Throughout the year of 2019, we will be hosting 6 CX Webinars, starting with the first one on February 21st. We are bringing you the most well-known experts in the industry to share their knowledge and expertise on customer experience. For the upcoming webinar, we have invited Annette Franz, the founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc., to discuss how CX Journey Mapping can improve CSAT and NPS results. Here's a short interview with Annette and some of her points of view about customer experience.
MA: Annette, when and how did you decide to dedicate your career to customer experience?
AF: I grew up on a farm and wanted to become a veterinarian, so I was focused more on animals than on people! But I did end up here via a job listing for J.D. Power and Associates. I love math and writing, and being a market researcher includes both of those. And that’s where my career in this space started. I enjoyed the work I did there. I loved helping my clients identify solutions to their problems and improve their businesses.
MA: What motivates you to do what you do every day?
AF: Two things motivate me:
The fact that I’m helping to improve people’s lives (whether they are customers or employees)
I have always said that, in my work, I get the greatest satisfaction from helping others.
I am motivated knowing that I am helping my clients help their businesses improve and grow.
MA: What will happen with CX in the near future? Your predictions for the next five years.
AF: I'm not big on talking about customer experience predictions because I'm finding that a lot of companies are still trying to figure out the basics. They can't begin to focus on omnichannel, digital, personalization, voice, AI, AR, and VR when they can't even get their executives to commit to putting customers at the top of the priority list (right after employees, of course).
My focus for the near future is ensuring that companies successfully design and deliver a better customer experience by first having the key, foundational elements in place. First and foremost, there must be CEO and executive commitment for the work that lies ahead; without that, the transformation journey ends pretty quickly. Beyond that, there must be a well-defined customer experience vision and strategy, a governance structure to provide guidelines and oversight for the work ahead, a focus on improving the employee experience along with recognition that employees drive the customer experience, and a people-first culture. And finally, companies must take the time to understand both employees and customers, act on what they learn and embrace outside-in thinking, weaving the customer and their perspective into all they do.
One thing that I’d like to see going forward is a closer partnership between the CCO and the CHRO (or whatever their respective titles may be). Without that partnership, it will be hard to drive forward the conversation that employee experience and customer experience go hand-in-hand.
Another thing that I would like to see is the acknowledgement that “it’s all about the customer.” When customer experience professionals are challenged to show ROI, they need to push back and ask why we’re in business. Everything a business does – every investment, every product, every marketing message, every employee that is hired – is for and about the customer.
MA: What is your best advice to Customer Service leaders?
AF: Customer understanding is the cornerstone of customer-centricity. To achieve that understanding, you’ve got to do three things:
listen (surveys and other listening posts)
characterize (develop customer personas to better understand who the customer is)
empathize (walk in the customers’ shoes to understand the experience they are having).
Start there. I know that’s a lot, but it’s important. And then, most importantly, do something with what you learn!
About Annette Franz
Annette Franz has developed her career as a CX expert for 25 years to help companies improve experience for their both employees and customers. She is also an official member of the Forbes Coaches Council and was named one of "The 100 Most Influential Tech Women on Twitter" by Business Insider. Annette co-hosts the weekly #CXChat on Twitter, serves as vice chairperson on the Board of Directors of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), and mentors other professionals in this field to help them advance their careers. She is not only a speaker, but also an avid writer whose work can be found on her own blog as well as in Forbes, Business2Community, CustomerThink, Quality Digest, APICS Magazine, and more. Annette Franz is regularly recognized as a top influencer in Customer Experience.