Some background about Iain Fisher:
Iain has been in consulting and advisory for nearly 20 years, previously having spent time as a pilot trainee, medical student, and actuary. Having worked across the globe delivering some high-profile and complex programs for which he and his teams have won awards, Iain joined ISG as a Director in 2019 where he is now the global lead for post-pandemic future of work strategy and digital agility where joined-up operations are crucial for success.
A thought leader in the post-COVID-19 future of work area, he leads ISG’s Solutions Team and Collaboration & Customer Experience Solution Centre. Responsible for digital agility, customer experience, and the future of work strategies, Fisher works with enterprise organizations and technology providers to champion the change in a customer-focused delivery of services and solutions in challenging situations. Fisher is also a published author, prominent keynote speaker on the subject, and prominent blogger on the customer experience.
Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?
Ecommerce boomed in 2020 mainly because this was, in some cases, the sole route to market for many. Brands moved the experience from “know what I need” to “know who I am” and used data to personalize AND humanize the experience they offered. The world became a caring and supportive place once again as it was ravaged by COVID-19. Ethical and conscientious consumerism offers became more frequent, which made clear the offer was about green, inclusive and conscientious support for ourselves. Taking the data captured on employee use, purchases, and reviews of that service tell companies a lot about the individual, their motives, what drives them and what is important to them. So only by better data analysis of a customer can an organization truly “know who I am and what is important to me.” Those who offer that level of personalization along with the simplest of services will rule.
What is one element that must always be considered when working on a CXM (customer experience management) strategy?
When companies think about CX and its management, they typically think from the service and look out for its consumption. They forget to look in and build an end-to-end experience that spans all customer entry points and also that there are two customers in this equation. The end customer is king, BUT your employees are still customers of your internal systems and services. They are the touchpoints with your external customer, and so are a customer and a supplier of customer service. Most organizations I speak with forget to think of this and design an external CX that seems cool but is a complicated and difficult beast to manage. This annoys employees or dampens the spirit, which reduces the customer service or experience given when a customer interacts with them. That weak point created negative perception, which reduces CX. So, in designing a better CX, hire people who believe what you believe and are passionate about it. Give them the internal experience which they can influence when they detect changes in CX behavior and enable them to create the CX 2.0. Organizations who think end to end are disruptors.
Do you think personalization and customer-centricity are going to become increasingly more relevant in the coming year? How so?
With the advent of online booking and other covid centric delivery models – at least for the short term, an opportunity to drive personalization exists that never did before. Customers want a simple, personal experience that makes them feel good about themselves and their interaction. As I mentioned about, if you stand for something and you can offer that service over a number of channels in a way that connects at a personal level, you have created a loyal customer who will be your biggest proponent. This is where the use of influencers come in who need to be targeted to attract those who think the same as they do – or aspire to – to drive your marketing spend in CX. Personalization mixed with familiarity and a sense of connectedness comes from knowing all about your customer to align them with the right products and services. Human nature and the dopamine effect then take over. A watch out, however, is the increasing issue with the sale and resale of personalized data. Platforms are being developed where people have the right to make money off the data you hold, which creates passive income. This new disruptive tech may be the next shift in personalization of CX.
What are some of the ways companies can strive to eliminate the CX Gap?
Build-in digital agility, which requires organizations to think end to end and involve tech partners to analyze, learn, design, and implement more personalized, more simplistic methods of consumption. Brands need to focus on one thing and be famous for it. They need to know WHY people buy their product or service and HOW they buy it – you’d be surprised how many don’t know the details on this.
What’s the most insightful book you read in 2020?
Other than my own one, which I have been publishing for free at I would say it is a 2019 book by Brian Solis called “Life Scale.” Reading that for me created what I call PX – Personal Xperience. It is about understanding and resisting becoming digital addicts and the sources of distraction in your life caused by tech. Ironic as it could be described as the inverse of what CX is trying to achieve – by getting you on to a service or app more. This is about quality over quantity and making your CX personal, why I call it PX!
Iain’s predictions for the future of CX
What are your predictions for trends in customer experience in the coming year?
- Data use – find new ways of analyzing data and cross-correlation with as yet un-measured metrics like social responsibility, empathy of subject, method of use by getting sensor data on the device, location of use, etc. A better analysis provides a more untapped experience.
- Seamless contact methods – changes to contact centers and social channels which offer a more personalized approach through the use of cognitive tech and NLP.
- Future delivery models in a post-pandemic world – use of physical assets will change with retail and offices being reconfigured. This is an opportunity to redesign the CX end to end.
- Deeper personalization (without being creepy) – as mentioned above, new responsible but personal data capture methods, which stay on the right side of GDPR, etc., will provide better insight without being badged as intrusive.
- Empathy – take time with customers. Stop counting minutes in a call center and listen. A more engaged customer is a better and happier, and more profitable customer.
- Passive income generation – customers share in the monetization of their data.
- Conscientious retention schemes – more environmentally and ethically focused programs which promote green and inclusive agendas will lead the way to keep customers on board with what they have become vocal about
- Self-solve – provide customers with the ability to self-solve issues through the use of social channels, crowd support, and get real-time support when they experience a low CX point.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
Customer Churn rate – CCR is a great metric to help reduce the cost of customer acquisition. It tells us how many customers have stopped using your products or services, which is an issue as it costs money to acquire new customers. It can be 500% more costly to acquire a new customer than keep an existing one. This number helps you save money! The idea that you create the best experience for the least money is the first step to CX, then you can spend money to enhance it. For me, this is the Lean startup version of CX to get to a minimum viable product.