This episode features an interview with Lee Becker, SVP and GM of Medallia’s Public Sector. In this episode, Lee talks about the federal government’s cross-agency initiative to improve CX, shares advice for managing CX across several departments, and explains why a human-centered approach sets the stage for success.
This episode features an interview with Lee Becker, SVP and GM of Medallia’s Public Sector. In this episode, Lee talks about the federal government’s cross-agency initiative to improve CX, shares advice for managing CX across several departments, and explains why a human-centered approach sets the stage for success.
“We are elevating the human experience of government by putting people's voices at the center of decision making. That is really at the core of what we do. This element of placing the people's voices at the center of everything is something so profound because it’s the missing piece.”
“I think customer experience sometimes can be seen as an audit function, and we've got to make sure it doesn't become that. Customer experience should be seen as a core enabler for everything that organization is doing. It cannot be seen as this special thing off to the side.”
“We actually make sure that the changes we’re making are not just a copy-and-paste. It’s not just a, ‘Hey, we're going to keep the same process and we're going to slap technology on it, and boom, here's our modernization.’ Let's actually take a step back. Let’s make sure that we're putting the people's voice at the center of everything.”
*[:19] Lee’s journey from Department of Defense to Medallia Public Sector
*[3:08] The scope of Medallia Public Sector’s mission
*[9:09] Team building and organization
*[14:09] Creating a CX focused culture
*[21:27] Cross-department communication and alignment
*[25:41] Tackling complex pain-points
*[34:38] Bigges lessons Lee’s learned in the Public Sector
Lee Becker is a Navy veteran with more than 20 years of experience in regulated industries and the public sector. Lee joined Medallia in 2020, after spending 10 years at the U.S. Department of Defense in various strategic and operational roles. This included the development of award winning programs in customer, patient, and employee experience at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, and co-leading the White House cross-agency goal on customer experience for all of government.
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[00:00:00] Phil: . Hello again, everyone. And welcome to another episode of the customer experience show. I'm your host, Phil Dillard here with an exciting guest Lee Becker, senior vice president and general manager for public sector at Medallia. How you doing today? Lee?
[00:00:15] Lee: Doing outstanding. Thank you so much for having you, Phil. and it's great to be with you.
[00:00:19] Phil: Really great to have you here. So I'll start you out. Like we try and start everybody out with a really simple question. can you tell us a little about what you do and how you got to doing what you do right now?
[00:00:30] Lee: It is a very special time right now in public sector where customer experience is a priority for this administration. I know we'll talk a little bit more on that. but you know how I got here I'm a career. I was a queer government employee and I, know, I served in the military. I did, the time as a Navy corpsman, where I was able to serve with my Navy, my sailors and Marines and take care of.
[00:00:50] and take care of them when they were injured and when they were ill and help them get back to full duty or then help them transition, to the VA. And then I spent a significant time at the VA to help with really how do we help them,improve the experience and how do we help address.
[00:01:05] as we think about not just the clinical, issues that a veteran may have or their family member may have, but also all the nonclinical elements too. And as you think about all those pieces, that when we talk about how do we take care of our veterans, you have to take an experience approach because the experience approach allows you to really tie it in all the altogether.
[00:01:26] and that's where I, learned about how. would say sharpen the craft, hone in on that craft to, to help with improving that experience. And at the VA it's been amazing with the, seeing the progress that has been made from a situation where initially trust was, at the low, at 55%.
[00:01:45] Lee: And now we're seeing trust at,overall trust at 80% and healthcare at 90%. They have a ways to go and they're working on it, they know it, but they're on that journey and that path and that's, to me, what kind of hooked me into the practice around customer experience and why I came to Medallia was because,VA was the first.
[00:02:04] Government and healthcare client for Medallia. So the value has been in customer experience for a very long time. And we'll talk a little more about that, but they primarily focused in and said, you know what? We see the need of supporting the VA and making sure that we can take care of, aligned to the VA's mission and to help support them and prove that experience.
[00:02:23] And. I saw that opportunity where it was just so obvious that, Hey, if we could help improve the experience at the VA, I mean, how can we help on the military side? How can we help, in all the agencies, whether farmers, whether residents, they're trying to get their social security benefits, IRS trying to get your taxes taken care of all the, every single component of what the government does.
[00:02:44] There's an element of a connection of providing service and experience the best experience to the. That they serve. And so that just had me that just, kind of dictated to me like, Hey, this is a calling and this is something that, something that I'm very proud of to be a part of and working with amazing team that are all in to try to help, to do whatever they can to help our government agencies to be success.
[00:03:08] Phil: Sure. so much that in there, a lot of it, I have a lot of experience with right. first off. Yeah. Thank you for your service. Special place in our hearts, always for the Navy corpsman, because very few people understand how much, how many people that you know that you guys take care of when you're in uniform.
[00:03:25] Right. And. having direct experience with the VA and seeing, and comparing the VA over time to the civilian counterparts and seeing the transition firsthand relate really get it. And we actually had the opportunity to talk with the CXO of the VA, a little while ago. So. Understand that transition you're talking about and love to see you, that going into the rest of the government with the work that you do, and having a little bit of background in the government innovation world, I know Alberta, how much of a challenge, that might be.
[00:03:54] But if you've actually made that transition happen at the VA, this seems like a really natural extension for you. So if we get into like, Transition. Can you tell me real briefly, how do you describe to people what Medallia is and what Medallia is about?
[00:04:10] Lee: Yeah, absolutely. And first of it, I can't, I'm sorry, I haven't said this yet. Thank you for your service and thank you for your, credible leadership. and your as a Naval officer and also your transition to,amazing transition to the private sector as well, and all the work that you've done.
[00:04:24] So thank
[00:04:25] Phil: We're always here to serve always, right.
[00:04:27] Lee: Amen. Amen. Just serving different ways. That's all. that's where it is. Right. So, I, when I think about one of the pieces that was really, inspiring to me when I, learned about Medallia and I think about the mission, the vision of Medallia, it's very simple. It's creating a world where companies are loved by their customers and their employees. And this piece about. Right. This piece of, I love, and that's something that's been written a lot about, this element of how do we get to that point where a customer feels that an employee feels that it has to be rooted in this place of has trust has to be there. There has to be loyalty.
[00:05:08] There has to be this element of how can you know if, as an organization, how can I make sure. I'm going always above and beyond for those that I'm serving. Right. And that to me was really resonated very much what, what that is. And the piece that I, it was a hard moment for me when I was, my time in government was realizing because there's, when I was on the DOD side, we saw some of the challenges on the VA going in and what I kind of, when I came to the VA, what I realized was that no one was coming to.
[00:05:39] trying to say, okay, how am I going to mess up? How am I going to, not do what I need to do for the veteran. What I found was that it, there actually has to be a capability, a set of capabilities, a set of practices, a set of processes and systems and technologies to allow for,the behaviors and the results that you're trying to get at.
[00:06:00] Lee: Right. You can't, we can't have saying, oh, I wish. Yeah, we want to provide, we don't provide service to our veterans or a pricer citizens or vehicle service customers I'm in retail. But if you don't have that intention of actually, how do you know, like, cause you, you need, the first thing is you need you to know, you need to know what is the, what is that level of services and then understanding what those gaps are and then be able to then address it.
[00:06:22] But there's a whole practicum around it. And so, but the piece around Medallia with the focus of. this vision of helping organizations do that. And as a result we have seen, I've seen that's where you've got some of the top brands, where customers feel like that they love those brands. They want to interact with the employees, love those brands.
[00:06:43] They have this loyalty where they will keep on going back and applying that to the public sector. That concept is something so powerful because. this allows for us to actually, for agencies to actually improve their mission ability. And as we think about from a public sector perspective, What does this mean? how can we even take it a step further? And I'll tell you I'll share this vision. This is kind of like breaking news, but those are the pieces that kind of our draft vision, where we're thinking about our mission is we think about it as we Medallia public sector are elevating the human experience of government by putting people's voices at the center of.
[00:07:23] what is really at the core of what we do this element of placing the people's voices at the center of everything that is something so profound because that's the piece.
[00:07:32] Lee: If we think about what are, what president Biden and his administration saying. We need to now hardwired that in every single decision point that we're making in government and every service we're providing, how do we, hard-wire the people's voice in everything and Marva lose sight of that because the whole purpose of government is of the people by the people, for the people.
[00:07:55] And that is something that,we have to, hardwire, it has to be intentional. And that is something that Medallia fundamentally de. With the agencies we're working with, we're helping them with it's this intentionality in doing.
[00:08:11] Phil: Yeah. I love that phrase. That's one of the best phrases I've heard about a customer experience vision in the two plus years we've been doing this really, elevating the human experience of government by putting people's voices at the center of everything. It's really something because you know what I'm believing. that somebody inside the San Francisco VA has, has a metric of saying when somebody says, man, thank you so much. I'm so glad I chose to come here. Them hearing, I choose to come to the VA over Kaiser or UCS at first or somewhere else that is a metric of that for them and that something that they are aware as a badge of pride.
[00:08:48] now. I'm curious how you think about this in terms of execution, because it is, well, let's see. I mean, it's different if you're talking about the VA with has a select population of certain types of folks, versus going to the post office, which has some real competent. Every day and increasingly, so, or the DMV.
[00:09:09] Phil: So can you tell me a little bit how you and your team, when you think about private, sorry, public sector and the different types of public sector, do you segment the different types of organizations, the different types of experiences? Do you find different types of people? how do you dimensionalize that in a way that you can then act.
[00:09:31] Lee: Yeah, that's a great question. it's when we were, at, on the VA side, when we. Placed an intention of improving the experience. And this is under secretary Bob McDonald. he under his leadership that helps set the course of veterans experience is going to be an employee experience is going to be core.
[00:09:49] it's going to be just as we do financial management, just as we do risk management, it's going to be core to our business and how we operate the business. And then that journey, the journey started. And it was interesting back then when we were looking across and we said,So this is what we need to do.
[00:10:02] Lee: And we think about like, what are the various business elements of what we do at VA? So there's a healthcare element. There's a very core operational element, right? With delivering the health, delivering healthcare. There's an aspect of, and of course that is a whole realm there, but then there's also the delivery of, benefits and various other services, whether it's home loan.
[00:10:20] so you think about there's a financial services component, where there's education, Yeah, of course, compensation, pension, all the various different types of benefits and services that we provide. What that was a hot moment for us as many different aha moments I would say. but there was this aha moment where even though, so here we are in this journey to mature experience in VA is why don't we look to, industry to look for some of those best practices also internally within government and look, and we did find pockets of excellence.
[00:10:49] that was happening. And it goes again, it's a little. because you think that the government a large, or, truly organization as we think of the entire government, that there's these pockets of excellence. But primarily we look then look to industry. And what we said is, okay, who are the best in retail?
[00:11:05] Lee: Because when you look at DMV and postal service, there's a retail component, right? Hospitality, so you look at hospital healthcare, there's a hospitality component and looking at the best practices around hospitality, financial services, and shortens ensure. And going down the line B2B. Right?
[00:11:20] So we there's a B2B component within government, as we know it within VA and rest of government, like you thinking about like GSA general services administration. Holy B2B, right. Primarily how they support rest of government and so on and so forth. So thinking in that kind of mindset that helped us to then really kind of, mind some of the best practices out there.
[00:11:42] And this is one of the things that I share with, agency leaders is, thinking like this is how we can help think really outside the paradigm where we're able to look across. If we kind of dissect really what the. Delivery of how we provide that services, right? Because there's actually, there's a lot of commonalities.
[00:12:00] of course we have our there's is there's certain policies and regulations and laws, et cetera, but the reality of how you deliver a service, there's a lot of commonalities across that can be,really integrated in. And I think thinking through that type of lens really helps us when we think about public.
[00:12:18] Lee: It's not a, really a copy and paste across, right? So every agency has unique characteristics around and agencies may have multiple elements of the B2B financial services, retail, right. Kind of element. And then how do we then, kind of align and bring in the best practices across to address. so during this this kind of journey. What there's been a core group of leaders, of industry and government leaders that have also helped. They've created these community of interests, where it allows for agencies, agency, leaders that want to, so there was, they don't have to start over. There's no reason right now where someone should feel like I'm alone, right?
[00:13:01] That we have a, we have packaged the best practices and from industry from government and constantly iterating. as we move forward. So that has really helped that type of, because otherwise it can be very overwhelming Phil and I think that's where you kind of perhaps going with as it is. Right.
[00:13:17] Because when we talk about experience and this is another thing, fellows, we're talking about experiences, it's, this is a culture change is cult it's corporate transformation. Right. And so how does experience become a way where as agencies are undergoing tremendous transformation and modernization.
[00:13:36] Utilizing the customer experience practices as a way to actually accelerate that. Right. And actually make sure that what the changes we're making is not just a copy is not just a, Hey, we're going to keep the same process and we're just going to slap a technology on it. And boom, here's our modernization, but let's actually take a step back.
[00:13:54] Let's make sure that we're putting the people's voice at the center of everything. Right. Let's make sure we get their voices and make sure to like, we build that. Right. And then thinking it through the lens of people, process technology policy to then,make those improvements.
[00:14:09] Phil: Yeah. anytime you talk about culture change that, that you, that often to me speaks to the importance of the the employee experience, chant challenges, as well as the customer experience challenges, right? We know that the consumer is more demanding and all these different ways.
[00:14:24] And because of the consumer is more demanding consumerization in on a little, let's say. Mix all these different things changed because people say, well, I can order a pizza anytime, and I can do it this anytime. Like by the comfort of my own phone, why can't I do that with certain other things and to become a little more demanding.
[00:14:41] But on the flip side, it requires a different culture. And my question then is like, if I go back to that example of the VA versus the post office versus DMV, right? There is a culture change at the at the VA where people are. They're just notice they might be working hard, but they're noticeably different.
[00:14:59] They're on a mission. Right. And can you talk a little bit about how you think about employee experience side of that, because the government entities that you're talking about, there's one federated group that does B2B and B2C and things that business don't doesn't do. And you at Medallia have to support all of that in teaching people, CX it seems like a heck of a challenge.
[00:15:20] How do you think.
[00:15:22] Lee: oh, that's great. Great question. It's I'm so thankful that you. Really honed in on the employee piece because, as leaders and you as a leader, that it's without your people, the mission will not happen. It won't get accomplished. And so at the core of every leader and every organization has to be able to really, make sure that they are putting their people at the center of that.
[00:15:47] and I think that what's great. At the VA. And to me, I think this lended to the cultural transformation that we saw at the VA, because there's many leaders over time. That's tried to do this, but I think to me, what was really powerful and again, it's, there's, it was a multi-pronged approach, that the very element of improving the customer experience, improving the veterans experience required that we bring our people, our employees, they were.
[00:16:15] Lee: Front and center to actually help us with that process. when there's issues in a company and organization, more than likely, by the time you hear about more than likely your employees knew about it, way before, like they know those issues, they know where to things that need to be addressed.
[00:16:28] And so how do we, then I think what the VA was able to do is also hone in on and really being there to be able to really bring in the employees in, and then. Yes. Not saying that it was, it didn't happen before, but didn't happen at a level. It was done in pockets. It didn't happen in a level where it was systematic.
[00:16:44] So as an example, one of the things that I am just really excited what the VA has done. So the veterans experience office has been working with the VA innovation ecosystem, the whole team there, they've done an amazing job around creating this ability of how do I harness innovation? The work that our team is doing across the board. And there's multiple examples where they were able to create this framework where this ecosystem, where ideas are happening at the local level, they're able to bring.
[00:17:13] And then you, and the best ideas would be the ones that would be disseminated across as an example. So using innovation as a way to do that has been a tremendous motivator for employees and, trying to, a great thing for veterans, because these are things that veterans have been, asking for as well.
[00:17:28] So innovation has been a big thing throughout the various efforts around, I would say, as we think about customer experience, utilizing the methodology around human centered design, round collecting data and looking at the data, looking at bringing our pulleys as part of that too, to help us understand, like, let's look at this data together and be able to create action plans.
[00:17:48] And how do we address that? Bringing those employees as key pieces as critical to that. So it's not just, bunch of folks sitting in. the 20th floor coming up with the bright ideas, but really right. Bringing it in to bring in the team to the employees in has been, I would say really foundational.
[00:18:06] And I've, we've seen this as core across industry. The industry that the companies are doing this well are the ones that are succeeding. The ones that are really harnessing the. Of their employees and making sure that they're part of the direction that is frankly, that's classic. That's what change management should be.
[00:18:25] Right. If you're trying to change, you, bring your people in as part of that, a part of that conversation as well. So you're allowing long to do it, but I feel I would, I mentioned another point to me, which was a very unique, and I've shared this with agency leaders. That there's a best places to work.
[00:18:43] benchmark where, every agency is reviewed an annual basis and there's a benchmark of like how he decided to doing the VA in 2015 was 16 out of 17 of the largest agencies ranked. So pretty darn low. Right. and so what we were able to in a couple of years, be able to move into. From 60 16 to 17 to number six on the list.
[00:19:05] Lee: Pretty amazing just in two years. and I think primarily what, why that happened. I noticed multiple factors, right? But I think experience really this helped drive it. But one of the pieces where I think it was so powerful was as we're collecting feedback from veterans, what was surprising to us, we were seeing as we were, evolving the culture and really getting that feedback in the moment.
[00:19:23] 70% of the feedback coming in were compliments fill errands were we're sharing. They were sharing essentially saying there by name, it would say Dr. Jones doc. I mean, they would, by name, they would call out, employees being employees, and they would share how they went above and beyond how they, how much it mattered that we were able to squeeze in an appointment for them and what it mattered to her.
[00:19:48] All of those pieces. I mean, just tremendous feedback. And what we did was something so powerful. We took the race, simple leaders. We leaders took that feedback and they reported it out to their people. So in other words, at their town halls, at our weekly newsletters, at their, in the moment, like they would see they're there.
[00:20:07] whether employees in the hallway and they recognize say, oh my God, I just heard from one of your veterans said XYZ to me and great job. But just so, so at that level, and then also at a higher level, being able to see what are the themes of the great things that, that was actually happening and lean into the goodness help reinforce. What, what really good looks like and what great looks like. And that, to me, it doesn't say that, of course the VA is addressing the, the complaints there was Jim, of course there's concerns, complaints, and recommendations that happen. but by doing that, by leaning into the compliments that talk about a way to change, help steer the course and help improve morale.
[00:20:48] I think, and then helping reinforce that. That you do really matter. cause the reality is fill out. The last thing I would say is on that this is most of the time in these for agencies, federal employees. And I would say stay in local employees too. You typically hear the bad, right? That's when you get, and it's not only an in government, it's also an industry too.
[00:21:08] Lee: It's like you typically, when you hear from your. And it shouldn't be the way, but typically it's like, when there's something wrong, that's what you hear from the manager. And that's, I think one of the lessons here is, lean in on the good lean leaning on the goodness that's happening because that's going to help you really accelerate the behaviors that you're trying to try to reinforce.
[00:21:25] And customer experience allows you to do that.
[00:21:27] Phil: Sure. Absolutely. It's a great story. and I can, I'm sure there are many more examples. and I actually think that it gives you a good springboard come to coming to Medallia and bring it to the different other agencies. So can you talk a little bit, how you take the insights and the leadership lessons and marry them with Medallia, say technology and process expertise to help these different organizations.
[00:21:52] Lee: absolutely. And this is something when one of the H had to be a. A non-negotiable for me. And it wasn't non, it was just a reality at Medallia. They were expecting this already that, because I've been on the other side where there's been technologies, that when I was in the government side where I've procured technologies and essentially it was more of like an airdrop.
[00:22:11] Okay. You bought the technology here, let me drop it. Okay. See you later. We're mission accomplished. Whereas Medallia, the way that I approach it, and this is what kind of guy? I mean, this is where, what to me, I think. I, when I was what helped us at VA and what other agencies need, it's not just about the technology.
[00:22:28] Yes. The technology is key and that's gonna be an enabler to do a lot of things, but how do then we help agencies really,make sure that they're ready, they're prepared for it. Right. And they're able to utilize it to the fullest extent and this continuous, journey, because customer experience, employee experience, it's not a one-time thing.
[00:22:46] It's not like. We're rolling out customer experience, employee experience. All right. Grand reveal. All right, we're done. Now we could go back. Now it's a continuous, right. It's a continuous, evolution and a continuous journey. And that's something that w we at the core believe in, and we practice that with our customers and, and a thing is also as Phil, I think, as we were thinking about our government agencies, The agent agencies are at different levels of readiness, right?
[00:23:18] A for this type of change in how do we make sure that it's not just a one size fits all? How do we make sure that we're actually, we're aligning the work, the, our capabilities and aligning that to what the readiness of. Agency is and help them across that gradient, that maturity gradient, which is something that, office of management budget, the, federal CIO, Claire Mataro and the leadership, the way they're understanding that, because they're not as there, if you look at the way they're rolling this out and they're how they're setting the mandates, essentially there.
[00:23:49] What they're saying, what they're doing and they're asking is they're encouraging. Agencies to go on this journey. They're not saying, Hey, okay, bye. Okay. By April, 2022, you need to have this all implemented. No they're saying is, Hey, we understand this takes time. We understand this is a cultural, this is a government.
[00:24:08] it's a movement and some have called this. Claire has alluded this as a moonshot. this is a moonshot of how we can ensure that we're delivering a government to the people that. Is truly aligned to the needs of the people, right? And then that becomes a, I think a powerful tool where customer experience becomes this way of actually validating how we're being equitable across all the services. And then also help the agency know where to focus. So, as an example, felt like the VA was able to identify that they were not providing equitable services to women veterans. By listening. They identified that there were gaps in how we provide women. There's also, they were identifying a gaps in Alaska, native American veterans, and also there were then identified gaps in younger veterans. So what did VA do? They utilize that to help really kind of lean in on, and I'll tell you, Phil, if you look at the data that the VA poster experience data online, va.gov/.
[00:25:08] Lee: You could actually see improvements marked improvements in women, veterans percentage points, and also for younger veterans as well. So it's like, and then seeing proven some Alaska native Americans. So it's amazing how by applying this, you could actually start, I know that's at a macro level, but you start titrating this at a local level.
[00:25:26] Right. Those are the types of things where it starts sharpening the way we can make decisions. and be able to make sure that we're aligning really frankly, what the government should be doing already, but it's doing it with this intention that, is pretty darn special that we haven't seen.
[00:25:41] Phil: Yeah. I would love to see that come to a lot of different parts of government and to see, you know, to just be able to track, how you guys are able to help the, these government organizations to make that transition and to make some decisions. And I'm really curious about how you interpret the executive order, right?
[00:26:00] Cause you were inside government now, outside and looking at this. Cause it says it to me seems to speak to a couple of things, having read her, right. A little bit of relevant. Of government, where does it go? Where does it focus? What things do you do? What things do you not do? How do you tackle some of the levels of risk in making this change?
[00:26:19] It seems potentially,very complex. How do you digest something like that and help folks navigate it in their, in the way that's relevant to them, given the diversity of their readiness and the, and how they serve the people that are out there.
[00:26:35] Lee: Yeah, so it's a great question. I think that what the executive order has done it's also helping to highlight, reinforce, pieces. Th that have, we know that's worked very well. So there's an, and I would say maybe sharpen it even more. And I think one of the keys that this executor highlights is it's a signal to not just focus in on, the metric. Right? So initially what we found was in, I would say one of the lessons that we learned there was this kind of a sense of like people were agencies were starting to focus on that metric and what the executive order starts doing. If you look as you read it and you look at it, it really kind of. Okay. How do we now bring this down to actually where the work gets done right? Where the flow of work gets done?
[00:27:21] So there's, I'm very excited about the piece around life events. There's talks about life events piece, and that is going to be really special because I think when you think about what the work that we did at VA, what we tested. So we tested this at VA initially, and then under the last administration, we had a pilot that we did.
[00:27:42] Around life events for a veteran that was,leaving, transitioning from the military and in really to find employment. And we found like there, as you think about that life event, there's so many different agencies are involved. So it's not just VA. So you got VA, you got to go. Do you, of course, small business administration, you have department of labor department education.
[00:28:00] You've got all these different agencies that are involved. So, how do you orchestrate all the, all those services around that? So I think the life events piece is gonna be something we're going to see cross agency work to really focus, hone in on that piece. But then within agencies, I think this becomes an opportunity as you look at this in Iowa health, I tell, I encourage agencies to do, is it start with with really picking up.
[00:28:25] a pain point that, you know, so for instance, at VA, we started with access because access was the pain point access to care. Right. And so then the question was okay, if access to care is the pain point. Let me understand what that journey is of access. there's a there's many, multiple different steps, right?
[00:28:41] Lee: Being able to get the appointment, getting to the facility, right. Or getting access to a tele-health. seeing the physician or per provider follow-ups et cetera. Right? So you have this journey and then being able to measure that journey, you measure that transaction that becomes very actionable because that becomes something that's very tangible.
[00:29:00] and he knows something about, I mean, initially the experience may not be, you may not be that great. Right? Because you don't know, we don't know, but once you start understanding. That becomes a, I think a springboard for four more,
[00:29:13] Phil: Yeah. That's really good stuff. That's really good stuff. So, we are, we're running close to our time and time melts away really quickly. So, I wanted to give you the last question before the lightning round. And, this actually gives an opportunity, I think, to tell a little bit of a specific story, whether it's in the VA or otherwise that you've seen at your work at Medallia about how government is.
[00:29:38] A lot of people talk about how it's not working things that are broken complaints and all that other stuff. And I'm really curious if you can, if you could share a little something about that. And the question is what's your favorite customer experience project, a campaign or an implementation or creation that you've seen.
[00:29:53] And Lee I'll give you a special bonus. if you could show it. Across administrations. Right? Cause you've talked about a couple of things that have worked a cup across a couple of administrations. That might be a surprise to some people because all they hear about is how things don't work.
[00:30:07] but the bonus points, if you can talk about something that works across, administrations and shows how government can work.
[00:30:15] wow. what, what I'm very proud of. I'm there's so many, there's so much, there's so much. And I think I charged my time in service and I cherish my time, even when I'm leaving post-service we talked a little bit about that. There's so many different ways to serve. and so. I feel very fortunate to now be on this side of the house where I can now understanding the pieces of government, but still keeping that eyes and ears open to keep, continue to understand, but then now helping us an industry to help make sure that we're truly aligned to the, to address the needs of what the agencies need to provide to the people, right?
[00:30:50] Lee: The people that they serve. And I would say that probably the most proud would be around. The impact that we've made to, to the, of course, to the ultimately our veterans, but the people they're actually serving every day. And I've kind of alluded the piece around. It's all about it is all about the people.
[00:31:09] and I w I would say that, there's been multiple pieces. I talked about the feedback, how do we take the feedback and actually apply it to, to help encourage that, Hey, you know what? You are doing a really good job. You may hurt here from the media. Media is telling you. But I think seeing that, and that's actually, we're seeing other agencies really leaning on it has been really amazing.
[00:31:29] Lee: Another piece. I would say what we, well, we have something pretty powerful that we did at VA. And I see I'm seeing other agencies do is giving permission for employees to own the moment to truly own it. And what that means is that if there's a situation, Is, maybe dealing with us with a case where a policy may be getting into way, or they may think that things are getting away how they could be principally focused into really doing the right thing and owning it.
[00:32:02] If they see something wrong, addressing it, they see something, an opportunity where they could do something good. Do it.
[00:32:07] Phil: I love, I loved that. it reminds me of, um, I was recently reading a horse Schultz's book about,about building the Waldorf, the welder for story, I believe it was the hotel chain. He talked about how they empowered. Every employee to solve a problem, they give them a budget of something like $250 or $500.
[00:32:27] So solve any problem that they saw. And they really put their money where their mouth was in pairing that sort of behavior. And I think if you do that at the lowest level, in the, in government, you probably have a really good chance of being successful. So, all right, so.
[00:32:41] Lee: that was it. So part two, right? The second. is also, the VA's regulation, it's called 38 CFR.
[00:32:46] It's 38 code of federal regulations. That's the regulation. That's essentially the law of how should. We put in place to customer experience principles into the regulation. So it's under part zero. So if you look at 38 CFR, you have the VA core values. I care, integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect, and excellence.
[00:33:04] And underneath it, it talks about what it takes to provide a great customer experience. So effectiveness, ease, and emotion. So it talks about that and that's been hardwired into the regulation, which is pretty, pretty darn, darn amazing. And then I would say is the cross, cross agency?
[00:33:20] I mentioned the cross agency priority goal and the team, what they've done, they continue, have done. So the VA OMB and GSA, they have been working together. Around how to carry that forward and then how to make sure they've kept the, I would say there's a community of practice that they've kept going of all the customer experience leads across all the agencies and they are just, they're carrying this forward.
[00:33:46] These are, public servants that, live and breathe it, they believe in this and they're the ones that. Are helping to drive this forward because customer experience fill, it cannot, as it's not a one person sport, this is something it's a team approach. And then that requires a coalition. And so there is this movement that has started, across multiple administrations that is carrying forward.
[00:34:08] And you've got this, incredible energy there. To help continue. And I think that's something as Americans, we should be very proud of, that there is this cadre of, of incredible people that are really helping to carry this forward for us. And it will, it's a movement. it's definitely a movement.
[00:34:27] And I agree with clarity talk. She talks about the moonshot. It's a moonshot, it's a movement. It's something that really is, it's I would say it's the core at how we make sure we have a strong government for our.
[00:34:38] Phil: I think it's great. it's inspiring. It's inspiring. It's much needed. And,I, and the people who know and people who see it, appreciate, what you do and. Extend my thanks. And to all them and say, keep going. okay. We'll pop real quick into the lightning round.
[00:34:52] Just a couple of minutes. I know you gotta get off and do some, do some, the, some business for the government and for your company. So, Rick for three quick questions, as a consumer, can you share a great or one of your top customer experiences that inspired.
[00:35:08] Lee: wow.
[00:35:12] I would say probably, probably the greatest experiences I experienced in this was, how much it meant to me and my family was when, my wife, gave birth to my son, my first born and, how the nurse. And again, for me being in healthcare,how the nurse was. So just the way that healthcare system was focused and how they had a special, they called it a birthing in where they had a place where, they took care of not only of her, but myself and the family, just to make sure we're all taking.
[00:35:40] Lee: Taking care of it was really people centered human centered. and that really meant a lot because here I was, yes, I had healthcare background, but here I was a family member, a caregiver of, of, my wife and just making sure that she was taken care of and just feeling that just,
[00:35:54] And I like that love. I was like, wow, I love this healthcare system but I, and I think, and I reflect on this, why it's because. This piece of this nurse went above and beyond. Like they took want to make sure, brought me an extra blanket, Cause I was, that was, I had, I was, had, sleeping there overnight right in the chair.
[00:36:11] So had bring an extra blanket, just make me feel comfortable. And there's just those little things, right? Those little things, she owned it, she owned it and she had full control over it and she did it. And I actually wrote a letter to the CEO of the healthcare system to just say how appreciative of that,how she went above and beyond.
[00:36:27] Phil: It's amazing how one person on a policy or process can make such a difference in the experience with an organization that's credible. So a ground question, two of three, what, one thing or lesson would you want people to take away from your experience as a customer experiences?
[00:36:43] this is not for the faint of heart, in a sense where, your. You're a change agent, right. You're there too. Right. and so, so, but it's very rewarding, right? It's very rewarding. And I would say a couple things, one, be tactfully.
[00:36:56] Lee: Relentless is something that we've talked a lot with our team, be tactfully, relentless, making sure that, Making sure that you bring others with you, right? This is something that you can't do alone and that it does take a lot of work. It does take effort to bring others with you. But if you do that, it's going to be, you're gonna become a F it's gonna be a forced multiplier, right?
[00:37:17] The force multiplying effect. And what I would say is being able to truly understand, and this is the key piece, and I talk about. Some of this earlier, but this element of truly understanding the business, like the business that you're in. So if you're, whether it's an agency, whether you're in a company, understanding how that runs, how the business runs, how the organizationally things are being managed and being done.
[00:37:42] How do you accomplish that? Because you can't just come in and say, all right, we're going to improve you. That doesn't work. Right. It has to be a situation where you have to understand what that system is. That organization is the agency, how it operates, understand that their policies, regulations, the laws, all those pieces, and then being able to understand how to then navigate towards it.
[00:38:03] and, and that's something that takes, it does take time, but don't allow, we can't allow, analysis paralysis and my other, my final, I would say our recommendation is. Start don't. This is not a waterfall kind of method. This is agile start and iterate as you go and have fun with it.
[00:38:23] Lee: It's fun. Like, and celebrate, celebrate those small wins. Like those small wins. Celebrate it. Have fun. Celebrate.
[00:38:30] Phil: Got it. Awesome. Uh, at a related question for our last question, what one thing would you change about people's perception of the customer experience function at a current.
[00:38:41] Lee: So, yes. I think customer experience sometimes can be seen as maybe an audit function where it's and that's, and I think that's an how in practice we've got to make sure it doesn't become that, customer spread should be seen as a it's a core enabler for everything that organization is doing.
[00:38:59] It cannot be seen as this special thing off to the side, what this is. Okay. So yeah, the only place where we do customer experiences in this special. I used to have, I used to have some folks who say to me, Lee, gosh, I want to be part of your veterans experience office. I want to be part of that.
[00:39:14] And I would always say is, okay, we definitely have that conversation, but have you thought about, what would it take for you to have your veterans experience where you're at? What does that look like and how can we help you in this. Right to do that. I mean, of course you want to come, we'd love to have you, but you know, what does that look like there?
[00:39:32] So this piece around that customer service is not like a special thing to decide. It's something that's part and parcel with everything, but that I think requires customer service professionals. To also there I say, fill, practice customers.
[00:39:46] Phil: yeah.
[00:39:47] Lee: Right. Truly like truly seeking to listen to it, listened to seeking, to understand as well internally.
[00:39:54] And then through that, being able to,jointly showcase how experience helps with really getting at the greatest achievement, the greatest mission impact and outcome of the word.
[00:40:05] Phil: It's almost like you need to demystify it so that people can realize that it's something that they can and should practice. and that they can learn themselves, but they could also learn from the experts, which is kind of crazy that the thought that popped in my head was like yoga. Right.
[00:40:20] I can't teach myself a whole bunch of different. But I have learned my sun salutations and I've gotten the, to get them really good. Right. And maybe I'll add something else, but then I'll go back to the yoga teacher for something else. That's, that's so far the best example that I've been able to come up with.
[00:40:35] Phil: Well, Well, thank you, Lee. yeah, I really appreciate you. And what you do, you've given me like three great little quotables in here that I'll use again. I'll definitely ask people about how they can be tactfully, relentless as CX professionals. really great to, to meet you and chat with you. And I'm looking forward to see the great things that come out of Medallia.
[00:40:55] Lee: Thank you so much, Phil. It's a pleasure to be.
[00:40:57] Phil: Thanks for being here and thank you all for joining us on this episode of the customer experience show. We'll see you.