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HomeInterviewsCXBuzz Interview With Jay Hollister,Senior Director of CX at Canadian Red Cross

CXBuzz Interview With Jay Hollister,Senior Director of CX at Canadian Red Cross

Hi Jay, tell us about yourself and your background.

I’m Jay Hollister, and I’m a customer-experienced obsessed professional. I started my career in the Business Process Outsourcing space, supporting contact center operations for the financial services sector. I had the opportunity to wear many hats during that career, including as a business analyst, in client relations, in customer experience and loyalty, and in business operations. It was a great way to learn two businesses at once and get experience in B2B, B2C, and B2B2C all at the same time.

My second career, which began in 2014, has been working in the “for purpose” sector as part of the Canadian Red Cross. I have brought over the CX lessons learned into this sector and into this organization, where I am now the Senior Director of Customer Experience overseeing our Donor and Customer Service shops, our Donor Insight and Stewardship function, and our CX marketing (or “un-marketing” if you will).

What is the biggest misunderstanding about customer experience, in your opinion?

The biggest misunderstanding is that customer experience, and customer service are synonyms, where one subsumes the other in a broader methodology. Customer service might start the moment someone calls a contact center or walks into a retail store, but customer experience begins long before that happens in a planned and defined way.

What are some of the newer CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?

I am probably a bad judge in terms of what is new as I am uniquely bad at networking, etc., but it is a buyer’s paradise for CX solutions out there right now. There has been a revolution, and CX practitioners are the beneficiaries. I cannot say enough good things about my partner Zendesk. They have contributed a lot to our CX success. Pointillist, our CX journey partner, is also a game-changer. They have added incredible value to the Red Cross. I am a huge fan of the folks at Qualtrics; they are doing incredible things. I also follow InMoment closely. And I always have time for any group that can have an intelligent conversation about the intersection between CX and behavioral science/economics.

Jay’s tips for improved customer loyalty

What can companies do to improve customer loyalty and retention?

Three simple words: “We heard you.” Put the customer first as you deliver enhancements, improvements, make investments and fix things. Does it matter if only a few customers were asking for something, you were going to do it anyway?  Nope. Does it feel better as a consumer to know that the organization is listening to its most important voices?  Yes. Include the folks who complain and offer feedback in your communications. THANK THEM. They are doing you a favor.

What do you think is most relevant and why: CSAT (customer satisfaction score), NPS (net promoter score), or CES (customer effort score)?

Customer effort score. We are lazy people when we are not working (and rightly so, I could argue). Make it easy on your customer, or they will find someone else who will.

How can companies better use social media in the era of customer-centricity and personalization?

Appeal to the vanity of the average consumer.  The first time I saw “TFTF” (thanks for the follow), I realized I was out of my element as that’s just not part of my personal scorecard. Use social media to know your customer. They are giving you delightful morsels of information for free, and they just can’t help themselves but share more and more. BUT be mindful that there is a massive delta between “digital selves” and “real selves” and trust actual customer behavior over everything else.

What is your opinion on AI-based chatbots to handle customer support?

I am really impressed by my friends at comm100. They turned me into a believer that chatbots could make my CX program and solution better. I have not taken the leap yet, as we have had many other CX priorities to resolve first, but they turned me around on the idea of leveraging AI-based chatbots within well-defined parameters.

What was the best movie you saw that has come out during this past year?

They produced movies during COVID? Weird. I did not notice. Just kidding. I loved “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Aaron Sorkin is the best writer alive.  Check out Mark Kurlansky’s book “1968: The Year That Rocked the World” for more on how that year was a pivot point in American history. Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?

Resolution. Resolution is the right answer always. Resolution drives real satisfaction. Resolution changes behavior. Resolution drives customer protection. Scratch the itch your customers have. The rest is noise.

And my least favorite CX metric is general brand satisfaction. Please stop using this. The only way I can imagine it matters is if the entire world is equally impacted by your brand. As someone who represents one of the most recognized brands in the history of the world, I can assure you we are not.   Congratulating yourselves that non-customers have a slightly better view of your brand than they did last year will move you forward, not an inch.  Spend that money on purchase intent instead.

About the author

Efrat Vulfsons
Efrat Vulfsons
Efrat Vulfsons is the CEO & Co-Founder of PR Soprano and the editor of CXBuzz parallel to her soprano opera singing career. Efrat holds a B.F.A from the Jerusalem Music Academy in Opera Performance.


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