Hi Jaime, tell us about yourself and your background.
I have 3 passions: my family, outdoor sports, and innovation. I was born and raised in Madrid, where I completed my studies and started my professional career. Currently, I live in Amsterdam with my family, and where I enjoy, as much as I can, one of my favorite sports, cycling.
I think I have a very interesting profile because although my background is in Computer Science, I developed my career on the business side (also I completed my studies with different masters and courses in Marketing, innovation, and I’m certified in Customer experience by Forrester).
All this experience helped me to understand how to apply technology to the business in an innovative way, making it more efficient and making a bigger impact. I am a strong believer in first understanding the business needs to define a strategy and using the technology as an enabler to address these needs.
This is a very powerful combination. If we look the more successful companies are acting in a similar way (I try to read a lot of business, marketing, innovation and management books to get inspiration) I love to work in multicultural and multinational teams, leveraging all the creativity in the team and ensuring we provide the best customer experience possible,
What is the biggest misunderstanding about customer experience, in your opinion?
I’d say there are two. The first one is the misconception that CX is something that only the marketing team should take care of. The customer experience is a very broad area, and it should be strategic and company wide.
The CX should be embedded in anything that an organization does. As a reference we can check any of the real customer-center companies, to understand that this is more than marketing, it is crossfuntional and should be a culture, not a team. The second misunderstanding is, probably related to this previous point, that the CX is something external, only customer facing.
Any organization should be customer first, no doubt, but should be employee-center too. There is no better advocate of your brand than the employees. This is why organizations should think in the employees in other important stakeholders in terms of CX
What are some of the newer CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
This space is changing a lot. It is very interesting to see how martech and adtech grow in the last decade. There are different solutions out in the marketing with different
functionalities and pros/cons. Of course, it depends on the maturity of the organization, and how the CX is reflected in the corporate strategy (this is a pivotal point). One of the recurrent topics I see in this space is about personalization (in order to provide a correct CX).
One of the main challenges is the reconciliation of IDs (due the omnichannel strategies a users can have different ids such email, phone, different browsers, apps,..) and having a single source of truth is vital. Solutions like the CDP will boost the CX and will enable real personalization. The other solutions are the real time marketing automation tools. Consumers are mobile first, and want everything on the same instant that is requested (Uber, Netflix,..). Companies with the ability to response in real time will succeed
What can companies do to improve customer loyalty and retention?
I think all comes down to vision and strategy. What is the organization’s vision? What they really want to do and this is reflected in how they interact with their consumers. Customer loyalty and retention are consequences of a very good job done in the value proposition. Of course, these elements (loyalty and retention) required effort and work. Few organizations have metrics around this, and as the quote said, if you can not measure it you can not manage it.
There is nothing more important for loyalty than knowing our customers, and this requires a unified source of information, the single source of truth, that contains all the info, interactions and valuable information about our customers. Therefore the importance of the CRM in this space, and why these systems should be integrated, connected with the rest of the organization. The other important element is to treat your customers as unique individuals. I’m not talking only about personalization, but of course to interact with them, and not treat them as records in the system only.
What do you think is most relevant and why: CSAT (customer satisfaction score), NPS (net promoter score), or CES (customer effort score)?
These are all important, and in order to be relevant should be actionable. Why are we measuring this, as an organization, and what are we doing about this? There is a very good book called” The ultimate question” that talks about this. What is the relevance of a metric, if we don’t use it to improve our business?. Or even worse, what is the relevance of a metric, if we use them to populate scorecards for the leadership, and numbers reflect only what we want to show and not the reality?.
All these metrics have their limitations, pros and cons, therefore I’m a big fan of the combination of metrics in order to have all the angles. We should avoid the paralysis by analysis, so select KPIS that we can track, we can turn data into actions and do it in a continuous improvement model (iterations)
How can companies better use social media in the era of customer-centricity and personalization?
I’m very intrigued about the future of social media. Some of these platforms are in a serious crisis due lack of trust, due the data management they are doing and the impact on privacy. I think we are going to see a big change in this space.
Anyway, social media represents a big leap in the customer experience. In some cases, it’s not only easier to contact and interact with certain organizations using these platforms, but also faster. The organizations that are embracing a real omnichannel strategy are performing better, the customers are happier and this brings more advocacy. The key is to understand what is the goal of each platform, and have an omnichannel strategy that coordinates all the efforts.
The benefit of social media is that it brings closer relationships with consumers, and can interact faster and more often. Have the tools and resources to manage these platform, in a coordinate way will be crucial
What is your opinion on AI-based chatbots to handle customer support?
We should look at this from two different angles.
- The customers. The communication patterns have changed a lot in the last decade. All the reports from different consultancies describe an increase in the use of social media, and digital channels instead of phones for example. The phone was one of the more common methods to interact with an organization, and we all had very bad experiences waiting to be connected with an agent to solve a problem. This is why chatbots can help a lot. Not only are the users more comfortable as they can intectd (even outside of office hours) but also because they can get the info they need in a faster manner.
- The efficiencies we can create internally in the organization. If we implement a chatbot strategy, we can free up the time of the agents, and dedicate them to the more difficult topics/questions where users really need the interaction with a human. In this case, this will impact again in a better CX, because the agent or the assigned expert can invest more time with the user, in order to support properly.
What was the best movie you saw that has come out during this past year?
The movie that I watched recently and really moves me is Campeones. This spanish film is not the newest one (2018) and not a worldwide blockbuster. It is about a basketball team of adolescents with different disabilities and their new coach. He came from the professional sport, and his struggles with this new team .
The movie describes very well the big problem we have as a society in very important topics like inclusion and diversity, and how important it is. Related to all the above points, CX is very related to innovation, and innovation required creativity and diversity
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
It is not easy to say. I like to combine different metrics to check the CX improvement through different lenses. Probably I’d select a KPI related to the engagement with the customer. Something that helps me to understand how engaged this customer is with my organization. If we think in the subscription business model this can be represented by the attrition.
Happy customers trust you and grow with you. In different business models, it is needed to think about how to measure it. In a digital world, it was common to measure it based on interaction with the customer, or operational metrics like the open, click through,… This will change a lot with the new privacy policies.