Hi Ed, tell us about yourself and your background.
I’ve been in business for over 30 years, serving in sales, marketing, operations, and quality roles in a number of different industries. These past 8 years, I’ve been focusing on Customer Experience and Customer Success in SaaS and Managed Service Provider firms both as a practitioner and consultant. My specialties include analytics, continuous improvement, and neuroeconomics, the brain science of how people make decisions.
What is the biggest misunderstanding about customer experience, in your opinion?
Businesspeople think every moment of the customer experience is important, but that’s not how the brain works. The experience isn’t important—what customers remember from it is—so it’s important to understand what causes memories. I’ve identified five moments that matter most from a neural perspective: Moments of Connection, Power, Proof, Truth, and WOW! To be optimally successful, we must design and execute our processes to ensure the memories customers actually store create positive, not negative, value associations.
What are some of the newer CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
Being a student of how the brain works, I find technologies that reveal our subconscious selves to be very interesting. Receptiviti.ai is mining the language we use to understand personality traits, physical and psychological health, and even the nature of our relationships. Immersion is using FitBits to measure changes in a heartbeat which is predictive of choices consumers make. Neurons, Inc. is analyzing static images and videos to predict what people will pay attention to. All of these tools can be used to create better CX.
Ed’s tips for improved customer loyalty
What can companies do to improve customer loyalty and retention?
They can, and should, do much more. Customer interactions are important, but a number of studies show that unmet expectations for quality and value along with ease of switching tend to dominate the reasons why customers switch. This means CX isn’t a concern just for customer-facing teams—it’s an enterprise-wide pursuit. The best way to ensure customer loyalty is to design it into products and services in the first place.
What do you think is most relevant and why: CSAT (customer satisfaction score), NPS (net promoter score), or CES (customer effort score)?
In my view, each serves a different purpose. NPS is a simple tracking metric and a place to start for many firms. CSAT is very useful for quantifying and tracking process improvements at specific stages. CES is helpful for projects aimed at simplifying CX designs. I think people ascribe more importance to some of these, but in truth, we must use multiple techniques to understand complex human behaviors in various contexts.
How can companies better use social media in the era of customer-centricity and personalization?
I think companies must pay close attention to how beliefs form, spread, and become widely accepted. Much of what we know about the world comes from what we hear from other people, especially those in our social group and those who we perceive to be in authority. Companies must better understand these dynamics and how to influence widespread beliefs using social media.
What is your opinion on AI-based chatbots to handle customer support?
I’ve run Customer Support teams before, and typically 30-40% of the questions are of the ‘How do I…?” or “Where do I find …?” variety which can be easily addressed with a chatbot. Let machines do the simple, repetitive work, and let the humans do the complex, unique work.
What was the best movie you saw that has come out during this past year?
Sound of Metal.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
I don’t have one favorite, but I think measuring earned trust is often overlooked. People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Trust, unlike other metrics, is highly predictive of customer loyalty, especially when there’s high risk in the decision, but few businesses measure it.