Discover more from DCX - Perspectives and Insights on Digital CX
#70 | DCX - Perspectives and insights on digital customer experience
Storytelling gives our data a soul; Activating Impact: The Critical Second Stage of CX Leadership; DCX Poll: Investments; Links to Industry news and the DCX Thought Leader Profile of the Week
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"Storytelling gives our data a soul.” - An interview with Zack Hamilton
I am excited to share my conversation with Zack Hamilton, an Executive Practitioner at Forsta. With over 20 years driving customer-focused innovation for brands like Aaron's and Medallia, Zack shared his unique perspective on what it really takes to put the customer at the heart of experience transformation. His enthusiasm for CX is truly contagious and inspiring.
One of the main takeaways for me was Zack's definition of "human experience" - understanding people's emotions, aspirations, and needs as human beings, not just customers or employees. He explained how the most successful brands "help individuals attain what they want to attain" in life.
He explained that the most innovative organizations “listen to what customers are saying” and connect feedback to real business outcomes. He insists CX leaders focus on “storytelling” to give data “soul.”
While acknowledging the rise of automation, Hamilton remains skeptical. He asserts “there will always be a human in the loop” and cautions that digital connection alone can never replicate human relationships.
Reflecting on the isolation wrought by COVID-19, Hamilton remarks, “There is no replacement to human connectivity.” This worldview anchors Hamilton’s customer-centric philosophy.
With empathetic observations on modern CX, Zack compellingly makes the case that business success rests on recognizing basic human needs for compassion and community. His message serves as a timely reminder that meaningful relationships drive impactful customer experiences.
Here are seven key actions I took away from our discussion
1. Set up regular channels for receiving feedback from both customers and employees and create a system for analyzing and implementing their suggestions.
2. Go beyond just collecting customer and employee data by analyzing their emotions, needs, and goals to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences.
3. Identify the root cause of problems by analyzing feedback data and connect it to their impact on the business. Then, use this information to develop targeted solutions.
4. Use customer stories to bring data to life and create an emotional connection with stakeholders within the organization.
5. Continuously communicate the importance of customer experience across all departments and levels of the organization.
6. Develop a long-term CX vision that goes beyond just solving immediate issues and focuses on creating a sustainable, customer-centric culture.
7. Use data to inform CX strategies, but don't overlook the human element of CX that can't be fully replaced by technology.
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Activating Impact: The Critical Second Stage of CX Leadership
Last week I shared that the first 100 days in your new CX leadership position are about assessing, planning, and laying the groundwork. But what happens in the next 100 is even more important. Now comes the critical moment of activation - translating strategy into execution to scale CX impact across the organization.
This stage calls for rallying the troops, driving urgency, and doubling down on momentum. As a CX leader, how effectively you activate plans will determine the pace of progress. You must be both a project manager and a motivational team captain.
Here are key plays to run in your offense during this next 100-day window of opportunity:
Launch CX Governance - A governance model provides authority and strategic direction to drive alignment. Don't let it languish as a theoretical concept - launch processes to give it teeth. Vet insights, guide investments, set standards.
Coach for a Customer Mindset - Training cultivates the shared beliefs and behaviors that distinguish a customer-centric culture. Prioritize frontline teams who make moment-to-moment experiences happen. Don’t forget the back office teams - they have an immense part to play in CX success. Give them the customer's perspective to inspire their day to day actions and decisions.
Double Down on Priorities - Resist getting distracted by side projects. Pour gasoline on the flames of your 2-3 critical CX initiatives. Give these the resources, budget, talent needed to deliver game-changing impact.
Open the Feedback Floodgates - More feedback channels expose more opportunities to improve experiences and earn loyalty. Synthesize VoC findings and rapidly respond to pain points.
Close Technology Gaps - Are tools and systems set up to capture, analyze, and act on CX data? Key upgrades early on provide a multiplier effect for all initiatives.
Build Muscle Where You're Weak - Spotting critical but missing skills on your CX team and filling needs pays dividends. Find all-star players through internal mobility or external hiring.
Spotlight Progress - Marketing CX wins internally builds momentum and support. Connect improvements directly to business KPIs. Celebrate team accomplishments.
Drive Customer Journey Expertise - Map current state journeys and envision future state experiences across key personas and touchpoints. Training and workshops build this core competency.
Sustain Forward Motion - Accelerating a CX transformation is akin to paddling hard after pushing a canoe offshore. If you stop paddling, you slow down. Keep urgency high.
During the second 100 days of your tenure, you have a crucial opportunity to shape your organization's customer-centric transformation. It's not enough to just plan for it; you need to activate those plans with enthusiasm and focus. This is when every action, decision, and allocation of resources matters.
Now, it's time to be audacious, to motivate your teams, and to promote the voice of your customers throughout the organization. Don't miss this unique chance to drive massive change and secure unparalleled benefits for your company.
This week, I asked our colleagues in the Customer Experience Professionals Group on Linkedin about where to allocate resources to shape the customer journey.
The choices companies make in where to allocate resources can profoundly shape the customer journey, influencing everything from first impressions to lasting loyalty. For us, as CX professionals, navigating this intricate matrix of decisions is both a challenge and an opportunity. But what areas truly resonate as pivotal for investment?
Let's break down these results and provide potential actions to implement based on each area:
AI & Tech Tools:
The majority of respondents (41%) believe that investing in AI and technology tools is crucial for enhancing the customer experience. This indicates the growing importance of automation and digital solutions in CX management.
Potential Actions to Implement:
Invest in AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants to provide 24/7 customer support.
Implement personalization algorithms to tailor product recommendations and content to individual customer preferences.
Utilize data analytics to gain insights into customer behavior and improve decision-making.
Ensure a seamless omnichannel experience by integrating technology across all customer touchpoints.
A significant portion (32%) of respondents recognize the importance of feedback loops in understanding customer needs and improving CX. This indicates a strong desire for customer-centricity.
Potential Actions to Implement:
Establish various feedback channels, such as surveys, social media monitoring, and direct customer contact.
Actively collect and analyze customer feedback to identify pain points and areas for improvement.
Implement a closed-loop feedback system to address customer issues and inform product/service enhancements.
Share customer feedback with relevant teams and departments to foster a customer-centric culture.
Insight: Nearly a quarter of respondents (24%) emphasize the significance of staff training in delivering exceptional customer experiences. Well-trained employees can positively impact customer interactions.
Actions to Implement:
Develop comprehensive training programs that focus on soft skills, product knowledge, and empathy.
Encourage continuous learning and development for employees to keep them up-to-date with industry trends and customer expectations.
Incorporate role-playing exercises and scenario-based training to enhance employees' problem-solving and communication skills.
Measure the effectiveness of training through regular evaluations and customer feedback.
While only a small percentage (3%) prioritize brand experience, it should not be disregarded entirely. A strong brand can influence customer loyalty and perception.
Actions to Implement:
Conduct a comprehensive brand audit to understand how your brand is perceived in the market.
Develop and communicate a clear brand identity and value proposition that resonates with your target audience.
Ensure consistency in branding across all touchpoints, from marketing materials to customer interactions.
Monitor brand sentiment and use feedback to refine your brand strategy.
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This article provides a list of books that can help businesses understand how to provide a better customer experience. Topics discussed include creating a competition-beating CX strategy, how to transform customers into brand evangelists, preparing for future buyer mentalities, gaining customer loyalty, creating compelling experiences, embracing customer feedback, and creating visual maps to better understand customer experience.
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Every week, I am excited to introduce you to another inspiring professional from LinkedIn who has the potential to make a significant difference in your life and career.
Jeff Sheehan, the managing director of CX JS Consulting, is an accomplished professional recognized as "The CX ROI Guy", significantly improving business results by identifying and prioritizing CX projects.
With a diverse background in customer service, operations, and digital transformation, Jeff has built successful CX programs and closed nearly US$1B in service contracts. As a team leader, he's delivered stellar growth for brands like Amadeus and McDonald’s Canada.
Jeff has been globally recognized and has authored a best-selling book on CX, Experience Management - The CX Field Manual, affirming his position as a thought leader in the industry.
A strategic thinker, Jeff expertly develops business cases and prioritizes work to enhance business metrics. His strengths lie in CX strategic plan development for B2B & B2C and business process improvement.
Whether it's directly impacting bottom-line revenue, leading cross-cultural teams of up to 200 employees, or driving CX transformations in dynamic work environments, Jeff has consistently demonstrated the ability to deliver significant value and results for businesses. With his deep knowledge and experience in Customer Experience Management, Jeff continues to be a key figure in CX strategic consultation whose positive impact resonates across industries and around the globe.
Learn more about Jeff:
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