Last updated on August 10th, 2021
In the post-pandemic scenario, the world of business has changed in many ways. One of the changes that occurred is in the way businesses are dealing with customer experience. Since most businesses are now being operated online, dealing with customer experience issues has become more difficult than ever before. Designhill conducted a session with Adrian Brady-Cesana, a customer experience expert who talked about different aspects of customer experiences and highlighted why this issue is even more important today. Have a look!
Post-pandemic, customer experience (CX) has acquired a different dimension. With everyone staying at home, businesses are now thinking in terms of giving high priority to customer experience. Now, customers do not give price and product the priority to building their loyalty. They are loyal to brands based on their experience.
To help businesses deal with the new pandemic circumstances regarding customers’ experience, Designhill conducted an online session on the issue. The leading creative marketplace invited CX expert Adrian Brady Cesana to share his experience. The online session was run on 3rd May 2021.
Adrian has more than 15 years of rich experience working in Customer Experience and Service, Sales, Marketing and Operations Management, the 15the paramount think the process and Consulting. He is the Founder and Chief Experience Officer, CX Chronicles and he has worked in New York with ACV Auctions, Hometeam, onefinestay, H.Bloom, and other venture capital-backed leadership teams.
He also spends much of the time working with his amazing team, serving clients at CXC to help them optimize the Four CX Pillars — Team, Tools, Process & Feedback! Check out his new book on Amazon today “The Four CX Pillars To Grow Your Business Now — The Customer Experience Playbook”.
What was covered in this session?
- Is CX focus & investments only for the Customer Service & Success team or the entire company?
- What are some ways that leading CX companies collect customer & employee feedback today?
- What’s the difference between customer experience & user experience?
- Why is CX critical for today’s companies?
- Why The Four CX Pillars; Team, Tools, Process & Feedback?
In this post, we’ve shared the video of the session and transcript in the form of Q/A where you’ll be learning everything about customer experience.
Transcript (Q/A): Here Is Why The Customer Experience Pillars Are Important To Your Business
Adrian Brady Cesana: I have spent time with customer-focused business leaders across the world. And part of it has been through my business travels and working at a bunch of incredible companies. The other part of it has just been about our podcast. Over the last three years, we’ve had hundreds of conversations with some of the world’s most incredible people. They included cx authors, and UX researchers and designers and founders, and business owners.
What I’m going to talk about today is the four CX pillars. And it’s a way I framed all of the learnings. I framed all the lessons, building several different CX teams into four major areas:
Today, we’re gonna spend a lot of time getting into the weeds on these four pillars. To start, know that customer experience and optimization are an incredibly important part of building, scaling, and growing the business.
Loss due to lack of CX
In the US alone, there’s over $70 billion a year lost due to poor customer experiences. Think about the last time you were able to go out to a retail store to try to buy some type of product. Or the last time that you went out for food or drinks or dining with your family and friends.
Maybe it took 10 minutes to get just a glass of water. Or, maybe it took 15 minutes to get someone to come over and ask you what they can help you with. When you shop, you are trying to spend your money trying to buy something. So, we can all think about these examples of when customer experiences weren’t thoughtfully designed. They weren’t laid out in the way that customers want to spend their money with you again and again.
A reason why I started six Chronicles was that I knew about this problem. Also, oftentimes if you just break down a simple set of steps or a simple set of rules to build your tools. You need to lay out your processes. Know how you get customer feedback? How do you get team feedback or employee feedback to make everything go better, make everything go smoother? So, here we will spend a lot of time focusing on the four cx pillars in your business.
Today, in my business CX Chronicles, we focus on optimizing the four CX pillars in your business: Team, Tools, Process, and Feedback.
So the team is the number one thing in having the right consumer experience. When we ask our podcast guests, what’s the most important of the four-six CX pillars? What’s the most important thing? 99% of them say that it is the team. You should have the right group of men and women coming together to collaborate, push things forward, and expand. They can make difficult things achievable.
You’re not going to have great tools, great processes, and great feedback. Therefore, having the number one team is the most important thing that most customer-focused business leaders want to have.
Real tools are another interesting piece. Because again, depending on today’s listener, viewer, I think everyone’s got a different level of experience with tools. It’s a simple reality. You should know exactly which tools to put into a tool stack. But things are constantly flowing. You go through rough seas, you go through calm seas, as simple as that.
We spend time learning and partnering with those 100 CSS tools out there. And every single day you are finding five new tools that are going to come and disrupt the last 100. So, a lot of people just need help navigating that jungle of tools. They need to understand which tools are best for them and their business.
We will talk about living playbooks and customer journey maps. This is part of a company growing super fast. It’s documenting the mapping where you’re going, what worked, what didn’t work. Reed Hoffman always talks about this idea of startups or building any type of business or team. It’s like navigating a minefield. You need to make sure that you don’t step in the wrong area.
The process is all about documenting, listening, and learning to map. So, when you do need to reach reverse or come back to the same type of past that you’ve already run, you’ve got a sense for what worked, what didn’t work, maybe even some of your teammates start building some of the things that inevitably you’re going to need to build from the first place. So the process is huge.
Then the last one is feedback, which is my favorite. I’m selfishly trying to understand how other people are doing this well.
To me, feedback is the reason why CX is fun and the best part of a business. The best part of a business is when you are working in a business that has a bunch of happy customers gladly paying their bills month over month. If you run such a business then congratulations because to be number one is not easy.
But you also have an opportunity to go talk to an army of promoters every single month. They love your product, service, brand, and whatever you are offering. And to me, that is the best part of the business. The most fun part of CX is that you get to listen, learn, talk, and go meet new people.
Here Is How To Work On The Four CX Pillars
We spent all of our time working with our clients. This we do to master some of these items or how far we want to go as a brand with some of these variables. So first, know-how are team members hired and trained? And how are they retained? You would be amazed at how many businesses don’t treat their talent funnel or their talent pipeline, the same way they do their customer type of pipeline.
Keep your employees happy
That to me is wild. I think one of the oldest adages in the book is that happy employees equal happy customers. He’s a really simple man. Think about your last terrible customer experience interaction, wherever it was. It probably started right here with the team. Maybe they weren’t given this the right set of expectations and they weren’t trained properly. It may be that they weren’t onboarding properly. Also, such a business doesn’t invest in customer service optimization. Or, they do not invest in customer success optimization.
Train your CX team
They should go through some training and education. To be part of a team is thinking about how your CX teamwork with the rest of the organization? Now selfishly, I’m going to talk about that, because that’s the space that I know. But whatever type of team you’re leading with CX, there’s a tonne of different folks that we work with.
Over the years, when you get into the weeds in terms of understanding what their current CX team is doing today. You find out immediately that it is fragmented, there are just broken fragmented lines to sales. They don’t talk about products at all. The product should be close to your CX team. The team should be understanding everything that a customer wants and does not want.
You can respect the way that you’re prioritizing. For instance, next month’s tasks are the products just by listening to your customers and listening to your customer-facing team. But again, not everyone has a great way of orchestrating how cx can begin to create some of these paths forward.
Who’s driving the team? This is important. The reality is good coaches, good leaders, good guys, and gals run awesome teams invest in their knowledge, they invest in their team’s knowledge. They’re there, they’re intelligent, open-minded, and collaborative. Teams that have a poor culture and poor leadership, are the ones who have no investment in the people and innovation.
Then, thinking about Northstar’s goals. I know that this sounds cliche. But you would be amazed at how many venture capital backed startups have raised billions of dollars collectively. They did so without having any mission and core values. They don’t have any type of Northstar that reminds them of the customer-facing side. They are not reminded of the behind-the-scenes side of the business. Why do we come here every day? What’s the purpose? What are we here for?
Invest in your team
Then lastly, think about investing in your team. It is everything. But it may be that your product or service or widget is due to some technology that rips through transactions perfectly. And every single time it’s the same thing. The consumer already knows exactly what they’re going to get before they buy it. So then deliveries are perfect. Congrats good for you that you got into that type of business.
That is because I know most of us are not in that business. We got to deal with humans, emotions, and all the stuff. Investing in your team is critical to make sure that you’re pushing forward into the future.
The second CX pillar is tools. Tools are huge. Though we spent all day on our tools. But how many of them do we use? I have 17 tabs open right now. 17 tabs are six different tools. Even with CSCs, we built their tool stack, though I am constantly preaching, coaching, and pushing to keep a slim tool stack.
There are so many incredible pieces of technology out there today. So, tools are easy ones to have. That is especially as your business starts to work and more people start to come out of the team. Then, you’re starting to hire more folks, your teams and your departments are swelling, more and more tools are getting stacked up.
We spend a tonne of time talking with our clients about what types of tools we have been using. Know how they use their CRM, customer relationship management, and tools? How are you using your issue resolution management tools? Or another way of saying this, how are you managing customer ticketing?
Are you even managing customer ticketing? This is the other one. I think many folks are listening right now. It’s amazing how many companies are crushing it. They haven’t even figured out how to do basic ticketing. With the ticketing, you can catalog every order, every issue, and every potential customer right now, there’s a catalog of it.
There is a catalog of them. There’s a view of it. There’s a roadmap around what is higher, or critical items are medium items. What are the lows? Many people do not have the time to build that before they grow up 10 times higher.
Managing phone calls and emails
How do you manage phone calls and emails is a big game but be honest. It is a big part of communications optimization. Understand how a business even interacts with its customers, phone calls, emails, text messages, live chat, and social media.
Now some businesses are building their entire customer voice on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. So there are a ton of ideas around the tools piece that you need to dig into and understand.
Here’s the other part. When I talked about that bonfire building in the different stages of growth of the business tools evolves with that growth. The same tool on day one may not be the same tool that you will use for 150 people on day 1000. And so thinking about the evolution of a business’s tool stack up. Or, think about the way that a startup needs to evolve its toolkit over time. That is important.
Then lastly, think of the money, the cost. Some of the biggest costs in these venture capital backed startups are on software. Some of these businesses blow up huge and there are hundreds of people. You can imagine a Salesforce bill or you can imagine what a Zendesk bill looks like. Again, a lot of times those tools aren’t even fully being utilized. So there are many different ideas around how you can think about tools within your business.
The third important pillar for the customer experience is the process, and it is huge. The process helps in running a 500 person call center, or you have 10 people in your small startup office. You get help from processes to evolve a business and these are great for sharing knowledge.
Take little tricks, little tools, little things that are happening differently than your coworker doesn’t you saw before. I know it’s a little bit harder right now working remotely with a bunch of different tools that we used to talk about offline. Sharing that remote collaboration that working directly with our teammates is difficult now.
It is about knowing a business
But processes are about thinking about all sorts of different aspects of your business. For example, what happens when there are customer escalations? How does your business think about key performance indicators or measures of success? What performance metrics are you pushing your team to focus on and what are you measuring and managing to push the needle? What types of playbooks do you have? At Chronicles, we work with businesses to help build your custom living playbooks.
We spent a tonne of time working with heads of customer experience, VPS of customer experience, and directors of CX MCs. Also, we spent time with CSM’s account execs account managers inside sales reps. These are the people who know the business and customers super well. We get all these answers. What does that do? What’s that? What’s the purpose of that?
Have a playbook of basic onboarding
If you are lucky enough to be on a growing team, you have to have a playbook for basic onboarding and training ramping. Here is the other thing. Some of the best companies in the world have over the last six to 12 months are rapidly changing how they roll. It is the idea of using living playbooks to fuel the content for your FAQs or your self-service. So, think about that for a second.
You are maybe good at listening, learning, mapping, documenting. But then using it, you can have your customer-facing team essentially writing the same type of playbook. Then, you can show or present to your customer base. And if it’s living and breathing, then it’s even better. This is because then every single solitary day, something changes in your business. Something changes every single solitary week or month, something changes with your T’s and four C’s.
You should figure out how to set up a different set of expectations for an offering process. This is the pillar that forces you to think about how you are mapping this entire experience. How are you drawing lines in the sand? Who owns what? How do you assign accountability, responsibility, and authority to different teams? How do you allocate responsibility to different departments, leaders, and different folks? That is super important for your business.
Then, the fourth and final CX pillar is feedback. So feedback, as I said earlier, is my favorite one. But feedback is where you think about how customer feedback is collected in the first place. There are so many companies that don’t necessarily ask the customers and their employees, what they think could be better? What do you hear every single solitary day from the 100 customers? And understanding how to build a more robust VOC, or the voice of the customer, reports are going to be huge. Because this is how you can manage up to leadership and the imperative items there are out there.
Go through different reviews
Then, the other way that you can broadcast across a large business is to know a lot more things. You should know how things are going with the customer and how things are going with the team. Find out how you are scoring week over week and month over month. That is because there’s a tremendous amount of public information out there on any company. There are Google reviews, Android reviews, Apple reviews, and Yelp reviews. Then, there are Facebook reviews, and reviews on Twitter.
Many companies don’t stop to take the time to aggregate that feedback to or better yet, aggregate that data. They do not normalize that information and cut it across the reviews. Maybe some of that feedback is for sales, some for Ops. It may be that some of that feedback is for the product. But again, there are a million companies that do not know how this simple organizational methodology can help grow their business.
So overall, those are the four major CX pillars that are more important to pay attention to in 2021.
Amplify every touchpoint
Some of the students at CX Chronicles understand the power of amplifying every touchpoint in a customer experience. It’s as simple as that there are all these different micro touchpoints. And that’s why CX to me is one of the coolest positions to work within a business. We get to work with sales, product, analytics, and financial operations. Even if they don’t think of themselves as a customer-facing role, they are owning a piece of a customer journey. CX is a modern selling.
Businesses should understand great customer experience equals higher retention rates. Then they more upsell and cross-sells expanded profits.
Why should you Invest in CX?
Why invest in CX? Well, CX is about a couple of things today. COVID has changed a lot of things. A lot of brands now think about how to invest in customer experiences. But they also make sure that they are seen as brands that listen to their customers. It is important.
CX is a team sports business that does customer experience exceptionally well. They’ve got owners or subject matter experts in every solitary team in the customer journey.
Create a group of individuals
So number one, you are in effect creating a group of individuals. They are like the Knights of the Round Table in that they come together to look at problems, issues, challenges, and feedback points. Maybe you see a swell in a specific type of feedback from your customer on a certain product change. Or, you get massive feedback on something that you just changed with your sales contract. These individuals from your team looking at those feedbacks are going to be massive.
Map customer journey
So, for example, you can map the actual journey. Mapping those journeys gives you a couple of things. It helps you understand the actual customer touchpoints in your business. You can find out if you know your ICP, which is an ideal customer profile. After knowing your ICP, maybe you can go double down or triple down and go 10 times out on an ICP. You can know what the touchpoints are that lifts conversion. Or, they give your sales lift or push your ability to have your sales team converting at a higher clip.
Identify areas of responsibility
Across this journey, you can identify the areas of accountability, responsibility, and authority. It means that so often you put these maps together. You do these journey maps or user journey sessions. Then people will walk out, that is your job, you know, and then do that thing.
With this mapping, you have clarity and understanding of who owns what, and who needs to get things done. It’s different parts of the business. Companies that struggle with optimizing their CX, often fail to see this big picture. They are typically missing definitions around how to even speak the internal language, both with customers and with their teams. Maybe they don’t have missions and values. I know that missions and values aren’t going to make or break every business.
But once you start getting to a certain size, people do need to be reminded regularly around why the business exists. They need to know what they are there to do for customers. That makes a big difference when you are the one boots on the ground, talking to customers every single day. You then rip through customer conversations. I hate to say it but having that reminder may be up on a wall or having that reminder. So something cool like some cool thing that you put in your home office right now for remote working. That’s a massive easy thing to do to really kind of set your focus.
Invest in VOC
Other companies that are struggling with this have not invested in their actual VOC task force, their voice of customer password. I challenge everybody to just bring this one idea back to this week’s leadership team. Listen to Adrian from Buffalo. He suggested a VOC Task Force.
The VOC task force is essentially modern Six Sigma, Navy SEAL units that used to get deployed through business to land and expand it to fix all sorts of problems. It was to report back to what’s happening. So, the task force is one of the easiest ways to have clarity, communication, and basic prioritization for your business now.
Tie those things together
And then lastly, tie sales and ops and product analytics and leadership, together. Getting the whole team to understand how to throw the ball in the right direction is not difficult.
How to collect customer feedback?
Adrian Brady Cesana: There are several different ways that we can collect customer feedback today. I tried to break this out to give you guys a couple of different ideas.
The survey is the easiest one to collect feedback. I know a lot of you guys already know about this. Maybe it’s an NPS survey, SATs, or a customer effort score. It may be a product scoring the right service. There are a million tools out there that are super lightweight, easy, and low cost. You can start injecting these survey tools into your business right now.
Focus group is a super underleveraged trick that no business is doing anymore. There’s a reason why focus groups work well. You get a different type of response and color. You bring a customer or better yet a group of customers into your safe space. Then, you ask them about your business, brand, and interactions with your team. So, these focus groups are huge, especially for startups. The pioneer folks who typically support startups would love to be invited to a focus group or remote focus group.
Phone calls and emails
Phone calls and emails are also amongst the most effective ways to collect feedback. But even most successful companies don’t take the time to explore it. They get 1000 phone calls in a month. But they do not know the four buckets that people are calling them on. They have no idea about it. But it is so easy.
There are some tools to categorize and automate your emails and phone calls to an extreme degree. But again, these are things that people aren’t doing.
In-person with customers
And then the last one to get feedback is meeting your customers in person. I know it is not possible today due to the pandemic. But whenever it is possible, nothing beats being in person with your customers. You are just going and getting a beer, having dinner, playing some golf, and going out to your show. Nothing beats hanging out with a customer when they’re in real mode.
That is done to figure out what you need to do more or less to keep that business relationship intact. Maybe even turn it into a friendship because that’s where retention becomes easy forever.
Difference between relationship and customer feedbacks
Now, you should also understand the difference between relationships and transactional feedback. Relationship feedback is going to be about a customer’s overall feeling about your brand. Whereas transactional feedback is for more product folks. This is where you figure out a specific experience or part of your customer journey or product experience.
Know the optimal time to get feedback
But what should you do to understand how to ask surveys or build focus groups or measure managing count? Well, you should think about the time to break up what’s relationship-based and what’s transactional-based feedback. You should know about the optimal times for collecting feedback.
Ask questions to customers
Here are a couple of easier things to do to know when to collect feedback. After the purchase, all day long ask some questions. They just spent money with you. So, ask, hey customer, how did I do. After customer service is a big one. On the last 100 customers that just called your customer service, what’s the rating? How did they think that you did remediate in that thing that you’re crushing sales on?
Now, if you have 80% of those customers say that they bought the things because the sales were crushing. They say that you did a phenomenal job in your customer service. Then, that is the business you wanted to invest in or be part of.
What if it’s the opposite? What if it’s after your customer service, 80% of your customers think that your brand is terrible? Your team did a lousy job. They didn’t remediate the problem and didn’t offer credit to rebook. Let’s see how long sales keep crushing it. Annual, quarterly, and monthly surveys, every business has a different appetite for feedback. Every team has got a different set of confines for what they can do. But start taking the time to figure out a cadence for when you can do some of these regulated feedbacks.
Difference between CX and UX
CX is about the customer journey
At the high level, CX typically focuses on the vast expanse of the customer journey. It goes through all those things that we talked about today. That includes awareness to consideration, conversion, onboarding, and retention to loyalty. It goes through the whole customer journey.
UX (User Experience) typically focuses more on the user experience and design, right usability, and accessibility. It focuses on cost helping with customer journeys, user segments, and personas.
Some of the best CX companies have CX and UX married. They spend plenty of time together, do tonnes of collaborative reporting, and make sure that they are in sync with whatever their customer experience or the user experience tools are. This way, both parties are sharing data with you. They will tell why you would not want each other to know those things when you’re collecting very similar facets of certain specific parts of the journey.
Designhill: Are there any parts of my process that I can elevate to set in managing client expectations?
Adrian Brady Cesana: First, make sure that connectivity between your cx team and your sales team is imperative. If your customer success or your customer support team doesn’t have minimally a monthly huddle with sales and revenue, then you’re behind.
Here are a few ideas just to give you a sense of how you can slice this out. Number one, have some set of cadence for where your customer support service or success team gets to speak with sales. That is because they’re the expectation setters as well as marketers.
Know the pain points
Figure out what the big pain points are. Know what the big opportunities are for onboarding. That is like you are almost through the funnel but you’re not totally. And you need to think about the onboarding piece. How are we doing in the first 30 days? Most businesses and most of the companies that we work with CSC. Know that if they can get a customer to stick through the first 30 or 60 days. They are going to have a much better chance of lifting LTV to attend a time degree. So onboarding is a big one.
Do churn reviews
The other idea that I have for you here is the churn review. So again, whatever your cadence is, you should be doing churn reviews inside of your portfolio. That means saying over this month, we had 10-100 customers leave the business. If you do not understand how to break that down, stratify that and compartmentalize that data. Know the top four reasons for the sales not improving. Then sales don’t have the chance to improve and optimize real-time to get better at that part of the pitch when they are talking to tomorrow’s set of leads. So that’s a couple of ideas.
Get customer feedback digest
The last one is this, this is why a business needs a customer feedback digest. Or, this is why you need the advanced voice of customer reporting. That is because some of the best businesses in the world have already invested in CX. They have already got this fully robust system built out. It’s because they can give that specific dialed feedback straight to the right camps, and then they assign ownership to it.
Consumers have more time to shop
I completely agree where I think that part of what I was talking about with the COVID pieces. For example, the majority of us haven’t left our home offices in 13-14 months. That gives us more time to search and more independence. Maybe 13-14 months ago, we had to sit at the office. So you could not look at shopping opportunities sitting in an office. Now, however, we are at home doing our job but also thinking about how we can shop.
So, consumers are becoming more intelligent as they have more time on their hands too. Because they know when you’re not working, you have more time to finish your search or finish your shopping search.
So I agree that post-pandemic, this is going to be why brands have to invest in CX. Post-pandemic, consumers will be far more apt to engage and spend their dollars with the brand that listens. Because I think the power of the collaborative is just going to continue to become the norm.
So, these are the key aspects of customer experience in the post-pandemic situation. Businesses, especially startups should follow these tips from the expert for business growth.
While you are addressing your customer experience issues, make sure that your visual identities of business are impressive. Your logo, business cards, websites, etc. should have an impact on the target audience.
You can launch your design contest to get your logos etc designed at Designhill marketplace that has thousands of talented graphic designers. They will work on your design brief to come out with unique design ideas. So, get started with this marketplace to have your winning design visuals.
In the post-pandemic scenario, businesses have revisited their growth strategies. They are not paying more attention to the customer experience as customers are staying home. CX expert Andrian Brady says that four CX pillars – team, tools, process, and feedback. You need to pay attention to these aspects to drive customers to your business during the present crisis.