Hi Denyse, tell us about yourself, your background?
Thanks for asking. I am so happy to be invited here and to be able to share my passion for customer centricity with your readers. (followers?) My background is in the multinational consumer goods corporate world.
Ten years ago, I started C3Centricity, a global consultancy that helps organisations to optimise their customer (consumer, client = C3) understanding, so that they can build more profitable relationships and increase the ROI of their information investments.
In a word (or two!) I’m a brand catalyst.
Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?
I may be a bit harsh – I am known for being tough but fair – but I would like to see companies making more use of their data, before trying to get them to make better use of their data.
When I visit a new client, I almost always hear someone say, “if only we knew what we know.”
Data in most businesses is siloed and people in a department rarely know what is available elsewhere. In one company I worked at, I discovered that they had bought 26 copies of the same report, without anyone knowing that the organisation had already bought it. And of course, the supplier wasn’t going to tell them, were they?
So I would recommend to start by running an audit of every data and information source in the organisation. From there, it becomes much easier to identify the different uses with or without integration.
Denyse’ tips for personalization
What tips do you have for companies that want to improve their personalization strategies?
That’s simple, know your customer! Personalization has become the buzz word in recent years, to the point that companies are being asked to develop personal or personalized products and services. But just imagine what that would mean in reality; thousands or millions of variants!
For me, personalization is more about making each customer feel that they are important to a business. So my tips are to know and understand your customers more deeply and intimately, so that you can develop more intimate connections. That way it becomes much easier to make customers feel understood and cared for.
Do you think personalization and customer-centricity are going to become increasingly more relevant in the coming year? How so?
Personalization is already talked about – a lot – and most organisations have some way of offering their customers more appropriate solutions to their individual needs and wants.
Customer-centricity on the other hand is talked about far more than it is acted out. You only have to look at all the ways that companies try to convince (cheat?) their customers into doing something they would not do if they had all the facts.
This can be as simple as paying more for a product because the pack content has decreased, to providing more information than they realise when visiting a website and accepting cookies.
That said, I do believe that customer data provides us all with the opportunity to deliver a better, more personalized experience for each customer online, and eventually offline too.
Social media pages have become crucial for companies in most industries, especially in eCommerce. What’s the most common mistake you see in a company’s social media strategy?
Oh my, what a lovely question. There are sooo many, I don’t know where to start!
As we’re speaking about CX, I think that my answer to the previous question is relevant here too. But the mistakes I want to talk specifically about are those made by organisations that think more about themselves than their customers. To build trust we need to be as open, honest and transparent as we can be.
Everyone has increased online purchases thanks to the pandemic, and I have noticed a lot of new websites and SM pages, often from Asia, offering products at very attractive prices. They also don’t seem to have any problems in making exaggerated claims and promises, doing whatever it takes to get that first purchase. They then make it difficult (nigh impossible) for dissatisfied customers to complain or return their purchases.
While this may work in the short-term, it won’t bring loyalty and trust. If that is what you want to do, the answer is simple. Think customer first.
What’s the most insightful book you read in 2020?
I’m an avid reader and the books I select are in many genres. I could suggest many that have inspired me for different reasons, including a couple that surprised even me how much I enjoyed and learnt from them.
The first is Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. This is about negotiating as if your life depended on it. It is an important skill for us all, but not as literally as the hostage negotiation stories this book uses as examples to learn from. Fascinating.
The second is Beautiful Brain by Hana Walker-Brown. I bought this by mistake, as I thought it was about neuroscience. It is in fact about the damage that professional footballers do to themselves by heading balls. This topic is finally being studied to hopefully ban the act in all football matches in the near future.
I was so happy to have read it, as the research and analysis opened my mind to some totally new topics. I think we all need to make “mistakes” like this occasionally and challenge ourselves by studying new areas.
Other books that have inspired my include:
Breath by James Nestor
Limitless by Jim Kwik
Change your questions change your life by Marilee Adams
I have tens more to add, if anyone wants the full list!
It looks like working from home is going to stay with us for the foreseeable future. How should Executives gear up to the changing times?
Learn to let go of controlling their teams. Research has already shown that people have in fact worked harder and longer during the various lockdowns, when working from home. Yes, there will always be a few exceptions, but in general you can trust your team – after all you probably chose (most of) them.
This has always been my way of working; expecting what I request to be delivered on time and on budget. The complication comes when people disappoint; do you give them a second, third or more chances? I admit I’m not very patient with anything in life; it’s an ongoing project for me. I generally struggle after three.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
First-time resolution of customer problems and enquiries. Giving your customer services team the freedom and authority to deliver what the customer expects, and more, means enabling them to find solutions in one contact. Remember that 19 people out of 20 will never complain; they’ll just go elsewhere. So treat each customer contact like the golden gift it is. Don’t make the customer work to put things right, that’s our job.