Hi Lars, tell us about yourself and your background and how you got to the CX space?
I would describe myself as a customer service enthusiast. My vocation is to help all parties in a company understand their relationship with customers and that they care about the heart of the customer and not so much about the Customer’s wallet. For this, you have to be sure about the way you treat your customers. But as well, you have to question the way a company treats the people whose job it is to take care of these customers. In other words, you have to treat employees, as well as vendors and subcontractors, and partners. In that way, you want to treat your customer. This is not as simple as it might seem, and I strongly believe that NPS is not just to measure customer satisfaction; it is far more the way of doing business. So, we are talking about the way you turn a happy customer into a loyal customer.
Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers' experience?
The voice of the customer is by far the most important task of the customer experience job at all. At one point, we are losing the f2f interaction with customers during 2020, but we gain a huge number of interactions’ with the online customers on the other side.
Lars’ checklist for CX strategy
In your POV – What is the ultimate checklist for a good customer experience strategy?
If you have a clear Voice of Customer (VOC) Management in place, then automatically, your customer’s feedback will write your checklist for a good customer experience. The customers always tell you what needs to be done – the only question is, do you really listen?
In fact, a permanently high customer experience means hard and very systematic work throughout the entire company. It is work on the mindset of all employees, on the brand, the products, and the processes. This work hurts most of the time because you learn a lot about yourself, your company, and your customers.
How much has customer experience changed in the social distancing era – what role has digital transformation in this crisis?
Of course, we no longer have any feedback from retailers’ channels at this time, and therefore we have to listen more to what customers write online. However, we are now also talking to customers online who previously tended to stay away from that online channel.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2020?
Unthinkable things were suddenly all possible in 2020, and customer loyalty does more than pays off, especially in times of such a crisis. Honestly, I was thrilled by the way all employees and partners adapt to the new normal in business.
2020 was the year of webinars and online events; what was your favorite one?
I don't want to name anyone in particular because they all did a great job, but for all the technical sophistication, I missed the personal interaction and the chance meetings that were always part of offline seminars in the past.
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?
If we agree that Customer Satisfaction starts with employee satisfaction, this is a major topic. We have seen that all parties find their way to deal with the home office, but how to not lose the connection to the employees and guide them to keep track of a company’s vision might be the topic for the Executives in the near future.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
The Customer effort score (CES) in combination with NPS and a closed-loop process is my favorite approach for CX metrics.