Hi Eloise, tell us about yourself, your background?
I have worked in every aspect of marketing communication for over 21 years. My passions have really been harnessed in employee engagement and customer experience and I love to focus on understanding and fine tuning the fine art and science of the heart and mind of audiences, stakeholders and brands. In the process, I have been fortunate to have impacted major business increased market share, loyalty and demonstrable financial value.
My diverse and distinctive skill set of strategy, innovation and focused execution to the table and has worked across a number of industries including banks (FNB and now African Bank), institutions of higher learning (University of Johannesburg) and oil and gas (Sasol) as well as consulting to a number of blue chip organisations.
My work in employee engagement, and her ability to create compelling people focused strategies and innovations has won her national and international awards including Best Intranet in SA and Best Magazine in the World at the Pearl Awards in New York.
My current role at African Bank is focused on evolving a sales organisation into a customer centric business that allows for the comprehensive application of Customer Experience best practice. In just over a year I have guided African Bank from 4th to 1st in the highly respected SA-csi Customer Satisfaction Survey. This rating also awarded my work with the Service Contact Centre which was ranked best in the industry.
Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?
For me the most important aspect of customer feedback is understanding what problem you are solving or not solving for the customer and fixing it. 2020 highlighted that our customers wanted immediate convenient solutions and even if we could not change something quickly we could assist them by responding quickly and comprehensively to their feedback. Customers are just people who want to build a connection with you. If you are authentic and honest in how you engage with them you will drive brand loyalty and growth.
What is one element that must always be considered when working on a CXM (customer experience management) strategy?
I believe in the power of connection so I always focus on ensuring we keep the needs and wants of the customer first. You cannot develop a strategy that does not make the customers lives better. This means you really have to understand who you are building for as well as creating a deep understanding of your customers internally. All CXM strategies should include employee experience components to enforce the intersection of these two disciplines. No business can be successful without its people working towards the overall goal, you have to consciously take them on the journey with you.
Do you think personalization and customer-centricity are going to become increasingly more relevant in the coming year? How so?
I think customers are going to demand that businesses use their data to connect in a more personalised manner. This goes beyond special offers and deals. It will require all digital and even human interactions to be more authentic and focus on specific issues or concerns that are specific to the individual customer.
What are some of the ways companies can strive to eliminate the CX Gap?
Empower your people to identify the gaps and help them innovate to solve for it. Make the CX gaps everyone’s problem and not just the CX team. I believe strongly in the power of your internal teams. They need to be invested in your success and longevity that is in the hands of your customers.
Listen to your customers and identify the opportunities for improvement this insight gives you. Make it an integral part of your strategy to use insight in all business and product development process.
Make CX a key business pillar that is endorsed and supported by top executives
What’s the most insightful book you read in 2020?
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Well written understanding of what women face and so insightful in challenging your own views. Introspection to guide you in your career and life.
Eloise’s predictions for the future of CX
What are your predictions for trends in customer experience in the coming year?
A greater emphasis on Empathy
Life has changed forever and customers are still dealing with these changes – Be more empathetic in dealing with customers. The brands who get this right will build brand loyalty
UX and CX become more closely associated
As more customers spend increased time online there will be a need to focus on creating tangible positive experiences through UX and design.
Social Conscious positioning and statements
Customers will look to brands to share their positioning about a wide range of political and social issues. There ability to consider you as a personal choice will depend on how businesses navigate this new world.
Focus on People
The global pandemic has changed how employees connect with each other and customers. It is vital that organisations focus on supporting both of these groups in an authentic manner.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
Satisfaction is my favourite metric as it is an immediate and consistent view of products and interactions. Lower scores provide insight into specific incidents and gaps. Good scores illustrate consistent improvement and growth.