Webinar highlights - Extending Your Brand and CX into the Digital Marketplace

Isabella Villani, an author with experience at the forefront of customer experience, shares her advice for creating personalised customer journeys.

Customer Experiences Are All About the Journey

A few weeks ago, we were lucky to host a webinar presentation by Isabella Villani, chief customer officer at Exceed Global and author of “Good to Great CX: Customer Experience Strategy to Execution.”

If you weren’t able to join us for the live session, feel free to view the full recording and slides here; if you’d prefer the abridged version, you’re in the right place.

Here are the highlights of Isabella’s webinar:

The CX Ecosystem

Villani kicked off her session with an overview of the CX enterprise-wide ecosystem; that is how each of your different business elements relates to customer experience.
At the centre of the ecosystem is the customer. Although this may sound obvious, it’s crucial to remember as everything in your business should be shaped by your customer needs. Next in the ecosystem are your mapped processes, which you should always be looking to optimise, eliminate, automate or improve.

Another key aspect of the ecosystem is ownership of the customer; in particular, the points at which customers transition between channels, departments or organisations, as these are the points at which the customer experience is most likely to fall apart.

When it comes to technology, remember that it is merely an enabler. Companies most likely to fail often base their customer experience strategies around the capabilities of their technology, rather than identifying customer needs and then finding technology to support them.

“It’s easier to throw money at the problem, when it comes to technology, rather than spending time working out if your business has the processes and staff in place to support that technology,” Villani said. “Sometimes, that might mean optimising existing tech, rather than starting from scratch with a trendy, new solution which you hope will solve all your problems.”

Customer Expectations

According to Villani, there are 10 key areas of customer expectation:

  1. Personalisation
  2. Consistency
  3. Mobility
  4. Timeliness
  5. Sociability
  6. Empowerment
  7. Self Care
  8. Empathy
  9. Ease
  10. Complaints

In particular, Villani highlighted that today’s customers are aware that you have their personal data and expect you to use it. They want to see personalisation – to see that you can acknowledge who they are and which products they may or may not have purchased from you.

Sociability highlights the need to respect social channels as belonging to your customers.

“Social media is your customers’ personal space, you’re in their environment, so only show them messaging that is relevant and helpful to them,” Villani said.

Finally, view customer complaints as a gift.

“A complaint is a prime opportunity to turn around someone’s perception of your business and win them back  – as well as a chance to learn more about how to improve your CX,” she said.

Customer Personas

A customer persona can bring your customer segment to life and help you to develop a more accurate customer journey map. A customer journey map looks at the whole customer interaction, from end to end, and is always viewed from the customer’s perspective.

Isabella Villani

Villani used the example of Isabella, an author who travels all over the world for speaking engagements (and not based on herself). Alternative personas are John and Betty, “grey nomads” who are going on an around the world trip to spend their children’s inheritance.

Travel expectations for these personas would be extremely different; for example, Isabella, as seasoned traveler, might be more sensitive to flight delays and more familiar with the check-in process compared with John and Betty, who may have never flown internationally before.

If we looked at mapping a customer journey for Isabella, we wouldn’t simply look at the process of booking a flight, but instead look at the detail: Isabella is booking a trip to Sydney for her next book promotion and needs accommodation, as well as to get from the airport to the venue on time, as she needs to be on stage at 12 p.m. sharp.

When mapping Isabella’s customer journey, we would need to consider:

  • Persona
  • Sentiments/emotions
  • Name/title
  • Touchpoints/transitions
  • Description/scope
  • Metrics
  • Steps
  • Timeline

Villani referred to “sentiments/emotions” points as moments of truth. These are the points that can make or break a customer relationship and therefore are the key interactions to perfect when customer journey mapping. Consider what might make or break an experience for Isabella.

Voice of the Customer Program

Most companies have some sort of customer feedback in place, and more advanced organisations might even be looking at the metrics to try to make informed CX decisions. However, it is crucial that CX metrics are viewed in context. For example, if a customer provides a poor rating for a call centre interaction, was it the member of the staff at fault? Or was there a less obvious issue, such as long hold times due to under-staffing or slow response times due to your processes and IT failing the staff member?

One of Villani’s final key points was that no matter how well you perfect the customer journey or how relevant and accurate your personalisation, there will always be times when only the human touch will do. If an interaction becomes too complex or the customer becomes emotional, they will only want to speak to a real person, so always ensure that option is available to them at any point throughout their journey.

Just a reminder, the full webinar and slideshare are available to view here; and stay tuned for Villani’s upcoming book “Transform Customer Experience – How to Achieve Customer Success and Create Exceptional CX,” which is due to be released in February.

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