Hi Bob, tell us about yourself and your background and how you got to the CX Space?
My background spans 3 key pillars. (1) Technology (2) Customer Experience, Operations (3) Commercial. Having driven Technology transformation in Australia, I was given the opportunity to run the Customer team for Vodafone. This fueled a passion for customer and people outcomes which remains core to what I do to this day.
Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?
Clearly, this was the case given the pandemic and many brands captured the opportunity. I see this as not just a 2020 requirement. While that has heightened the need for eCommerce / digital, it is now a way of life. A focus on customer effort, ease of doing business, and real-time analytics will help towards superior outcomes.
Bob’s checklist for CX strategy
In your POV – What is the ultimate checklist for a good customer experience strategy?
The checklist should involve these key things
- Align CX strategy to value (financials).
- Leadership Commitment. Visible customer-oriented leadership is key. Symbolic acts are a great catalyst.
- Data is key. 360-degree view to drive actionable insights.
- Continuous Improvement loops
- Voice of the customer embedded into all aspects of the business
How much has the role of customer experience changed in the social distancing era – what role digital transformation has in this crisis?
The social distancing era has accelerated what is inevitable. A compelling digital experience to allow customers the choice or what/how/when they interact with an organization. This has to be backed by a seamless integration of all channels. Digital at the core, rather than a side option. This is as much a cultural shift for an organization as it is a technology shift.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2020?
Great question especially during 2020. More so than ever, how you engage with customers and your people comes to mind. Pace and style of communication, accessibility, and the importance of embracing all aspects of people as their home and work life converged. Understanding the challenges, physically, emotionally, and mentally is a lesson.
2020 was the year of webinars and online events; what was your favorite one?
Clarity Leadership was able to re-produce their leadership dinners/discussions they use to have in London online. For me, now in Boston, it gave me a chance to continue to be involved. Albeit the time difference meant I was having a tea while the others had a wine !.
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?
Sharpen focus on communication, coaching, and visibility. It’s easy to disappear in a remote working situation. Investing in technology and tools to ensure a seamless experience for customers and people will dominate and those that do it best will thrive. Also, instead of wresting with what will be, embrace it and be positive about the possibilities for growth, customer experience, and people experience in a remote world.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
Customer Effort has always been a favorite of mine. It’s focus is very much about respecting your customers and being in their shoes rather than internal navel-gazing.