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CX from both sides of the pond

22 Jul 2019 · 3 min read

Our first ever Trans-atlantic CX event brought together AmazeRealise and Solstice experts from the UK and US. We were joined in Chicago with a brilliant line-up of speakers to share their thoughts around Customer Experience. Here’s a summary of the day.

Whilst all our speakers had their own stories to tell, there were themes that ran through the day which can be applied to CX whether you’re based in Chicago or Chingford.

Speakers presenting to attendees

Get you people on board

Organisations need an engaged workforce to win the loyalty of today’s time-pressed consumers through a consistent, personalised service. To achieve this, all employees need to understand their role and impact on the customer experience.

According to Juliane Pearson, Director of Customer Experience at HCSC, “Even if someone is writing one little piece of code I want them to understand how important that is to a member getting care and a provider getting paid.”

One of the biggest challenges is to create an environment where people feel they can influence and make change happen. Kelly Manthey, CEO at Solstice, talked about a recent customer experience incident at an amusement park. “It was the culture within the company that ultimately made their customer experience a winning proposition,” she said. “What could have been a frustrating incident turned into an inspiring one — that’s how we win.”

Explore new perspectives

Elizabeth Docel, Global Curriculum Manager at Google, noted the importance of being able to see different points of view. She loves jigsaws and how they challenge your way of thinking. Sometimes all you have to do is turn the table round to get a different perspective. “So the question is, how do we improve our team to most effectively understand what the customer experience is? How do we teach our team to puzzle?” she asked.

She recommended taking inspiration from this puzzling process, exploring other perspectives and putting yourself in various customers’ shoes, creating new ideas and developing cutting-edge insights. What the customer feels towards businesses and products is what propels business decisions.

Will you take up Elizabeth’s challenge to explore a new customer perspective every day?

Inspire and reward desired behaviours

Employees like doing what is measured and celebrated. If we recognise and reward employees for doing the right thing it leads to CX friendly behaviours.

Steven Inman, VP of Technology with the Chicago Cubs, also touched on how their organisation rewards its employees with ‘a marquis moment’. “Giving that token of appreciation has been a huge success factor,” he said.

Your company’s customer experiences are being delivered by people who are trying to do their job based on a set of rules, and unless you help them, you are going to create your own pain points. If you give them the wrong incentive you will end up with the wrong outcome.

— Chris Barnes, Director of Customer Experience at AmazeRealise

Understand the pivotal moments of impact

There are aspects of the customer journey that only you as a business can own, and that’s where you have the most opportunity.

Vivek Bedi, VP of Digital Products at Northwestern Mutual, discussed the importance of becoming passionate about the moments that influence and shape customer perceptions. “You have to think about the experience from the customer’s lens,” he said. “Identify the customer’s pivotal emotional moments and watch where they stumble.”

According to Robert Reilly, VP of Customer Experience at SpotHero, their biggest moment of impact is when something goes wrong. “Every time we screw up parking, or somebody screws up parking, it's often not on us,” he said. “Yet we’ll give you all your money back and give you another five bucks just to make sure you feel good about it.”

Robert says this is why SpotHero succeeds in the parking industry.

Prepare for change

One thing was clear: customer experiences are constantly evolving. To stay ahead of the competition, you need to be ready to adapt and pivot at a moment’s notice.

There are no shortcuts to creating emotional connections with customers. It requires motivated, empowered employees who are committed to delivering superior service. Like any transformation, challenges and barriers are inevitable. Rather than trying to change that, consider what is technically possible, understand the cost-benefit tradeoffs, and then assemble the necessary resources to bring the initiative to life.

The good news is the time and effort you make to improve the customer experience will pay dividends far beyond the initial investment.

Creating progressive customer experience is not plain sailing. If we say, ‘That's someone else's problem’ then we're letting the customer down. If we say, ‘You can't do that, because we have rules that say you can't do that’ then we're letting our employees down. If we've created something that stands still, we're not serving the people we should be.

— Richard Neish, Chief of Staff, AmazeRealise

Customer Experience is now more important than product and price for business success. The CX Challenge is a timely report on this crucial area, and includes a survey of over 100 CMOs, as well as advice on how to get your CX programme off the ground. Download your copy today.

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