Hi Anne, tell us about yourself, your background?
I’m a 20-year veteran of customer experience strategy, serving mainly as a consultant, but also having in-depth experience in several industries inculding healthcare, entertainment, retail and travel.
Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?
A review is more than just a number of stars. Often customers include a paragraph or two about their experience. It’s this unstructured data that can be a wealth of opportunity for organizations that are willing to invest in the tools to analyze it. The number is never enough – it’s the why behind the number that matters.
What tips do you have for companies that want to improve their personalization strategies?
If you aren’t personalizing – especially in email – in this day and age, you are far behind the curve. Most marketing tools allow for personalization. The better data you have on your customers, the more you can personalize and even segment customers into receiving truly relevant content in every interaction. It’s not just about getting my first name right, it’s about remembering what I have purchased and suggesting relevant offers. The tools are definitely there, but companies are still nervous about making the investment. I would suggest a test-and-learn campaign with 1/2 of your audience getting a personalized message and the other half getting a generic one. Follow these customers for six months and see who is more engaged.
Do you think personalization and customer-centricity are going to become increasingly more relevant in the coming year? How so?
Absolutely. Especially since people have been stuck at home, ecommerce has become the standard way of doing business. That doesn’t mean that we lose our human desire for connection, however. If you can provide me a personalized experience, remember me and my preferences when I return to your site, and reach out – sparingly – with suggestions and relevant offers, then I am far more likely to remain loyal to your brand.
Social media pages have become crucial for companies in most industries, especially in eCommerce. What’s the most common mistake you see in a company’s social media strategy?
Companies often take one message and spray it out on all channels. I find the best brands understand the demographic behind each social channel and plan their messaging accordingly. Also companies often think of social as a location to push their own agenda, without realizing that social is an amazing source of feedback and suggestions. Engaged customers will want to not just follow you on social media, but also interact with you. Treat this as a blessing, not a curse.
What’s the most insightful book you read in 2020?
I read Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. Customer experience is very much reliant on employee experience. Good leaders know that if they enable their employees to deliver great CX, then everyone benefits.
It looks like working from home is going to stay with us for the foreseeable future. How should Executives gear up to the changing times?
Executives need to trust their employees to do the right thing by the company. Employees will feel valued and respected if companies recognize their humanity vs. requiring butts in seats from 9-5. I live in the Bay Area, and I had a three-hour daily commute before Covid. There is no way I will ever go back to that now, and I will not work for an employer who doesn’t understand that.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
Rather than one metric, I like to build a balanced scorecard of all the different metrics that roll up to a strong customer lifetime value. Different metrics make sense at different times during the customer journey. All can be insightful, and all can serve as indicators of retention and growth of the customer relationship.