CMSWire DX Summit attendees sitting in a row and laughing as one of them asks a question to a speaker on stage.
DX Summit attendees had plenty of time to laugh — and learn this week. PHOTO: Robert Levy

CHICAGO — The best lesson learned at the CMSWire DX Summit 2017 perhaps came from a 6-year-old girl named Sofia.  On Day 3 of the three-day digital customer experience conference, Diane Magers, CEO of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), told the story of Sofia during her presentation on building CX strategies. 

Sofia faced a serious health condition, and doctors scheduled her for an Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test. The test never happened. When Sofia got to the room, staring her down was the daunting MRI machine with the giant tube in which Sofia would have to be completely submerged. Sofia cried hysterically, would not go near the machine and left with her parents. It was an epic experience fail. The hospital hadn't cared for its customer on an emotional level.

DX Lessons Learned

There is a great lesson in customer experience to be learned here, Magers pointed out. And there were many lessons like this at the third annual CMSWire DX Summit. 

Here are a few:

DX Tip 1: Back to Customer Experience Drawing Board

Sofia's tale was a tale of customer experience failure. The hospital did not take the necessary steps to inform Sofia along her journey. Let her know what she'll see. What will be expected of her later in her journey. She was misinformed, which led to surprise, fear, anxiety and ultimately a broken experience. They were prepared to help Sofia get better physically, but they had not done their due diligence in targeting Sofia's needs.

What did the hospital do? Officials ultimately recreated Sofia's experience to win her back and tweaked the MRI machine and room:

Slide during Diane Magers presentation at the CMSWire DX Summit 2017 at the Radisson Blu Aqua hotel in Chicago. The slide shows an MRI room that was painted and restructured to make child patients feel welcome.
An MRI room that was painted and restructured to make child patients feel welcome.PHOTO: Dom Nicastro

Sofia was happy. Her parents were happy. They stayed, returned to the hospital and remained loyal customers. 

DX Tip 2: Translate CX Language to C-Suite Language 

Magers' presentation drove home the themes from many of the speakers and attendees at the CMSWire DX Summit: listen to your customers, listen to your customer data and act accordingly. We're not there yet. SAS found only 23 percent of businesses integrate customer insights in real time. 

Beyond struggles to leverage data, practitioners at the DX Summit reported difficulty convincing executives to actually invest in customer experience. Yet — they still want to see bottom-line results from the experience economy and won't invest otherwise. The good news is 99 percent of businesses view digital customer experience as a business imperative, according to CMSWire's 2016 Digital Customer Experience Survey

Magers finds organizations still disconnected from selling their case to C-Suites. She suggested customer experience leaders speak a certain language when pitching the case for investments. When you've got great results from CX efforts, sometimes using the right language can strike the right chords with your executives. The main takeaways include:

  • Reduced number of knowledge management systems
  • Created a cross-team task force to build RFP knowledge base and keep updated
  • Conducted RFP reviews and cross-team working sessions
  • Reduced information search time
  • Optimized costs and revenue models for RFPs

DX Tip 3: Get Intimate with the GDPR

Marketers should not only know what GDPR is (some did not at the DX Summit), but should be familiar with particular articles. Walter Van Uytven, CEO of Belgium-based Awingu, a digital workplace software vendor, told CMSWire's Kaya Ismail this week marketers need to pay particular attention to article 4 of GDPR in particular. It defines how user consent for personal data usage must be given, which is, “by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, [signifying] agreement to personal data relating to them being processed.”

Kristina Podnar, GDPR consultant and digital policy expert, told attendees at the event they need to be ready in the areas of:

  • Accountability and governance: Have you reviewed GDPR applicability? Have you clearly documented roles, responsibilities and reporting lines to embed privacy compliance?
  • Consent and processsing: Is your being processed for legitimate reasons? Have you confirmed where data is being processed and managed according to rules for sensitive data management?
  • Children's data: Have you determined if you have processed any personal data of children and whether child gating is needed?
  • Notifications (customers and internal): Have you updated prospect, customer and employee notification statements to be GDPR compliant?
  • Data rights and procedures: Have you updated your data privacy policy to clearly state the rights of prospects, customers and employees?
  • Records processing: Do you have a process and a technical solution for Record of Processing information?
  • Privacy design: Do you have an updated policy and associated process to embed privacy into all technology and digital projects?
  • Data breach notification: Have you considered insurance for data breach and/or GDPR penalties for data breaches? Do you have a GDPR-compliant data-breach policy?
  • Data localization: Have you identified and updated all non-EU cross-border data flows? Reviewed data export for on premise and cloud solutions?
  • Contracting and procurement: Have you ensured all third party agreements reflect GDPR requirements?

Attendees in Podnar's session, where we also heard from Carolina Ramirez, digital governance lead of UNICEF, spoke about their GDPR concerns. One attendee said his IT teams are not aware of GDPR. Another mentioned an unwillingness from team members to prepare for it. Nobody wants to own it.

DX Summit Tip 4: Ask Your Vendors How They Can Help

Tony Byrne, founder and CEO of Olney, Md.-based Real Story Group, told attendees of his technology selection workshop Monday that vendor selections based on industry analyst reports are not the way to go. Tool selection requires a deep, thoughtful, patient process with the goal of getting two vendors in a "bake-off." These can include an actual week or so on-site with vendors. 

Don't simply ask for tech demonstrations. Ask vendors to construct tech demos based specifically on your major use cases. Make them show you not only what they can do, but how they can do it for you. 

And always negotiate, Byrne said. Expect, though, costs for vendors coming to your site for bake-offs and technology demonstrations. Vendors have to commit resources, too.

Byrne also cautioned against vendor promises like "fully-integrated marketing platform" or "all-in-one DX platforms." And as for the promise of artificial intelligence in marketing technology, don't be afraid to use native artificial intelligence but make sure you're able to apply third party AI tech through APIs.

Byrne also suggested those in the market for technologies like web content management or digital asset management:

  • Understand how your DX pieces will fit together
  • Adopt or replace tools where you are weak or see opportunities
  • Make a broad scan of the market and focus more on fit than putative reputation
  • Create real stories
  • Test adaptively
  • Implement joyfully
  • DX Tip 5: Listen to Practitioners

Perhaps the best way to get insight on digital customer experience is to listen to those in the trenches. DX Summit attendees had the opportunity to hear from practioner leaders in the digital customer experience space, from a front-end design to back-end technology systems. Here are a few lessons learned:

Shawn Goodin, Chief Marketing Technology Officer for Consumer & Community Banking, JPMorgan Chase and Company: Start with the customer, not the technology. Unify but democratize your customer data. Build a shared taxonomy around your content. Omni-channel doesn't mean every channel. 

Nicole Rachanow-Garvin, Assistant VP, User Experience, MetLife: Everyone has to align to the brand. Policies are a key to making that happen as well as guidelines and tools. Empower fellow leaders in your company.

Scot Gillespie, Chief Technology Officer, Washington Post: Be adamant about ensuring every facet of the user experience is a positive one.

Nandini Anantharaman, Principal Analytical Lead, Food, Beverage and Restaurants, GoogleAre you defining how you deliver insights? You should. Google defines insight this way: a credible and novel finding tied to a clear "so what?"

Christopher Avore, Product Design Lead, Nasdaq: Use systems thinking more so than just design thinking. Close feedback loops by inviting business and product executives to the design studio. Keep support, sales and marketing included.