Felicity Holdgate: „Empathie und Freundlichkeit sind für die Kundenzufriedenheit wichtiger als Wartezeiten”

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In ihrer Funktion als CX Solution Strategist berät und begleitet Felicity Holdgate Kunden bei der Entwicklung und Konzeption ganzheitlicher CX-Programme entlang der Customer Journey an den relevanten Touchpoints. Vor ihrer Tätigkeit bei Qualtrics arbeitete Felicity elf Jahre bei der Allianz, wo sie auch das globale CX-Programm für Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty leitete.

Bei der Shift/CX Konferenzwoche wird sie den ersten Tag mit einem Vortrag zum Titel "Delivering More Business Impact With Your Customer Experience Approach" und im Weiteren in der Diskussion zu den Empfehlungen für mehr Wirksamkeit von CX-Aktivitäten mit James Dodkins und Dr. Peter Pirner eröffnen. Im Vorlauf zur Veranstaltung konnten wir ihr ein paar Fragen stellen:

Felicity, you will be participating in our Shift/CX event on March 13th. What are the three keywords that we can tag your talk with?

Business impact, Human approach, Omnichannel.

How good are companies in their efforts to deliver a good customer experience?

Companies have made significant progress in their efforts to deliver excellent customer experience, and this has only been pushed forwards further through events, such as Covid, in recent years. Companies are understanding that they need to deliver an excellent customer experience to be able to differentiate themselves in the market, supporting not only retention but also new business rates.

However, at the same time as this progress has been made, the customers’ expectations have also significantly evolved, and many companies are struggling to keep up with this. It is also easier than ever for customers to switch to other companies. Therefore, despite the progress that many companies have achieved, the expected bar continues to rise from consumers and companies need to find ways to meet or even exceed this to remain competitive.

Are they meeting the expectations on the customer’s as well as on the company's side?

In the current economic climate, there is increasing pressure on organizations to focus on costs. Staff cuts and investment pressure are the new norm. Therefore, organizations are trying to meet increasing customer expectations with, more often than not, less resources, be that people or budget.

Companies’ expectations when it comes to CX often focuses on a score (e.g., NPS, CSAT) and these have also been under pressure in recent years with significant drops seen across industries in 2020 with Covid. This began to recover in 2021 but has taken another step back in 2022, likely driven by the negative changes in the economic environment.

With the constantly evolving customer expectations as well, a lot of time customer expectations are not being met when it comes to CX. However, this does vary significantly by industry and individual company.

Overall, I would say that there is still work to be done to meet both organizational and customer expectations when it comes to Customer Experience.

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In what area do businesses need to improve their CX approach to deliver a more significant impact?

As I just mentioned, it is often still the case that when it comes to customer experience, organizations focus on a core metric, be that NPS or CSAT. A lot of the time the expectation is how a certain score can be reached or how much it can be increased by. The focus needs to move away from metrics and instead focus on areas of connecting with the customer and taking action.

Therefore, the main areas I would say that organizations need to focus on to deliver more impact would be:

  • Approach and focus on action taking: Taking action off insights needs to be embedded in the organization and leveraged at all levels, from individual customer level to strategic decision making.
  • Making business more human: Customers want to connect with people who understand them on an individual level. Research from Qualtrics XM Institute has shown that the empathy and friendliness of staff has more of an impact on customer satisfaction and ultimately likelihood to purchase more than operational factors such as wait time.
  • Connected view of a customer: Customers expect organizations to understand them and personalize their experience accordingly. Companies can only do this effectively if they have a connected customer view across all channels and touchpoints. This enables companies to deliver more impact for the customer and as a result impacts also core business metrics.

What are your recommendations to CX managers in regard to concrete actions and changes in their project approaches to speed up these changes?

CX programs have varying levels of maturity and therefore it is difficult to recommend concrete actions that are relevant to everyone but there are 3 things that I would recommend, based on themes I have seen come up frequently across different CX programs and industries:

Introduce clear closed loop processes to drive actions - I often see that these processes are not embedded in the company or are very manual. CX managers should leverage automation as much as possible and define clear owners and follow up/escalation processes for both closing the loop with individual customers but also for root cause analysis and subsequently identified trends.

Employees are critical to the end customer experience that is delivered. CX managers should start connecting with the areas in their company that are responsible for employee experience. Working together on defined use cases can not only improve customer experience but also employee engagement and business results.

To be able to assess business impact, CX managers need to ensure that they are connecting operational and financial data with the experience data that they are collecting. CX managers need to identify the core systems for this information and implement a sustainable process to connect to these data sources. This will support CX managers in understanding the business impact more clearly of action they are taking and enable them to show the ROI more easily from their CX program.

With what expectations do you participate in the Shift/CX? And: What can we expect?

I am really looking forward to participating in the Shift/CX. It is a great way to be able to connect with other CX practitioners across the community and discuss important topics. There is so much we can learn from each other in an area that is constantly evolving.

In my session, I will share my perspective on ways that I have seen companies achieve greater business impact, but I also look forward to hearing from everyone else on actions they have been taking or challenges they have been facing.

Thanks a lot for your answers, Felicity.

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