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People as the Centerpiece of Customer Experience

By: Jessica V. Ludvigsen, SVP & Director, Customer Experience Center, Woodforest National Bank

Jessica V. Ludvigsen, SVP & Director, Customer Experience Center, Woodforest National Bank

They say that automation will put us all out of a job. They say that bank branches will soon be dead. They say that digital presence will make in-person interactions irrelevant. I believe ‘they’ are wrong.

No matter the industry, technological advancements and evolutions will always first be seen as a threat because their purpose it to change something. Customer Experience Management is no different. As CX professionals our job is to exceed the customer’s expectations and retain them long-term. What happens when their expectations change? If we don’t change, then we lose.

The Customer Experience industry has seen many transformations in recent years that have had huge impacts. However, impacts that force us to become nimbler and more responsive will only make us stronger.

Technology in general has changed the way customers engage with businesses and each other in virtually every facet of life. And it has evolved how the customer expects to be able to do business with you. It should be on their time, at their fingertips and it should be simple. Businesses that can’t or won’t rally around those deliverables stand to be left behind. The so-called instant gratification society we are living in has rippled throughout business forcing financial institutions and retailers to find ways to deliver as quickly as possible or have their customer move on.

Measuring customer experiences has taken great leaps shifting from ‘after-the-fact-if-they-have-time’ survey data such as CSAT and NPS, to real time capturing of customer sentiment and emotion. These advancements alone stand to position businesses to close the gap in time from knowledge of a customer’s experience to acting on what was learned from that experience. And real time data means you’re capturing all customer experiences, not just those who responded to the survey.

The ability to truly understand how the customer feels doing business with you is powerful. For example, if most of your call center interactions begin with customers who are fired up about something, you may have a product, disclosure, salesperson or user interface problem. If most of them end with a customer who is fired up or must be escalated, then you likely have a call center problem.

Some of the most exciting advancements in my opinion are those in the world of data and business intelligence. There is a vast amount of information we can learn as we become more proficient at analyzing data. The intersections of data points are intriguing and uncovering how they create a story and profile of a customer will position businesses to dramatically improve exceeding, and even predicting what customer’s expectations will be.

As much as technology may continue to evolve and transform the Customer Experience industry, this will remain a people business. That means that the people interactions become that much more critical. Your technology better be good, but more importantly your teams better be sharper and more responsive than the competition. Investing in our people with technology is the best formula for life-long customers and team members who deliver a stellar customer experience.

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