Find the Way to Your Customer’s Heart: Meet Jim Tincher

There is no doubt that finding a way to a customer’s heart is a goal almost every business pursues. After reading this interview, you will be one step closer to reach it. The reason for this is that today’s blog post is dedicated to Jim Tincher, an internationally recognized customer experience expert (CCXP), journey mapper, author, speaker, and entrepreneur.

Moreover, Jim led customer experience programs at Best Buy and UnitedHealth Group before launching his innovative CX consultancy, Heart of the Customer. The firm now helps start-ups to Fortune 100 organizations optimize journeys, drive organizational change, and improve customer loyalty and business outcomes.

Finally, CustomerThink, SupportBee, Feedspot, Influencer Marketing, Engati, Hiver, and LitmusWorld have all named Jim a customer experience influencer to follow. So, let’s delve into Jim Tincher’s valuable insights concerning customer experience and check this interview right away!

Jim Tincher Photograph

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Heart of the Customer: extraordinary cases and metrics to measure unique customer relationships

Q: Above all, I would like to talk a bit about your company, Heart of the Customer. It helps other companies of all sizes to increase their customer engagement. So, what was the most extraordinary case you have ever dealt with?

The first thing that comes to mind is our work with Dow, helping them understand their customer journey. It was a massive undertaking that had us working with teams and conducting workshops in four regions around the world: Europe, South America, Asia, and here in the US. Senior leadership flew in from all over the globe. The insights generated in our work and the workshops we conducted helped Dow make dramatic moves to improve their customer journey, with correspondingly dramatic results. A multinational chemical corporation probably isn’t the first that comes to mind when you think of customer experience (CX), but their commitment and effort have been outstanding.

Q: Also, Heart of the Customer helps companies to determine the metrics that matter to measure unique customer relationships. Can you elaborate on this a bit? What are the metrics with the help of which unique customer relationships can be measured?

I can tell you that it’s not NPS. Surveys are, at best, diagnostic tools. The most valuable data on customer behaviour is going to vary from industry to industry and company to company. Directly or indirectly, it’s going to point to either an increase in revenue or a reduction in costs. It might be on-time orders, second support calls, or any number of other things. I go into more detail on that in this post.

Unique customer relationships can be measured by on-time orders, second support calls, or any number of other things.

Logo of Heart of the Customer

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Learn from the expert: Jim Tincher’s insights into customer experience and service

How to improve customers’ experience

Q: The Blog section of the Heart of the Customer webpage is full of articles with useful customer experience tips. Can you name your personal top-3 pieces of advice to improve the customers’ experience?

I’d say these three blog posts have some of the richest, most useful tips and insights:

Customer Journey Maps: The Top 10 Requirements

An Effortless Experience Isn’t Enough

CX Needs Change Management (this is the introduction of a nine-part series).

How to understand your customers better

Q: You are a nationally recognized customer experience expert, and, as the bio section on the Heart of the Customer webpage says, you “see the world through the eyes of customers.” What is an effective way to adopt this approach? Give the top three pieces of advice to managers on how to understand their customers better?

1. Talk to customers.

2. Talk to customers.

3. Talk to customers.

Yes, that’s how important it is. You have to get away from your desk to really understand what’s going on and how customers really feel about the experience you’re delivering. Meeting and talking with customers regularly – even if, for the time being, you have to do it virtually – must be the cornerstone of and CX undertaking.

Top three pieces of advice to managers on how to understand their customers better: 1. Talk to customers. 2. Talk to customers. 3. Talk to customers.

In 2020, we interviewed about 100 CX professionals to get a detailed picture of where the discipline stands today and to identify what the best programs are doing that separates them from less successful efforts. This is where the difference was most apparent. The best programs had talked to customers within a week or two, while most others said it had been a year… or even longer. And no, surveys don’t count as talking to customers. I wrote more about this here.

Surveys don’t count as talking to customers.

How to become a real CX professional

Q: Jim, you were the second person in the world to earn a designation of a Certified Customer Experience Professional. What three character traits should a person possess to become a real customer experience professional?

You have to be curious, and you have to be a really good storyteller. Those skills are going to help you bring the customer’s experience to life and build the empathy within your organization that’s needed to drive customer-focused change.

But “humility” is also very important. You have to be open to understanding how much you don’t know and willing to accept that many assumptions you hold might be proven wrong by your research. If you’re not humble, it’s going to taint your processes and your analysis and your findings, and that’s going to lead to flawed strategies that are doomed to fail before they’re even implemented.

Curiosity and being a really good storyteller will help you bring the customer experience to life.

Jim Tincher's Headshot

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Personality matters: Jim’s character traits, ideas, hobbies, and superpower

Q: What three attributes would you use to describe yourself?

Just about everything I do can be traced back to one (or more) of three attributes: Curiosity, Open-Mindedness, and Passion (for customers’ experiences).

Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird and crazy are the ideas that sometimes come to your mind?

Well, that’s pretty subjective since I’m the one determining how much “weird and crazy” a 1 or a 10 is in that scenario. But I guess I’d give myself about a 5… but I’d give our Heart of the Customer team something closer to an 8!

Q: What are your main hobbies? What helps you to relax and distract yourself from stress?

I’m a big reader – for relaxation and education. I’m always learning. Recently, I joined Richard Branson’s Book Club, and I’ve been enjoying that.

Barbeque is another stress-busting hobby for me – I love everything about it. Grilling, smoking, eating… and pre-pandemic (and I hope post-pandemic) hosting friends and family for a great meal.

Q: If you could choose one superpower to have, what would it be?

It’s hard to pick just one, but if I had to, I think I’d go with Multiple Man – that’s a Marvel character named James Madrox who could create duplicates of himself, so he could be in more than one place at a time. Think of how many customer journeys I could follow!

Post Scriptum

At last, Jim Tincher’s book, How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer?, is a must-read for CX-focused leaders. Therefore, do not hesitate to check it and boost your customer experience knowledge even more!

Book Cover of How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer?

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