Nate Brown: It’s Back to the Future for CX in 2019
By Howard Schulman
If you ask Customer Experience industry expert, author and co-founder of CX Accelerator, Nate Brown what he thinks about CX in 2019, he’ll tell you that it’s not where it should be but he is optimistic for progress. According to Nate, many businesses have a very short-term mentality and are concerned with what customers can do for them in the present. CX, by its very nature, is a much longer play. It’s a marathon vs. a sprint.
Businesses need to adapt to that reality in two ways. As number one, they need to find ways to accelerate their results and get faster with getting results that are going to make a big difference quicker. And number two is that they need to do a better job of setting expectations of the executive stakeholders who are involved in CX initiatives.
CX is Not Just Another Term for Customer Service
Although 2018 was a disappointing year for those advancing CX initiatives, Nate is very hopeful in terms of the number of organizations that are waking up to the reality of why customer experience has to be a core part of their strategy just in terms of competitiveness and differentiation. Any business not working a CX strategy will absolutely fall behind.
Executives are still waking up to that reality and seeing that CX is not just a new word for customer service and it’s not just a nice word for caring about your customers. CX represents a set of best practices, metrics, philosophy, and culture required in a coordinated effort in which to do meaningful work.
Employee Experience is Critical to Successful Customer Experience
In 2019 Nate believes that CX will do a much better job of absorbing some level of control into the things it requires to be successful. The biggest example, generally speaking, is that employee experience is still very much a part—and is separated out from—the customer experience in terms of ownership and true collaboration.
The role of a CX leader should have an employee experience initiative where they are helping to create that and have metrics associated with the employee experience. Employees should have ownership in the employee experience and then be able to relate that to the customer experience. Instead of just talking about those two things and their importance to each other, actually having some ownership will be a significant thing that will happen in 2019.
Can We Please Get Rid of the Silos?
Many organizations have attempted to do CX as a silo process, or a team off by itself, which is basically a glorified analytics team. They’re busy but not having much impact on the business or the culture that they should. The integration into a more strategic driven role where it’s going to be a coordinated effort with the realization that everyone in the organization has a role to play is the key to enterprise success.
2019 will show a pull away from a dedicated customer experience function where there still needs to be a coordination point and people who do that work. They’ll be responsible for developing a strategy about how all the different areas in an organization can contribute to—and ultimately own—CX. That’s something that’s just not evident today.
Why New Technology Won’t Necessarily Fix Things
When an organization wants to invest in “customer experience,” they buy solutions and hire people, but what they often fail to do is to strategically integrate the investment they’re making into how it’s going to change the culture and behaviors across the entire organization. That has to happen. This is yet another reason why that employee experience needs to be an aspect that has at least part ownership by the customer experience leader.
Balancing Internal and External CX Metrics
One important thing that has to happen is to make the correlation between customer experience and employee experience from a metrics perspective. Two of the greatest experience related metrics available are Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Effort Score. They both work brilliantly as internal metrics as well. The internal NPS score, which is positive referrals about the company, has a symbiotic relationship with the external NPS. As one increases, the other should increase as well.
The same thing applies to Customer Effort Score. From an employee perspective, answering questions such as, “Do we make it easy for you to do your job?” “Is it easy for you to facilitate resolutions for customers.?” “Do you have the tools and abilities to do your job well and quickly?” Once you have an understanding of the employee experience, you have a true voice of the employee channel.
The most important thing is to establish a Voice of the Customer engine where you can innovate, create new strategies for your customers by learning from what they need and getting employees involved in the process. That’s how a truly customer-centric culture is developed.
When you honor and respect the Voice of the Customer to that extreme level, everyone in the organization understands that the customer is the central point of focus in the organization.
The Significant Points Along the Journey Map
There are a few really critical points within the journey that matter. Self-service capability needs to evolve significantly. When you think about automated channels like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other great new technologies that allow customers to receive help on the go such as through mobile devices, so often the knowledge that powers them is lagging significantly.
If you look inside an organization, you’ll find that the internal knowledge strategy—in terms of their ability to share data they need to be successful and to help customers be successful—faces barriers to both the accessibility and quality of that knowledge.
Back to The Future to Pick Up a Knowledge Strategy
Another trend for 2019 will be people taking a major step backward and realizing that they need a true knowledge strategy in place before they can move forward with some of the newer technologies in the area of self-service, bots and other things. It will be a major back to the future moment for organizations looking to adopt new technologies but just aren’t there yet in terms of their knowledge strategy.
Nate and the CX Accelerator are available to help CX professionals on their own journey. It’s a neutral place for candid dialogue about what’s going on in the CX space and how can everyone can ultimately help each other.
Nate Brown is a relationship builder with a flair for execution. He is known for bringing a unique energy to the table that engages employees and takes teams to the next level. While Customer Service is his primary expertise, Nate is able to leverage experience in professional services, marketing, and sales to connect dots and solve the big problems. Join Nate and other CX professionals on the CX accelerator slack group.
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