Hi Kevin, tell us about yourself and your background.
I’m strategy director for our B2B marketing agency, where I help clients attract, acquire and retain customers to achieve their growth ambitions. I’m also seconded as part-time Marketing Director to the board of Cornish Mutual, a farming insurance provider.
I started my career back in the early ’90s with a retail design agency, developing interactive kiosks and giving Marks & Spencers and Thomas Cook their first-ever websites, so although I’m long in the tooth now, I consider myself a digital native as I’ve been there since the beginning! Since then, I’ve worked in a number of marketing agencies, including Wonderman and AGENCY.COM, and worked client-side for tech startups in the UK and USA. I sit on the regional board of the Data Marketing Association and am the named inventor on a behavioral tracking patent. In my spare time, I run a progressive house music record label.
What is the biggest misunderstanding about customer experience, in your opinion?
Discounts and low prices create loyalty. They have their place, of course, but tend to attract promiscuous customers who hunt out bargains wherever they can find them. By all means, include them in the mix, but if this is your only tactic, then you’re probably at the mercy of your dumbest competitor.
What are some of the newer CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
I like what I’ve seen of Acquia’s customer experience platform. Our agency has an open-source development team, and the solution is comprehensive.
I also like the Remesh research platform. It enables qualitative research at a quantitative scale, using AI to analyze sentiments and trends in real-time, so the questioning becomes conversational.
What can companies do to improve customer loyalty and retention?
I believe a strong sense of purpose that binds what you do to the desires and needs of your customer community creates the best framework for great CX strategies. It helps expand your thinking beyond the nuts and bolts of your transactional relationship into other areas where you can tangibly add differentiated value.
What do you think is most relevant and why: CSAT (customer satisfaction score), NPS (net promoter score), or CES (customer effort score)?
They’re all relevant, serving different purposes. NPS for a broad satisfaction view, CSAT, and CES for tactical measures of individual transactional interactions. However, the popularity of CSAT and CES is a strong indication that a lot of the community are still focused on the transactional service elements of the experience. Broadening your view of the experience to re-enforce your purpose adds value and creates stronger bonds
How can companies better use social media in the era of customer-centricity and personalization?
Sorry to bang on about purpose, but it takes social media to another level. As an example, at Cornish Mutual, our purpose is to protect the future of farming. This enables us to elevate our conversation above risks & safety (pretty dry subjects!) into succession, agri-tech, rural crime, changes in legislation and subsidies, and a whole host of other subjects. We’ve connected with partners in the community, from lawyers and emergency services to retailers and academics, all of whom contribute to our content and share with their respective audiences.
What is your opinion on AI-based chatbots to handle customer support?
The jury’s out on that one. I have friends in the AI ethics field who have a lot to say about it.
What was the best movie you saw that has come out during this past year?
I loved the Peanut Butter Falcon. A lovely, authentic, life-affirming movie about a boy with Down’s syndrome who dreams of being a wrestler.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
I don’t have a favorite. I try and triangulate as many different reference points as possible. NPS is generally understood by the C suite, so it’s OK to use it as a blunt board-level measure of progress, I guess.