The landscape of customer experience (CX) is evolving rapidly and contact center leaders are tasked with managing a dynamic environment where technology innovation is helping reshape management of the customer journey. Amidst this changing environment, it is crucial to emphasize foundational best practices that ultimately help drive exceptional CX.

Thought leaders at the recent 20th Anniversary Customer Contact East: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange event, held April 7 – 10, 2024 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, reinforced a ‘back-to-basics’ theme highlighting key foundational pillars for success including cultivating a culture of excellence, more strategic thinking and planning, and effective data management.

Culture of Excellence

“Culture is the single most important foundational step.”
– Michael Pace, Virgin Pulse

Central to delivering outstanding CX is the cultivation of a culture of excellence within organizations. As highlighted by thought leaders at the event, such as John McCahan of FTD, Julie Weingardt of Turo, bestselling author Kyle McDowell, and Haley Morse of Baker Hughes, nurturing a culture that prioritizes empathy, accountability, and respect for both employees and customers is paramount. Tips shared at the event included:

  • Clearly define and consistently communicate the organization’s purpose
  • Celebrate success, making a big deal of it from time to time
  • Foster a sense of community within the workforce
  • Enable consistent communication of your plans using collaboration tools

These insights underscored that building and maintaining a great culture requires continuous effort and a commitment to values that prioritize both employees and customers.

Valuing Strategic Thinking

“Inspect what you expect and do constant monitoring and refinement.”
Lydia Clayton, Cox Automotive

Strategic thinking emerged at this year’s Executive MindXchange as another critical component for contact center leaders aiming to excel in CX. It can serve as a guiding compass, empowering organizations to navigate through challenges and capitalize on opportunities. By embracing strategic planning, organizations can proactively mitigate hurdles, optimize resource allocation, and establish accountability. Thought leaders emphasized the importance of maximizing the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate routine tasks, thereby freeing up time for more strategic thinking and action. Additional tips highlighted as strategies to embed strategic thinking into an organization’s DNA included:

  • Involving frontline team members
  • Embracing simplicity and not overcomplicating the process
  • Using relatable customer insights to inform planning and decisions
  • Fostering cross-functional collaboration teams

Data is the Foundation

“Each [member] of the C-Suite thinks differently. You have to tell different stories with your data.”
-John McCahan, FTD

Effective data management is now a strategic imperative for CX operations. In today’s data-rich contact center landscape, the ability to capture and leverage data effectively is crucial for driving informed decision-making and optimizing CX. Thought leaders emphasized the need for organizations to develop a robust data strategy that enables them to derive actionable insights, optimize operational efficiency, and offer personalized interactions across the customer journey. Practical tips were shared, including:

  • Completely mapping out the customer journey
  • Leveraging frontline staff knowledge
  • Appointing someone to be responsible for knowledge management
  • Investing in technology partners wisely

“A well-done, memorable support experience can be a flywheel for growth.”
Julie Weingardt, Turo

In conclusion, the insights from the Customer Contact East : A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange event underscored the importance of reinforcing foundational best practices, including fostering a culture of excellence, embracing strategic thinking, and prioritizing effective data management. By prioritizing these pillars, contact center leaders can not only enhance CX but also help drive operational excellence and long-term success for their organizations.

A member of the CX team at Frost and Sullivan, Bernie Arnason brings over 25 years of ICT industry experience. As an Industry Principal at Frost, Bernie focuses his analysis on important CX trends including CCaaS, UC, and AI. Prior to Frost, Bernie spent close to 18 years as a principal and partner at a boutique management consulting firm in the telecom industry and is a past Editor-in-Chief of, an online industry publication.