Des Cahill on stage at Oracle's Modern Customer Experience conference
Des Cahill - Oracle Modern Customer Experience Conference PHOTO: Oracle/CMSWire

Des Cahill, Oracle’s head CX evangelist, opened the recent Oracle Modern Customer Experience conference with a remark on the limitations of technology without larger goals. “The amount of change and cool customer experience capabilities are amazing. Automation and digitization are the natural place to start and we’ve come far. But we’ve harvested the low-hanging CX fruit.”

As technology changes customer expectations, he explained, it is the role of CX managers to adapt under the pressure of potentially being outpaced. By remaining laser-focused on the customer, you can avoid the distractions that an increasingly complex CX ecosystem produces.

But that focus begins, as it so often does, on the inside.

Comcast Tackling Culture

Charlie Herrin, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Comcast, offered the adage, “customer service is what happens when customer experience breaks.”

As previously reported, Comcast knows something about the challenges of modern customer experience. With a dedicated effort to improve their employee net promoter score, a method for measuring how inclined employees are to recommend their workplace to friends and acquaintances, Comcast tackled their company culture first (including 83,000 employees surveyed each month).

While empowering employees who care about their communities and the customers they serve may seem like a no-brainer; most organizations know, the work to improve customer-centricity can introduce additional complexity.

That’s why Comcast has introduced their internal concept of scaling to one customer. By using intelligence to answer customer needs directly, they become proactive about predicting those needs. To “meet the customer where they are”, they avoid using aggregate data to determine how interactions are built.

But relevance takes long-term and cross-functional effort, especially in a time when consumers are increasingly making their needs heard through avenues other than customer service complaints or customer experience surveys. The issue then becomes how organizations listen and respond. Even the best laid intentions of CX teams can result in unexpected impact; but inversely, unexpected impact can result in more creative and more dedicated customer experience teams.

Keeping it Simple

Casey Niestat, media personality and influencer, closed the keynotes with a video about a marketing budget given to him for a campaign to inspire dreams as part of the lead-up to a film premiere. Rather than create promotional content with the original concept, he flew to the Philippines in 2013 and bought supplies to aid in typhoon relief in a coastal town with the marketing budget.

After discussing the trajectory of his multi-faceted career, he suggested that organizations devote themselves to finding new ways to perceive what customer engagement means. “Not knowing the right way has forced me to find my way,” he said.

Testing, experimentation, creativity and transformation are all keywords that can make organizations feel that they need to take large actions to stand out, when the case should be made for simplicity and directness. Ask what people really need instead of assuming what they want.

Modern customer experience therefore isn’t about going bigger, being funnier or even appealing to millennials. It may be about taking responsibility for your engagement through the various levels of your organization, imperfections and all, and producing CX that cares more about the work than the product.