Hi Stan, tell us about yourself and your background.
Starting my professional career as an IT consultant, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a diverse range of organizations of all shapes and sizes. These experiences gave me the chance to gain perspective on how technology can help bring real business outcomes.
As I progressed and moved on through various leadership roles, I quickly realized that delivering digital services with the customer at the center can be a huge value generator. Later attaining the CCXP certification helped me to formalize my thinking around CX. Now, as CIO in my current organization, the CX approach and mindset is something that is instilled in everything we do.
What is the biggest misunderstanding about customer experience, in your opinion?
CX is not a once-and-done effort but an iterative journey where one must build on success and adjust course as needed based on the changing landscape of the organization. Additionally, weaving CX principles into the DNA of the organization is essential. In my current work, CX is one of the key pillars of successfully delivering digital transformation. The paradigm is based on one single principle; Bring the customer on the transformation journey and put them in the center of all we do on an ongoing basis.
What are some of the newer CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
ZenDesk is something that we’re considering in the space of service desk customer experience. From a broader perspective, we continue to look at platforms that help us observe and optimize our customer’s journey.
What can companies do to improve customer loyalty and retention?
Build a solid relationship with your customers. Connect with your customers, get to know them, and find ways to make their lives better. Learn about them to gain understanding and ultimately find ways to improve the customer journey. Run customer journey mapping exercises that can be fun and insightful. It’s an easy way to help identify where opportunities exist. Lastly, actively seek out feedback and learn to thrive on it.
What do you think is most relevant and why: CSAT (customer satisfaction score), NPS (net promoter score), or CES (customer effort score)?
My impression is each has their use. CSAT might give you a short-term pulse on overall satisfaction, NPS and CES provide another dimension that can help reflect loyalty. From personal experience, CES can be useful to highlight derailers respective to the customer journey; however, it should be taken with a pinch of salt and balanced with other metrics.
How can companies better use social media in the era of customer-centricity and personalization?
Fundamentally, people go to social media to feel connected and/or find something they need. Organizations can better use social media platforms to:
- Deliver something of value relative to their business.
- Show their human side and.
- Actively connect in dialog with customers while giving customers a sense of community.
By following these principles, organizations can establish relationships with customers and build enduring connections.
What is your opinion on AI-based chatbots to handle customer support?
AI has come a long way in terms of being leveraged across many real-world applications. AI especially excels in narrow and repetitive tasks, where a lot of clean data is available to train models. Conversely, where tasks and data points are less defined, AI’s value is less certain.
I believe AI’s role in customer service is in supporting and augmenting humans. In the context of a call center, AI can help empower people to work more efficiently and reduce errors. For example, building correlations between callers and presenting them to call center specialists who can then use this information to deliver better service. When used in this supportive and limited way, AI can be helpful. From personal experience, I have yet to have a smooth chatbot-only customer experience. As AI advances and develops, chatbots will improve over time.
What was the best movie you saw that has come out during this past year?
Having young children, I honestly can’t remember the last movie we watched, which wasn’t animated. That said, I’d go with Mr. Peabody & Sherman.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
That’s a tough one, but if I had to choose its Net Promoter Score.