January 28, 2021 15:00 - 16:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Online webinar. Netigate
In The future of CX, three experts come together to discuss topical issues central to the customer experience. From managing CX to keeping up with its evolution, this webinar will be a source of inspiration for improving the customer experience at your business.
Aligning the ‘layers’ of customer experience management – Ian Golding
How CX is failing to keep up with the advance in Tech – Clare Muscutt
Customer Experience: The popular myths that compromise success –Matt Watkinson
The future of CX Speakers
Ian Golding CEO and Founder, Customer Experience Consultancy Ltd.
Ian Golding, is a Certified Customer Experience Professional and Customer Experience Specialist. A certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Ian has spent over twenty years in business improvement, working hard to ensure that the businesses he works for are as customer focused as possible.
Clare Muscutt Founder and Director, CMXperience
Recognised as one of the most prominent and valued millennial voices in CX, Clare Muscutt is an international consultant, keynote speaker and soon to be the author of the book ‘How to be Awesome at CX’’. She held a number of senior CX leadership roles in FTSE 100 organisations including Head of CX at Sainsburys, and later founded her own customer experience design agency, CMXperience.
Matt Watkinson CEO and Co-founder, Methodical
Matt is an award-winning author, speaker and consultant on customer experience and strategy. As a speaker, he has addressed industry leaders at every kind of organization imaginable, from Microsoft to the FBI. He lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife and young son.
Between January 29th and February 4th 2021, Netigate conducted a survey asking 70 CX professionals about their approach to CX in 2021 and beyond.
We asked them about the challenges they currently face and their plans for the future. The purpose of this report is to give CX professionals an insight into how other businesses are working with customer experience and what is in store for the future of CX.
Sophie Hedestad [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to this webinar about the future of CX today, we have great speakers with us. I just want to confirm Matt, Clare and Ian, that you hear and see me well.
Matt Watkinson [00:00:15] I can hear and see you well.
Ian Golding [00:00:15] Indeed, yes we can.
Clare Muscutt [00:00:15] Hearing and seeing!
Sophie Hedestad [00:00:21] Wonderful.
Sophie Hedestad [00:00:22] You never know about this online events. You want to be on the sure side. So very welcome, everyone that has joined in of this webinar. As I just mentioned, we will talk about the future of CX. My name is Sophie Hedestad. I’m based out of Stockholm in Sweden. So greetings here from a cold and dark Scandinavia. I am the Chief Marketing Officer at the software as a service company Netigate and I have previous experience with working within sales and with marketing. I just launched a podcast called Voice of Success. Let me know what you think. If we haven’t already connected on LinkedIn please add me, I would love to follow you. I would love to connect with you there. So hope to get in touch soon.
Sophie Hedestad [00:01:16] So what about Netigate then? That is the company that I represent now. It’s a software as a service company and we help customers all over the globe with understanding their two most important assets, which is employees and customers. And here we can see the customer actually, Sanna Lundstrom, that works for an energy company and we help Sanna throughout the customer journey to make data-driven decisions based on feedback that she has gathered from customers, so she can make data driven and informed decisions. So if you want to know and learn more about Netigate, please visit our website, netigate.net, fill out the form and get in touch with us.
Sophie Hedestad [00:02:03] And also we are conducting a report as we speak. So we will do a report about the future of the CX. And since a lot of you that join in today is working in CX, we would love you to conduct this survey so we can do a report out of it. And if you do that, you will have the report before everyone else. So there is a little sticky message. If you go to the chat on the right hand side, you can have a little link on the sticky message where you, after this webinar, can answer these questions and you would get the report in advance. All right.
Sophie Hedestad [00:02:46] So here are the exciting panel, the exciting speakers of today. Let’s start on the left. We see Matt Watkinson, Matt is an award-winning author, speaker and consultant on customer experience and strategy. As a speaker, he has addressed industry leaders at every kind of organization imaginable, from Microsoft to the FBI. He lives in sunny Santa Monica in California, with his wife and young son. He has written the famous book, The Grid. You need to read it. And today, Matt will talk about the popular myths that compromise success.
Sophie Hedestad [00:03:29] And in the middle was a Clare Muscutt recognized as one of the most prominent and valued millennial voices within CX. She is a keynote speaker and soon to be the author of the book, How to be awesome at CX. She held a number of senior CX leadership roles, including Head of CX at Sainsbury’s and later founded her own customer experience design agency, CMXperience. She’s also the host of the famous podcast Women in Customer Experience. And today, Clare will talk about how CX is failing to keep up with the advance in tech.
Sophie Hedestad [00:04:11] And last but not least, we have Ian Golding and Ian is a certified customer experience professional and customer experience specialist. Ian has spent over 20 years in business improvement, working hard to ensure that businesses he works for are as customer focused as possible. And today Ian will talk about aligning the layers of customer experience management. And Ian is actually the first speaker to go. Ian, are you with us?
Ian Golding [00:04:49] I am with you, Sophie. Thank you so much for such a lovely introduction to all three of us.
Sophie Hedestad [00:04:56] No worries at all. I will hand off. That you will just that I will put on your presentation as well.
Ian Golding [00:05:03] Fantastic. Thank you so much. And while Sophie is doing that, good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening to all of you. Wherever you happen to be listening to this podcast from. It is such a pleasure to act as the warm up act today for Clare and Matt to talk about the future of customer experience. And it’s wonderful to see so many names that I recognize from around the world and other names that I hopefully will get to know in the future.
Ian Golding [00:05:37] You only need to be subjected to Ian’s ramblings for a relatively short period of time, because what I’d like to do is to set the scene for Clare and Matt to expand on what the future for this profession looks like.
Ian Golding [00:05:55] Because the first question I want to ask is, in 2021, are we even clear as to what customer experience is? It is of no surprise to any of you that customer experience as a discipline, as a profession has been evolving at pace over the last 30 years or so.
Ian Golding [00:06:20] The early adoption of customer experience was before CX was even a thing in the days of direct marketing, evolving into CRM until eventually in 2011, the formation of the Customer Experience Professionals Association. And I’m not saying that the CXPA invented customer experience, because as we know, it’s always been there. But it was only in 2011, 10 years ago this year that the acronym CX came into being. In terms of looking forward, as we sit here today, it is very, very arguable that we’ve gone beyond CX because there is an increasing articulation of the importance of not just understanding customer experience, but experience management in general, which encompasses not just the customer experience, but the employee experience, digital experience and in essence, the entire human experience.
Ian Golding [00:07:29] So the question I want to pose is that with this evolution developing at pace, how are we doing with all of this? And as I said, the good thing about the last 10 years is the customer experience and the employee experience, to a lesser degree, is now very much on the agenda. I’m not saying it’s being done well, but customer experience is definitely top of mind for many organizations around the world.
Ian Golding [00:08:04] However, and those who have heard me speak before know that Ian uses the words, ‘but’ and ‘however’ a lot.
Ian Golding [00:08:15] Whilst it’s brilliant that CX is firmly in the language of organizations around the world, what we’ve got to ask ourselves is ten years since CX became an acronym, is customer experience going forwards or is customer experience going backwards? And I know all of you will have your own view on this, but in my opinion–and I must make it clear, this is my opinion–whilst in some parts of the world, customer experience is advancing. In the parts of the world where customer experience was initiated as a discipline, as a profession, there is evidence it is going backwards.
Ian Golding [00:09:04] I am in a very unusual position where I am interacting with organizations on every continent, apart from Antarctica, which will not change any time soon. And it’s fascinating to me that those continents that were the early adopters of CX are going backwards. The US–apologies to those of you in the US–is a land that, whilst it may claim to have really advanced the CX profession more than any other nation on Earth, is going backwards. And the reason it’s going backwards is a mixture of the three things you see on the screen, it is a combination of arrogance, ignorance and apathy. There is far too much sense still across industries in America and not just America. The UK is guilty of this as well as other parts of Western Europe. They are guilty of thinking ‘We know all of this, we’re doing it already’. But are they really? Is customer experience, really driving demonstrable change? Because what I can tell you is that I do not believe that many organizations around the world, legacy organizations, have still grasped what it really takes to become sustainably customer centric. The overwhelming majority of truly customer centric organizations in the world were created that way. Most legacy businesses have failed to transform. And one of the significant reasons for that is that whilst they recognize CX as a thing, they are failing to adopt the science of customer experience. There is a lack of understanding of competence and capability required to drive demonstrable change, and there is no better way of bringing that to life than talking about the failure of too many organizations to adopt a continuous, never ending cycle of activity to enable them to manage the customer journey.
Ian Golding [00:11:31] I am sure you will all appreciate the customer journey. Mapping has gone completely bonkers around the world, but so many organizations are not using the customer journey as a dynamic, living, breathing organism. They are mapping journeys, creating beautiful looking pictures that they do nothing with. It is only when we’re able to create an environment where we are able to continuously visualize, measure, prioritize and improve that journey, that we can see demonstrable change and fundamentally, that is also driven by a lack of alignment.
Ian Golding [00:12:20] Every experience in every organization fundamentally is delivered through three organizational layers, the first layer is the customer journey. Every organization has had a customer journey from the day it was created, but it’s only in recent times they’ve become aware of that fact.
Ian Golding [00:12:41] The second layer are business processes. Organizations have been aware of these for decades, that the problem is that most organizations created and implemented their processes without knowing there was a customer journey. And as a result, if you try to underpin the journey with the things people are doing every day, you have the realization that they don’t align. There are people doing things every day that don’t have any impact on the customer at all. And if that’s the case, we’ve got to ask why are they doing it?
Ian Golding [00:13:16] Then there are processes crossing over each other. There’s duplication. There’s gaps where nothing happens to the customer. No, because we got bad people, but because processes were put in place without knowing that there was a customer journey.
Ian Golding [00:13:32] And it gets even worse when we get to the third layer: the technology layer. Because like process, most organizations bought, designed and implemented technology without knowing there was a customer journey. And what has been happening for a number of years now is organizations have been adopting technology, forcing processes into it, and customers get whatever they get. And as a result of the pandemic, that is only getting worse. Businesses are throwing technology at their organizations without understanding the customer journey. And as a result, whilst they might be cutting cost, they are not improving experiences.
Ian Golding [00:14:14] So looking forward, the future of what needs to change. Well, firstly, is customer experience going to go away? Almost on an annual basis I’ve asked the question, what is going to replace customer experience? I have to just validate and reaffirm for every one customer experience is not going away because customer experience has always been there and it will always be there because if you have an organization, you are delivering an experience. So that’s the good news.
Ian Golding [00:14:48] What we do need to see is a increase, an acceleration of education. There are still far too many who do not understand what I call the science of customer experience. And we need people to acknowledge that and to learn what the competencies are to become a sustainable, customer centric organization. We need to give people time to think. Organizations are so obsessed still on getting people to deliver their tasks, focusing on processes. People are just not having the time to think and act in the interests of the customer. It astonishes me just how overcomplicated organizations have become, and even with the pandemic, there’s still overcomplicating things.
Ian Golding [00:15:41] We need to stop and think and simplify our organizations. We also need to become better at listening, listening not just to our customers, but to our own people as well. We’ve got to stop throwing these old fashioned surveys at customers, massaging our egos with numbers that give us the impression that we’re amazing when we’re not. We’ve got to sincerely listen and act in the interests of the customer and in the interests of our own people. But beyond all of that, the most important thing, in my opinion, when it comes to the future of customer experience is that we must not forget the importance of humanity. If nothing else, this pandemic has demonstrated that the world is all about people, business is all about people. And what we must not forget is the organizations exist to give people what they need, what they want. They do not exist to make money. And if even only a small minority of companies as a result of the last 11 months, have become more empathetic, more understanding, more human than maybe from a business perspective, the pandemic has been just a little bit worth it.
Ian Golding [00:17:16] I hope that I have set the scene effectively to continue to push the subject of the future of customer experience. It is my absolute pleasure to pass the baton to the brilliant founder of Women in CX, among other things, Clare Muscutt.
Ian Golding [00:17:36] Claire, tell us what you think about all of this.
Clare Muscutt [00:17:43] What a lovely introduction. Thank you. I hope everyone can see and hear me OK.
Clare Muscutt [00:17:48] I’m just going to move my little icon (if I can remember how to do that) up to the top.
Clare Muscutt [00:17:54] OK, so thank you for inviting me today, Sophie, to give my view on the future of CX. And it’s so awesome to see so many people representing so many different countries in the chat today. So I’m here to talk about my view of what this looks like. And it kind of leads on from from Ian’s point around technology. But I recently wrote a paper and I’m positioning the fact that technology isn’t the problem. Actually, current CX thinking is. So I’m prepared to get a bit of a backlash from this. But I’m ready. It’s my truth.
Clare Muscutt [00:18:28] So, OK, so I think we are actually going to be entering a new dawn for customer experience, but it’s not going to come in the shape that we think it is. So, if you imagine in a world with like new technologies that we’re going to have to think about. I don’t think that’s the case. I think those technologies are already here. It’s just the case of businesses and customers adopting them on a greater scale. So I said, you can quote me on this: I think the future of CX doesn’t look that different for customers, but it’s going to look radically different for the CX profession. So why are we kind of arrived here from this point with the technology challenges that Ian mentioned? I think it came through this avalanche. I’m going to call it an avalanche of buzzwords. And it resulted in companies pouring literally billions of pounds, dollars, whatever currency you’re operating in, into what sounds like incredibly sexy technology. So we all hear these words digital transformation, artificial intelligence, single customer view, omnichannel machine learning, voice recognition, asynchronous communication. And they came with a lot of promises to businesses as well. But businesses found them easy to engage with and could see the benefit of them, especially from the business perspective. But what we’ve ended up with is no value being added for customers, and those investments aren’t even driving the benefits that they want it to because the adoption isn’t something that customers are participating in. If anything, they’re just being forced to use things that make that customer experience even more difficult, less and less enjoyable. It is just anybody that was a chatbot will know this or been frustrated by voice not being recognized or trying to do something online that’s really simple with the app, but actually it’s not built to do the thing that you actually want it to do. So I think we have to start to ask ourselves the question. If we are in a position, as Ian says, you know, especially in the countries that led the way initially on customer experience, if we’re actually not delivering better experiences, why is that and where does the fault lie?
Clare Muscutt [00:20:34] So you might be thinking, is it with those technology companies that will I think I have in the past, beaten up and kind of pointed a finger at to say that that they’re doing something wrong well, it’s definitely not the case. Apologies, this has gone a bit blurry. But the current state of where we are today with customer experience, I don’t even know remembers this Forrester threat as I as I recall it from twenty nineteen. And I just took screengrab of this from an article that Adrian, who is a disruptive thinker and CX posted, and that twenty five percent of professionals that were going to lose their jobs in 2020. I don’t think it happened quite the way that forest there were saying, obviously the terrible impact of the pandemic. But the reality is businesses have lost faith in customer experience is a discipline. And I believe that actually technology and data companies, all of the hundreds of them that now exist, have become so successful because they’re filling a void in a vacuum that the current customer experience thinking itself has created. And we all hear the same questions constantly about return on investment benefits, benefits, and most of the time these companies are able to demonstrate that. So that is why companies are adopting that over some of the things that CX thinking is telling us that we should be practicing. So I’m going to put this out there: Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to get businesses to understand CX or make companies customer centric? Or the CEO’s own CX to use voice of customers to drive action? Create customer centric, or CX-centric culture. Or transform CX and my favorite or least favorite one, calculate return on CX investment. Have you ever stopped to think why it’s so hard and why everybody’s struggling with it? And if you do a Google search, this is all the articles that you’ll find, but very little evidence to suggest how it changes anything. Again, I don’t think I just think this evidence would suggest that these aspirations are very rarely achievable or in fact, scalable. And I think we’ve ended up in a place of having a kind of CX myopia where we love CX so much. We’ve turned it into something that it isn’t. And it definitely isn’t something that businesses need or something that is actually positively affecting customer experience.
Clare Muscutt [00:23:02] So I think it’s time that we see CX as it is not how we want it to be. And again, my humble opinion of where we’ve lost the plot is that we’ve just become a community of people who have over intellectualized what customer experience actually is. And we are massively trying to overreach our field to the point where it’s become not effective to do so, so whilst we’re trying to force companies into our view of what the framework should be or trying to get them to adopt CX strategy or creating CX programs and trying to sell them in but are not wanted. I keep hearing the word customer experience, transformation, kind of bunny hopping the avalanche of words that created some of the challenges our customers are facing in the first place. Now being applied in our own industry and our obsession with trying to get ownership and adoption across an organization is frankly why we’re missing the point on actually making CX better.
Clare Muscutt [00:24:06] So another area, I think we’ve got the wrong focus and we’re not applying our skills in the right place. And I think Matt’s probably going to talk about the myth around loyalty and advocacy. So I won’t talk about that now. I’ll leave that to him. But using things like Voice of Customer metrics to drive metrics, again, that adoption and accountability and trying to calculate the return on investment of CX in isolation is pointless. And we have to change the way that we we think this and how we prioritize. And finally, and this is a really huge one for me, is the complete lack of diversity and thinking, a mindset that we now see ourselves presented with. And if you spend time in forums and groups, it has become, I think, an echo chamber of people passing around the same advice. There’s a lot of gurus, again, passing along the same advice, but the community continually agrees with one another that we’re on the right track. I don’t see many challenges to our current thinking and very little evidence to back up what we’re doing. And the final point for me is this is a shame that today we’re representing this, whitewashing that actually from a diversity and inclusion point of view. There isn’t enough diversity of the voices being heard.
[00:25:28] So behind my face, if I’m in the top right hand corner, it says, let’s do the important work first. So my advice would be how we can keep things simple and show people, organizations, businesses the purpose of our craft. So keeping it simple, helping organizations as Ian said, to see the bigger picture of the customer experience, the bigger picture of the customer journey. We’re not trying to own it or corral everything under our responsibility. To focus on delivering really valuable outputs to help businesses make some decisions, do stuff like remove barriers to purchase and barriers to adoption that will add tremendous value to the business and demonstrate that return we all keep looking for. I say stay in our lanes. If we were really focused on the stuff that only we could do to help businesses we would have a much bigger impact. If we were to focus on creating value and taking action, our outputs would break down the silos that we’re all running around trying to resolve through strategy and communication. And the results will speak for themselves. The results will get the buying you’re looking for and the scores will take care of themselves.
Clare Muscutt [00:26:35] And so just a couple more slides from me that I think this is a change that we need to see in the world, that CX leaders today are specialists and have a depth of knowledge within a prescribed framework that’s been around organically growing for a long time. I think we need to be the change that we want to see in the world. I can’t move my screen; my little picture in the corner. But this is an example of a T-shaped leader that has much more breadth of knowledge across the organization, across lots of multiple fields, and maintains the depth of expertize in CX, but it’s within the context of the organization, are not the framework that’s prescribed. So if we were to see the future CX Pro 2.0 as I’ve drawn a little persona of her here, our skill sets would be design based. We’d help businesses see the big picture. We’d have a breadth of brand marketing UX some product knowledge. We’d be pragmatic, commercially tuned into business priorities, focused on value creation, supporting business growth, emotional intelligence, self aware, creative people.
Clare Muscutt [00:27:38] So I think what we all need to ask ourselves is, are we becoming the future leaders of CX or are we effectively keeping CX going in the wrong direction with our own professional skill set? So what I recommend is just broaden your horizons right now, read Non CX box, listen to podcasts, follow marketing thought leaders or different people from a different space, take courses on new areas, get work experience outside your current field, have conversations with people who disagree with you.
Clare Muscutt [00:28:10] It’s so helpful to connect and actually seek out differences of opinion, get some coaching, perhaps and find a mento who’s going to challenge you, because ultimately our responsibility to change this. Mission is to take responsibility to develop ourselves. So as I said at the start, I think we’re in for a new dawn in CX, but if we actually want to make customer experiences better, the responsibility rests on us as a CX community and the leaders within it to create spaces that embrace diversity of thought, allow for evidence-based thinking, and provide platforms for the growth mindset that I think will lead us into the future of CX.
Clare Muscutt [00:28:53] So if you’re interested in more, you can follow me on pretty much every social media channel. If you search Clare Muscutt, including Club House, where I’m finding this of amazing conversations happening from voices I’ve never met and lots of opportunities to agree and disagree on multiple things. And also for anyone, men and women, you can visit www.womenincx.community where there are a lot of diverse opinions being shared on the podcast. Feel free to get in touch with me and I definitely recommend listening to the podcast because that’s where those conversations are happening right now. Thank you, everybody.
Matt Watkinson [00:29:39] Looks like it’s up to me to introduce myself at this point. Thank you very much, Clare and Ian. Some really interesting and pertinent points being made there about the direction of the industry and profession. My webcam seems to frozen.
Ian Golding [00:30:04] We can see you okay Matt, just so you know.
Matt Watkinson [00:30:06] Oh, voices from the background. I hear you. Hi, guys. OK, well.
Matt Watkinson [00:30:13] Let’s start by just saying: What do we think success actually looks like when it comes to a customer experience initiative? And I think we’ll probably agree that it’s a game of two halves. On the one side, we’re trying to create a greater perception of value in the customer’s mind. Right. So fundamentally trying to do. Then on the other side, we’re trying to do this in a way that makes us more prosperous as a result. So what we’re trying to do more value for the customer and more success for the business, a win win, trying to achieve both of those. And I think we’d all agree that that’s what success looks like. I’m going to talk a little bit about both of those, but I’m going to start with the last one, this thorny question around how do we make money from customer experience, which seems to be a major sticking point for a lot of people.
Matt Watkinson [00:30:56] Now, the way that most people go about trying to do this is based on this kind of chain of assumptive logic that looks something like this. A better customer experience leads to more satisfaction, more satisfaction leads to better retention and loyalty. And with that, we get greater advocacy. And the net result of doing all of those things should be some kind of payoff. Now, there’s a couple of problems with that that compromise, our ability to succeed as a business or generate money from customer experience.
Matt Watkinson [00:31:26] The first is that that kind of chain of causal or assumptive logic is operating in a vacuum. When you think about it, it’s not actually tethered to any specific set of business objectives or challenges or opportunities that are are present in your environment. Unless you happen to have a problem with satisfaction or advocacy, improving those things isn’t really going to drive the growth of your business. So it’s not really tethered to what the organization is trying to do.
Matt Watkinson [00:31:55] The second thing is that there’s a lot in in that chain of logic that rests on assumptions that have been shown time and time again to be to be flawed and questionable about the relationship between those different factors. And I just like to take a couple of minutes to try to shed some light on some of those four things in particular. So the first thing which can be a little bit uncomfortable for people in customer experience technology is that there’s decades of research and evidence that shows the brands actually grow through acquiring new customers and expanding their customer base that way, not by deepening loyalty effects or improving retention. They tend to grow by increasing their market penetration, not by improving loyalty. That’s the first point. The second point is that the larger a brand becomes, the more customers they have, the more loyal. Those customers also become a phenomenon that’s called double jeopardy. And that’s because the bigger a brand is, the more readily they come to mind, especially for light or infrequent buyers, which tend to constitute the large majority of most brands buying. It’s easy to forget about a brand. So the bigger that brand is, the more frequently you’re reminded of their existence and the more you purchase from them.
Matt Watkinson [00:33:11] Now, since brands tend to get bigger by acquiring more customers, not just retaining them, as I’ve said, when you broaden the customer base, you also increase those customers loyalty to, which is something that a lot of people in the CX space aren’t actually aware of.
Matt Watkinson [00:33:26] Turning briefly to talk about advocacy and positive word of mouth. The research also shows which will make perfect sense to you, really, that word of mouth tends to be driven by new customers, not existing long term customers for recency because of recency effects. When you think about it, we tend to share the news, not the old. We talk about things we’ve just bought or movies we’ve just seen or restaurants we’ve just tried. We don’t talk about those kind of brands that have been woven into the fabric of our lives for years. So if we’re looking for more advocacy and positive word of mouth, again, the focus needs to actually be on acquiring more customers.
Matt Watkinson [00:34:06] The last point I wanted to make on this, which is I think a very interesting point, that something a lot of people don’t consider as well is the relationship between satisfaction and market share as well as the brand tends to increase their market share. In other words, become more successful. The satisfaction scores tend to decline because the more customers you have, the broader their needs are and the harder it is to keep everybody happy. To give a very simple example of this. If you look at book reviews, for example, on Amazon, you’ll see that there are very, very few of the best selling books in the world that have five star reviews. That’s because there’s always some kooky people who want to give a popular book, one star, or there’s always some anomalies or other things. So actually, the more you sell, your satisfaction tends to trend downwards. Ford, for example, outsell Volvo 17 to one on cars in America, and Ford stayed at the bottom of the customer satisfaction table. Now, what’s interesting about about these things and the reason why I mention them is that if you’re not actually aware of some of these factors, some of these laws like double jeopardy or how satisfaction and market share are related it’s very, very easy to misinterpret your customer data, for one, is also very, very easy to set the wrong goals and targets. And it’s also very easy to set the wrong benchmarks, all of which are going to compromise your ability to create a return on investment from your program. So what should we do differently? Three things in particular.
Matt Watkinson [00:35:35] First, we should treat customer experience as a means to achieve a clearly articulated business goal, not an end in itself. Rather than the aim of the program being to just create a great customer experience, we should be saying, what are we trying to achieve as a business and how can we use our skills and insights and expertize to help them do that?
Matt Watkinson [00:35:59] Along with that should come a shift away from these huge compound metrics that are very popular, like seats that NPS and that kind of thing towards metrics that are actually aligned with the goal that you’re trying to achieve, which is going to help you paint a much more compelling narrative or story that demonstrates the value that you’re creating.
[00:36:21] And the third thing, which will probably not be a surprise, given what I’ve just said, less of a fixation on retention and loyalty effects and much more of a focus on increasing market penetration, positive purchase experiences and acquiring more customers. Now, at the beginning, I also said this is a game of two halves. It’s not just ROI, it’s the creation of more value for the customer. So the next question to probably ask would be, well, where does that value come from or where does that perception value come from? [00:36:51]And really, therefore factors in the way that I like to think about it. So you’ve got the product or service itself, what it does and what it costs. You’ve got the brand, which can be a huge source of value. You’ve got awareness. People can’t value something or buy something if they don’t know it exists. And then you’ve got this broader continuum of interactions that sit around the core product that we kind of refer to as the customer experience. And really we want to expel on all four of those and we want all four of those things to work together in a cohesive way. [31.4s] So what does that mean if we want to be more successful with customer experience? Well, the first thing is. If we’re going to maximize the value of all of those different value creating activities, we want there to be some consistency and coherence between them for fairly obvious reasons. And the one thing that actually applies to everything that we do as a business is our brand and what that really means from the perspective of the customer.
Matt Watkinson [00:37:50] We need to start our customer experience initiatives, not with the customer, actually, but with a very clear understanding of our brand and what we want that experience to be like, what’s going to make it distinctive, what’s going to make it easy to recognize and remember and then make sure that we are consciously applying that when we execute on the ideas that we’re putting into practice to improve our customer experience. So it’s very, very important, of course, to research and understand what our customers want, what they’re struggling with, how we can create more value for them. But the way in which we execute on that has to be branded if it’s going to become distinctive and memorable. And ‘sameness’ is kind of the riskiest strategy evolved in business.
Matt Watkinson [00:38:34] The second thing I would say is that we want to have much tighter integration with those other value creating activities. I see a lot of kind of ‘them and us’ stuff in customer experience. The advertising is a tax you pay for having a poor experience or CX is better than marketing. This is very, very counterproductive and actually not true either. And we’re going to get a lot further, a lot faster if we try and integrate our activities with these other things. So along with that, which is saying that kind mentioned briefly. We mnust be asking people in the customer experience space to learn more, I think, about about marketing and business strategy. If you haven’t read a book like [00:39:16]How Brands Grow, for example, they explain some of these principles like double jeopardy, the lure of buyer motivation, [4.7s] why we need to focus more on acquisition and retention and that kind of thing. Then you really should try and immerse yourself a little in that world because it kind of sets the context for what we’re we’re trying to do in the environment in which we operate.
Matt Watkinson [00:39:35] So in summary, then, here’s really what I think the future of customer experience needs to needs to look like on a very high level.
Matt Watkinson [00:39:43] [00:39:43]First, treat customer [1.7s] experience as a means to achieve very specific business goals, not an end in itself. Second, compliment that with project-specific metrics that help you demonstrate the value that you bring to the business much more powerfully. Third, less of an obsession with retention and loyalty and more consideration for broadening the customer base and increasing market penetration and aquiring more customer. Four, much tighter integration with other value creating more marketing activities. Five, begin with a very clear sense of the brand if you want to create something distinctive and memorable. And finally, I think much more education and possibly even respect, I would say, for established marketing and business practices that are going to set us up to succeed. And I think if we can do those six things, our customers are going to win. Our businesses are going to win, too, and we as a community of CX practitioners and professionals are going to win, which is obviously what everybody here wants for all of us.
Matt Watkinson [00:40:58] So thank you very much. Looking forward to the Q&A.
Clare Muscutt [00:41:07] We’re back. Thank you.
Sophie Hedestad [00:41:09] Now we’re back. All of us, so let’s. Yeah, great. So Matt we will have some questions now from the audience. But you mentioned that brands tend to grow through acquiring new customers. But why is it that they don’t tend to grow through improving loyalty and retention in particular?
Matt Watkinson [00:41:33] Yeah, that’s that’s a really good question. So and it’s one that comes up a lot and there’s a few reasons to this. First of all, however, loyal customers are, they don’t buy tend to buy more than they need. So even if I’m very loyal to Whole Foods, I don’t start shopping for a family of 10. I mean, there’s only three of us. There are limits to what people will actually buy. Second, there’s also a risk element of this in a bargaining power element of this. So if you were to take it to a very extreme degree and say, let’s have a million dollar business that has one customer that is hyper loyal. Well, the problem with that is that as soon as customers are conscious, aware of how much revenue they contribute to their business, they start to exert their bargaining power and drive the prices and profitability down. And what you see in particular, so, I mean, I run a a design agency and I’ve seen a lot of design agencies in the last few years go pop. And the reason they report is because they they kind of harpoon a whale sized customer and then they kind of try and do everything they can to keep them hyper loyal. And they roll out the red carpet and they do everything they can to keep them happy. And then there’s a change of leadership or procurement policy or something, and they turn the tap off. And now that whole business has collapsed. Right. So there’s kind of a safety in numbers thing that comes from broadening your customer base as well, which is that you have much less risk exposure.
Matt Watkinson [00:42:53] And that also reveals something else, which is that we’re often far less in control of retention than we like to think we are. People can stop buying because they just don’t need that thing anymore. They can relocate. You know, they they can change jobs. Any number of things can happen that can actually that are way beyond our ability to impact that can stop them from buying. And I think we like to think that we’ve got a lot more control over retention, loyalty than we have and obviously it feels good. You know, to focus on your existing customers and of course, you should be doing that, but as a path to growth, the path to growth is always, almost always through broadening your your customer base, because we also see that heavy buyers tend to become lighter over time and lighter buyers often become heavier over time. This kind of regression to the mean phenomenon. So, again, it’s another way that people can misinterpret their data that they can miss plan for what they’re doing in the safest strategy really is, of course, to to do everything you can to satisfy your existing customers, but from a growth perspective, to constantly be trying to increase your market share as well.
Ian Golding [00:44:05] If I could just add, Matt to what you’re saying, if you don’t mind. That is why it is so important that the competencies of customer experience are adopted in the right way. And when you look at what much of the profession has been doing, they’ve been obsessing with certain things. I think Clare articulated very well, but obsessing over them is not adopting them in a way that drives change. And when you think about the customer journey, as Matt has just said, the customer journey today will be different in a week’s time because what customers need, wants and expect changes continuously.
Ian Golding [00:44:43] It changes as a result of their personal circumstances, but it also changes as a result of economic, environmental and health factors that are constantly changing. But so many organizations have mapped a journey and they’re taking decisions related to it. But I haven’t looked at it since I first created it two, three, four, five years earlier. We have got to think about this is a dynamic dynamic, a living, breathing thing.
Sophie Hedestad [00:45:11] Interesting thoughts. Humans are complicated.
Sophie Hedestad [00:45:17] How much can we trust the data, Clare?
Clare Muscutt [00:45:29] My God, if I haven’t had that so many times in the last 12 months. ‘You’re on mute, Clare!’. So, humans can’t be trusted. How much can we trust the data? Do you mean is it like what people say they think or their reported experience? I’m not an insights expert, so I probably wouldn’t be my favorite question to answer, but can I before we move on to that, can I just say I just spotted something in the chat and it was Andrea saying, ‘but loyal customers will tell others about their experience, not to the extent as an unsatisfied customer, but they do’. I think that is one of the myths that Matt was trying to debunk there. They’re actually like, how often do you recommend a service that you use that really also regularly, unless it’s a new feature or you’ve just found out about it? I think we need to challenge that as well in our logic. Matt, I know you speak so eloquently about satisfaction driving. Well, the assumption that satisfaction drives all of these things, could you just expand on that for Andrea’s benefit?
Matt Watkinson [00:46:30] Well, look, so we got to distinguish between what is active, proactive word of mouth and what is a passive recommendation. So clearly, if somebody says to me, can you recommend a paper shredder? I’m just looking at something in my office.
Matt Watkinson [00:46:46] Yes, I can recommend the one that I have, but I’m not going to be talking about it unless it’s something, for example, that I’ve I’ve I’ve I’ve just bought you because of this recency effect. So, you know, you might talk about what you’ve done today or what products we’ve tried today or, you know, a movie that you’ve just seen rather than saying, hey, everybody who’s using Google user, you know, what’s this amazing thing about? I’ve heard I’ve heard a lot about that. But even though you’re very satisfied when things become woven into the fabric of your life, you take them for granted and you no longer proactively generating that word of mouth.
Matt Watkinson [00:47:25] So I think the distinction in Andrea’s mind is, am I am I likely to recommend something? If I’m asked about it, then yes, a loyal customer will do that. But in terms of what drives positive word of mouth, what actually gets the volume and the noise and the buzz is new customers who are trying things for the first time and are excited by that. There’s also, subsequent client loyalty is actually affected by their first time purchasing experience as well. So, again, this is one of these things where you’ve got to look a little bit beyond the kind of commonly held assumptions and really dig into the data and see what it’s telling you.
Sophie Hedestad [00:48:12] OK, great.
Sophie Hedestad [00:48:13] And we have some questions or reasonings around working from home and covid-19, so how has the pandemic affected customer experience?
Clare Muscutt [00:48:26] Oh, so I spent a lot of the lockdown last few months actually talking to contact centers, people who are working from home now as opposed to in actual contact centers and from an employee experience angle that change has had a huge impact on their mental health and well-being, for one. And imagine sitting in your bedroom answering calls all day from angry, frustrated customers or in your lounge and not being able to get away from that. And then when you do, you get away from that, you’re still there or your dog’s barking or your child’s crying. I think one of the biggest challenges has been, yes, we have cloud contact center technology now, but how much of what actually changed was in any way designed? And when I speak to the technology companies who are helping all these businesses, it just wasn’t! So the problems that have been created. So I look at it this way, we have accelerated wonderfully in terms of digital capabilities to do great stuff for customers. And our customers have got over lots of the barriers that they had to not trying digital things, but the things that they’ve been receiving, especially in the last 12 months, have not been designed with them or the people at the other end or the employee side in mind. So whilst the capabilities, I think now there to do awesome things, a lot of organizations for their employees and their customers in terms of experience are going to have to take a step back again and start thinking about what they want it to be.
Sophie Hedestad [00:50:02] Did you have any comments on this?
Ian Golding [00:50:04] Just to add to that perspective? I think it is so important that we don’t focus on the negative, but that we focus on the opportunity that all of this raises, because I’m very cognizant of the fact that if you listen to what myself, Clare and Matt have said, you can think that, blimey, this doesn’t sound very good. You know, have the customer ‘experiencers’ really done anything at all. But we’ve got to bear in mind that we’ve gone from a period of time 10, 15 years ago where people really did not even recognize that customer experience was a thing to a point where customer experience is now very much on the tip of people’s tongues. And a lot of that has been driven by an unbelievable amount of blood, sweat and tears from people around the world who have dragged people very often kicking and screaming to focus on people. And that’s why I said that in fact, I said at the end of my presentation that if nothing else, if the pandemic has brought us closer to being human again, that’s a good thing. And I think what’s interesting about people working from home, what has happened in the last 12 months is a greater realization that [00:51:30]the way we treat our people is the way our people treat our customers. [2.7s] And there is absolutely no doubt that the most customer centric organizations in history have always believed that they’ve got to look after their people first because they’re people will then look after the customer. And I think Claire is absolutely right. Many organizations haven’t done that. They’ve sent people home, just expected them to get on with it. And at a time where emotion is only on the edge, there are many people feeling, feeling isolated, feeling desperate, feeling uncertain, feeling worried. And those organizations who are not looking after their people will suffer the consequences. So I think, again, I don’t want this to sound too soft and fluffy, but we must not forget the importance of that human connection beyond anything else, because that’s what this is all about. Business is all about people, and it doesn’t matter how digitally enabled we become. We can’t do this unless our people are able to come together with our customers in a way that creates that human connection.
Sophie Hedestad [00:52:41] OK, great. We also have a lot of questions around B2B versus B2C, maybe you can elaborate a bit on that. What are the differences in B2B and B2C within the customer experience?
Matt Watkinson [00:53:04] Well, that’s that’s a whole topic in and of itself to explore, I’m not sure that the distinction is necessarily clear cut along on that.
Matt Watkinson [00:53:19] What I’m trying to say, I suppose, is that that’s something of a false dichotomy, because the way in which you approach customer experience, the way in which you approach any aspect of your business is going to be contingent on your revenue model, on the nature of the relationship that you have with your your your client or their transient customer base. Are you in there for the long haul, those kinds of things. I think you do see a lot of distinctions in what is driving different data and you see a lot of lag in things as well. So to give you one example, a lot of companies have a preferred supplier list and government policies that prevent ready switching from one supplier to another.
Matt Watkinson [00:54:06] So the higher the switching costs are, the less likely you are to leave a provider and the more potential there is to misinterpret that as loyalty. In fact, many brands in B2B continue to buy from suppliers that they don’t really like because it’s easier to keep buying from them than to onboard a new supplier and go through a switching process. So you don’t tend to see that kind of contract mediated customer experience in the same way in consumer brands, apart from perhaps some some utilities providers. So, again, I think it’s a really good example of really appreciate your CX and understanding unique to your business, what is what is driving people’s decision making and what the data is really telling you. This is part of a much larger topic for discussion, which is to say that, you know, when it comes to any of these value creating activities, when it comes to business strategy, when it comes to customer experience, the starting point is an appreciation of your unique context is not to say what a B2B brand’s doing, what a B2C brand’s doing. What are the trends for the toenail clipping industry in the next five years or whatever it is? [00:55:22]The way that you need to approach this is to say what are our strengths and weaknesses. What are the challenges that are present in our territory and our market and our industry? How are those dynamics changing? What’s going on with our category? What’s going on with our our customers? What’s our product suite look like? And to focus really on the on the constraints to performance that apply to your business in particular, rather than saying this is a trend. So we’re going to follow it as soon as a trend is present and you’re following it, you’re not in a position to profit from it because you’re following everybody else. It’s just as simple as that. So what you really need to be doing is saying, what do we think we should be doing based on our business, based on our brand, based on our customers, and try and kind of run your own race a little. [55.4s]
Matt Watkinson [00:56:21] I think that a lot of these questions, like what should we be measuring, what does B2C do, what does B2C do? They’ve got to be taken on a case by case basis rather than there being any kind of rule of thumb that you can say consistently applies across these distinctive organizations.
Sophie Hedestad [00:56:37] Right. We are approaching the end. I was thinking if everyone in one sentence, not longer than one sentence, can give one tip to the audience, how they can set up for success within the field of future of CX. So what do you want to do with just a short sentence send off the audience with. Anyone want to start?
Ian Golding [00:57:08] I don’t mind going first. I love the fact you ask the question with a lot of doubt in your voice. But you’re absolutely right. My one sentence is this, and I mentioned it in my presentation, that the future of customer experience is the past. And what I mean by that is we have got to refocus on human to human relationships that this is so important that we treat people in the way we want them treat our customers, and that we do not get overexcited by technology being able to eliminate human interaction and save money, but that we use technology to better enable people to deliver better experiences to the customer.
Sophie Hedestad [00:58:05] Thank you.
Clare Muscutt [00:58:23] I think I’d say, yeah, I’m I’m still going to stand by the fact that I think technology isn’t the problem. The way we think about customer experience is so really set back this next week and observe yourself and see where your attention goes. And question is what I’m doing really get into the brass tax of how to make customer experience better? And as I said, you expand your horizons, listen to new stuff, seek out new inspiration that will enable you to think for yourself and try new stuff for yourself that you will learn from. I think there’s so much ideas, so many ideas I hear about that, especially when I’ve been doing research with women in CX recently, that they don’t feel that they can challenge this agenda and it’s fixed. And I just would like to say I don’t agree. The future is about us innovating.
Matt Watkinson [00:59:26] I would say if there was if there was one thing, one final word of advice, it would just be to get it done. You know, execution beats strategy, one minuscule improvement is better than a thousand PowerPoint slides, right? And you are in a race against expectations that are always rising. So the longer it takes you to ship, the less impact your improvements are going to have. I would just say try your best to ship anything as quickly as you can and continuously improve and learn as you go. Less big bang strategy, more execution.
Sophie Hedestad [01:00:04] Great. So execution is key here.
[01:00:09] Thank you so much Ian, Clare, and Matt for attending this webinar. And thank you everyone else that listening to this webinar. We have had about four hundred fifty sign ups, something like that. So where we are very happy that you joined in today. Please do not forget to fill out the survey in the little chat bar. It’s a sticky message called ‘Please fill out our Future of CX survey’. If you do that, you will get that report in advance. So thank you, everyone, for listening and join us today and have a great morning, lunch, afternoon wherever you’re sitting. I hope to speak to you soon. Don’t forget to connect with all of us on LinkedIn.
Clare Muscutt [01:00:57] Thanks, everyone, for showing up. But it was great to be here.
Matt Watkinson [01:01:00] Bye bye. Thank you. Bye bye.