Before we start, here’s some background about Laura:
Laura began her 25+ year career in sales and had the great fortune of working across functions spanning customer relationship management, strategic and product marketing, analytics, and marketing operations. Today she is at the helm of VisionEdge Marketing, founded in 1999, and is recognized as one of the pioneers in MPM). She received a patent for the Accelance® methodology designed to connect activities and investment to business results. She has published four books, with the recent “Fast-Track Your Business: A Customer-Centric Approach to Accelerate Market Growth” receiving industry acclaim. Laura is frequently asked to speak and facilitate workshops for educational institutions, associations, and company meetings. Martechexec selected Laura as one of the top 50 women in marketing technology. Laura is honored to be among the Top 20 Women in Business, according to the Sales Lead Management Association. Engagio (now DemandBase) identified Laura among the top Marketing Operations leaders to know.
What is the biggest misunderstanding about customer experience, in your opinion?
A number of years ago, Bain and Company published the results of a survey conducted across a variety of industries. Their report illustrates a classic (and massive) customer experience disconnect. A full 80% of the firms surveyed believed that they delivered a “superior experience” to their customers. Only 8% believed that these companies delivered a superior experience. CX requires a company to be customer-centric in all aspects of the business, with every member of the organization understanding that customers are the first priority. CX extends beyond Customer Service/Customer Success/Technical Support functions; it permeates every customer touchpoint. Every touchpoint serves as a moment of truth. This is why having a map of the customer experience is essential.
What are some of the newer CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
I prefer people make sure they have their processes in place and the people trained before they start investing in solutions/platforms. Many CX solutions were designed with the call center/help center or the website experience in mind. These are valuable but only address one piece of the customer experience. If CX is a key focus for your company, consider having everyone on your team go through CX training. I believe well-trained people with a CX mindset make all the difference.
What can companies do to improve loyalty and retention?
Fostering a superior customer experience and retaining customers for the long haul requires companies to empower employees to own a moment of truth. How an employee handles moments of truth has a huge impact on customer satisfaction, retention, and advocacy. Any C-level executive who cares about customer experience and its impact on customer acquisition and retention needs to operationalize moments of truth. What does this mean? It means you need to design business processes to anticipate various customer interactions and events.
What do you think is most relevant and why: CSAT (customer satisfaction score), NPS (net promoter score), or CES (customer effort score)?
I’d say a customer relationship strength score is better than any of these options. Customer-centric companies need a metric that measures customer relationship strength. RSx is one way to measure customer relationship strength. You can apply the concept of RSx to any important relationship such as customers, employees, and channel partners. RSx enables an organization to identify the areas in which a firm needs to improve relationships with partners, customers, or employees.
How can companies better use social media in the era of customer-centricity and personalization?
The benefit of social media is in Listening to what your customers, partners, and influencers “say.” This provides an additional data point in very human unfiltered terms/language to identify opportunities for improvement and growth and areas where you have a sustainable competitive advantage.
What is your opinion on AI-based chatbots to handle customer support?
Chatbots are good to keep the light on and are for answering some of the most common general questions and some FAQs. They do not replace people and serve as a catalyst to a human-to-human interaction.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
Customer Lifetime Value. Without customers, there is no business. Therefore, customers are a company’s most valuable asset. The longer a customer is a customer, the more valuable that customer is and the more value that customer creates both in terms of real revenue and hopefully referrals. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is a measure that reflects the value of the customer over the customer’s life cycle. CLV represents the value of your organization’s relationship with the customer. CLV helps you determine in which existing customers to invest and which types/profiles of customers produce the highest CLV.