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#73 | DCX - Perspectives and insights on digital customer experience
How Leadership Drives a Culture Devoted to EX and CX; Transforming CX Through Frontline Visits; Links to Industry news and the DCX Thought Leader Profile of the Week
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How Leadership Drives a Culture Devoted to EX and CX
Leadership plays a crucial role in integrating employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX). As leaders set the tone and demonstrate through their actions, employees are influenced to follow suit. When leaders prioritize and value both EX and CX, it sends a powerful message to the entire organization.
By actively embodying the desired experiences and aligning their behaviors with the organization's goals, leaders inspire employees to do the same. This alignment between leadership and employees creates a positive work environment and enhances the overall customer experience. Ultimately, when leaders walk the talk and prioritize both EX and CX, it reinforces the importance of these experiences and enables the organization to thrive.
Walking in Their Shoes
Leaders, regardless of how high up the corporate ladder they might be, must never forget their roots. Remembering what it's like to be on the frontline, interacting with customers, or dealing with daily operational challenges, can provide invaluable insights. By regularly stepping into the shoes of both employees and customers, leaders can get a firsthand feel for the realities, challenges, and opportunities on the ground.
Setting Clear Expectations and Values
It's a no-brainer, but worth hammering home: clarity is king. Leaders need to set clear expectations and values for their teams. These aren't just lofty statements that hang on a wall but should be tangible, actionable ideals that guide daily operations and decision-making. By making EX and CX a clear part of the company's values and mission, leaders can ensure that these aspects remain front and center in every department's priorities.
Open Communication Channels
Leaders who lock themselves in ivory towers are setting themselves up for failure. Open communication is the name of the game. By ensuring that employees at all levels feel they have a voice that's heard, leaders can foster a culture of trust and collaboration. This doesn't mean leadership has to act on every piece of feedback, but creating platforms for dialogue ensures that employees feel valued and understood.
Recognition and Reward
Nothing demotivates faster than feeling unrecognized. Leaders play a crucial role in acknowledging the hard work of their teams. This recognition doesn't always have to be monetary (though bonuses never hurt). Simple gestures, shout-outs in team meetings, or even a personal "thank you" note can go a long way. Recognizing employees who enhance both EX and CX can also set a benchmark for others to follow.
Empowerment is Key
One size doesn't fit all, and smart leaders know this. Empowering teams and individuals to make decisions that align with the company's EX and CX values can lead to innovative solutions. Trusting employees to do what's right, even if it means bending a rule here or there for the sake of a customer, can foster a sense of ownership and responsibility.
Lead by Example
Actions speak louder than words, and leaders should exemplify the very values they espouse. If CX is a priority, leaders should be the first to jump in and resolve a customer issue or interact with clients to get direct feedback. If EX matters, leaders should be present, engaging with teams, understanding their challenges, and actively participating in team-building or training sessions.
Feedback as a Two-Way Street
While leaders should provide feedback to their teams, they must also be open to receiving it. A culture where feedback flows both ways is not just healthy but also productive. By actively seeking feedback on their own performance and the company's EX and CX strategies, leaders can stay adaptable and responsive.
Leadership isn't just about telling people what to do. It's about lighting a fire within each individual, inspiring them to give their all and unite in the name of a shared vision. True leaders create the perfect conditions for success, cultivating an environment where open communication thrives and unwavering principles are upheld. They empower their teams and lead by example, leaving no doubt in anyone's mind that together, they can conquer anything.
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Transforming CX Through Frontline Visits
In any organization, the ultimate goal often revolves around the end-user or customer. Whether selling a product, offering a service, or providing an experience, the customer is at the heart of it all. However, achieving a unified vision and seamless service delivery can be challenging, especially in large organizations with multiple departments, each with its unique objectives and workflows.
Every department in a company plays a unique role. For instance, the product team focuses on building and refining the product, the marketing team is centered on promotion, and the customer service team handles post-purchase support. If these teams work in silos, inconsistencies and communication breakdowns can occur, leading to sub-optimal CX.
When I was the leader of Xfinity Mobile's CX Delivery and Operations team, my mission was clear: to ensure that the customer experience we delivered was exceptional across all channels. However, as the brand grew, it became evident that to optimize our customer service truly, we needed to go beyond traditional methods.
To bridge the information and experience gap, I spearheaded regular excursions to our call centers and retail stores. These weren't just routine visits; I brought along a diverse team consisting of members from the XM team, leaders from various departments, developers, product managers, finance experts, and more. The purpose? To sit or stand side-by-side with our call center agents and retail associates, feeling the pulse of real-time customer interactions.
These visits were eye-opening. We'd meet to discuss emerging concerns, challenges, and feedback. By immersing ourselves in the frontline environment, we gained invaluable insights into the intricacies of serving our customers. It was humbling to understand firsthand the issues both our customers and our dedicated agents faced.
Post each visit, the collaborative team would huddle to brainstorm. Our aim was two-fold: to address immediate concerns and to identify long-term solutions that would benefit both our customers and our employees. We'd leave each session with a tangible list of action items. As the weeks rolled by, this list became our roadmap, guiding our efforts in refining the CX process.
The impact of these regular visits was multifaceted. Not only did they provide fresh insights, but they also fostered a culture of empathy and understanding within our teams. This bond between the backend team and our frontline agents was invaluable. It created a synergy where everyone felt invested in our customers' journey and experience.
The cherry on top? Our growing customer base began to notice the improvements. Faster resolution times, more intuitive product updates, and a general sense of being valued. All of this was a testament to the power of hands-on leadership, collaboration, and a relentless focus on both customer and employee experiences.
5 Key Takeaways:
Hands-on Leadership: Immersing oneself in frontline operations offers leaders invaluable, real-time insights that can't be captured through reports or meetings alone.
Cross-Functional Collaboration: Engaging diverse teams, from product managers to finance experts, in understanding customer interactions fosters holistic solutions that address multiple facets of an issue.
Empathy and Understanding: Regular interactions with call center agents and customers cultivate a culture of empathy, ensuring that both employee and customer voices are heard and valued.
Continuous Improvement: Adopting a proactive approach, like the post-visit brainstorming sessions, ensures that feedback is regularly transformed into actionable items, leading to iterative improvements in CX.
Building Stronger Relationships: Such initiatives not only solve immediate challenges but also strengthen inter-departmental relationships, ensuring that everyone is invested in enhancing the customer's journey.
This week, I asked our colleagues in the Customer Experience Professionals Group on Linkedin about metrics that drive informed action.
This recent poll among CX professionals highlights a crucial question: which CX metric offers the most actionable insights? The results show a preference for CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score) at 40%, followed by CES (Customer Effort Score) at 28%, NPS (Net Promoter Score) at 24%, and other metrics at 9%.
In the comments provided by various CX leaders, a common theme emerges: while metrics are essential, they must be linked to financial outcomes and actionable changes within a business to be of value. For instance, Nick Bond emphasizes the need to connect metrics to the bottom line ($$), arguing that executives and shareholders prioritize financial outcomes over raw metrics like NPS, CES, or CSAT.
Karl Sharicz and David Jacques suggest that quantitative metrics alone aren't sufficient and advocate for a blend of qualitative and quantitative feedback. They emphasize the richness of insights that qualitative data, like customer verbatims and suggestions, can provide.
Richard Vickers and Brian Powers discuss the contextual importance of metrics like NPS and CES, noting that they can be insightful when trended over time with key drivers and sentiment analysis. They imply that metrics should be part of a broader strategy that includes qualitative feedback to understand customer experiences fully.
Lynn Gaspar and Maggie Chung Hill underline that the interpretation and subsequent action based on the metric are what truly make it valuable. They mention the importance of understanding the reasons behind customer scores and the necessity of executive buy-in for any metric to resonate and be effective.
These insights point to several actions for CX pros:
Align CX metrics with financial outcomes to gain executive support.
Use a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to understand the full customer experience.
Educate stakeholders about the importance and implications of the chosen metric.
Focus on key drivers from metrics to drive revenue and cut costs.
Ensure the follow-up questions in surveys lead to actionable insights.
The dialogue underscores that no single metric is a silver bullet. Effective customer experience management is about the intelligent application of various metrics, understanding the context and drivers of those metrics, and taking action that leads to tangible business improvements.
This week’s DCX Newsletter is Supported by:
Data is important for business decisions and customer interactions. Companies have started hiring Chief Data Officers to lead data initiatives, but many CDOs struggle to show the business value of their work. CDOs focus on four areas of influence: creating data products, managing data assets and platforms, overseeing data architecture and governance, and developing data literacy in the organization. CDOs must show the value of each of these areas to be successful.
"Zero consumers" are a rapidly growing segment of shoppers who prioritize convenience, value, and sustainability. Consumer companies should focus on improving their omnichannel experience, rethinking their product offerings, and staying ahead of technological and competitive trends in order to win over this group.
Ikea Canada's new Design Studios offer a personalized shopping experience and have been successful in improving sales and customer satisfaction. However, many companies are cutting back on customer experience programs, which could have negative consequences. To be successful, companies should measure the impact of their customer experience efforts and build a strong team with the right skills.
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DCX Thought Leader Profile of the Week
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.
This week, meet Maggie Chung Hill currently seeking a new opportunity after a recent layoff, where she served as Director, Customer Experience.
Maggie Chung Hill, living in Wayland, Massachusetts, is best known for mixing smart strategies and love for enhancing people's experiences. With a solid 20 years of experience working in different fields, she knows how to navigate tricky environments like a pro.
As a positive and strategic thinker, Maggie always finds ways to improve. She comes up with solutions that keep clients happy and co-workers motivated. Maggie believes strongly in innovative thinking, using data to make informed decisions and teamwork, and it's evident in the way she works.
Maggie’s career journey has been rich and varied. One of her important roles was at Fresenius Medical Care, where she held a handful of positions, including Senior Manager and Insights Manager of Experience. These roles allowed her to make a big difference in the way customers and staff interacted and connected.
Backing up her skills and experience is a cool education mix. She holds an MBA from Babson F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business and completed undergraduate studies at Boston University. These experiences have helped build her leadership chops and strategic thinking.
In addition to all this, Maggie runs her own freelance consultancy, Hill Consulting. The firm offers its clients a bunch of services - from customer experience strategy to market intelligence and data analytics. She's worked with clients from different sectors, including but not limited to finance, digital advertising, and pharmaceuticals.
Above all, Maggie considers herself a servant leader. She's committed to making any organization she's part of a better place. Her continuous efforts aim to make a real difference in corporate environments in ways that improve both customer and employee experiences.
Maggie is currently seeking a new leadership opportunity. I think she’d be a great addition to any organization.
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