Eli Zogby, Associate Vice President, Experience and Strategic Initiatives, Great-West Life Assurance Company, discussed the evolution of true customer-centricity in his keynote presentation to Argyle's CX membership at the 2018 Customer Experience Leadership Forum in Toronto on March 6. In his presentation, "Developing Customer Experience Excellence from the Outside-In," Zogby examined the ongoing shift from traditional CX process improvement methodologies to "outside-in" customer journey-based methodologies.
Data analytics tools enable CX professionals to track customer patterns and trends like never before. Yet these tools alone are insufficient.
CX professionals require metrics to track and analyze customer data and transform this information into actionable insights. With CX measurement programs in place, CX professionals can find out how customers feel about a brand, its products and its services and tailor their day-to-day efforts accordingly.
"We need some kind of solid customer experience measurement program to understand where we are," Zogby indicated. "Once we engage in projects or initiatives that are aimed to improve the customer experience, we have to have a baseline … and understand the before and after."
A CX measurement program offers immediate and long-lasting benefits, particularly for CX professionals who are ready to implement an outside-in approach to foster customer partnerships.
"People work towards measurements … and if customer experience is not part of [these measurements], it will be very difficult to make a change in an organization."
Initially, a CX measurement program enables CX professionals to establish baseline metrics. CX professionals can implement new metrics over time, and by doing so, discover innovative ways to build customer trust.
"A customer experience measurement program is not just for baseline improvements. What we're building is ongoing," Zogby said.
Journey mapping also plays a key role in developing an outside-in approach to CX. If CX professionals learn about all aspects of the customer journey, they can identify new ways to bolster a company's interactions with customers.
"We use journey mapping the customer journeys and identifying customer pain points and opportunities for improvement," Zogby pointed out. "We need to narrow down or link potential improvements into actionable initiatives that become strategic initiatives."
Silos are problematic in many businesses, and eliminating silos is paramount. If CX professionals partner with departments across a company, these professionals can break down silos. Perhaps most important, CX professionals can work with employees at all levels to develop a customer-centric culture that extends throughout a business.
"There are multiple teams that are working together to deliver excellence in customer experience," Zogby stated. "But it's still not enough. … You have to get involved with the business and collaborate with other partners in the business."
A customer-centric mindset is necessary for all businesses, across all industries. This mindset encourages business professionals – regardless of role or department – to put the customers' needs first. As a result, employees can work together to help a company consistently improve its customer relationships.
"You really need the internal framework and customer-centric mindset spread out throughout an organization before you take an outside-in approach," Zogby noted.
To develop a customer-centric mindset across a business, CX professionals must drive organizational alignment. Once departments establish CX metrics, they can understand their roles in helping a company build customer partnerships. Then, these departments can work together to find ways to achieve CX excellence.
"Creating organizational alignment is key for building a successful customer experience program," Zogby said. "People work towards measurements … and if customer experience is not part of [these measurements], it will be very difficult to make a change in an organization."
In the past, CX professionals were responsible for providing customers with outstanding support to foster trust and loyalty. But customer expectations have changed, and today, CX professionals must provide personalized customer experiences.
"We need to assess customer emotion and build an emotional experience."
Creating a personalized CX is challenging, and CX professionals must find ways to learn about the customer's perspective. If CX professionals understand why a customer is reaching out to a brand, they may be better equipped than ever before to connect with this customer on an emotional level. As such, these CX professionals can engage customers and provide them with personalized support – something that may help a company differentiate itself from the competition.
"Now, we have the emotional connection. We need to assess customer emotion and build an emotional experience," Zogby indicated. "This is the CX discipline that we are dealing with today."
Today's CX professionals must look beyond providing customers with great support, products and services. Conversely, CX professionals must constantly explore ways to develop emotional connections with customers. If CX professionals prioritize customers' needs, these professionals can successfully deploy an outside-in approach to build trust with a company's target audience.
"As you provide your customers with products and services that meet their needs, you build trust," Zogby said. "When you personalize, you build trust as well."
Eli is Associate Vice President of Experience and Strategic Initiatives at Great-West Life Assurance Company. In this role, Eli leads a team of customer experience professionals mandated to identify and lead customer-centric strategic initiatives, as well as collaborate with the lines of business to foster a customer-centric culture throughout the organization. Prior to Great-West Life, Eli worked with various large organizations, including Canada Post, Goodyear and Bayer.