Hi Tabitha, tell us about yourself and your background.
I am fortunate to do something that I love – driving human centered change that makes experiences and businesses better. I have successfully built five global customer experience practices from the ground up and I am the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA).
How did you start working in the customer experience space?
Years ago, I accepted a role at Xerox leading Major Accounts for Services, Customer Advocacy, and Customer Satisfaction. Customer satisfaction was the area of my responsibility that I had the least familiarity with but really enjoyed learning all about capturing actionable customer feedback and helping our business use it to drive measurable improvements. From there, it’s been an ongoing passion to learn more CX skills from design thinking to strategy, culture change and leading change all across the globe.
Can you tell us a little bit about your current role?
My role at Ericsson as Chief Customer Officer included building out the global, end-to-end customer experience practice, employee experience for those in sales and commercial management roles and sales excellence, which was an operational role leading the sales product development, process change, and communication.
How can companies better listen and understand their customer base?
My top three to increase the quality and actionability of your customer insights:
- Be ruthless about every survey and every question on the survey itself. If it’s not clear what action you will take with that data and who owns it, don’t ask those questions.
- To get higher response rates and better feedback, you need to gain customer trust. That means doing more than automated replies. It means setting up a closed loop that reflects that their feedback has been read and share with them what was selected for action.
- Don’t reward scores, reward effective action. Set goals on initiatives that come out of customer feedback and decreasing customer pain points.
What are some companies that you think are doing an excellent job at customer experience, and why?
That’s a tough one, as I see pockets of really great work underway but a lot of struggles with systemic change. Which makes sense, if you consider all of the competing initiatives within a company for a limited set of resources.
Many companies are currently undergoing digital transformation processes – what are your tips on a successful digital transformation?
First, the best digital transformation initiatives focus on improving the customer experience, the employee experience and operational excellence. This helps ensure that the teams don’t get too focused on tools and forget that the tools are there to support people and processes.
Second, change management continues to be underrated, with a focus on training and communication, without looking for how to motivate those who have to change how they work and ensuring that those who need to change are included in the work on how to get where you want to go with your digital transformation.
Third, be bold. Many digital transformation initiatives get stuck in smaller, iterative changes rather than spending some time up front with design thinking capabilities and workshops to help with innovation in how we work to support the vision of the change you want with your digital transformation.
What are some CX solutions or tools that you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
I haven’t spent a lot of time on CX tools as of late. I think the hottest space is going to where you can identify customer and employee behaviors and actions within tools to enable us to not ask those questions on surveys. When you tie behavioral data to feedback and other operational metrics, you get solid quantitative data to build your case for change. I’m looking to see who comes out on top with that capability in the future!
Did you read any interesting books this past summer that you’d like to recommend?
I love to read, so on a personal level, there are too many to count but from a business perspective, my favorite 2021 read was No Ego by Cy Wakeman. It was thought provoking and I still go back to it for references and reminders.
What is your favorite CX metric?
Having had the opportunity to use pretty much all of them over the years, my favorite CX metric is whichever one provides accurate and actionable customer insights that your leadership across the company will trust. I’ve found that no metric is the best one in any given situation and from a customer perspective, you should never be asking any questions in a survey that you don’t intend to actively use for improvement prioritization or progress on your improvement efforts. When you do that, you build customer trust and enable the ability to drive real change.