Published in B2B

CXForum 2018 – Sydney

It has been two weeks since our inaugural APAC CXForum and we hope that you found the day as thought provoking as we did.

So many ideas were shared by our incredible speakers yet despite the diversity of topics, all addressed the same fundamental CX challenges – ‘How do I create a high-value CX program and how can we get people to care’?

Whether its convincing the C-Suite to care enough to prioritise CX investment, helping a business understand the negative or positive impact of CX extends to all departments or ensuring front line workers remain both efficient and empathetic, there were many valuable insights throughout the day.

Re-live the experience to access the highlights video and a wrap up of the key points from each presentation:

Creating the Case for Change

Cindy Cash opened the day by sharing her experience of driving customer change in one of the most disrupted industries of the last decade.  She talked about how although building a business case involved multiple strands, like technology, financials and risk assessment, she actually spent 99 percent of her time engaging with people to address the fundamental questions of ‘why I should care, and how do you expect me to change?”

This meant a top down and bottom up education programme to ensure people understood why change was necessary, whilst also navigating a high churn in leadership. As Cindy noted, “making sure that people were onboard, still feeling like it was something that they could own and champion, was absolutely critical because it could’ve completely derailed what we were trying to do.” Key to her success after convincing senior leaders to approve the business case, was extending the education programme to middle management to build a CX advocacy base.

Leveraging the Voice of the Employee

Gabrielle Dracopoulos echoed the importance of employee engagement in driving forward CX programmes.  She outlined the correlation between customer and employee survey data and encouraged more businesses to pay attention to the insights produced by people and culture surveys. As the VP of Customer Advocacy, her work is measured on improving customer trust. This means building customer empathy is a key focus and Gabrielle discussed the value of a customer immersion programme where back office staff performed front line duties in order to bring to life the importance of CX. She also outlined how a potential barrier to employee understanding was discovered early in project. This was revealed when she posed the question ‘what does creating a customer obsessed organisation mean to you?’ to staff and the executive team and received very different answers from each group. It’s imperative that everyone understands what is trying to be achieved from the very beginning.

Getting a 360 View of the Exterprise CX Landscape

For REST Industry Super, their first ‘voice of the customer’ project was a success; its NPS score was clearly communicated across the organisation and customer pain points were uncovered.  But as their Head of Customer Voice, Joanne Scanlon discussed, the real challenge was how to evolve the programme to begin to make tangible change to address the challenges of people saying “that’s interesting…. those pain points, but that’s not important to me”.  A key element of this evolution was for the customer programme to sit outside of the customer team in a two-tiered structure. The NPS score remained an important element to drive advocacy and cultural change, but a transactional CSAT programme was added. This focused on increasing listening across all digital channels to identify ‘moments that matter’ in order to work with vendor partners to fix and is having a real impact.

Making CX Insights ‘Consumer-able’ across the Organisation

Mathew Prowse outlined (and we expect a few people may be ‘borrowing’ this phrase) how he was making “consumer insights consumerable” to employees and the broader organisation. As Customer Understanding Director, he described his 12-month journey of reengineering customer analysis and segmentation, looking at the motivations of customers outside the insurance lens and involving the wider business – not just the marketing teams. For Matthew, the success of the project came down to combining “the art with the science”. Noting that we have more data than ever before, he believes the trick is how well you can synthesise this data and make it simple and actionable. An important step to achieving this was designing a high-level customer journey framework that sat across all activity. Creating empathy (a common refrain across the whole day) was a key element to driving CX evolution. Walking the talk of putting the customer front and centre, members who had recently gone through a claim experience were invited into meetings to map out (quite literally, on a large piece of brown paper) the actual journey they had. They then mapped out what would have made it an optimal experience; a simple but incredibly powerful idea that uncovered many actionable insights.

Operationalising Cross-functional Voice of Customer Insights

Kiri Burgess and Linda Broady then offered a window into the extensive customer experience journey which evolved from a stand-alone NPS programme to a fully-fledged ‘voice of the customer’ programme.  They talked about how they quickly determined that the CX programme had to be fully embedded into the business and “part of our organisation’s operating rhythm.”  As Head of Customer Insights, Kiri and her team resolved that ‘two-degrees of separation’ must be demonstrated between any employee and their ability to create customer change to ensure all employees would believe that their “role every day has an impact on a customer”.  Creating this line of sight has been one of the CX team’s biggest successes and the creation of a nine metre ‘advocacy’ wall that moves around offices and visually outlines the positive impact improved CX is having has helped foster this sense of shared responsibility.

Another key operational process change was initiated when the company identified that the inflexible call centre scripts was having a negative impact on CX; it was too prescriptive and something that coaching alone wouldn’t change. Linda, who is Advocacy Manager, Customer Interactions described how the customer experience designed something called the “first 30 seconds”, meaning the first 30 seconds of any call should be solely about listening and asking open ended questions – no ID questions, no typing on key boards. Incredibly within two weeks of implementation, customer experience scores jumped by 20 points and stayed there; again, highlighting the importance of active empathy.

Designing the World’s Best Close the Loop Process

Creating empathy and understanding was also a key priority for Hamish Wood, Senior Customer Experience and Insights Manager. He explained how he approached building the world’s ‘best close the loop’ programme in order to achieve the company’s strategic goal of being “the benchmark for amazing customer experience”. The new programme was designed to be personalised and engaging for both employees and customers – as well as “smart, slim and measurable”.  It calculated the value of a customer and then segmented this value into seven ‘buckets’, ten percent of which would receive a personalised response, with the remainder receiving either semi-personalised or automated responses. Semi-personalised and automated responses were designed to appear less ‘generic’; for example, timing the emails to be sent at 12 minutes past nine in the morning to suggest it was sent by a real person after they had got to their desk in the morning and personally responding to any negative replies to the auto-generated emails. Care was taken with the personalised responses, finding out what methodology works best to communicate with each customer and empowering front-line staff to augment their solutions with small tokens like flowers, chocolates and vouchers. Hamish also taught us the meaning of ‘double closed loop’: resolving the an issue and then going the extra mile to ensure the resolution itself was pleasing to the customer! Staff can even invite customers out for coffee to find out more about their issues. The programme is still in its pilot phase but has already achieved significant uplift in metrics. As Hamish noted, “It is all about empathising”.

The Economics of Loyalty

Chio Verastegui, Partner at Bain & Company (the consulting firm which invented the net promotor system) was the last external speaker of the day and underscored the importance of C-Suite commitment to CX programmes, noting that if you don’t have a CEO who has “voiced customer experience as one of their top three priorities” then it will be extremely hard to achieve real success. Chio outlined what, in her extensive experience, made an effective NPS programme with ‘trust’ being a key predicator. Bain had found that 88 percent of companies that struggled with their net provider system “didn’t actually trust the metric”, whilst 99 percent of companies that have successful customer experience programmes “feel their net promoter score is as trusted as their audited financial metrics”. She believes that whilst an increasing number of CEOs and CMOs understand the importance of CX, it can often by the CFO who acts as a barrier and who need to be shown the financial impact of both improving and failing to act upon CX programmes. It becomes imperative to speak their language and demonstrate how costs and the consumer programme sit side by side.

During her presentation, Chio noted “Painting the vision for the organisation is critical”. Finding the right tools, the right language, the right format and the right visuals to paint the CX vision is so important to continue to drive forward progress in customer experience.

We hope that our fantastic speakers helped spark ideas and inspiration to help you paint your own customer experience vision and look forward to providing more valuable insights at CXForum 2019.