Gerda Swinkels-Legierse, Customer Experience Manager at Grodan, has been a trained facilitator of the CX Game since September 2019. Out of curiosity about her experiences and the effect of the CX Game within Grodan, Babs interviewed her.
Can you briefly tell us something about Grodan?
Grodan is part of the ROCKWOOL Group. We process stone into, in the case of Grodan, stone wool substrates on which growers can grow their crops in a sustainable way; doing more with less. Example: when tomato plants grow in soil, it takes about 60 litres of water to grow one kilo of tomatoes. On stone wool only four litres are needed, in a high-tech greenhouse. Our customers are horticultural entrepreneurs, professional growers; who strive for the best results.
What is your role within Grodan?
I have been CX Manager at Grodan since June 2018. This is a new position that has arisen after a customer journey was mapped out in collaboration with a consultancy party. It was clear to the MT that a CX expert was needed to really create a difference for clients. In the meantime, ‘the CX project’ has been transformed into an organisation-wide CX program. In this program, colleagues are involved and included in customer-oriented thinking and acting during initiatives and projects. There are now a number of CX ambassadors who help me to roll out CX.
What was the appeal of the CX Game for you?
I was looking for a fun and practical way to include colleagues in the CX philosophy: what CX is all about. A method to connect theory (CX strategy) and practice (the real experience). I am a strong advocate of playful learning. During the Customer Experience masterclass of Nienke Bloem and Jaap Wilms, I had already briefly become acquainted with the CX Game. So I started to investigate whether this was the way for me and Grodan to increase awareness internally.
You’ve been halfway across the world with the CX Game in your CX toolbox. Tell me more about that? What have you done?
The CX Game is part of our CX Road Show. Every colleague has a contribution to the total customer experience, so the choice was made to include all colleagues from all departments and local organizations in CX. Besides my home base in Roermond (the Netherlands), I visited my colleagues in North America, Russia, and Poland. The CX Road Show already had 10 editions. I started to share our CX strategy in general and what this involves. I used the Game for a practical translation from theory to practice. With the goal: awareness, common language, involvement, commitment and ownership.
What was the experience of the participants?
I have played the game with mixed teams in all countries. All departments within Grodan participated, including the MT. I can recommend these sort of sessions to everyone. The Game connects colleagues. I saw that happen, but I also saw and heard it in the feedback. The CX Game is really a form of teambuilding.
Furthermore, participants liked it, learned a lot (“CX is much more than I thought“), found it inspiring, innovative and interactive. Many were surprised by the variety and good ideas as a result.
What did the CX Game deliver?
There is a connection between people and CX Strategy, the importance of CX is vivid and the involvement with each other and the subject of CX has increased. This contributes to breaking through departmental thinking and silos, since we created a common goal. Besides,it has generated enthusiasm; 28 colleagues have indicated that they want to contribute actively in the CX programme.
The output is used for further detailing of existing plans and the plans made in cooperation with the ambassadors. It helps that many colleagues think more the same way, on how we can do things better for our customers. From all parts of the business.
As a facilitator I notice that group dynamics can be very different due to cultural differences. In some cultures I could fully let go on my enthusiasm and sometimes I had to tone this down and lead the game with calmness. The great thing is that no matter my role, there is always a factor that creates a connection: the emotion, the transparency while playing the game.
What does the CX Game add to your role?
My toolkit mainly contains training courses, workshops and strategies. I was positively surprised how incredibly fast ‘connection’ is created in accordance with the CX topic and the connection between colleagues. In addition, the Game gives me, as a facilitator, the opportunity to share my expertise and inspire colleagues (for example, to take action).
At Grodan, we can’t always have direct contact due to distances in kilometres and time zones. This makes me less visible to some people. The CX Road Show has made it easier for me to connect with these colleagues and work together to create a 9+ experience for our customers.
Are you going to use the CX Game even more and if so how?
The story about the CX program and my role is spreading wider within Rockwool. So who knows what that will bring. The good thing is that I have already become involved in a number of initiatives from our parent company. And I am also going to play the CX Game with the CX Ambassadors. Tailored with other questions, since I want to challenge them in their role as ambassadors to create action and awareness.
How do you like working with us from Blommaberg?
Very well! In no time the program was up and running, I got good tips and guidance to learn how to facilitate. Together we made the questions which rocketed me in ‘the facilitator role’. Due to time pressure from our side, there was limited time to make the questions. So looking back, I would have preferred to take a little more time and focus on the questions. But if I had/have a question, I can always contact Babs. Furthermore, I have a nice connection in our collaboration, both in terms of content and on a person level, and that gives me energy.
Would you advise other organisations and especially CX Teams to use the CX Game as part of their toolbox?
Yes I would! Since as a CX leader, you would really like it yourself, and lead the way. As a facilitator you have multiple roles. This variety of roles, require to broaden your skill set and use all. As the facilitator, you are the CX expert, you are involved in group dynamics, you are a game facilitator, and the jury.
Finally, what are the 3 most important USP’s of the CX Game for you?
- Playful learning
- Creating a connection (both on CX content and between colleagues)
- Awareness of what CX is really about now
What participants said about the CX Game
“Fun way to develop CX strategy and strong team building”
“The game really illustrated to me that there are many facets to CX and they differ to clients”
“Good setting to get everyone engaged”
“It is good to see that we all share similar thoughts”
“I’m not so much into games, but it was fun”
“The game has high value: interactive, discussion, and brainstorm”
Nienke Bloem and Babs Asselbergs are CX Professionals – CCXP certified and owners of BlommaBerg – The Game Company. They help organizations to improve their performance for customers and employees. In 2016, they developed The Customer Experience Game, followed by The Employee Experience Game in 2019.