Podcast: Business impact of customer experience

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Welcome back, dear readers! Today, I’m excited to share some fascinating insights from a recent podcast conversation with Maxie Schmidt, a leading expert in customer experience (CX) from Forrester. 


In our discussion, we delved into the nuances of CX transformation, explored common pitfalls, and uncovered practical strategies to drive meaningful change in any organization.


The Journey Begins: Understanding CX Transformation


Maxie and I started our conversation by reflecting on the essence of CX transformation. We both agreed that at its core, CX transformation is about aligning decisions, metrics, and actions with the ultimate goal of enhancing customer experiences. It’s not just about collecting data or tracking scores; it’s about embedding customer-centric thinking into every aspect of the organization.


One of the key points Maxie highlighted was the danger of becoming “NPS accountants.” Too often, CX teams get bogged down in measuring and reporting scores without driving real change. It’s essential to remember that metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) are tools, not the end goal. The real value lies in using these insights to foster a deeper understanding of customers and to drive actions that improve their experiences.


Empathy: The Heart of CX


A recurring theme in our conversation was empathy – both towards customers and internal stakeholders. Maxie emphasized the importance of understanding the daily challenges faced by different departments within an organization. By stepping into their shoes, CX professionals can tailor their approach to provide relevant, actionable insights that align with each team’s goals and processes.


One practical tip for fostering empathy is to actively listen to feedback from various departments. For example, if a sales team feels overwhelmed by the number of tasks they need to accomplish, a CX professional should seek ways to integrate customer-centric practices into their existing workflows rather than adding more tasks. This approach not only makes it easier for teams to adopt new practices but also builds a stronger sense of collaboration and mutual respect.


Transforming Through Tiny Habits


Change doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, one of the most effective strategies for driving CX transformation is to focus on tiny habits – small, incremental changes that collectively lead to significant improvements. Inspired by James Clear’s “Atomic Habits,” Maxie and I discussed how even minor adjustments in daily routines can have a profound impact on customer experience.


For instance, consider a simple habit like starting every team meeting with a brief discussion about a recent customer interaction. This practice keeps the customer at the forefront of everyone’s mind and encourages a culture of continuous improvement. Similarly, leaders can set an example by regularly sharing customer success stories, highlighting how different teams have contributed to positive outcomes.


The Power of Journey-Centric Thinking


One of the most promising approaches to CX transformation is journey-centric thinking. By focusing on specific customer journeys – the end-to-end experiences that customers have with a company – organizations can identify pain points and opportunities for improvement more effectively.


Maxie shared a valuable example from her work with a utility company, Anglian Water. They created urgency for CX initiatives by illustrating what the future would look like if they didn’t invest in customer experience. This approach made the potential consequences tangible and motivated executives to prioritize CX.


To start implementing journey-centric thinking in your organization, begin by mapping out the key journeys your customers take. Identify the touchpoints and interactions that matter most, and gather feedback from both customers and employees. This holistic view will help you pinpoint areas where small changes can make a big difference.


Prioritizing the Right Metrics


Metrics play a crucial role in CX transformation, but it’s important to choose the right ones. Rather than focusing solely on traditional metrics like NPS, consider incorporating leading indicators that provide early insights into customer behavior and satisfaction.


For example, if your company has a customer lifetime value (CLV) model, look for early indicators of CLV such as customer engagement or product usage patterns. By tracking these metrics, you can make more informed decisions and demonstrate the value of CX initiatives in a way that resonates with stakeholders.


Leadership Commitment: The Key to Success


Finally, we discussed the vital role of leadership in CX transformation. Leaders set the tone for the organization, and their commitment to customer experience is essential for driving change. However, it’s not enough for leaders to simply endorse CX initiatives; they need to actively participate and model customer-centric behaviors.


One effective way to assess and enhance leadership commitment is through the CX commitment checklist. This tool helps leaders identify specific actions they can take to support CX, such as integrating customer insights into strategic decisions or recognizing employees who demonstrate exceptional customer focus.


Conclusion: Embrace the Journey


As we wrapped up our conversation, it became clear that successful CX transformation requires a combination of empathy, practical habits, journey-centric thinking, and strong leadership commitment. By focusing on these areas, organizations can create a culture that truly values and prioritizes the customer.


Thank you for joining me on this exploration of CX transformation. I hope these insights from my conversation with Maxie Schmidt inspire you to take small, meaningful steps towards improving customer experience in your organization. 


Remember, every journey begins with a single step – let’s take that step together!


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Receive weekly curated CX content by joining my newsletter with 1000+ readers from companies like Randstad, Forrester, Egon Zehnder, T-Mobile, Salesforce and more.

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