Hi Patty, tell us about yourself and your background and how you got to the CX space?
Customer Experience is one of the most exciting things about the business. Done correctly, it builds sustainable, long-term growth and profitability.
I fell into it over 30 years ago when I started in retail and have hung on it ever since. There are many factors about the business that you cannot control, but the customer experience directly controls the company. Most leaders are control freaks, so hold on to the things you can directly control – CX and EX. I am part of that group. When things were spinning out of control, it grounded me to know this and let go of what I could not control.
I figured out that by creating relationships with my customer that not only would they come back, but that they would bring others. I held on to this through my lengthy career (almost three decades) in retail and now use it to help businesses move past plateaus, launch, and grow.
Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?
Like any data, the online reviews are only as good as what the company decides to do with them. Amazon has become not only a place to shop but a place where the consumer goes to look at reviews then decides to purchase. An organization needs to understand the voice of the customer to make this effective, then share feedback with the organization.
In your POV – What is the ultimate checklist for a good customer experience strategy?
How is the CX strategy going to help the company achieve its goals? There are many components to CX, and the company needs to determine what it needs.
Would it be more beneficial to add customers, grow current customers or retain clients? Does the company want all three? Always start with the end in mind and work backward.
Then begin to build the strategy. Every part of the company needs to be involved in this CX strategy, and each employee needs to succinctly understand their role. Use a bottom-up approach to attain feedback and get ownership from the teams.
How much has customer experience changed in the social distancing era – what role has a digital transformation in this crisis?
Digital is continuing to grow, and this was in place before the pandemic; everything has sped up with this. While using tech to reach your customers, it is important to remember that most consumers like the human touch. According to Forbes, 72% of Gen Z’s want the human connection more than tech.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2020?
It truly all starts and ends with the customer. Without a customer, there is no business. Early in the pandemic, I advised my clients to reach out to their customers, have an ongoing communication plan, be honest and transparent with them on what is important to them.
The year of webinars
2020 was the year of webinars and online events; what was your favorite one?
There are so many of them that I attended in the last year. I would say that the series from Total Retail was fascinating. They had female executives in retail sharing what they were doing and how they were handling the pandemic. One of my biggest takeaways was listening to the CEO of Bare Minerals talk about how she reaches out to individual customers every Friday. This sets the tone for the organization and really advocates for the Voice of the Customer.
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?
There is no such thing as overcommunication. Team members feel disconnected when working from home, and they need to be tied to the organization, mission, and objectives. CX starts with employee engagement, and you cannot have a successful CX program without employee engagement.
Lastly, have humor in all of this. Make fun of all that is going on, laugh, and be honest that this has not been easy on anyone. Few remember what you said, but all remember what you did and how it made them feel. Spread joy!