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CXBuzz Interview with Tom Smith CX Analyst at ClientSavvy

Hi Tom, tell us about yourself and share some background about Client Savvy (and how you ended up joining Client Savvy)

I’m a lifelong marketing professional who was on a five-year detour covering the technology industry before joining Client Savvy in November 2020. I have been a huge proponent of using qualitative and quantitative feedback to understand customer and client needs, wants, and satisfaction since my early days in advertising and then as a senior marketing executive with several companies. In fact, I was responsible for running the client feedback program at a professional services firm 10 years prior to joining Client Savvy.

There’s a difference between customer experience and client experience, and it’s the same as the difference between a customer and a client. Customers are involved in transactions. Clients are involved in projects and hopefully long-term relationships. While I have a relationship with Chipotle, I’ll have burrito bowl #3,891 today; it’s still transactional. My relationship with Salesforce, Adobe, our law firm, and our accounting firm is much more involved. They’re providing solutions and helping me solve long-term business problems over months and years.

Client Savvy has developed a tool and methodology to measure the client relationship’s health over time with many stakeholders. Rather than only getting feedback at the conclusion of a transaction, we’re getting feedback every couple of months on six or seven key elements of the relationship. If something is out of alignment with the client, the service provider learns what it is and addresses it while it can be rectified and prior to the end of the project.

How much has the consumer sentiments changed in CX space during 2020, and how will 2021 look?

2020 has accelerated customer/client need and desire for great experiences provided by service providers. Prior to 2020, FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) companies had already raised consumer expectations. 2020 just amplified how well these companies have removed friction in people’s lives. The level of customer service these companies provide has become the gold standard by which all others, B2C and B2B, are measured.

While some companies and consumers had been avoiding the opportunity to engage digitally, it became a necessity in 2020 if you wanted to keep yourself and your family safe. Today, companies must provide digital solutions if they want to keep their customers and clients. COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation by several years. Companies that responded to the challenge will continue to accelerate and grow to accelerate past technology and CX laggards.

As a CX Analyst & Strategist at Client Savvy, what are the most important KPIs you use to measure customer experience benchmarks?

While we custom design the questions we ask based on the business problem(s) a client is trying to solve, we always look for performance versus expectations around “helpfulness,” “responsiveness,” “quality,” “accuracy,” and “schedule.” We will typically ask the NPS question as well since this identifies promoters that can help build business. We urge clients to limit the number of questions they ask so that feedback doesn’t take longer than two or three minutes. We also enable respondents to provide comments, or open-ended feedback, for anything that’s on their mind. The blend of qualitative and quantitative data provides great insight into what’s on the client’s mind, enabling a more productive discussion.

How much has the CX Analyst’s role changed in the social distancing era – what role digital transformation has in this crisis?

I think the CX Analyst’s role has gotten easier as more companies have a need and desire to get feedback from clients. They want to know how to do this in a systematic way, how to interpret results, and how-to follow-up most appropriately. We have seen much more interest in CX, and EX (employee experience) initiatives as companies realize the need to connect on a more personal level.

Customer experience at Client Savvy

How is Client Savvy using customer experience to drive innovation?

Client Savvy has been using data-driven client feedback to solve business problems and drive innovation in professional services for the past 17 years. We provide unconventional wisdom to drive revenue, referrals and repeat business. Some of the ways we have driven innovation include brand alignment and differentiation, market expansion, referrals, pricing strategy, defining and measuring quality,  enhancing upsell/cross-sell, eliminating change orders, reducing the number of days accounts receivables are outstanding, winning the talent war, keeping employees, and improving firm value for mergers and acquisitions.

What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2020?

Overcommunicate! 2020 was a crazy year for clients and employees alike. There has been a lot of confusion and uncertainly. Consistency builds trust. Confusion breeds distrust. Be there for people consistently. Care about them as individuals first and as clients or colleagues second. Look for ways to help, even if it’s just listening. Help solve the problem even if you cannot provide the solution. Doing so shows you’ve listened and you care. Perhaps someone in your personal or professional network can help if you cannot.

2020 was the year of webinars and online events. What was your favorite one?

I attended the three previous Oktane, Okta’s user conference, events in person as an IT analyst. Oktane 2020 took place virtually in early April 2020. Okta’s corporate communications and events team did a great job producing an interactive and informative event. Okta’s founders and leaders did a great job engaging in recorded and live content. While I missed meeting with people in person, I thought the virtual event was very well done, especially considering the short period of time the team had to transition from a live to a virtual event.

It looks like working from home is going to stay with us for the foreseeable future; how should CX Executives gear up to the changing times?

Be human. Care about people and their welfare. Think about how to make consumers, customers, clients, and employees’ lives simpler and easier. Listen intensely. Be curious, not judgmental. Ask “why” to learn more. Be empathetic. Make an emotional connection with people to let them know you care. If you don’t, someone else will.

Check our interview section for more interviews with industry leaders!

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