Hi Erica, tell us about yourself, your background?
I joined Brandshare in January 2020 as the Beauty Director on the CX and Loyalty Team. Thrilled for this opportunity, I was able to combine my passion for beauty and curiosity for consumer behavior. Prior to my time at Brandshare, I have also been able to explore these two interests in the beauty subscription space and experience and retail design. I have an MBA in Marketing and B.S. in Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University’s 3 Year Honors Program (Class of 2012).
Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?
While the goal is to generate as many four-to-five-star ratings, often the greatest insight can come from reviews with one-to-two stars. Customers share their pain points and provide informative feedback on where there is friction in their experience. It is essential to listen to the customer to uncover what they are looking for in their relationship with a brand. Utilizing consumer feedback allows us to optimize the overall journey to drive greater levels of customer satisfaction, repeat purchase, and increased customer lifetime value.
What is one element that must always be considered when working on a CXM (customer experience management) strategy?
Always bring it back to the totality of what the customer is experiencing, and be sure that each element of your strategy layers into creating your brand. An idea for a CX execution may seem really cool and trendy, but if it does not align with your brand values or goals, it may not be the right thing for you or your customer. A previous manager taught me the smash test, which is one of my favorite exercises when trying to understand if something is a fit. Imagine your brand is a pane of glass, and then you take a hammer to it – all the pieces being your communications, products, events would scatter. Now the question is, will your customer recognize each fragment as yours? If the CX execution doesn’t look like you, go back to the drawing board and figure out how to make it so.
Do you think personalization and customer-centricity are going to become increasingly more relevant in the coming year? How so?
Certainly! With the amount of data collected on today’s consumers, the expectation is not only to know them but to anticipate and fulfill their needs. When it comes to beauty, personalization is an attractive attribute. We see this in the continued growth of subscription boxes that provide curated products and in the launch of brands such as Prose, Hers, Rory, and Curology, who provide custom formulas based on the customer’s needs. Today’s consumer is looking for a 1:1 relationship; it is less about “what is everybody else getting?” and more so, “what is the right thing for ME?”
What are some of the ways companies can strive to eliminate the CX Gap?
Companies can do this by first finding the gap! Deep dive into who your customer is, develop their personas, and follow the 360-degree journey. Then unpack it and ask yourself: Where do they fall off? Where is the friction? Where is there repetition? The key to identify those moments and create strategies that deliver satisfaction and ease.
What’s the most insightful book you read in 2020?
The School of Life, Alain de Botton
Erica’s predictions for the future of CX
What are your predictions for trends in customer experience in the coming year?
While there are likely many out there, my top three are:
- Continued hyper-focus on customization; consumers will continue to invest in products and experiences that are made just for them.
- Pay your way; we will see more brands and companies offering more varieties in how customer’s pay. It is no longer just credit cards, but Venmo, Klarna, and other buy now, pay later services.
- Customer Service to Conversational Commerce; with the growing expectation for customer care, we will see companies flip these systems into sales agents by encouraging customers to continue service by touting USPs or providing recommendations for a substitute service so as not to lose the customer entirely as an example.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
I’d have to say – Customer Lifetime Value.