Design and Deliver Your Brand Promise was the theme of Customer Experience 2023: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange held in Nashville, Tennessee, this summer. This highly interactive two-day event provided a forum for customer experience leaders to share the latest CX strategies and best practices, and to find solutions to current industry challenges.
FIND A CUSTOMER-CENTRIC FRAMEWORK
Laurie Englert, Chief Marketing Officer, Legrand, North America, opened the event with a headliner session on What is Winnable? Strategic Priorities for Transformative Customer Experiences. Sharing how she became genuinely excited about customer experience when she discovered the innovative Design Thinking framework, she stated that “putting the customer at the heart of everything you do can shape you and shape your company.” Englert encouraged participants to find an innovation framework that centers around the customer. She chose Design Thinking because it worked for her but noted that there are others.
Key components of Design Thinking:
Empathy: Design Thinking centers around empathy. Create teams to interview customers about their concerns and issues.
Define: Englert’s team realized that once they interviewed approximately six to ten customers, they began hearing some of the same things over and over, underscoring recurring issues.
Ideate: Once you’ve identified the big themes, dig into what they are and what they mean.
Prototype/Test: Take the customer’s feedback and ideas and build protypes and test them, this should be an iterative process.
Building strong cross-functional teams is foundational to implementing design thinking. Arrange for teams to interview customers and create journey maps and personas to go with them. Englert emphasized that customer experience is the culmination of a customer’s interactions with a company, and to be effective, it’s essential that a consistent CX vision is embraced by everyone in the organization. There are different ways to get buy-in according to one’s level or position, so use a multi-pronged approach.
EXPLORE YOUR CUSTOMER’S STORIES
Jermaine Edwards, Growth Advisor and Creator of the Customer Advantage, shared stories and statistics in his headliner session, Investing in CX Priorities to Generate Customer Lifetime Value. Edwards encouraged participants to make sure they were aligning the customer experience to business operations. Noting that customer experience returns are directly correlated to your ability to help your customers get more of what they want, he shared these key stats:
- 89% of customers get frustrated when they need to repeat their issues to multiple customer service reps
- 70% of a customer’s response to their journey is based on how they perceive they are being treated
Explaining that “customer experience is about the stories in the minds of your customers,” Edwards also shared these three customer stories and underscored their importance:
Story #1: The customer’s relationship with the product and service
- 94% of customers who have a low-effort experience with a company will buy from that company again
Story #2: The customer’s relationship with your company
- Companies with excellent customer service outperform their competitors by 80%
- Example: Apple’s retail store is not necessarily where people buy a product, it’s more of a gallery and museum. When someone comes through the door, Apple is trying to be a “memory.” It’s all about making the decision to work with them easier; it’s about dedication and customer service
Story #3: The customer’s relationship with your shared values
- 73% of customers are more likely to remain loyal to a brand if they have a positive emotional connection
- Relationships and feelings matter to customers. They don’t just want transactions with a company, they want to know that you care
- It’s important to understand the values of your customers, and what company values you can make more prominent
Although investing in customer and business alignment is a significant undertaking, Edwards believes it’s what businesses should be doing now. He also noted that even in the wake of the digital explosion, people still matter. Employees need to be aligned with business goals and know their role. Edwards suggested that participants ask: “What is the single greatest CX innovation you could make where your returns would be phenomenal?”
LET THE DATA TELL THE STORY
In the ASK THE EXPERTS Panel Discussion – Talk Their Talk: Data-Driven Storytelling to Foster Organizational Buy-In, moderator Waseem Kawaf, Former Global Vice President of Digital Experience, STANLEY Security, and CX leaders from CVS Health, Corbion, LifeScan and Lyft discussed the importance of grounding internal storytelling in customer data. This is a good way to improve organizational buy-in and offer a better customer experience. Notable takeaways from the panel Q&A:
What were some key wins?
- Showing that analytics had a place in the call center and changing how we think about the data that comes from call centers
- Sharing initial analytics and demonstrating data’s importance allowed for some quick wins
- Getting social media tools to share information between stakeholders and departments
- Measuring aspects of the user’s journey, which assigns accountability
What were some of your data challenges?
- Understanding that data is not insights. Insights are the hypothesis that you create with data
- Taking all of the data together and creating an insight, not just looking at one piece of data and drawing an insight from that
- Investing in analysts who have the correct level of knowledge and experience. They need to know how to pull data together to tell a compelling story that can capture the attention of the C-Suite
- Pulling data manually constantly can be very ineffective. Misrepresentations can be avoided if the dashboards are built in a systematic way and everyone has access to the same data
- Choosing what data point or KPI to follow up on: It’s less about the score, and more important that everyone picks one and stays with it to detect trends and see growth
What excites you about 2023?
- Continued progress coupled with the right commitment from leadership
- A strong team, dedicated to accountability and sustainability
- The work, the momentum, so many exciting things in the works
- Bringing our customers to the table
Ultimately, the importance of the data is using it to tell a story, and to find the right story for your audience.
CULTIVATE CUSTOMER AND EMPLOYEE EMPATHY
The INSIGHTS AND IDEAS ROUNDUP – The Great Take-Away: Implementing the Best, Brightest, and Boldest Ideas from the Program gave participants the chance to summarize key learnings and important themes from the wealth of information the event offered. Moderator Jennifer Bloomfield, System Director, Consumer Experience Initiatives, Memorial Hermann Health System, led the discussion which resulted in these final event takeaways:
- Customers are far more forgiving of those who don’t have the technology than those who have it and don’t do it well
- Seeing people across different journey phases. Realizing that you’re never as good as you think, but you’re also never as bad as you think
- We don’t win until our customers say it’s a win
- The power of the story is real
The enduring importance of empathy
- Empathy starts with purpose and passion about the mission that your company is on. It’s not just about empathy for the customer, but also empathy for your employee
- Happy employees and happy customers go hand in hand
- Thanking the customer is so powerful. Thank them for speaking their mind, or bringing up something that wasn’t easy to talk about
- When you’re empathetic, your customers feel seen and heard
- Put a cross functional team together, then you’re going to come across things that need to be addressed. Build off of that
- Develop a “one click” option like Amazon. Break it up into small pieces. You can’t just say ‘What is the ROI?” You’ve got to break it into little chunks you can measure and understand what you’re measuring
- We talk about retaining customers, don’t forget about recapturing customers
Strategies and tactics to implement today
- When journey mapping, create a process map as well that has more specific steps
- Perfect is the enemy, just get started!
- It costs almost nothing to start with empathy
- Act on customer insights. Create action teams that can execute on them… individuals who are the owner/responsible for each survey question or other component
Prioritizing employee experience, proving that the customer experience is important to executives using data, and cultivating empathy were the outstanding takeaways from the event.
MORE INDUSTRY INSIGHTS
These are just some of the ideas and strategies shared at Customer Experience 2023: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange. For more networking opportunities and industry insights, don’t miss the 19th Annual Customer Contact West: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange to be held October 22-25, 2023, in Huntington Beach, CA. Arrive on Sunday for a sailing excursion or bike tour in the morning, followed by the Annual Customer Engagement Leadership Council Meeting – an invaluable chance to network, brainstorm and help shape council programming for 2024.
Click here to learn more or register today!