Hi Chuck, tell us about yourself and your background.
My career has transcended industry, government, academia, and media. In industry, I held senior executive roles for General Dynamics as the Principal Market Growth Strategist for Cyber Systems, at Xerox as Vice President & Client Executive for Homeland Security, for Rapiscan and Vice President of R & D, for SRA as Vice President of Government Relations, and for Sutherland as Vice President of Marketing and Government Relations.
In Government, I received two senior Presidential appointments. I was appointed to The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the first Legislative Director of The Science & Technology Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security. Also, I was appointed as Special Assistant to the Director of Voice of America. On the Hill, I served as a top Advisor to the late Senator Arlen Specter, covering security and technology issues.
In academia, I am Adjunct Faculty at Georgetown University’s Graduate Applied Intelligence Program and the Graduate Cybersecurity Programs, where I teach courses on risk management, homeland security, and cybersecurity.
In media, I have been a featured speaker at dozens of conferences and webinars and have published more than 185 articles and blogs on cybersecurity, homeland security, and technology issues. I have 70,000 followers on LinkedIn and a wide following on Twitter and Facebook.
What is the biggest misunderstanding about customer experience, in your opinion?
That no two customer personas are the same, often companies will devise a plan based upon other’s examples or case studies. Every industry and every company within an industry has a unique culture based upon its products and service offerings. CX is not a generic endeavor; it needs to be customized and cultivated to the interests of the consumer.
What are some of the newer CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
There are a variety of CX products being automated and assimilated into enterprise service platforms that use multi-channel contact tools via phone, email, web, mobility, or through workflow self-service tools and agent-assisted responses. The engagement tools include the use of Avatars, Robotic Process Automation, and Artificial Intelligence. I do like the company Engati’s use of artificial intelligence-enabled platform.
What can companies do to improve customer loyalty and retention?
In conjunction with technology tools, standardized and continuous improvement processes are an integral part of optimizing customer loyalty. Creating a culture of collaboration while hiring and training technically savvy customer service employees is paramount for success. Incentivizing them with performance rewards is also important because a happy employee means a happy customer.
What do you think is most relevant and why: CSAT (customer satisfaction score), NPS (net promoter score), or CES (customer effort score)?
CSAT t’s a metric that acts as a key performance indicator for customer service and product quality. I like that customer satisfaction is expressed as a percentage. CSAT is a good benchmark. It allows you to know where you stand on an adaptable scale. And if you have a low score, you can strive to improve your score.
How can companies better use social media in the era of customer-centricity and personalization?
Social media is dominating as a platform for marketing and sales. Platforms such as LinkedIn offer opportunities to personally communicate to customers with greater comfort since they can the profile of who is reaching out to them and are more likely to respond. Almost every top Fortune 500 executive uses LinkedIn nowadays. Also, with a generation that is growing up with social media as their primary platform for most communications and affirmation, the medium will continue to become more integral for business in the future.
What is your opinion on AI-based chatbots to handle customer support?
I think AI-based chat boxes have a place in the industry. They can be good for most call centers and lower-risk services such as subscription fulfillment. The quality of these chat boxes has greatly improved over the past couple of years and has much more interactive capabilities. For high-end products with large customer expectations, there is no substitute for personalized human customer support.
What was the best movie you saw that has come out during this past year?
I did not have the opportunity to venture out to movie theaters in this past pandemic-restricted year. On TV, I really liked Psych, The movie that was a follow on to one of the most entertaining TV shows I have watched.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
Returning customers. There is no better barometer of satisfaction than customers who renew products and services.