Hi Mary, tell us about yourself and your background.
My parents were constantly moving worldwide, so I was born abroad and spent my early years jumping from city to city, country to county. While this did come with its own unique set of challenges, it gave me a lot of cultural diversity and a very wide view of the market as a whole. It also taught me to adapt quickly and that anything can be rebuilt. I believe this contributed greatly to who I am as an executive- not afraid of new challenges or changes, eager to find the next big thing, and not cling to what worked in the past.
How did you first start working in the CX space?
Interestingly, I started out my career in education and education management. When I relocated to Atlanta, I was lucky enough to be able to choose a new path, and that’s when I really got more deeply involved in Marketing. My work as Chief Marketing Officer at Worthix is what led me down the Customer Experience path. Worthix’s technology was designed to explain customers’ decisions, and expectations and the CX vertical is a great fit for our product. Once I started researching and actively taking part in conversations and events, I absolutely fell in love with the values, the mission, and the community.
What are some of the common misunderstandings related to customer experience?
I think one of my greatest frustrations is the general belief that customers must be delighted with every facet of their experience with you in order to keep coming back. This is simply unsustainable in most organizations. What we need to focus our attention on is the defining factor that is driving customers’ perception of worth. Why are we worth it to our customers? What part of what we deliver is what keeps customers coming back for more…or not? When we can understand what motivates customers to buy, what they value, and how they look to us to solve their pains and needs, we can deliver on their expectations. And if we do that, they will keep coming back. In a nutshell, we don’t have to delight at every touchpoint; we just have to do what customers expect us to do.
Have you seen any interesting new trends in eCommerce this year?
BNBL products like Afterpay and Klarna have blown up! I’m very interested in seeing how this trend progresses. Another noteworthy trend is social media platforms like Instagram pivoting to become eCommerce platforms.
eCommerce boomed in 2020, and consumers started leaving more product reviews online. How can we make the most out of this momentum?
I think the pandemic really boosted companies that were on the rise and have continuously kept up with customers’ ever-changing expectations but dealt the final blow to those who were struggling. This market is too fast. If you’re not staying ahead, you’re getting left behind. So, if you want to make the most out of the ‘eCommerce rush,’ make sure you’re keeping track of customers’ needs as they change so that you stay relevant and don’t get eaten up by a new competitor who has a better grasp of the market.
What are some CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
I have my eye on Momentive.ai (SurveyMonkey, rebranded). I’m quite interested in how they changed their unique selling proposition and shifted into an entirely new market—very interesting stuff.
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?
I believe “cashless” is here to stay. It’s a great trend, and it benefits everyone. I also believe that curbside pickup options and courier apps (like DoorDash, Task Rabbit, and Instacart) got a huge boost during the pandemic and changed customer buying patterns in many cases. I believe these services will only get more popular.
Do you believe focus groups are still relevant in the era of eCommerce? Why?
I do, but I believe the traditional model of focus groups to study consumer behavior will not stick around much longer. This is because AI technology is providing us with the ability to “crowdsource” focus groups from multiple locations(Remesh.ai), use video platforms for surveying (Vox Pop Me), and blend qualitative + quantitative survey methodologies to extract much deeper feedback with conversational AI tech (Worthix).
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
That’s an easy one—the Worthix Score. Until recently, no single methodology actually measured customer decisions (why customers buy) instead of emotions (how customers feel). We believe, and have the studies to prove, that the customer decision – the exact moment someone decides it’s worth it to give you their money – is the clearest indicator of company value. Not only that, it can be predictive of both repurchase and churn when done right.