Late last year, the lovely folks at Adoreboard asked me to participate in an interview series for their HX (Human Experience) Academy, an educational hub created to bring together customer experience leaders and enthusiasts.
By way of background, Adoreboard was created by data scientists at Queen’s University, Belfast, and describe themselves as using “emotion AI to unify human experiences for better business outcomes. Make better decisions by revealing the ‘Unknown Unknowns’ of Customer and Employee Emotions.”
Here’s the interview:
Tell us about yourself and what got you interested in the world of Customer Experience?
My interest in CX started just over 10 years ago and was borne out of a dislike of bad service and a real frustration with companies who got in the way of their employees delivering a great service or doing the right thing for their customers. So, I started writing, researching and exploring all things services engagement and experience related through blog posts, white papers, books, podcasts, speaking and advisory work.
How did you get the idea for “Punk CX”?
The initial idea just came to me when I was having a few pints of Guinness and a bit of a rant about the state of customer experience with my friend Oisin, back in December 2017.
How did you find the book writing process? Any learnings along the way?
I’ve written three books now and I’ve never found the process easy. I do, however, try and make it as easy as possible by trying to break the whole writing process down into smaller bite-sized chunks. That’s also made easier by the fact that I am constantly writing new material or exploring new ideas.
You say brands should talk more about political issues or not be afraid to express their views. Do you think this can also harm customer perception, if they don’t agree? Do you think the risk is worth it?
Yes and yes.
I think customers are growing increasingly frustrated with the ineffectiveness of international, national, governmental and public bodies to tackle or solve many of the big problems that we are facing as a society. As a result, they are looking to brands and commercial organisations with whom they spend their hard-earned cash to pitch in and do more.
Some brands get this and are becoming increasingly political in their marketing campaigns, commentary and actions. And, they are being rewarded for it by their customers.
These brands also realise that trying to please all of the people all of the time is a sure route to mediocrity and blandness. Moreover, taking a stand on some issues that matter to both their customers and their people is clear and effective way to help them stand out amongst their competitors.
You mention “Cheers for your peers” and the importance of employee engagement. What is your view on the link between employee experience and customer experience? Do you think they impact each other?
Yes, I believe they are intrinsically linked and you can’t really do one well without being pretty good at the other one too.
You say we should replace CX transformation with CX evolution. What is one bit of advice you would give CX professionals or those looking to evolve their customer or employee experience?
Focus on what outcomes matter most to your customers and/or employees and then figure out how you can improve them in the most effective and efficient way possible.
What key learnings do you want your readers to take away from your book?
Do better work, your customers are waiting.
What do you think the future holds for the customer experience space?
Somebody asked me a similar question at a conference a few years ago. They asked where do you think customer experience will be in 2-3 years. I answered, “I think we’ll still be excited about the future but we’ll also be frustrated at the lack of progress we’ve made”.
What are your top 3 companies who you think provide “Punk CX”? And why?
Too often we look to others for answers.
Personally, I think there is a bit of punk in every company. The trick is to find and harness that inner punk and then, once you’ve done that, then you should turn up the volume! 😉
The final question comes from our office team: As you know, Adoreboard is made in Belfast, a city with a passion for punk – what is your favourite punk song?
There are too many to pick one.
But, it would be remiss of me to not mention two punk classics that come from Northern Ireland: Teenage Kicks by the Undertones and Alternative Ulster by Stiff Little Fingers.