Delivering a good customer experience (CX) has become key for all organizations, no matter which industry they operate in. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend CXC EU 2018, a two-day event in London where financial professionals shared insights on CX strategies, innovation and the impact of technology on financial services. Some of the key takeaways are summarised here, which can easily apply to all industries.
CX as a Culture
A variety of topics were covered over the two days through varied presentations and panel sessions. One of the recurring topics was the importance of a customer-centric company culture; delivering an excellent CX is almost impossible if all members of an organization are not aligned and do not share the same CX objectives. The importance of CX must pervade an organization from the top-down, which means that leaders must be engaged, believe in the importance of satisfying customers and ‘sponsor the CX cultural change’. Once the top-level employees have become ‘CX ambassadors’, the other employees can start to take cues and their mindset will begin to shift. In this sense, it is fundamental for each employee (regardless of their role) to understand what CX is, why it matters to the organization, why they should care about it (giving them a reason to care is crucial) and how they can contribute to it. The key is to make them understand that everyone makes a difference, in every interaction, and for leaders to be aware that ‘the lack of a CX culture can destroy a whole CX strategy’.
The Role of Technology
The role of technology was also at the forefront of discussion, with a particular focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how companies can use it to provide a more seamless and effortless journey to their customers (which is what they are looking for ultimately). While AI provides us with the potential to offer exceptional CX, we must not discount the importance of empathy, human touch and emotional connection, which are still fundamental to succeed. Ultimately elements of both AI and EI (i.e. Emotional Intelligence) are non-negotiable in specific stages of the CX journey. Finetuning the combination of these elements is the key to creating the ultimate CX.
Partnerships and collaboration
Another interesting point was made about how companies can leverage collaboration and partnerships to improve and grow. This is not only about a Make vs. Buy strategy, but also, and more interestingly, about how companies can benefit from collaborating with competitors as well. One example (among others) is Yolt, a money management platform, which is introducing a marketplace feature, similar to what Starling Bank (a mobile-only challenger bank) is offering. Under this aspect, they are competitors, and still, they are integrating with each other. When questioned about the strategic thinking behind this move, Yolt said they just want to do the best for their customers, which is at the core of their strategy (a customer-centric strategy indeed). Despite the risk of cannibalising their own products and services, partnerships often add a level of value and expertise to a company, that would otherwise be unattainable.
Ultimately, in order for a company to succeed and emerge as a CX leader amongst the abundance of companies looking to do the same, they must be willing to fully immerse themselves in the culture, continue investing in technology and being open to collaboration.
Many other topics were covered during the two days, such as innovation, data measurement, product development as well as regulation, in particular PSD2 and Open Banking.
There is no doubt that keeping up (and also staying ahead of the field) in the ever changing and diverse world of CX requires a lot of leg work and commitment, and I look forward to seeing how companies adapt to this in the future.