CXPA Raising the Bar for Customer Experience Professionals: Three Key Insights

Last week I attended my second CXPA Member Insight Exchange (MIE), the annual conference for the non-profit organization striving to “raise the bar on the performance of all CX professionals,” according to co-founder Bruce Temkin. It was great to return to the fabulous Hotel Del Coronado and catch up with CX industry colleagues, many of them active on CustomerThink.

Bruce summarized the impressive growth of the organization, from 0 to 2200 members in two years, offering an expanding array of programs including local networking, tools, best practice visits, ask-the-experts and more. In the next year the CXPA plans a stronger presence in the UK, online platform improvements and CX certification.

The MIE featured excellent keynotes, to be sure. And the networking beach party was worth the price of admission, all by itself! But what made this event unique was the open sharing by members in “unwound” breakouts, “show and tell” sessions, and oh, did I mention that beach party already? You’d be surprised how much can be exchanged over a couple of cold ones while looking at the Pacific Ocean. Rumor has that yours truly got into into a geeky discussion about Service Design Logic, but until the video is posted I’m denying it.

Anyway, I’d like to share three insights that hit home with me:

  1. The “chief customer officer” must lead the way

    Although not necessarily with that formal title. At Safelite AutoGlass, CEO Tom Feeney said emphatically, “I am the chief customer officer.” In his keynote address, he described the company’s transformation since 2009 as a “long hard journey,” and said these were the key lessons learned:

    • Provide front line with training but don’t forget leaders
    • Spread best practices ‘best to the rest’ – boot camp and boost camp
    • Measure and communicate at individual level – every person gets an NPS and can look at verbatims
    • Reward the behavior you desire. Make them significant.
    • Celebrate success. Have fun, make winners role models, “make it authentic”
  2. “Be there” for your customers

    CX can’t be viewed as a program du jour by the organization, it must be embedded in the DNA. CXPA co-founder Jeanne Bliss of CustomerBliss spoke passionately about the five decisions that “beloved and prosperous companies” deliberately make, setting them apart from the rest. What it boiled down to for me was the companies must be committed to their customers’ success, treat them like human beings and be authentic. You can learn more about these decisions here on Jeanne’s blog

  3. Strive for customer and employee delight

    There been some debate recently about whether companies should focus on employees or customers first. This is a false choice, in my view, because they are intertwined. Ben Hart, Senior Director of Customer Loyalty at Rackspace, a company that prides itself on “fanatical support” by its employees aka “Rackers,” said the secret sauce for the company’s success was to “balance customer outcomes and employee engagement.” Rackspace’s heritage is high-touch B2B support for about 20K customers who appreciate the “fanatical support” experience. But in the past few years Rackspace introduced new cloud solutions (CustomerThink is a customer) aimed at smaller businesses, and has acquired 200K customers that pay a small fee per month. What drives “delight” is quite different in this segment where ease-of-use, low cost and simplicity are top priorities.

This is just a small sampling from a delightful conference attended by people passionate about the customer experience. That’s why I’m honored and excited to have recently joined the Board of Directors of the CXPA, and will be volunteering my time to help keep the momentum going!

For more coverage of the CXPA MIE, please read:

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