Hi Dennis, tell us about yourself, your background?
My career started as a production person in a print shop so I can guess you could say “at the bottom of the ladder.”
Over the years I worked my way up the corporate ladder one rung at a time, learning to deliver customer experiences with my own two hands.
First I mastered print production, then television and radio, from there I learned to program computers and ultimately how to operate marketing automation systems.
These experiences helped me build a strong foundation for customer experience delivery and ultimately how to pull different customer touchpoints into a holistic strategy.
Along the journey, I was lucky (and grateful) to be mentored by several kind and generous leaders who nurtured my skills as well as gave me the opportunity to work on the world’s lead brands.
Today I’m supported by the world’s foremost experts at CX deliver at RR Donnelly where our ability to work with 1st party data combined with our logistics makes
makes us the best team in the world at delivering CX at an enterprise level.Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?
Customer reviews are an interesting consideration in the development of customer experience.
On one hand, they are helpful at immediately identifying where a brand is having challenges or where they are particularly successful.
On the other hand, writers of reviews are generally biased in one way or another so I recommend analyzing a competitor’s reviews in addition to your own.
When we analyze competitor reviews as well as our own, we get a clearer perspective with regard to the products and services that consumers truly want.
What is one element that must always be considered when working on a CXM (customer experience management) strategy?
The most important element of CXM is teamwork. When I work with executives, it’s amazing how many times we talk about investing in technology,
while teamwork, or lack thereof, is the single most important aspect of successfully delivering CX transformation. My advice to any leader
who is responsible for managing CXM is to start with building allies across corporate silos. Gathering a team of united leaders with a clear view into
the same business metrics is the basis for all successful CX initiatives.
Do you think personalization and customer-centricity are going to become increasingly more relevant in the coming year? How so?
Absolutely! This is the reason I joined RR Donnelly. We have the ability to work with 1st party data. The reason to focus on 1st party data
is that it’s the crucial element to personalization. Furthermore, personalization is how Customer Lifetime Value is created.
Stakeholders and shareholders alike, demand CLTV more and more because of its ability to deliver 2%-4% annual growth year over year.
As we look forward, brands that can consolidate vendors and partners, as well as focus on personalization,
will take advantage of major shifts in consumer behavior brought about by the pandemic in 2020.
What are some of the ways companies can strive to eliminate the CX Gap?
Gaps in CX are generally brought about by two things. The first being a lack of teamwork among leaders. For whatever reason, many executives
are incentivized to make their silo or department perform differently or better than the others within their organization and for that reason, they create their own business metrics.
When leaders share business intelligence and common goal, they can close the operational blind spots that cause gaps in CX.The second way companies can close CX gaps is to consolidate vendors and partners. From an operational perspective, having too many production partners or agencies simply exaggerates
any gap in customer experience which is costly and ultimately challenging to consistently manage customer outcomes.
What’s the most insightful book you read in 2020?
I found the book “Thinking in debt” by Annie Duke enlightening. It’s a very interesting look at ways to make a decision when you don’t have all of the information.
Dennis’ predictions for the future of CX
What are your predictions for trends in customer experience in the coming year?
In the near future, I predict that more brands will begin to connect their printing and digital experiences in seamless ways, especially in retail and QSR parts of the industry.
Additionally, customer care centers and e-commerce teams will begin to work closely together.
My last and potentially most controversial prediction is that 2021 will be the year that CPG companies will drastically reshape the customer
landscape by going directly to shoppers rather than depend on retail outlets for their relationships with consumers.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
Great question. I am a believer that you need 3 metrics to triangulate CX performance. The three metrics are based on the reputation your brand has,
the number of people you are reaching, and the relationships you maintain.
If a company can get a trendline on Reputation, Reach, and Relationship, then
they have the best CX vantage point in order to make business decisions that positively impact customer experiences while generating customer lifetime value.