5 things I learnt about customer experience at CXcellence

For the few of you who missed yesterday’s CXcellence conference (and the even fewer who missed the Twitter coverage), here’s a quick run-down of a few of the best bits.

Despite Citymapper’s thwarted attempt to cause a poor turnout, it’s fair to say the conference was a triumph. After the eventual arrival of a healthy mix of marketers, and a slightly less healthy gorging of Danish pastries and Lavazza coffee, all were pretty keen to sit down and learn what ‘CX’ stands for once and for all.

Buyers are biased

Thankfully, Joel’s keynote covered that one up pretty quickly. Backed up with hot-off-the-OHP research, his opening gambit outlined the enormity of the topic. It revealed that 70% of marketers see CX as a high priority, and yet the biggest challenge is something as ostensibly simple as ownership.

For those who weren’t scared into inertia by the facts (that 87% of buyers are biased before even starting to evaluation the market, for one), the day had plenty to answer for.   

You'll never be thanked

In the following keynote, Mike Bainbridge of Rackspace discussed how customers are changing and what you can do about it. Asides from telling a refreshingly candid story of the rise and rise of Rackspace, his speech was full of customer-centric wisdom.   

To paraphrase one notion: you’ll never get calls from your customers if there’s no problem. 'Hi guys, I just wanted to tell you how wonderful your products are, thanks.' is a one-way conversation you’re probably never going to ever have. The solution: proactively seek feedback.   

Employee experience (EE) is hot right now

Next up was BSI’s marketing director, UK and Ireland, Chris Wright, who discussed the cultural implications of CX. Early into the speech, Chris shed some light on the confusion surrounding ownership.

“Marketing needs to own the CX because a) if it’s done right, it can be a brand differentiator and b) the employee-to-customer link is paramount – we can’t have great CX without employee experience.”

And forget the 4 Ps: customer service trumps all. Chris suggests we should think of them as extensions of the marketing department, which will naturally create a community feel.

We celebrate our own neediness

The third and final morning keynote focused on the future of experience based on a scientific research project, delivered by Adobe’s marketing lead for north Europe, David Burnand, and Dr Chris Brauer of Goldsmiths University.  

David opened with a few corkers: 74% of customers expect an immediate response to any post or query, and 73% demand more compelling content generally – haven’t we become insufferably needy? Chris then talked us through the methodology, which involved words like ‘multi-sensory’ and ‘micro-moments’ (like very few marketing researches, it was laboratory based).

One of the upshots was empathy: marketers need to create humanising experience, not a dehumanising one (a robotic call centre, for example). Empathy is a foundation of trust in a relationship, so put yourself in your customer’s shoes.

CX needs UX

In a breakout room Kathryn Norris of Turtl discussed the importance of content and UX in the overall customer experience. It seems that social media exploded our expectation of digital content – we want things interactive, sharable, and ‘commentable’. In short, the UX needs to be simple and intuitive; the simpler the reader experience, the more likely they are to interact.

She suggests a mindset shift: think about providing content your customer will actively search for. This means predicting their behaviour and optimising content, and being not just device agnostic, but device intelligent. Thus, successful content should be one story, multichannel, and minimal recreation.

For a more detailed overview of CXcellence 2016, check out this *simple and intuitive* folder.