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Home Interviews CXBuzz Interview With Jessica Kinghorn, Member Experience Director at YPO

CXBuzz Interview With Jessica Kinghorn, Member Experience Director at YPO

Hi Jessica, tell us about yourself and your background and how you got to the CX space?
I am the Member Experience Director for YPO. We are a learning and networking organization for 30,000 CEOs. Several years ago I was working in engagement, beginning to work on some exciting projects in research and product. As I was working on the development of an app for our organization, representing the customer from the business side, a lightbulb went off. This is what I want to do! I started researching and learned about customer experience – it was clear this was my thing.

I applied for the CCXP and took a CX course with CX University that I truly enjoyed. I’d done this before for my PMP certification, but I loved this work so much more. After obtaining the CCXP, I shared the news with my CEO. Not long after I was asked to lead a customer satisfaction effort. And a few years after that I was promoted to Member Experience Director.

Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?

I wrote a blogpost on customer reviews for the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA). My interviewee, Steve Pearson, CEO at Friendemic, shared that indeed, review exploration and response must be a part of your CX strategy. As he says, companies pay tons of money for feedback that’s right there “in your face”. What he’s saying is, pay attention to your negative reviews.

That’s where the people go first. As a consumer, I do just that. Sure, I look at the positive responses, but then I balance it with the negative ones. Just the other day I decided not to buy a product because of the negative reviews. It’s what the review says, and also how the company responds, that matters.

In your POV – What is the ultimate checklist for a good customer experience strategy?

I could write out a list for you here, but I’m sure others have already done that on CX Buzz. Instead, I’ll just say that a strategy only matters if you have executive support and a plan of action. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter what you put in the strategy.

How much has the role of customer experience changed in the social distancing era – what role digital transformation has in this crisis?

We’re a global organization, so our members are used to engaging virtually. However, not that used to it. The power of the network also lies in sitting together over a cup of coffee or cocktail. It lies in having experiences together in person. Through customer experience, we’ve been able to focus more deeply and consistently on listening to our members and what they need from our virtual experiences. We’ve gone online, but that hasn’t stopped us from listening – in fact, I think this crisis has caused us to listen more, listen more intently and act.

What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2020?

Connection is key – with your friends, family, and colleagues. Even if you can’t meet in person, making the effort to connect is what will get you through. I am lucky enough to work for a global organization where the majority of our team is remote. We already had many of the skills you need to connect when you can’t be together. But, believe me, I can’t wait to be together again!

2020 was the year of webinars and online events; what was your favorite one

Actually, it was a 15-minute TED.com recording from 2014 – Mark Ronson: How Sampling Transformed Music. He talked about how sampling music allows you to take something you love and be part of it once again, as something completely new. Around the time I listened to it I was doing a visioning session for my organization and it was a perfect segue – how do you take the pieces and parts of something that you love and transform it? Perfect timing!

It looks like working from home is going to stay with us for the foreseeable future. How should Executives gear up to the changing times?

Embrace it! As mentioned earlier, our organization has worked from home offices for a long time and we are productive, connected, creative, and innovative. I suggest to executives that they might want to get excited about opening up their hiring pool to a much broader audience. Yes, this causes challenges for HR, taxes, etc. but it is worth it! What you get is a diverse, committed, and talented team. Sure, there will be some who are not a fit, but that will become quickly evident. I do suggest that, even if your team is remote, to get them together in person every once in a while. That in-person connection lays the foundation for a remote team.

Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?

Dare I say it, it’s our own custom metric. While I appreciate other tried and true metrics, like the NPS and CSAT options, our custom metric has helped us narrow down on what we want to measure – relevance. It comes with the same challenges as any CX metric, but we have found it to be quite actionable.

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