Grace Blue were joined by four Customer Experience (CX) leaders on their recent Lessons in Leadership webinar which covered the increasingly popular topic of CX, the role that CX plays in the lives of consumers, agencies and consultancies, and what the evolution of CX means for current and future talent in this space.
Grace Blue Founder, Jay Haines was joined by Global Chief Customer Experience Officer at VMLY&R, Jeff Geheb, Kevin Rose, Partner at Deloitte Consulting, Megan Thomson, a Global Customer Experience Leader and Simon Francis, Executive Chairman of Flock Associates.
The panel focused on CX and the importance of a customer-centric approach. The speakers discussed the evolution of CX, and the necessary skills and talent for driving a CX agenda. They also emphasised the importance of emotional engagement and human connection in CX.
Here’s a short recap of the takeaways from the CX panel discussions. Watch the full webinar on Vimeo.
How would you define CX in today’s market and how has it evolved in the past 2 or 3 years?
Jeff Geheb – CX is a sum of your feelings based on the experiences and interactions you have had with a brand or company. The role of agencies when it comes to CX is now to help clients to differentiate in customer experience and to change the way companies adapt and serve customers’ needs.
Megan Thomson – CX is no longer just a specific department within an organisation, it is a transformative mindset and strategy that shapes every interaction with customers and exceptional experiences. A strong company-wide vision for CX and a skilled CX team as custodians of the customer experience are important. The evolution of CX over the last few years shows how businesses are having to take an active interest and commit to CX as a true differentiator. Businesses must also commit to technology to stay relevant and to become faster, smarter and deliver at scale to customers in a personalised way.
Kevin Rose – CX has evolved to include not just customers, but also employees and partnerships. Technology and data have changed the game, forcing organisations to think differently about how they approach CX. CX is not only embedded within the organisation but has been elevated to the leadership level and this change has been seen most prominently with the creation of the Chief Customer Officer role.
Simon Francis – Organisational structures are still at the early stages of evolving towards a customer-centric organisation and being able to deliver CX. The last few years have seen changes within the C-suite with the introduction of Chief Customer Experience Officer instead of a Chief Marketing Officer and the teams are built in that image.
What are the barriers organisations are facing when it comes to trying to build a CX agenda and how can these be removed?
Megan Thomson – When the C-suite lacks alignment and commitment to customer experience priorities, it becomes a significant obstacle. By establishing clear customer KPIs and incentivising leadership to achieve them brings clarity to the entire organisation regarding the importance of customer and the areas of focus. Regular reporting and insights on the impact of their efforts on customers are crucial for the C-suite. By incentivising both the C-suite and the broader business based on these Customer KPIs, a collective focus on customer satisfaction is ensured. Equipping all teams with customer-centric skills will also enable everyone with the tools to think more deliberately about their customers and their needs across all teams.
Simon Francis – Building a consumer-centric organisation requires significant transformation and unwiring of legacy skills, legacy systems and legacy values.
Megan Thomson – Advocate for a Chief Customer Office type role within the business who can be the voice of the consumer within the business and ensure alignment across the organisation on delivering on CX targets.
How did VMLY&R build such a definitive practice within the CX space?
Jeff Geheb – the agency stayed true to their principles. The agency has a holistic approach to customer experience, using empathy and diverse talent to drive innovation and meet clients where they are. Tool sets and methodologies, like empathy, are important for creating successful customer experiences.
Jeff Geheb – Leveraging diversity and collaboration within the team for better ideas and customer experience. There is a careful orchestration of resources to drive empathy, scale, and innovation.
What talent will be needed to continue driving the CX agenda?
Megan Thomson – Consider recruiting talent from sectors that excel in customer-centric thinking and possess a culture of continuous experimentation and learning. Industries such as technology, banking, innovation, and advanced retailers often have professionals who can contribute valuable insights on adopting customer-focused strategies from other successful businesses.
Simon Francis – It is important to align capabilities with future consumer demands and to recruit diverse talent accordingly. Customer experience roles require cross-departmental organisation so you need talent who can join the dots and who can influence.
Kevin Rose – Balancing both the human element and technology skills for CX will be a valuable skill needed in current and future talent. Individuals who are passionate about their own experience will be the type of person who can get excited about creating experience for customers.
Jeff Geheb – There will always be a need for talent across strategy, technology, data insights, production, design as well as program managers and client leaders. Those in the technical skill area will need to know how to use the tools but also to think beyond them.
The discussions highlighted while technology was an important aspect of CX, it should be used to facilitate human connection and experiences rather than the end product. It’s clear from the discussion that there is a need to bring marketing and CX closer together within one function and the introduction of a Chief Customer Office type role is one way that could ensure that transition and company alignment.
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