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2021: The Year of CX Data

Given the year we’ve had, we need to talk hygiene. Because I suspect you’ve been neglecting it.

Not because of the sweatpants you wore in that Zoom meeting, or that you don’t always sing “Happy Birthday” twice when you wash your hands.

I mean digital hygiene, and the need to clean your data.

Each of the past five years have been hailed as the “The Year of Digital Transformation.” We thought we were working hard to digitize our experiences.

Then the pandemic hit. And we realized we weren’t doing nearly enough. New digital capabilities came up almost overnight, as agile teams worked to pivot toward emerging customer needs. E-commerce sites, digital notifications, ship from store – all capabilities that were just “in the works” a year ago were deployed quickly. Read more

What Can the CX Tech Stack Do for You?

a pyramid showing the elements of the cx tech stackCX is all about driving customer-focused change in your organization, with initiatives that drive top or bottom-line value.

And in today’s world, 10 out of 10 of those initiatives will involve technology in some way. (Actually, given all the ways we’ve gone virtual due to COVID-19, make that 12 out of 10!)

At Heart of the Customer, we know from our research that Change Makers – the most effective programs in the CX space – rely heavily on the tools in the CX Tech Stack to accelerate journey improvements and business impact, and boost the value they bring to their customers.

The good news? These tools are all readily available on the marketplace, so you can (and should) be using them, too. The CX Tech Stack is key to making a difference…and perhaps even more importantly, proving the difference you are making. Read more

An Open Letter to My Friends in IT

Dear IT colleagues,

This is our time to shine. As the world changes rapidly, your company is looking to you to deliver the digital transformations necessary to support a new reality for your customers. Those digital adoption goals set for 2025? They’ve been moved up to 2021. With urgency.

This year has shown us that a successful customer experience requires technology. There simply aren’t any projects to deliver an improved journey that can afford to overlook IT. Heart of the Customer’s research this year has also shown this to be a key differentiator for market leaders, who utilize more kinds of technology than their peers. Read more

Unmask the Power of Social Proof

At Heart of the Customer, we recently had a software client who wasn’t winning as many sales as they expected. We mapped their customers’ pre-sales journey and found that the company was putting out their best practices, but prospective clients were ignoring them.

They just didn’t consider our client a trusted authority.

It’s common problem among CX pros. You see customers making “bad” choices, such as not making the best use of your company’s products or services. So you create communications to share the recommended approach, but you just can’t get customers to change their behavior.

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An Effortless Experience Isn’t Enough

In CX, we all focus on making the experience easier on our customers. (We even made it the title of our book.) But building loyalty isn’t as simple as removing friction.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s definitely worthwhile to simplify your customer experience. Friction is a key driver behind loyalty destruction, and your organization will benefit from streamlining processes and making it easier for customers to resolve issues.

But it won’t build fans who will go out of their way to order from you. That takes something bigger. Read more

customers consumers producers

What’s in a Name? Your Ability to Please Your Customers

I’ve always been a big reader, but the pandemic has given me even more time to indulge my passion. I recently devoured Conscious Capitalism, by John Mackey and Rajendra Sisodia.

It really struck a chord with me, particularly this paragraph calling on businesses to stop using the term consumer: “Businesses must think of their customers as human beings to be served, not as consumers to be sold to. In fact, the very word consumer objectifies people, suggesting that their only role is to consume.”

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Culture Is the Cart, Change Is the Horse

There’s no doubt about it – culture change is sexy. So sexy, that it’s where most customer experience programs focus. But starting with culture is putting the cart before the horse. And we all know you’re not going to get anywhere that way.

In this final post in my CX-focused series on applying John Kotter’s 8 Steps to Accelerate Change in Your Organization, we cover the eighth step: Institute Change.

The problem is that most employees believe they’re doing the right thing for customers – it’s those people in [insert name of some other department] who are messing up. So if you start with culture change – putting together training, creating a customer room, waiting for improved outcomes – you’re loading your cart before you have the means to propel it forward.

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sustain acceleration

Don’t Just Drive CX Success, Sustain It

We’re in the homestretch of my series on how to apply John Kotter’s change management work to customer experience! The penultimate seventh step, Sustain Acceleration, is an important reminder that you can’t rest on your laurels.

As Kotter writes in 8 Steps to Accelerate Change in Your Organization: “So you’ve had a few wins. It can be easy to lift your foot off the gas pedal after experiencing some success. Instead, this is the time to press harder and use those wins as momentum to further fuel the change.” Read more

Propel CX Momentum With Quick Wins

I’ve been writing about how to apply John Kotter’s change management work to CX. This week, I’ll tackle Step Six: Generate Short-Term Wins.

The good news is that CX programs frequently excel at this. Many organizations have focused internally so much that they can easily find areas where they can develop quick wins.

Whether they have the infrastructure in place to execute them? Well, that’s another story.

The ripest opportunities for quick wins often come from digital efforts. Shortening a process here, improving communication there – these changes can make a real difference. Even when you need to take more comprehensive action, break it down so that you make an impact in the short term. This often paves the way for the success of your longer-term initiatives. Read more

Enable CX Action by Removing Barriers

On our continuing journey exploring John Kotter’s 8 Steps to Accelerate Change and how you can apply them to the CX world, we have reached the fifth step: Enable Action by Removing Barriers. (Catch up on earlier posts in the series here!)

According to our forthcoming work on understanding how companies improve their customers’ journeys, one of the top obstacles to improvement is organizational complexity. Read more