I spoke to Diane Magers a few years ago and was immediately impressed by her Customer Experience knowledge and passion. Many people know Diane for her workshops, speaking engagements, and contributions from her past role as CEO of the Customer Experience Professionals Association.
My interview with Diane still leaves an impact on me as we share the same beliefs that best in class brands succeed because they intentionally focus on the human and emotional elements of business.
I hope you enjoy reading Diane’s take on everything CX as much as I did and that this article inspires you to take action. This is the year to be DOING CX RIGHT, not just talking about it.
Stacy Sherman & Diane Magers CX Talk.
Stacy: What are the important customer experience skills that people should focus on if they want to develop their CX expertise?
Diane Magers: This profession requires a wide range of skills and competencies – both from an experience discipline, such as customer measure and metric knowledge, and from a personal/professional standpoint, such as the ability to influence and the facilitation of change skills. In my view, the skills that are most important are change management; moving from data to insights and action, and connecting CX to ROI.
In the case of change management, our role is to move and transform entire organizations to think, behave and act differently. My biggest lesson learned over my career is to develop a strategy and plan for transformation first and immediately after, to define and develop your change management plan. To obtain that skill, find skilled change professionals in your organization and invite them to be a part of the transformation, hire your CX team with a focus on change management skills… attend webinars, read whitepapers.
In the case of moving from data to insights and action, use design thinking to find the right problem to solve. Once I discovered the power of design techniques and tools to help an organization move from charts and graphs… it was amazing to watch how the approach and the outcome changed. People were designing for human needs and emotion not just fixing or band-aiding a problem. To obtain this skill, check out Design Thinking techniques such as Luma Institute, Ideo, or dSchool of Design. Learn a few techniques and try them out. It will change how you think about experience and the work you do.
In the case of connecting CX to ROI, early in my career, I worked for a left-brained, numbers-driven organization. I wondered why the metrics we used for customers were not resonating with my leadership until I realized all the other executives were talking about revenue and cost impact while I was talking about NPS. In an effort not to be left behind (and without funding) I created ways to prove the causation and impact on financials by changing the customer’s behavior. By sharing both the scores and the financial impact of the activities through a cost-benefit analysis, I realized my story with executives had to change to be able to prove the true value of customer and employee experience changes.
To obtain this skill, partner with the CFO to build an understanding of how business cases are developed. Learn the levers they use with executives (retention dollars, revenue leakage etc.) to understand and attach Experience Initiatives to goals.
Stacy: Where do you think CX should sit in an organization?
DM: CX should report directly to the CEO (or Strategy leader)! When the role sits in a business unit, the rest of the organization views CX as that business unit’s goals, rather than the entire organization’s goals. It is hard to build collaboration across teams if CX sits in one of those units. The role is most effective if it is neutral and able to help build collaboration end-to-end. That is really tough to do when you sit within a business unit.
Stacy: What do you think is the relationship between technology and CX?
DM: CX and technology is a critical relationship. The best CIOs I have talked to take the approach of the customer experience needs, help define the capabilities and outcomes needed for that experience to occur, and look at technology as a way to enable that experience.
Stacy: How does a small or mid-size business infuse CX in their organizations when they do not have big budgets like large companies?
DM: Experience transformation is about the ten thousand little things you do. Remember, it is more about thinking and acting than large investments in tools. The experience culture is created by what everyone says and does, so find ways to influence that. Things like virtual coffee chats with customers, lunch and learns, “Experience Scrum” meeting (where small groups meet to hammer out ideas to improve experiences), internal evangelists or champion groups. It’s people-to-people.
Stacy: What is the ideal way to measure CX? How do you recommend doing it effectively and what KPIs are most important?
DM: The first step is to define the measures (things you can count like social mentions, visits to site, number of calls to care), the metrics (the outcome or result of multiple experiences such as Net Promoter Score or Customer Effort Score) and the business value levers (e.g. cost to serve, cost to acquire) you currently have. Then ask the business question: what is most impactful and representative of the customer experience, their behavior, and the impact on their lives and our organizations?
This might be a bit of a forward step for some, but the KPIs which are most important should be a direct reflection of what the customer values from you (e.g. ease of doing business, total number of issues reported, etc.), because they are what is driving customer behavior and therefore impact your business.
Stacy: What are your top three tips for DoingCXRight?
DM: First, start with the human need and story and keep that front of mind when sharing information, numbers, talking technology, etc. Second, recognize and plan for change. Third, build soft skills for transformation – influence, change management, building effective work teams etc.
Thank you Diane Magers for your time and wisdom. I’m confident that DoingCXRight® readers will benefit from our CX conversation.
Thank you also to Liliana Petrova who was also part of this interview.