Focus on the business impact - bottom line of the first round of international CX expert's recommendations

Photo-Credit: Nadir sYzYgY ( on Unsplash

After our year's end discussion with the German CX community at our Shift/CX Trends event in December we thought it might also be interesting to add some international flavor to the CX outlook for 2023.

Therefore we connected with a broad list of CX experts from around the world to ask them for a statement on a recommendation for 2023. With this post we are publishing the first round of statements.

What should CX managers focus on in 2023?

In many ways 2022 was already challenging, but the on-going “permacrisis” - as the Collins Dictionary has defined - imposes some more aspects to address in 2023. With our German community we discussed a new need or even urgency for CX effectiveness that CX managers need to meet. Budgets might get tighter, therefore results for activities must be tangible.

On the other hand the customer expectations will even in times of crisis not decrease - but rather increase because of economic tensions on their side. Thus CX is damned to do the right thing right!

This is also the tone of this first round of contributions of international CX experts on the above mentioned question. 

trueJoe Pine, Strategic Horizons

As a first contributor we are happy to welcome Joseph Pine II, the co-author of "The Experience Economy" as well as author, speaker, and management advisor to Fortune 500 companies. His recommendation addresses the urgency for a satisfying delivery of the customer promise.

I recommend that companies expand beyond the normal CX focus of making interactions with customers nice, easy, and convenient to create engaging, compelling, and memorable experiences that offer time well spent.

trueJo Boswell, Sentio-B

Next in line we are delighted about the statement of Jo Bosell, founder & director of Sentio-B and mastermind behind the highly successful “Know Me” personalisation programme at British Airways. She fingerpoints to the important aspect of empathy for the customer needs.

Above all in 2023 brands will need to demonstrate empathy towards their customers and present a more human experience for them. With the crisis of a global pandemic barely in the rear-view mirror, consumers are now struggling to cope with dramatic cost-of-living increases, and this will have an impact on customer trust and loyalty if brands do not tune in properly to customer sentiment and show customers that they care.

Over the last two years we have seen many brands introducing more automation and self-service into customer journeys. When this is done well it can enhance the customer experience, but the reality is that in many cases it has resulted in an even more disjointed and jarring customer experience. To overcome this, brands need to make intelligent use of their data to understand the customer’s current context and respond accordingly.

Lernpfad Customer Journey Management

trueJim Tincher, Heart of the Customer 

As third contributer in this first round of international recommendations we have Jim Tincher, founder, CEO & Journey Mapper-In-Chief at Heart of the Customer. Prior to launching the company, Jim led customer engagement initiatives at Best Buy and UnitedHealth Group. Today he is consulting a broad range of clients and is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP). Jim’s book, How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer?, is considered a must-read for leaders focused on customer experience. In his recommendation he is stressing the point: Focus on the business impact!

With a business slowdown seeming all but certain, the most important area to focus on is the same this year as most: focus on business impact.

The quickest way to do this is to refocus your reporting on how customer experience impacts Net Revenue Retention or another critical finance metric. Integrate the financial data into your survey platform, and change all your reporting to start with the financial outcome, and use survey data to explain that outcome.

Let's always remember: customer experience isn't a survey program; it's a business discipline.

trueKatie Stabler, CULTIVATE Customer Experience by Design

Katie Stabler turned her deep passion for customer care into a profession: As a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP), she founded her own consultancy “Cultivate” in 2020. She is demanding to focus more on the defining moments that "levels up the customer interaction":

There are those in business, pessimistic about the correlation between positive customer sentiment and business success, even the mere mention of emotion in the boardroom can send eyes rolling. But it's a mistake to shun how your customers are feeling and embracing emotional design into your continuous improvement endeavours could be the difference between lost customers and raving advocates.

A basic customer interaction needs two things, Success and Satisfaction. Success means the customer achieves their goal (basic need) and satisfaction means they did it easily and quickly (basic want).

But a business shouldn't settle with 'basic'. Level up every customer interaction with the addition of Sentiment (the three S’s). Customers need something more to make them feel a happy, peak emotion. This could be anything from feeling really listened to or feeling surprised by truly excellent service. It doesn’t have to be from grand gestures, discounts or freebies, just something positive that they will remember.

trueNate Brown, Arise

As fifth valued contributor to this first recommendations list we are pleased to present the statement of Nate Brown, Senior Director of Customer Experience at Arise and Co-Founder of the CX Accelerator Community. He was also labeled “CX Influencer of Year” in 2019 and recently named as one of the “Top 40 Phenomenal Brand Ambassador of 2023”. He is also running the Experience Matters podcasts with a bunch of interesting CX experts interviews. Nate's recommendation is emphasizing to focus on the most experiential moments from your customer's point of view - and to identify and address these the insights process is key for him.

FOCUS is a wonderful thing for CX leaders to achieve in 2023. Here's the first two steps:

1) Manage To What, Exactly?

It's hard to align people towards an improved experience design if you've not laid out real terms for what the ideal experience looks like. Define it in a clear statement. Don't force people to assume. What is it that makes your experience unique? How does it help to fulfill the overall brand promise / mission of the organization? This will act as your CX north star.

2) The VoC Starting Line

There is no finish line to experience design work. But there is a starting line...and it has quite a bit to do with understanding the current state of the experience. You can know this without a sophisticated Voice of Customer engine (to use a Jeanne Bliss term) that captures the true perspective people have. This not only informs what changes you would actually make, but also gives you the ability to measure the impact of the changes! Trying to make CX / EX adjustments without a great feedback engine in place is quite literally flying blind. Most CX leaders will have a VoC program in place today...but it probably needs a significant tune up or expansion to really do it's job.

trueLeslie O'Flahavan, E-Write

Last but not least we are happy to include Leslie O'Flahavan on this list. With her company E-Write she helps people communicate better with customers and provides coaching for frontline agents, social media managers and contact center leaders. She is a problem solver for all written channels but in her advice for CX managers in 2023 she goes a step broader and points to the need of a better support of the customer-facing staff. She calls on the customer service leader to provide a better support for their team members for them being able to serve the customer better:

CX managers should focus on giving frontline customer service agents the tools, training, and permission to truly help customers and solve their problems. If the knowledgebase is outdated, the CX manager should take responsibility for updating it in the new year.

If the email templates are stale and overly formal, the manager should have those rewritten. If having two monitors would help agents toggle between programs more quickly, the manager should provide those monitors. If the CX leadership has been merely talking about "agent empowerment," they should use the new year to identify how they will give agents permission and power to solve customers' problems.

Let's have a truly new year in 2023 and let's stop making customer service agents turn themselves inside out to create a great customer experience when their leaders should be doing more to help.

From this first round of recommendations we can conclude that "doing the right CX things right" is focussing on what is valuable for your business out of your customer's perspective and helping the organization to succeed in serving the customer.