In anticipation of Chief Customer Officer, Fall, which will take place in San Francisco, September 11-13, we re-visited some of the lessons learned at our CCO USA event, that took place in Miami, January 2018. Our findings make for an insightful read and have helped us shape the topics and discussions for CCO Fall. We wanted to share them with you.
The second edition of Chief Customer Officer USA kicked off with a bang and kept more than 130 CX practitioners fully engaged over three days of exciting content. Customer-centric leaders from across the country came together to share their experiences in implementing CX programs.
There is a thorough understanding of the role of the Chief Customer Officer or the head of customer experience. The need to be “customer-centric” and the importance of bridging historic organizational structures is very well covered. But now that organizations are moving to an implementation phase, new challenges have emerged.
Key issues highlighted employee engagement and leadership challenges. It was great to witness delegates not only collaborating during the discussion groups, but being totally engrossed by some excellent talks from the likes of Lior Arussy (Stativity), Geeta Wilson (Humana), Josh Ives (Samsung), Dutta Satadip (Pinterest) and Anita Swamy (Manulife) to name but a few.
What also became clear is that the role of the “customer-centric” leader does not always sit in a CCO’s office, nor is it entirely the mandate of the CEO, although it needs to be driven throughout the organization.
We polled our audience on their thoughts. The findings below illustrate that a collective ethos of customer-centricity is vital for the organization to transform. What was also telling is that the majority of delegates were only currently one to three years into their CX journey. This in itself lead to many discussions around leadership, how to get buy-in from the board, and develop employee engagement strategies.
In essence, the presentations and discussions kept a very internal focus on how to achieve customer success from within the organization.
These are our four key takeaways from the conference:
1) Who owns the customer data?
Ownership of the data, especially in larger multi-siloed organizations, is hotly contested. Not only is it the ownership and use of the data, but also the collection and feedback mechanisms. The right customer data is essential to providing the insights needed to achieve CX goals. This can influence everything from contact centre responses, to marketing decisions to the use of AI in social media. The customer leader needs to have some influence and control over the data in order to manage it effectively and ultimately leverage it for a personalized and efficient customer experience. The current state suggests that more collaboration and understanding is needed here … something to keep an eye on!
2) Employees are the key to customer success
There was a lot of discussion around employee engagement and several presentations on the topic. Lior Arussy captured this during his morning presentation on the first conference day. He provided detailed insight into how employees need to be empowered in order to better serve the customer. His description of choice management, which is the combination of exceptional results, exceptional experience and exception performance illustrates the holistic nature of customer experience and the essence of CX leadership.
Employee engagement was a very hot topic! When we polled the audience on the final morning as to what their biggest challenge for 2018 was, employee engagement came first.
3) Cultural shifts: moving away from “how to build it” to “how to use it” and putting the customer first
Most presentations and talks have moved away from the “how we built this” type discussions to “this is how we use it”. In many respects it looks like the “easy” stuff is mostly in place; a leadership team with direct reports in place, each looking after a different project. Software has been tested and implemented. Budgets are approved. Everyone is ready… but, are they?
During the first morning session on the final day, Josh Ives (Samsung) quipped
"Things that are broken get fixed. Things that are shitty last forever.” This exemplifies his talk on how Samsung are committed to their employee program through empowering them to think like their customers. Following that, Anita Swamy from Manulife added to that “greatness is anticipating your customers needs.”
Something her business needs to strive for with their large customer base (a third of Canadians have a Manulife product).
Based on a later poll, our audience showed that the majority are focusing on a consistent experience, demonstrating the need to build a strong operational backbone. However veneer it may also indicate a lack of support for taking things a few steps further. Operational excellence and consistency can be easily measured – how do you quantify a shared value system?
There is still a long way to go in managing customer expeactions. In the 21st century, multiple channels are available to us to shop from, interact with and complain bitterly about. We are moving in to an age of individualism as standard. A cultural shift away from reducing operational costs and driving profit towards a more empathetic customer-centric approach is going to be vital. Those companies who are doing it are demonstrating clear results – our case studies showed that.
Another poll we took toward the end of the conference encapsulates this. It was certainly encouraging to see that nobody disagreed with it
4) Human motivation and digital transformation
In some cases it seems that CX leaders have been given a mandate to perform miracles but without significant backing in terms of guidance and budget. How do you bring the board to the table?
Ruth Crowley (Lowe’s) gave a wonderful stat during her presentation:
“80% of CEOs think they are doing a great job at CX, but only 8% of customers agree.”
One delegate suggested having the CEO go through the customer process, via an app or in store or through a contact centre. During the discussions and the breaks, and even some of the Q&A sessions, delegates were asking “Well that’s great – how did you motivate your CEO to back you?”
Real change needs to happen. The foundational tech has been laid, but what ties it together – outside of human intervention – is the ubiquitous term “digital transformation”. Unsurprisingly, it was quite a popular “trend for 2018”:
So what can you expect from CCO Fall?
CCO Fall will pick up where CCO USA left off. As companies continue to focus on the importance of a customer-obsessive culture, it becomes clear that customer-centricity is on every company’s radar. And if it isn’t it should be!
On September 10-12 CX leaders will congregate at Chief Customer Officer, Fall to collaborate, learn and share in practical "how to" strategies that will drive customer obsession throughout their companies and optimize customer experience.
With over 130 senior CX experts expected to attend, this will be the ideal platform for the discussion of some of the most pressing challenges facing CCOs today including:
- employee engagement
- strategy alignment across silos
- providing and proving the business case for customer strategies
- attaining and maintaining buy-in
- recruitment policies building a customer centric culture of innovation
Across three days of networking, riveting keynotes and highly-interactive discussion sessions, attendees will gather tangible and practical advice to take back to their officer. We aim to ensure that everyone leave the event armed with the practical solutions needed to optimize and monetize their CX strategies.
We look forward to welcoming you all to the Chief Customer Officer, Fall conference in San Francisco from September 10-12.