Knowing your customer has never been more important

Purple Square have been speaking to customer experience leaders from top global brands about Reimagining Customer Experience (CX). In this interview Tim Biddiscombe speaks to Emily Stevenson, Women in CX member and mobile industry customer experience leader.

About Women in CX

Born out of the need for support and connection during the pandemic, Women in CX is a growing digital community set up to for female allies to share ideas, problems and solutions with each other. It is built on the values of courage, collaboration, bravery and authenticity. Women in CX not only provides an invaluable network of support to its worldwide members like Stevenson, but also helps to strengthen the voices of women and emphasise the importance of CX in the boardroom.

Tim: Should CX conversations and efforts focus more on surprise and delight or on resolving and avoiding customer journey problems?

Emily: It is easy to forget about CX during a recession, as consumers focus more on price than brands but getting customer journeys right is hugely important in the current climate. Because of this focus on price, elements of surprise and delight may become less relevant but there are brands still doing this very well.

Looking to the year ahead I think we’ve got to have a ruthless focus on fixing the basics. We are likely to see churn increase in subscription marketing as customers cut back to essentials. When it comes to CX, these companies need to identify the pain points that matter most. They need to keep things super simple with fewer, bigger, better projects delivered well.

I’m focussed on identifying the pain points that matter most to the greatest number of customers within specific journeys.  

Tim: How can marketers start to embed more customer experience analytics into their decision making and planning?

Emily: I have been strong advocate for data and analytics within marketing, when it comes to CX. A lot of the big brands have relied on NPS (Net Promoter Score) for a long time, which is a fantastic metric for the boardroom but it’s a lag metric and doesn’t give that real time view. This makes it less meaningful for those in operations.

Platforms like Quantum Metric factor customer behaviours into the equation and are able to attach a value to certain customer pain points, helping to quantify and prioritise the most pressing issues. This level of analytics is especially useful for reporting to the board when it comes to deciding which challenges to address, invest in and solve first.

The industry has evolved rapidly in the 15 years I’ve been working in it and what we’re seeing now is the need in marketing to go beyond branding and comms. Marketing now absolutely includes big data and MarTech and that continues to develop at pace. For a lot of CMOs this shift causes a confidence issue.

Martech and analytics also give chief marketing officers the confidence – and the proof points – to justify the need to increase marketing spend to ensure the best possible CX for the full customer lifecycle, earning lifetime loyalty.

The CX industry is 70% women, many of whom still struggle to have their voices heard. CX is perceived as softer metric but – like marketing and digital – needs equal representation at board level through chief customer officers. Without it, decisions are made solely based on commercial value, which is no longer enough. Brands must deliver business and customer benefits to survive in this difficult economic climate.

Tim: Customers are now more comfortable engaging with a brand through a mix of human and digital interaction. How can brands find the sweet spot to ensure their customers get the kind of attention they need, that moment?

Emily: Knowing your customer has never been more important. Using data to personalise and customise the brand experience. This is something we’re on the journey to learning in telco, like knowing when to cross-sell and up-sell vs when to solve a problem quickly and efficiently. This situation can determine a great experience from a poor experience.

A brand that’s doing an exceptional job at the moment from campaign creative right through to instore, retail experience is HSBC UK. Banks aren’t typically known for delivering an exceptional customer experience and I think through their Safe Spaces campaign they really have. There has never been a greater opportunity to maximise the value of the retail estate. In response to rising energy costs, some big brand banks, telcos and retailers are providing safe spaces this winter by offering a place for people to charge their phones, have a cup of tea or coffee and keep warm without having to worry about what it will add to their heating bills.

What do the next 12 months look like for CX practitioners?

The next 12 months is all about finding your focus and your secret sauce. From a digital perspective don’t be afraid to soft launch digital only propositions. There’s a lot that can be learned from soft launch. Innovation, even though we’re going into one of the worst recessions in history, will absolutely be key.   

Always remember it’s about your audience. Don’t be afraid to be experimental. Fail fast, learn quickly and trust your team to get it right.

This interview was also featured in a related article on on 8th February 2023. Read it here.

By: Timothy Biddiscombe Managing Director (EMEA)