Olga Guseva, an authority in customer experience (CX), underscores the pivotal role of redesigning customer experiences. She emphasises the necessity of multilingual communication within cross-functional teams and advocates for leveraging the science of facilitation to embrace diverse viewpoints effectively.
Customer experiences are constantly evolving, presenting a challenge in understanding how to enhance both customer and collaborator interactions.
Olga Guseva, Managing Partner at Integria Consult and co-author of a book on customer experience, explores this challenge to help businesses find solutions. Guseva is renowned for her expertise in international customer experience strategy and her focus on fostering customer-centric cultural shifts. As an accomplished international author, blogger, keynote speaker, and consultant, Guseva brings a wealth of experience to the table.
During the interview, Guseva highlighted the increasing importance of cross-functional teams in today’s business landscape. These teams, comprising individuals from diverse backgrounds, offer a blend of perspectives and skills, presenting both challenges and opportunities.
Guseva shared insights on effective strategies for collaborating with such teams and emphasised the importance of delivering personalised customer experiences in the face of technological advancements.
Furthermore, Guseva delved into the evolving nature of customer expectations and stressed the importance of aligning customer experience metrics with broader business objectives. This holistic approach ensures that customer experience initiatives contribute meaningfully to overall business success.
Excerpts from the interview:
How do you work with cross-functional teams to inform strategic business decisions?
Cross-functional teams are a bit more difficult to manage than traditional teams as people composing these teams come from different backgrounds and are used to speaking different languages – operational people are frequently focused on efficiency, and flawless process execution.
For example, marketing people tend to focus on outcomes and creative ways to solve the problem, with finance people thinking about the risks and budgets. This constitutes a challenge and an opportunity at the same time — the more diverse the team is, the more chances are that it blends expertise from different areas and comes up with a solution the business had never seen before.
But diverse teams tend to spend more time defining the problem and coming to a solution as members may have very different approaches they are used to in their everyday life. To tackle this, it is really important to:
- Be able to speak different languages – fill the info with the details for those who need to see the granularity, give the helicopter view and final vision for those who look for outcomes, speak numbers for those who prefer to quantify and be emotional with storytelling, metaphors and examples for those who are used to perceive the information this way. Naturally, it requires more time to prepare, and do the homework but pays off in efficiency during group discussions.
- Create the operating model of communications/meetings – with cross-functional teams, it takes a lot of energy to coordinate the schedules of people from various departments, so the healthy solution here would be to set up a rhythm of regular meetings, say, once a week or on a more frequent basis, instead of looking for available slots ad hoc.
- Hear different perspectives. This is what cross-functional teams are built for. So, every team member must be heard – people who tend to work with numbers are usually not as talkative as, for example, marketers, but their insights are equally valuable — so it is important to create a space where everyone can contribute. The science of facilitation can greatly help here.
At a time when more companies are embracing automation for tasks, how can enterprises ensure they don’t lose the human touch in their interactions with customers?
That’s a million-dollar question, but the answer is simple — automation is not the goal, it is just a tool, one of the tools to improve customer interaction — simplify routine tasks, and free up employee time for high-quality interaction with customers. So, as long as the company remembers this, it is quite easy to maintain the human touch and plan the “connection point” with customers taking the best from technology.
What is the main barrier to delivering personalised experiences? How can companies overcome it?
Cost and this is where exactly technology can help — the more we know about our customers, the more personalised experience we can build, and technology is a great enabler here — for example, by processing the customer data and offering the best route out of many options in accordance with customer preferences, stored in the system. In the high-tech environment, a lot of personalisation can be delivered automatically — employees just need to add the “golden dust” of human warmth and empathy.
How have CX expectations evolved for the modern-day customer, and how can brands address concerns in the current economic climate?
Customer expectations are rising every year, customers are comparing their experience across countries, industries and products. They ask themselves — if I can be served well at the nearby coffee shop, why can’t I get the same level of service at the car rental station? Or at my dentist’s? Or from the airline I fly with? Some industries are driving the art and science of customer experience forward, and others need to follow as customers expect the same service level they see at flagship companies.
How can CX metrics be tied back to business goals?
CX metrics do need to be tied to business goals. For example, suppose a company is using the NPS (Net Promoter Score) metric. In that case, it can calculate the average purchase price by promoters (the group of customers that love the company product and are ready to recommend it) and by detractors (the unhappy customers) and compare how much more happy customers spend with the company. If we multiply the difference by the number of customers, we can digitalise the amount of money the company is NOT receiving because of the unhappy customers. This is a big topic, but in a nutshell, this is one of the approaches that can be used to quantify the value of working on customer experience.
You can also connect the acquisition cost (CAC) with your CX metrics, measure how many customers come by recommendation, and calculate the savings. No matter which way you select, it is important to find this connection within your company and make it clear to everyone within the organisation — this is how the whole company can see the value of its work on customer centricity.