the Wikipedia entry on CX:
Customer Experience (CX) is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. From awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy. It can also be used to mean an individual experience over one transaction; the distinction is usually clear in context.
While that definition is helpful and accurate, I’d like to offer another quote I find a bit more inspiring around CX, from Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird:
If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view–until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.
A simple trick indeed, and yet profound in so many ways. It is natural for most of us to see things from our own point of view, both as individuals and as a company. It takes deliberate effort to foster a culture of seeing interactions from the customer’s perspective. In many way CX is in our DNA and grew out of the attitude of the people that work here at Foundant. I believe it accurately describes Foundant’s philosophy around doing business and seeing our customers as partners in the effort to improve the work of grantmaking. We believe that all of your experiences with Foundant are important and it is the gamut of these experiences that really define the company and its success.
While the scope of CX is quite broad, there are three main areas I plan on focusing in the near term:
- Grant Lifecycle Manager Product Owner – With our new VP of R&D (Chris Dahl) joining Foundant last month and myself stepping in as Product Owner for GLM (think CEO of the product), we are positioning ourselves for a new emphasis on improving the software.
- Client Services Director – While I believe this has been one of our strengths, we want CS to continue being one of the highlights of working with Foundant. I will carry on overseeing Client Services with Grant Elliott, our Client Services Manager and the rest of the amazing CS team.
- Community and Advocacy Facilitator – Aiding Foundant users in sharing and discussing ideas and best practices in both GLM usage and grantmaking in general through user’s groups, the on-line community and other activities. I’ll be working with Mark Larimer and the marketing team to help develop and support this wonderful tribe of GLM users from all over the country (and indeed the world).
That’s it for this missive. I hope I’ve given you a good introduction to CX and what’s new here at Foundant. I have touched on a lot of areas and I’m sure I’ve probably raised more questions than given answers. Look for more posts ongoing around the role of the Product Owner, the Foundant Community (in particular the Idea Lab), Client Services and other subjects. I look forward to working with all of you and the team here at Foundant to continue to bring value and productivity to all our interactions!