Hi Dan, tell us about yourself, your background?
I spent nearly 20 years in Corporate America as a marketer at companies like McDonald’s, Discover, and Humana before going off on my own in January 2019. Today I am an international keynote speaker and customer experience coach, and I love teaching companies how to create remarkable experiences that their customers can’t wait to share.
Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?
It’s so important to really listen to customers and the feedback that they are generously giving us. Whether it’s a compliment or complaint, this feedback can be immensely valuable. Look for the things that you are doing well and try to do more of them. Then look for the things that irritate your customers and try to stop doing them. I know it sounds easy in theory and is more difficult in practice, so the key is making sure that you can synthesize all of the feedback into categories and topics that you can address individually. Finally, don’t rely solely on quantitative metrics. Qualitative feedback is critical in determining the cause of customer satisfaction scores going up or down.
What is one element that must always be considered when working on a CXM (customer experience management) strategy?
You MUST involve the customer! This seems obvious, but so many experience decisions are made in conference rooms without input from the very people we are trying to please. Ensure you are capturing customer feedback at key points in the customer journey, so you understand pain points and the various emotions associated with each part of the experience.
Do you think personalization and customer-centricity are going to become increasingly more relevant in the coming year? How so?
Personalization is great, but it does require some thought. It’s more than just including someone’s name in the introduction of an email. What information are you collecting about your customer? And how are you using that information? An example I like to share is how often we tell companies our birthday, whether it’s on a form or showing our ID. Yet the number of times that a company recognizes our birthday is shockingly small. They have the information, and they just aren’t using it.
What are some of the ways companies can strive to eliminate the CX Gap?
There are really two sides to customer experience: eliminating pain points and creating remarkable experiences where only average or subpar ones exist. You really need to focus on both sides simultaneously. Pain points can be identified through customer feedback or by becoming a customer of your own brand yourself. To create remarkable experiences, use the WISER method outlined in my book, The Experience Maker: How To Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can’t Wait To Share. These five simple steps will cause you to think differently about how experiences are created and how simple it is to go beyond average and really stand out from the competition.
What’s the most insightful book you read in 2020?
I really liked Fanocracy by David Meerman Scott and his daughter, Reiko Scott. They looked at what causes fandom for sports teams, bands, celebrities, etc., and applied that to brands. It makes all the sense in the world; growing fans are important because they are the ones that talk about you to friends, family, and colleagues. That’s how you grow a business.
What are your predictions for trends in customer experience in the coming year?
The companies that continue to differentiate with customer experience will thrive, while those focusing on price or product will likely falter. Safety is going to continue to be paramount to CX, even post-pandemic. This includes physical safety and digital safety. Conveniences like a curbside pickup that became popular during the pandemic are likely to continue afterward because customers got used to them. And as the world opens back up, the companies that provide the best human-to-human experiences will stand out because that’s been the missing piece for the last year and a half.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
Customer retention. Most companies have what I like to call a “leaky bucket” – whereby customers are leaving without even saying why. And usually, they’re headed for the competition. The leaky bucket is extraordinarily expensive since we all know it costs way more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. On the flip side, the more customers we can keep, the more revenue we generate both from them and their referrals. Customer retention is also a great complement to traditional CX measurements like Net Promoter Score because while the latter tells us what the customer says, the former tracks what they actually do.