This week’s podcast highlights some of the take-aways from last week’s Digital Customer Experience Strategies Summit in Chicago, at which I had the honor of being on the first panel of the event.
Banks, Telecomms, and B2B Companies Grapple With Omnichannel Customer Experience
Most startling for me was to discover how many big companies in the worlds of financial services, telecommunications, utilities and business-to-business vendors are just now starting to realize that they’ve got to take omnichannel customer experience seriously.
And many of them — even those that paid a couple of thousand dollars to send someone to the conference — are still not serious enough to put significant resources behind the effort. Nice that they’ve appointed someone to look at “customer experience” but when a company with over 10,000 employees and billions of dollars of assets appoints one person — seriously?? That person has to be a superhero to make progress!
That said, many companies are committed, and we heard from several of them at the conference.
DCX 2016 Highlights
- Culture Change: Vicki Jones, of AT&T, talked about the challenges of merging three large organizations. Dealing with culture differences is even harder than the technological challenges. Having a supportive CEO (which she has) is incredibly helpful.
- Text & Messaging for Customer Service: There was a lot of talk about the increasing use of text and messaging for customer service. If it is done right, it can really save you money by lowering the number of contact center calls.
- Data: Big data is great, but you have to figure out what’s relevant in all that data. Don’t just go fishing; know what you are trying to learn.
- Streamlining offers and systems: In a large organization it is easy for the number of offerings to have spun out of control. It may be time to re-examine and rationalize them. This will help you and your overwhelmed potential customers.
- Personalization: One of the great things about using data more effectively is that it is becoming increasingly feasible to truly personalize offers. Once you’ve got the technology and expertise to understand that data, you can potentially really optimize your profits by giving more customers exactly what they want at the perfect price.
- Empathy: If you are doing customer journey mapping (which you should be doing!), map customer emotions along the journey, not just actions.
- De-silo: Not surprisingly, many speakers and audience members discussed the challenges of getting cooperation of all departments that are needed to implement omnichannel customer experience. Crossing silos is inevitable if you really want to make things work across all channels.
- Executive buy-in: The best way to get executives interested in customer experience improvement is by exposing them to what their customers are really saying. Whether video clips, story telling using a simplified customer journey map with customer quotes, or dragging them out onto the front lines, they’ve got understand the pain before they’ll commit the resources.
- Happy employees: As Michelle Morris, of Crowe Horwath LLP, put it, “Great customer experience is impossible to deliver if employees hate their work or hate you.”
- Content management: We are all overwhelmed by content, so it is important that different departments in your company aren’t all bombarding customers at once, or with the same info over and over. You need to track what content you have, where it has been used, and when.
- Mobile first – NOT: A few years ago we talked about “responsive” websites, which were at least possible to read on the small screen of a phone. Then we moved to “mobile first” — suggesting that companies should think primarily about the mobile experience when designing sites. Kavitha Krishnan, of the CUNA Mutual Group, argued that this is no longer the right approach either. You have to think about each type of device separately and design each interface for the way in which that device is likely to be used.
- Accessibility: With the aging of the population it is getting more foolish than ever for companies to ignore accessibility when designing web experiences. More people are going to be using technology like screen readers, audio input, and even things as simple as high contrast. Accessible design makes websites more user-friendly for everybody. Not only will accessible web design help those with disabilities, it will make their family and friends more inclined to want to support your organization and buy from you.
- Reduce friction: Michael Marino, of Caesar’s Entertainment, gave some great examples of ways they are using mobile apps to make it easier for their visitors to spend money and have a good time. The key, in any effort to improve customer experience, is finding ways to reduce the friction involved in the experience. As I say in PeopleShock, look for the pain points and find ways to eliminate them.
- Information security: Data breaches are happening daily, but you can and should be putting efforts in place to lower your risks. When setting priorities, think about what the risks to your organization will be from disclosure of the various types of data that you have.
These are just a few of the many things discussed at the conference; there’s a lot more in the full podcast. It seems that omnichannel customer experience is where user experience was a few years ago: it is still early days. Fundamentally,