Bruce Temkin has been referred to as the “Godfather of Customer Experience”, considered by some as the creator of the customer experience movement. In his exclusive appearance in Australia, Bruce will give a fascinating insight into the state of CX at Customer Experience Innovation & Tech Fest 2017. We spoke to Bruce about the current CX landscape, the role of technology and why emotion remains a top priority for customers in 2017.
Bruce, we’re thrilled that you’ve chosen to make your exclusive appearance in Australia at CX Innovation & Tech Fest 2017. For those who aren’t familiar with the title “Customer Experience Transformist” can you enlighten us on what that means?
The fact that you are asking me says it’s working. When we created Temkin Group, I wanted to create a title that was both descriptive of what we do as well as something that people hadn’t heard before. I don’t think anyone had a title like that when we created it. Now you see more and more people doing it. For us, a CX Transformist is someone that helps other organisations transform. Essentially I think of my role as helping organisations become significantly better than they are today.
You’ve recently published this year’s Temkin Experience Rankings which asks consumers to rate their recent interactions with companies and then evaluate their experiences across three dimensions: success, effort and emotion. What were the broad findings this year?
Ratings saw its first general decline in 2015 and then dropped considerably in 2016. This year, however, the Ratings significantly increased, with only seven companies’ scores declining.
The message this year was clear: to improve customer experience, companies need to master four competencies: Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement, and Customer Connectedness.
In light of the rise in customer expectations, how have companies changed the way they operate?
Despite the macro picture of decline of most industries and companies, there are many companies that have figured out how to dramatically improve their CX. First of all they have to have a commitment to be better and have leaders who have decided they want to improve their customer experience.
We look at a lot of companies in terms of customer experience, and the ones that shine are the ones that have a very clear understanding of what their brand means and what it doesn’t mean. When I talk about brand, I’m not talking about the marketing or advertising side of the brand. For us, brand is an understanding of the promises that you are committed to delivering to your customers. Having this clarity about their brand allows organisations to actually focus and distinguish themselves in a way that is consistent with that brand.
Part of Customer Experience Innovation & Tech Fest is looking at the role technology plays in customer experience. How important is technology and where can it best be used to enhance CX?
Customer experience is essentially about people – that doesn’t mean that technology isn’t part of the solution, but technology is best as a supporting role. You can improve customer experience without technology but you can’t improve customer experience with technology alone.
The idea is to understand what you want to do and then make appropriate investments in technology. Many of the companies that are doing a really good job certainly invest in areas such as customer insights, predictive analytics, speech analytics, text analytics etc. So analytics is a key area that companies are investing in. This gives organisations the ability to provide a more personalised experience for their customers.
Those are all important investments in technology, but the investment in technology is always secondary to an understanding of what it is you want to deliver to your customers.
What else will you be covering during your sessions?
One area I’ll be looking at is the idea of customer journeys: A big shift is happening in companies now in that single customer interactions have been replaced by understanding the whole customer journey. This is going to have a significant impact on how effective you are at improving your customer experience.
Another area I’ll explore is predictive personalisation. How do we go from designing the experiences that are reactive to customers’ behaviour to the point where we can predict what they need and want and satisfy them before they even understand their needs? A lot of that is possible because we have a lot more data and therefore understanding of the behaviours of our customers.
That sounds fabulous, can’t wait to hear what you have to say. To finish up, I have a little Aussie lingo quiz for you to finish off. What would I be talking about if I said “Snag”?
I think I’d like to eat that – is it a sausage?
Spot on. Number two, if I said “That was a ripper”. What does that mean?
That sounds like it’s kind of funny. I don’t know. I would think it would be kind of funny if you said it was a ripper.
You weren’t far off from it. It means great, fantastic. What a ripper. Final one, do you know what a “schooner” is?
That sounds like something I would drive or ride. I’m going to sound really stupid in your interview! I don’t know.
A schooner is a measure of a beer.
Aha, I’m going to have to find many schooners while I’m visiting.
Too true mate, we really look forward to meeting you in June and can’t wait to hear what you have to say at Customer Experience Tech Fest!
Thanks, look forward to meeting the CX Innovation & Tech Fest community and having a schooner or two!
About the Speaker
Bruce Temkin is a CX Transformist, co-founder of the Customer Experience Professionals Association and is widely regarded as the world’s #1 CX Thought-Leader. His work has accelerated the customer experience journeys for 100’s of organisations. Don’t miss your opportunity to hear from one of the top CX influencers in the world in his exclusive Australian appearance at Customer Experience Innovation & Tech Fest, 19-20 June 2017 in Melbourne.