Hi Ali, tell us about yourself and your background.
Hi, I’m Ali. I have over 11 years of experience in CX. I started my journey back in 2010 handling different touch points in the customer life cycle – sales, customer support, back office, complaints, and even counter support. Since then, I understand that the key to success in CX is to focus on the end user, through understanding who you are dealing with and their needs.
During my journey, I helped many companies and projects improve customer experience through implementing different strategies and approaches. For example, as a Contact Center Manager at Etisalat UAE for 4 years, I was part of many Digital projects and self-service enablement, analysis of Customer data, transferring VOC to CTQ’s, etc.…
I’m currently the Customer Experience Section head for the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, responsible for understanding and improving the customer experience within the customer journey and continuously looking for a seamless experience for our customers.
How did you start working in the customer experience space?
Well, in early 2010 I started my official career as a senior sales executive, where I had many challenges in hitting my targets, same as anyone joining a new career. This was little demotivational for me in the beginning, so I started working on understanding the reasons. At this stage I figured out that there are some gaps and disconnection between actual customer needs and our products as well as our campaigns mechanisms; hence I started studying more about customer behavior and segmentation, road map analysis, customer interactions, ARPU analysis, NPS, retention rate, loyalty programs, etc. to understand how we can get the maximum benefits out of customer relations. This helped me a lot to achieve my targets and add value to my customers, colleges, and company.
Can you tell us a little bit about your current role?
Currently, I’m the CX Section head at Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce in UAE and have been there for almost a year and a half. Since joining, I have been responsible for launching customer-centric culture and driving it across the entire business, acting as a VOC Advocate, building customer experience strategy, and leading experience design, improvement, and innovation, as well as maintaining CX ROI business plans.
How can companies better listen and understand their customer base?
This is a very important question, as listening & understanding customers is one of the main keys to success. Hence companies should consider:
- Correlation between Employee Experience and Customer Experience.
- Go beyond the traditional surveys and seek to get the uncovered area of customer expectations.
- Data science is crucial to get the maximum benefits of available data across all touchpoints.
- Observational studies and consumer behavior analysis.
- Flexibility in changing and adapting new strategies to match customers’ needs and expectations.
What are some companies that you think are doing an excellent job at customer experience, and why?
Apple: Because of the level of empowerment for the frontline support staff & quality of service they are providing to their customers.
Carrefour: They are much further forward than anyone else when it comes to CX. Their initiative for the Micro Fulfillment Center is a significant change in the retail experience, where the digital is being efficiently used to enhance the CX and delight the customer.
Sephora: The beauty brand uses technology to create a personalized experience with a comprehensive app, virtual try-on of makeup products, and a strong online community for a seamless customer experience.
DHL: The Company restructured to create a more cohesive and employee-friendly culture, which translates to satisfied customers and better service.
Many companies are currently undergoing digital transformation processes – what are your tips on a successful digital transformation?
Look, there are many well-known factors that should be considered in any digital transformation journey (like vision before actions, digital leader engagement, gathering resources and expertise, technology assessment process, objectives, and so on), yet from my point of view, I always repeat that the golden key is to empower your employee with knowledge, loyalty, motivation, & technology. If they really understand the benefits and are motivated to change, then the company will drive the digitalization smoothly and with high impact on Customer Experience.
What are some CX solutions or tools that you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
Contact center integrated solutions where we can manage all customer interactions in one platform across all touch points. “Genesys Cloud CX. – Zendesk Support Suit” are really good examples of that.
Businesses are looking to AI to predict outcomes, automate workflows, and optimize business operations. IBM Data Science solutions are customizable and adopt to different business sectors.
Facial biometrics: Dubai Airport is a real example of how technology can reduce unnecessary waiting time and provide a seamless experience.
Voice Biometrics: HSBC uses voice recognition technology wherein caller verification is no longer a hassle. One of the most confident solutions I’ve come across is Phoneixa Voice Verification & Speech Recognition Software with an extremely low 1.2% EER.
Did you read any interesting books this past summer that you’d like to recommend?
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
This book is one of my favorite books and it’s not my first time reading it. With the daily stress that everyone is facing nowadays across all the different sectors, we need to remember that people and relationships are some of the most important aspects we need to focus on, as they contribute directly at our personal or business success. So, my recommendation is that if you interact with people daily at your job, or simply want to improve the relationships you have with your friends and family, this book will provide you with all the knowledge you need for positive results.
What is your favorite CX metric?
I believe we can’t see the picture through a piece of it; CX has many factors that should be considered while evaluating, so that each metric plays a vital role in seeing this full picture and completes the puzzle – as NPS, CSAT, Churn rate, Retention rate, CLV, CES. Yet, I can say that one of my favorite metrics is NPS.