This is a slightly enhanced (and translated) transcript of an interview about customer experience I did for valantic. The interview challenge was to stay short and concise, and to keep it within two minutes. In order to not lose the spirit of this 120 second challenge, I kept the transcript short. This might raise a question or two. Happy to discuss, as always.
So, interviewer, let’s get going!
What’s the meaning of the claim ‘The Age of the Customer’?
‘The Age of the Customer’ is a term that is roughly synonymous with ‘The Customer is in Control’. Both terms basically express the notion that today’s customers have far better access to information than they had a decade ago, before the social media and mobile revolution. An important consequence of this revolution is that customers’ trust business statements about their products and solution is far lower than in earlier times.
What does this mean for businesses?
That is simple. The knowledge advantage that businesses have has decreased considerably. With that the possibility of businesses to distinguish themselves based upon their products and services shrinks. Therefore businesses must appear far more authentic and focus on an engagement model that fits their brand; this in a way that results in a positive perception by customers.
Customer Experience Management – What do you think of this term?
I do not like the term customer experience management as the customer experience is solely in the realm of the customer. What a business can do is engage with customers in a way that with a high likelihood results in a positive experience. I prefer the term customer engagement management as the business is at least involved in the engagement process and therefore can act and react meaningfully to customers’ actions or reactions.
How would you describe a perfect customer experience?
Customers want to achieve a goal when interacting with a business. If they achieve this goal with minimum own effort, even joyfully, and feel like a human interacting with a human, then a perfect customer experience is the result.
Why is CX getting more important?
Competing products and services differ less and less. And in a subscription economy it becomes simpler and simpler to change over from one vendor to another. Therefore a main distinguishing factor for a business is its authenticity and how easy it is to work with it. And this is at the core of CX.
Which trends do you foresee in the near future?
We will see the convergence of communication channels and a development from omni-channel to channel agnostic or something I would call ‘channel-less’. Customers do switch from one communications channel to another without further thought and they want a seamless communication regardless of the channel, solely based upon their current context and intent.
Where shall businesses start to work?
Businesses need to look hard at where the pains and the possible gains are and start it from there. There is no silver bullet, and every business faces individual and different challenges. These need to be determined on a one by one basis.
What are the biggest obstacles facing companies in the area of CX?
The biggest obstacles are organisational and data silos. These silos lead to process breaks which in turn lead to a poor CX and poor customer experiences.
What is the role of innovation?
Innovation is what enables businesses stay agile enough to successfully navigate the volatile environment we are in. And innovation in this context is not only a matter of technology but also of the business model. Both need to be adaptable around a stable core.
How can businesses manage to consequently place the customer at their core while fulfilling the high legal requirements?
In order to keep the customers at their core, businesses need to always keep in mind what customers want – and what they do not want. At the end of the day this, especially the latter, is the reason for establishing rulesets like the GDPR.