Hi Marleen, tell us about yourself and your background.
My name is Marleen, I am 42 years old and living in the area of The Hague in the Netherlands. I live there with my husband, my kids, and two dogs. I love traveling (which I really miss during COVID), being outdoors, walking the dogs, running, spending time with my family and friends, watching a good movie, and doing yoga.
Business-wise, in the past 20 years I worked in marketing, CX, and management roles. I have worked for companies like Canon Europe, Ipsos, PostNL, and KPN Telecoms, on both the agency and client sides. Currently, I lead a CX consultancy and training agency called NeCXus. NeCXus was founded in 2018, and today we have an amazing client base to work with. At NeCXus we train, inspire, consult, and coach individual employees, teams, and companies, to become true customer-centric organizations.
How did you start working in the customer experience space?
To be honest, in all my jobs the “customer” was always there. While working at KPN (largest Telecom company in the Netherlands), I was able to attend an NPS benchmark tour in Orlando. We visited high NPS companies like Harley Davidson, Waldorf Astoria, and Disney. We looked at common denominators to explain the high NPS scores. I remember myself standing in front of a Disney roller coaster with a notebook, writing down everything that I noticed looking at the people waiting in line. Everyone was happy. I learned there was a complex way of working behind achieving those happy faces. It opened my eyes and my enthusiasm for CX was born.
Can you tell us a little bit about your current role?
I lead NeCXus as a company, but above all, I actively participate in all the work we do for our clients, in consulting and in training. 2021 was an important year for us; because of the increased work I had to hire people for the first time, and we moved into our own office. From there, in 2022, we will continue consulting for our existing clients, and we will also roll out three new CX programs for new clients. This makes me very proud!
How can companies better listen and understand their customer base?
I think lots of companies already do listen to what their customers have to say. The real challenge lies in: what do they do with that customer feedback? Are they able to process the voice of the customer into action?
So, for example, when they hear back on pain points in the customer journey, are they able to fix these issues and really improve? Some things are easy to change, but especially with difficult pain points, I see a lot of companies that struggle with the implementation of a solution. And often, when it’s finally realized, they forget to communicate back to the customer that the issue is solved… A missed opportunity.
I once created a model for CX measurement maturity – looking at that chart, too often companies get to level 1 and 2 easily. Then it gets tough to achieve level 3 and 4.
What are some companies that you think are doing an excellent job at customer experience, and why?
In the Netherlands for example Coolblue does a great job at CX. In my experience, successful CX transformation requires 4 key elements. Coolblue shows that they master these elements!:
- A structured approach that concentrates on strategy, measurement & improvement, and culture;
- A committed leader that drives the CX program across the organization and understands and accepts CX to be long-term;
- A clear customer strategy with values and emotions that drive intentional CX; and
- Everyone involved in the organization: front-mid-back office. Everyone plays an important role in delivering the customer strategy.
What are some CX solutions or tools that you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
Customer Journey Mapping. I am looking specifically at tools that can help map journeys, but that also connect the mapped journeys towards improvements, actions, and measurement.
Did you read any interesting books this past summer that you’d like to recommend?
The book that is still on my reading list is Customer Experience Book 3. I am very
curious to learn from our CX colleagues around the world.
I was lucky to co-author Customer Experience Book 1 & 2. In this book, over 20 CX professionals share their current CX strategies and tips and tricks from different perspectives, i.e., about CX culture, on CX measurement.
Another recommendation is to follow my company on our brand new Instagram page. You can follow us via necxus_customer_experience. Would be great to get more followers, interaction and a dialogue about CX!
What is your favorite CX metric?
I don’t believe a company should use just one CX metric. I prefer to measure and monitor metrics on different levels. For example, on the relational level, on the transactional level; but also, on the journey level. When you build your CX measurement house, make sure you have metrics on all of these levels to provide you with the best all-round view of your customer (and their journeys).
Most of the clients I work with use NPS or a combination of NPS and CSAT, and CES and FTR on transactional level. It doesn’t really matter which one you choose, as long as you think beforehand about how to work with the outcome. Is it purely for monitoring or do you take action upon the metric results? In the latter case, make sure that you have metrics that provide you with sufficient information. CSAT for example, provides information on a detailed level, whereas NPS is great for monitoring for easy communication across the organization.