By Danyel LaGow
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I recently attended the sold out CXPA Insight Exchange conference at the beautiful Phoenix Biltmore Hotel. This was CXPA’s sixth Insight Exchange, attracting 350 attendees— 200 of which were new to the conference. This is interesting to point out, partly as kudos to the CXPA, but also because it is a signal of the increasing role and importance customer experience within organizations. That said, I wanted to share a few of the key moments and CX trends from the conference.

The conference was filled with amazing people. CX professionals are caring, empathetic, passionate, determined, collaborative, creative, persistent, and, above all, customer advocates. (These are my people.) It takes these types of leaders to help organizations find their passion and nurture engaged employees who work together to create amazing experiences for their customers.

Plus, more and more organizations are realizing customer experience must be a top-down, bottom-up, and all-the-way-across organizational movement to shift to a customer-centric thinking culture. It’s an all-company effort.

It’s true that driving strategy and cultural change across any organization can feel overwhelming. But what I realized while reflecting on the Insight Exchange is this: it doesn’t have to be. Start with the basics – such as gathering insights, mapping the customer journey, and identifying experience improvements – and then build on your CX roadmap as your organization learns what it means to bring the customer in. Moving the needle on customer experience is a rewarding journey that employees at all levels should enjoy, and it takes time to get to an optimized customer experience. And that’s OK!

The following are my THREE KEY THEMES from CXPA’s Insight Exchange that EVERY organization should adopt.

1. PUT CUSTOMERS FIRST

  • Put customers first in how you do business, how you make decisions, and how you communicate internally and externally.
  • Involve employees by asking for customer insights they see and hear about in their day-to-day. Employees are the next best source of customer insights (next to customers themselves).
  • Put a team together to capture and analyze all customer insights and data from across the organization, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
  • Talk with your customers. Go beyond surveys and bring customers into your organization to ask them how they feel when they experience your brand, and how they want to do business with you.

“It all boils down to 1:1 human interactions.”
— Mark Slaten, Sandy Springs Bank & 2017 CX Innovation Award Winner

2. MAP THE END-TO-END CUSTOMER JOURNEY

  • Employees at every level should understand and walk through your customer’s end-to-end journey with your company.
  • Facilitate customer journey mapping sessions to not only identify the end-to-end experience but also where the key touch points, critical moments of truth and gaps in the experience are.
  • The customer journey should become the common tool that all parts of an organization leverage to center around the customer.

3. ENGAGE YOUR EMPLOYEES IN THE CX STRATEGY

  • Employee engagement draws deeper commitment to the values of your organization and plays a key role in fostering a customer-centric culture.
  • Engaged employees get energized about the company’s purpose, understand their role within the greater organization, and feel trusted, empowered, and included. Bonds are created when cross-functional teams are brought together, which helps break down silos.

“The role of the customer leadership executive is to engage leaders and the organization to want to be a part of one-company storytelling and prioritization of actions to earn the right to customer-driven growth.”
a quote from Jeanne Bliss’s (CustomerBliss) new book ‘Chief Customer Officer 2.0,’ shared during her Insight Exchange talk.

Our job as leaders is to forge a clear path for employees and customers to have and create great interactions and experiences. Follow these three themes, and you’ll be set up for success.

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