Harping on... about CXcellence

So we hosted the B2B Cxcellence conference yesterday, and I don’t know about the attendees (although, I do have a few clues from below's tweet), but I had a great time.

I didn’t get to see all of the speakers (I had to work behind the scenes, eurgh) but I picked up a few things in the sessions I attended. After a few post-event beers and some time letting my system one brain mull the ideas over, I’ve cobbled together some things I’m going to take away from the day, so thought I’d share them with you.

1. If the messenger is more important than the message, then you need to be the people your customers want you to be

As a result, B2B marketers need to put a far greater emphasis on our customers as people, rather than brands. We also need to understand that we, as marketers, don’t hold personal sway with our customers (unless you sell to marketers). So, look to your technical experts as the key messengers and influencers in the industry.

Which leads me nicely onto my next point...

2. Great employee experience is the path to great customer experience

It sounds simple: if employees love working for a company, they deliver greatness. Educate the same staff on how their work positively affects the lives of customers and empower them to make changes to how they work in order to improve the service they provide, greatness awaits.

Well, except for the fact it’s a business-wide venture that requires consensus buy in, where every department regularly and consistently assesses and evaluates their own processes earnestly to improve. For those who aren't directly customer facing, they need to find ways to meet and listen to them. Plus you need clear visibility and tracking of your progress so you know how you're getting on. 

Other than that, walk in the park.

3. Stop asking why

As Professor Paul Dolan (pictured below) said, people don’t know why they make the decisions they do. Asking them only gives you a rationalisation of their decision. New technology may be able to track emotive triggers, but if people feel they're being watched they will act differently, which is why people are more honest under bright lights. So, maybe we should stop trying - but how could you predict what is going to work in future if you can't explain why you've succeeded in the past?

Harping on... about CXcellence

Paul also said something I'm more dubious about - that this stuff is “common sense that should become common practice”. Marketers love a story and a rationale, and labelling this as 'common sense' can be just another facet of storytelling, and we can easily become the victims of the narrative fallacy.

Instead, we need to approach our challenges more in line with the scientific method: hypothesis, test, results, evaluation. Test constantly, openly and work as hard as you can to fight your own biases by working to prove yourself wrong rather than right.

You may need to rationalise some stories for your CEO and for case studies afterwards, just don’t let that cloud your judgement.

4. You can’t change the answer, you can only change the question

Paul also pointed out that people tend to make intuitive decisions very quickly, and don't change their mind. They are drawn to ideas they already agree with, and dismiss dissenters. In fact, contradictory evidence often further entrenches original opinions.

However, context matters. But in the digital age, you can’t change the temperature or lighting in their office or dictate how hungry they are or how annoying their desk buddy is. Instead, you have to reframe the question so that people don’t feel tied to their previous answer and are free to find a new answer.

Be warned though, we're all masters of the 'bait and switch', and we tend to substitute difficult questions for easier ones in our mind. Just because you ask a different question, doesn't mean they're answering a different question.

If the right person asks the right question in the right environment and at the right time, then you may get the right answer. 

That's all I have for now. Thanks for coming and helping us put away all the beer, wine and food on the day.