Customer experience (CX) matters — a fact underscored by today's global celebration of CX Day. So before we go further, let's take a moment to capture the spirit of the day and congratulate all of the companies and professionals that create great customer experiences.
It's not an easy job, despite the proliferation of new technologies. And all of us at CMSWire send our appreciation to everyone who recognizes the importance of a strong company culture that embraces customer experience.
A Serious Recognition of CX
This is the fourth annual CX Day, an event sponsored by the Wakefield, Mass.-based Customer Experience Professional Association (CXPA), an organization co-founded by CMSWire contributor Bruce Temkin and Jeanne Bliss.
In advance of today's celebration, CMSWire spoke to Diane Magers, chair of the event organizer, the CPXA. She was excited, to state the obvious. But she was also steeling herself for about twenty or more hours of little to no sleep as she monitored and participated in the events being held around the globe.
"There will be so many international events this year in new countries such as New Zealand and regions such as Africa," she said. "It will be an exciting day."
Exciting in more ways than just the global expansion of the event, too. CX Day is only in its infancy, but Magers and others can already see how seriously companies have begun to take it.
She points to Disney and its plans for the event. "It will be a full-day event that is very educational with experts discussing the importance of CX and how Disney is addressing some of the issues associated with it."
Compare that to just a few years ago, she said, when Disney's event was "really just an opportunity to say thank you to its customers and the chance to hand out balloons."
(Editor's Note: Magers will be speaking at CMSWire's second annual DX Summit, which runs Nov. 14 to 16 at the Radisson Blu Aqua hotel in Chicago.)
Two CX Celebrations
CX Day has rapidly grown and evolved. This year, not just Disney but Dell EMC, CA Technologies and many others will be paying homage to the concept of the customer experience.
It runs concurrently with Customer Service Week. In 1992, the U.S. Congress proclaimed the first week of October as Customer Service Week, a nationally recognized event. Like CX Day, the celebration has grown. It's now an international initiative that recognizes businesses and their employees for dedication to customer satisfaction and the importance of customer service.
Happy CX Day!When the CXPA launched CX Day, its goals were far more modest. It wanted to 1) emphasize the need and importance of the customer experience and 2) put the newly-formed association on the CX industry’s map.
This is not to say CXPA was strictly interested in self-promotion. Rather, the association knew perfectly well that the customer experience has been relegated to corporate backwaters at too many companies.
Only a few corporate entities have chosen to base their operations around CX.
CXPA’s thinking was, "Why not focus on those companies' achievements for one day?" The companies will get a well-deserved pat on the back, the CX professional will get some well-deserved accolades and hopefully the word will get out that emphasizing CX is not a cost function but rather a revenue driver.
Those few CX-driven companies that are the exception rather than the rule? They invariably are top performers in their respective markets as numerous studies have shown. Some of Magers' favorite citations include:
- By 2020, the customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator, according to a Walker survey
- 89 percent of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor services, according to RightNow’s Customers Experience Impact report from 2015
- A Bain and Co. report from 2015 finds that a customer is four times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related versus price or product related
- Forbes has found that 86 percent of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience but only one percent of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations
- 55 percent of consumer would pay more for a better customer experience, according to Defacto research
- The Temkin Group has established that loyal customers are five times as likely to repurchase, five times as likely to forgive, seven times as likely to try a new offering, and four times as likely to refer
Excellence in CX
Along with networking events in multiple countries and a range of online activities, CX Day includes special recognition for people worldwide who are making significant progress within their organizations to improve customer experience.
Think of the winners of the fourth annual CX Impact Awards as men and women who are leading efforts to innovate and improve customers' experiences. They include a mix of practitioners (who are bringing CX competencies and skills to organizations and brands) and providers (those employed by companies who consult and/or provide technology, products and services in the CX space).
In the practitioner category:
- Cary Cusumano, Manager, Verizon Enterprise Solutions
- Barbie Fink, Director of Customer Experience, Adobe
- Aaron Fox, Chief Experience Officer, Matagorda County Hospital District
- Brian Gnatt, Associate Vice President, Customer Experience, University of Maryland University College
- Smriti Mehra, Quality Engineering Manager, Adobe
- Lisa Moore, Customer Experience Director, Leader of Culture Transformation, Humana, Inc.
- Karen Myers, Member Experience Manager, Community Choice Credit Union
- Kevin O’Came, Vice President, Global Customer Success, CA Technologies
- Natalie Schneider, Vice President Consumer Experience, Anthem
- Stephanie Thum, Vice President of Customer Experience, The Export-Import Bank of the United States
- Kate Woodcock, Senior Director, Customer Advocacy, VMware
In the provider category:
- Mohammed Almokhem, CEO and Founder, CX Shift
- Raghunath VG, Principal Technical Support Engineer, NICE
- Cari Schinagle, Product Owner, MaritzCX
- Frank Pettinato, General Manager, Multi-Channel Business, Telerx
- The CXPA extends its thanks to this year's panel of judges:
- Bruce Temkin, Managing Partner, Temkin Group
- Jennifer Maldonado, Senior Business Analyst, Customer Service Insights, Activision Blizzard
- Matt Inman, Senior Director, CX Strategy & Design Consulting, MaritzCX
- Parrish Arturi, Senior Vice President, Customer Experience, Fidelity Investments
- Tema Frank, Chief Instigator, Frank Reactions
Global CX Events
CXPA definitely had its mission-focused reasons to launch CX Day.
But after the first event was held, it turned out to be a great excuse for a twenty-four hour global party with events ranging from presentations to webinars to networking get togethers to cocktails with colleagues. CX Day kicks off in Asia (or make that, has kicked off).
Growing Corporate Participation
Meanwhile as the second and then third CX Day came and went, companies were really getting in the spirit of the event.
EMC, for example, didn’t hold a full-fledged celebration until 2014. By 2015 it went full bore, throwing about 30 separate events around in 10 countries. About ten thousand employees attended the events as well as 800 customers.
CA Technologies, a newbie compared to other companies, celebrated CX Day for the first time last year with small, focused events. As it happened, the company was also launching a customer experience transformation in-house, which meant it was well positioned for this year’s events. For starters, it is not celebrating for just one day but the entire week. And because of the yearlong customer experience transformation, CA Technology found it very easy to get the various corporate departments involved. CA Technologies is one of several companies marking the entire week, Magers said, noting that Capital One is also taking the week to celebrate CX.
Besides the various in-house events, the association has organized several webinars including a main one for 11 a.m. ET today.
A number of companies will be participating in the webinar, including Kevin O’Came, Vice President of Global Customer Success at CA Technologies, Karen Quintos, chief customer officer at Dell and Natalie Schneider, CCXP Vice President, Consumer Experience at Anthem. Also, Walker CEO, Steve Walker will share insights from more than 400 CEOs on their perspectives of customer experience and how they weigh business decisions in a customer-centric environment.
If you can't join the webinars check back with us later when we report on what participants said and did. But definitely use the opportunity to throw yourself a customer experience party.
Title image by Cezanne Ali