Hi Marie, tell us about yourself and your background.
I’ve worked in the retail industry for over 10 years. I discovered the user experience sphere during my first professional experience as a merchandising project manager. Eager to be in charge of omnichannel projects, I decided to work as an IT consultant and develop my technical skills. Then I returned to my first passion, customer and user experience (CX and UX). For me, UX/CX was the keystone between both domains.
Today I work as a UX/CX strategist. My mission is to find the best mix between user/customer needs and business goals. I am still passionate about CX and innovation, and my goal is to invent the future user/customer experience and share this passion around me.
What do you think the top priority should be for a company that wants to improve its customer experience?
For me, the most important point is customer satisfaction.
Don’t think “I sell a product or a service”, “I know exactly what the customer needs and wants deep down”. You should always try to better understand your customers’ needs. The most important thing is to find the little thing that could spark emotions. Companies need to create emotions in order to anchor the best souvenir in the customer’s mind. In this way, they could ensure that the customer wants to revisit and build trust and confidence. It fosters a strong bond between the customer and the company.
As a result, the customer will become a true ambassador for the company.
How can companies better listen and understand their customer base?
It’s important for the company to define its strategy first, to develop a strategic vision in which all employees have to be engaged. That vision has to be accepted and initiated by each employee in the company. Here are some examples: the company can challenge and reward their employees by targeting a high level of NPS and not only the sales performance. Each step in the chain customer value is important, each insight could be the key to a new opportunity.
The company should also choose CX solutions to better understand how online visitors interact with the brand. It’s important to manage the customer feedback that could help the company to well manage and analyze the customer insight.It’s crucial to find the solution that fits their need and their organizational constraints.
In my experience, the most expensive solution or the one with the most features is not necessarily the best one. The best solution could change according to the technical and organisational constraints of the company, their CX goals and their CX maturity. It’s important to take time to find the best solution.
Many companies are currently undergoing digital transformation processes. What are your tips on a successful digital transformation?
Finding the best mix between user/customer and business goals is the key for me.
That seems easy but, in reality, a project failure is often due to a strategy built too fast. Because the most difficult part is to define the real problem, going deeper and analyzing the problem often leads to realizing that it was just the tip of the iceberg. But to achieve this you need methods, tools and time, not too much but just enough to solve the right problems and find the best solution. If the project team hurries, the risk is to find a solution to the wrong problem, which won’t help the company’s business. Then it has to be focused on the added value of each feature and prioritize.
It’s also important to develop an omnichannel way of thinking and design the customer path accordingly. People need to apply a global strategy to be efficient.
It’s a philosophy, deconstructing the existing system to modernize it and optimize all the value chain. double standard is not an option. The service design has to be the center of all attention to succeed in the digital transformation processes. Prioritization is key!
What are some CX companies and solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
All companies are developing solutions to create a 3rd sales channel by turning employees and customers into new digital sales points. But I also follow every solution that aims to break down the barriers between each channel or answer the toughest pain points.
I’m interested in multilingual management systems. Implementation of self-learning artificial intelligence technologies to automate translation, associated with online validation by expert human reviewers, almost in real time. Even if they do not speak the customer’s native language, this allows customer service advisors to respond in a selected language combination to customer messages. This type of solution proposes the best mix between human, technology and augmented agents to improve interactions with worldwide customers.
What are some of your tips for people who want to work in the CX sphere?
They have to be curious about different types of expertises, and they have to be creative and think out of the box. My CX mindset is to think about tomorrow and build this future like an explorer would do. Observe more than speak. And I make sure that when I speak, it’s to share or debate others’ points of view in order to learn a new way of thinking or to go deeper in a given topic. Innovation is born by breaking boundaries: experiment using the test & learn approach. They should not be afraid of the unknown and don’t be afraid to fail because failing is just a way to learn day after day. They should search for answers and ask questions like a child and never say “that’s the only way.” There are always several ways to do something. Creating everyday is a good exercise to train our brain.
So many things changed in 2020. While some things are going to return to “normal,” what are new trends and habits you think will stay with us in the long term?
Humans are very complex and habits depend on several criterias which are unique for each person.
I think we may have gained 2 or 3 years of innovation in terms of usability in France (for example the QR code was dead 7 years ago and now everybody uses it every day. It’s the same for remote work and remote tools since we discovered a new way of working). Today the standard of customers still rises thanks to large digital companies. The best experiences of today will become the standard for the years to come.
But the awareness of climate change and the impact of the way we are consuming is increasing. This will result in the rise of local consumption and a more sustainable economy. Companies need to follow the trend and think differently to meet the new customer’s way of life.
I also think that new technologies like virtual reality (VR) will also increase in the near future. Facebook announced recently a major sales increase of the Oculus Quest and big investments to come. We are at the beginning of a new technological era that companies should follow closely.
eCommerce boomed in 2020, and consumers started leaving more product reviews online. How can we make the most out of this momentum?
Each employee has to understand the importance of product reviews. But it is the management’s responsibility to give them tools and methods to guarantee the best customer experience (process, training, daily management…). This is a prerequisite to develop a CX strategy to engage customers through the use of relevant incentives and encourage them to share their great customer experience online. Insuring the customer commitment at this stage is perhaps the most complicated. The path has to be simple, fast with a clear educational message and explain why it’s so important for the employees to enhance their customer’s experience. Employees should be grateful, thank customers for taking the time to leave a review. Try to answer every request, even with an automatic message. More importantly, employees should always answer negative comments to find a solution to guarantee the customer’s satisfaction . They should choose to have a policy of transparency. The best way is to show their customers that their feedback has been heard and understood by the company by putting actions in place to enhance the customer experience.
What is your favorite CX metric? Why?
That depends on the goals and strategy. It needs to be smart and accurate but also easy to track and follow. Every employee needs to be engaged in the process. The company should keep in mind that the goal is to be able to put real, easy and fast action day after day. It shouldn’t be too specific to keep the number of KPIs low. It should be simple to track and follow every day in order to keep employees motivated.
If I had to choose, I would pick the retention rate and Net Promoter Score (NPS). My UX designer profile also likes the Customer Effort Score (CES) because after aggregating the replies, a high average indicates that your company is making things easy for your customers, to be user centric is one of the keys.
But other metrics are also needed if you want to go further and define the best CX strategy.