Hi Alex, tell us about yourself, your background?
Sure, my name is Alex Weihmann, and I’m the Demand Generation Manager at ChurnZero. Over the last several years, I’ve worked in a variety of areas and industries, spanning from professional sports to the events industry. During my time in these roles, I fell in love with all things Customer Experience (CX).
In March 2019, I joined ChurnZero, a leading Customer Success platform. My primary focus is driving growth for our platform and helping promote Customer Success as a key business function. One of my favorite aspects of my role is working directly with our customers and celebrating their successes. I love learning about the creative ways they leverage our platform to improve their customers’ experiences.
Outside of work, my interests include travel, listening to music, and photography. You’ll often find me exploring new places with my camera in hand!
Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?
In this day and age, reviews should be at the heart of your corporate strategy. While reviews are commonly associated with B2C businesses, their B2B counterparts can no longer ignore them. When used properly, reviews provide a wealth of content and information that can both optimize your CX and power your growth engine.
By way of example, my colleagues on our Customer Success team leverage reviews by taking them into account when calculating customer health scores. You can also use reviews to identify areas of your customer journey that need optimization. What’s great about review sites is that they truly provide a neutral medium for honest feedback. These reviews are where we often discover some of the best opportunities to improve our own CX.
In addition to its applications for CX, the benefits of reviews extend to other departments, such as Sales and Marketing. For instance, reviews provide a great source for refining our messaging, earmarking customers for future case studies, and more.
What is one element that must always be considered when working on a CXM (customer experience management) strategy?
When working on your CXM strategy, always keep a deliberate focus on the value of retention. All too often, organizations get shoehorned into taking an acquisition-first approach to their CXM strategy.
In the age of subscription software, solely attracting a customer is no longer enough. You must find a way to cultivate and sustain long-term loyalty and excitement around your brand. Few companies will achieve high retention by default. Your entire organization must make a concerted effort to drive retention across the entire customer journey.
Do you think personalization and customer-centricity are going to become increasingly more relevant in the coming year? How so?
The COVID-19 pandemic was a wake-up call for many organizations when it came to the importance of customer-centricity and personalization.
In terms of customer-centricity, many organizations discovered how important every touchpoint is to retain and grow customer relationships. This is particularly the case during economic downturns. Your customer’s experience is no longer defined by a singular interaction. This means that it is no longer enough for relationship building to solely fall upon customer-facing teams. Every stakeholder in your organization has a profound impact on your overall CX and a customer’s perception of your brand. If your organization isn’t building a culture of customer-centricity at all levels, your organization risks letting relationship-building opportunities pass you by.
When it comes to personalization, the pandemic has had a similarly profound impact. In an age of Zoom meetings and other competing priorities, customers crave a more personalized experience. It’s important that engagement opportunities occur on your customer’s terms regardless of barriers like time zones.
What are some of the ways companies can strive to eliminate the CX Gap?
To eliminate the CX Gap, you need to encourage customer centricity at all levels of your organization. It’s important that CX and Customer Success are at the forefront of everything your employees do. These areas can no longer be siloed to one or two departments.
To those who have never been in a customer-facing role, this can present a challenge. But there are great ways to start small.
For instance, consider creating a company-wide Slack channel that shares NPS® scores (good and bad) or celebrates customer victories. Make sure that your CX program not only has executive buy-in but has a seat at the board table. Think about which CX metrics can be discussed at company-wide meetings and how every team member can better understand how their role impacts these metrics.
What’s the most insightful book you read in 2020?
One of the most insightful books I read back in college was How to Win Friends and Influence People. As relationships with coworkers, clients, and partners moved online in 2020, I was really excited to discover an updated version called How to Win Friends and Influence People in The Digital Age. This adaptation takes some of the foundational learnings from the original book and applies them to many of the digital situations we find ourselves in during this time of working from home.
It offers advice on dealing with sensitive situations in a digital context and becoming a better online communicator. I’ve found the book’s lessons to be invaluable.
Alex’s predictions for the future of CX
What are your predictions for trends in customer experience in the coming year?
2020 was a year of reactivity. Organizations were scrambling to adapt to the new normal while juggling the need to deliver a consistent CX. The silver lining was that the last year cemented CX as a competitive differentiator, particularly in terms of loyalty and retention.
The new year has given us a chance to step back and take a more proactive approach to CX. Now that we are past the reaction stage, I predict that we’ll continue to see the benefits of CX as a product differentiator, especially in the B2B space. Along with price and functionality, the overall CX will grow as a key factor in purchasing decisions. Now more than ever, it’s necessary for businesses to offer a smooth, personalized, and ultimately, a more meaningful experience across all of their touchpoints.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
As someone who works at a company called ChurnZero, it probably isn’t much of a surprise that my favorite metric is Churn Rate! Put simply, and churn is the rate at which you lose customers or revenue, usually measured on a monthly or yearly basis. You can calculate churn rate based on your customer count or recurring revenue.
Churn rates can creep up quickly and must be a primary consideration of any SaaS business. It not only has a profound impact upon your bottom line but heavily influences every aspect of your business, from customer satisfaction to building long-term loyalty.