Hi Nick, tell us about yourself, your background?
Hi back! I’m an escaped academic (with a Ph.D. in Francophone Caribbean Literature) who found his way into innovation and insight and discovered a knack for storytelling, creativity, and collaboration. I got into co-creation when it was still a quasi-mystical cult and still try to devote myself to helping brands find better ways to involve customers in the process of improving the experiences they deliver. Today I work across sectors from cruise to coffee and broadband to retail and lead our EMEA CX practice from London.
Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?
One idea I’m feeling quite passionate about is embracing neuro-divergence to create cognitive profiles that allow digital experiences to feel more adaptive (and reduce friction) – taking an inclusive design view of experience without needing to make customers choose. But conversely, also using the new qualitative datasets (social media) and AI technologies to be more tuned in, more creative, and more empathic. Periscope up!
What is one element that must always be considered when working on a CXM (customer experience management) strategy?
How to create a culture that transcends organizational silos – how to make experience everyone’s job.
Do you think personalization and customer-centricity are going to become increasingly more relevant in the coming year? How so?
Joe Pine has named “transformation” as the phase beyond experience, and transformation requires deep personalization. Look at what’s happening in healthcare: new diagnostics, DNA analysis, wearable tech….it’s all person-specific. So yes, I think striving for an n=1 view of experience is becoming possible, with new data capture, storage, and analysis tools.
What I also think is that organizations are entering a phase where they’re no longer competing with their direct peers but in what we call “Arenas” (broader categories like “play”). Being customer-centric as well as person-centric today means being much more sensitive to disruption and how expectations are being driven from outside traditional markets. With the ability, as Rita McGrath calls it, to “see around corners.”
What are some of the ways companies can strive to eliminate the CX Gap?
Use data to better pre-empt and predict issues – get there first. Learn how to design more meaningful relationships based on respect – build goodwill. Create a culture of empathy and constant improvement – stay agile.
What’s the most insightful book you read in 2020?
Like many people, 2020 was a year for deep reflection on race & identity. I loved Akala’s Natives: Race & Class in the Ruins of Empire…it’s a simple and thought-provoking reminder of the hidden and less hidden prejudices inherent in British society.
Nick’s predictions for the future of CX
What are your predictions for trends in customer experience in the coming year?
I think brands post-COVID are all facing up to the reality of a connected physical-digital and hygiene-focused world, whether that’s new delivery services, virtual healthcare, learning and shopping, mode switching in customer service, and a reimagination of physical retail.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
It’s our own CX “Maturity Model” measure, which uses a basket of 10 behaviors to assign one of 4 levels of relationship from Captive to Synergistic.