Hi Christian, tell us about yourself and your background.
My original trade was in design at the Queensland College of Art, and back when I was studying, I had a view that the future was going to be online. I then receive approval to reconfigure my degree to be web-focused as it just didn’t exist in 1999. I transitioned into online marketing from web design, which led me into the digital space, where I evolved into a customer-centric leader.
How did you first start working in the CX space?
As I progressed into the digital space with a purely digital background, I knew that whilst the future of digital was key to the success of organizations. However, as a more generalist marketer, I realized that the way for organizations to create market growth and truly realize their visions was that organizations had to be customer-centric. I transitioned my career into a pure customer experience role in 2016 as the first Head of Customer Experience for Ladbrokes Australia and have since worked towards aligning customer outcomes with organizational goals.
What are some of the common misunderstandings related to customer experience?
I think there is a lot of the wrong questions being asked of their organizations and their customers. There are a lot of discussions on the what and how, but not much in the why, and this is where organizations can truly understand themselves and their customers at a deep level and unlock opportunities. It’s very easy to get lost in the methodologies and survey scores and benchmarking them with competitors. In reality, organizations should create clarity on their target experience and benchmark against that. Of course, that’s a process in itself, but the point is, find clarity internally, and you can find clarity externally.
Have you seen any interesting new trends in eCommerce this year?
In Australia, the payment space is really interesting. Between Buy Now Pay Later and more integrated payment solutions have provided consumers with more options and flexibility. Likewise, consumers are expecting more in terms of transparency with their orders. This has amplified the benefit of shopping with retailers that have real-time fulfillment tracking.
eCommerce boomed in 2020, and consumers started leaving more product reviews online. How can we make the most out of this momentum?
For me, it comes back down to transparency and trust. The better relationships are managed, the better the trust. If you tell a customer that something is one way, but you deliver a service another way, this is contrary to this.
What are some CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
It will be interesting to see how the departure of Jeff Bezos from the executive role at Amazon changes the dynamic of the world’s leading customer-centric organization. Tim Cook at Apple did a great job at keeping intact their core purpose and customer-centric approach; it will be interesting if Andy Jassy can do the same.
So many things changed in 2020. While some things are going to return to “normal,” what are new trends and habits you think will stay with us in the long term?
In Australia, certain sectors have really boomed as a result of Covid-19. There have been some big and permanent changes in the way companies organize their workforce, focus on technology, and of course, how their build more meaningful relationships with their customers. Whilst these are not necessarily new, they have been accelerated and created more urgency to get these right.
Do you believe focus groups are still relevant in the era of eCommerce? Why?
100%, but I think the difference is how these are done more dynamically and being used in conjunction with modern data panels to give larger samples and access to more customer segments. Improvement in technology, access to mobile device usage tracking will give more accurate feedback.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
For me, my favorite metric is customer return rate. It is totally underutilized, can be used in many interesting ways, and can really provide tangible outcomes aligned with the original intent.