Hi Imre, tell us about yourself and your background.
Hi. First of all, it’s a great pleasure to be interviewed. Thank you for having me here.
My career as a CX/UX designer started back at university. I did a chemistry degree, and the software used in chemistry labs excited me in this sense – the only memory I have is about the awful experience. I became more and more interested in HCI and psychology until I made this my profession.
I strongly believe in a data-driven approach and data-driven decisions, and so I built my career around psychology, data, and workshop facilitation. The same goes for my business, a small design studio – Kiquix – headquartered on the sunny island of Malta.
How did you first start working in the CX space?
I had my first job in the design field in 2006, when I was training as Professional Designer. Thanks to design school, I had the opportunity to intern at a very smart and fast growing startup. I was mainly involved in projects for the 2 biggest clients, but not yet fully as an experience designer. After finishing the internship, I moved to Canterbury to improve my English skills and had the opportunity to work for an eCommerce company selling Italian imported products in Ireland. Moka Wine and Spirits eCommerce was my first ever experience with CX design. Looking back on this project, I was so young and inexperienced that it gave me a whole new perspective on “customer pain points”.
What are some of the common misunderstandings related to customer experience?
As far as I know, there is an assumption that a customer service department is synonymous with getting Customer Experience right. That’s a misconception. Customer Experience is a huge umbrella that encompasses so many areas, and its touchpoints range from the search and discovery phase to the after-sales phase. This includes acquisition, user experience, pre-sales and post-sales customer service.
Have you noticed any interesting new trends in eCommerce this year?
I am watching the boom of eCommerce adding cryptocurrencies to their payment methods. I find that very interesting, and I think cryptocurrencies can be a real alternative for payments in a regulated framework.
eCommerce boomed in 2020, and consumers started leaving more product reviews online. How can we make the most out of this momentum?
Reviews are a great opportunity for innovation. I am a big fan of being 100% transparent with your customers. That’s why all my strategies involve managing reviews, starting with asking every customer to leave a review, regardless of whether the review is good or bad. Bad reviews help us identify issues that we did not think of during the design process or that simply did not occur during testing. My advice is to maintain a high level of transparency, be humble and admit mistakes, ask customers about bad reviews that are demonstrably not legitimate, and respond to each and every review, good or bad.
What are some CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
Any company that offers solutions like Zalando, where a user can buy something and exchange it for free if it does not suit them. I think we are moving in a direction where we are going to buy less and less physically unless you really like it or there are things you can not buy online. These days it’s pretty much impossible not to find something online. Beyond that, I see great opportunities to augment User Interfaces with AI based on customer preferences. Customization is one of the most powerful tools we have in hands and can literally be a game-changer for customer experience and more.
So many things changed in 2020. While some things are going to return to “normal,” what are new trends and habits you think will stay with us in the long term?
I think we are going to have a new normal, which includes only being able to work remotely. I think this pandemic has shown the importance of a good work-life balance, and I am 100% sure that everyone who can will continue to work remotely. This will present us with new challenges, but it will also open up new opportunities.
Do you believe focus groups are still relevant in the era of eCommerce? Why?
I do not believe in focus groups. I have always thought they were a very poor way to evaluate the value proposition or market interest in a particular product. It’s too easy for someone in the group to have a very strong opinion and attitude, which can affect the results of the study. Someone once told me, “If you are convinced of your point of view in a focus group, you can convince everyone else that the sky is not blue.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
You can not really call it a metric, but if your product experience is so good that it triggers word of mouth, that’s my favorite metric.