Tealium's Carole McCluskey: "Empathy  is a critical -  maybe the critical - component of customer experience."

Carole McCluskey’s late grandmother once told her that it was easier to remember the dirty jokes than the clean ones, and that is often the case with customer service, too: The bad experiences are often the most memorable.

“It is critical that companies whose mission it is to create amazing customer experiences do so in a way that truly meets and delights its customers at every moment they interact with their brand,” she said.

Data is a key enabler of these amazing customer experiences; it is essential to our ability to provide customers what they need, when they need it, and in the context that is most meaningful for them. “Companies must find a way to ingest and leverage data coming from many different sources, including data not originating in their own domains.”

Unfortunately, as McCluskey noted, “The corporate technology landscape has been the slowest to enable a mobile-first and employee-first approach to technology adoption.”

In McCluskey’s role as chief customer officer at Tealium, she is proactively addressing this issue, leveraging technology to create meaningful value for customers. Tealium is a sponsor of CMSWire's Winter DX Summit, held online on Feb. 25. McCluskey will present a session  titled: "A Guide to Customer Listening that Connects Experiences, Brand and Customer Missions." We spoke with her about the place empathy has in customer experience, how CIOs and CTOs can aid in CX efforts and what customer service means to her.

Move Beyond Transactional Customer Relationships

CMSWire: What is the role of empathy in the customer experience?

Carole McCluskey: Empathy is a critical — maybe the critical — component of customer experience. As Tealium’s chief customer officer, I lead from a place of empathy and connection. I use words like 'share,' 'love,' 'connection,' 'listening' and 'understanding' to convey the characteristics of the people in my organization. In our busy digital world, it would be easy to rely on data signals for customer health, customer satisfaction, and net promoter scores as ways to measure the value of your customer experience. For me, I expect my team to develop a relationship with their customers and share in their dreams and ambitions so that we can align fully and experience success with them. Ultimately, if we bring authenticity and empathy into the way we interact with our customers and the products and services we build for our customers, they will feel cared for, and that their purchase or investment in our offering is not transactional, but instead valuable.

CMSWire: How can companies leverage data to innovate and fuel customer experiences?

McCluskey: We live and work in a multi-channel world where our customers, regardless of medium — physical or digital — want a consistent customer experience. To do that well, companies must find a way to ingest and leverage data coming from many different sources, including data not originating in their own domains. Companies like Tealium offer a Customer Data Platform (CDP) that empowers companies to bring lots of disparate digital elements together and harmonize them for use and activation with their customers. Doing this well and in both real-time and with predictive capabilities allows companies to create engaging customer experiences.

CMSWire: What are keys to success for CIOs and CTOs who want to ensure technology brings value to their internal customers (company employees)?

McCluskey: Before becoming CCO at Tealium, I spent the previous 12 or so years as a CIO and CTO and know this challenge first-hand. Most of us have grown accustomed to amazing consumer technology experiences that are most often powered by our mobile devices. We get food, transportation, movies, and other needs met easily and with the push of a button. There really is an app for almost anything.

Unfortunately, the corporate technology landscape has been the slowest to enable a mobile-first and employee-first approach to technology adoption. As CITO, my goal was to always create a corporate technology experience that was as good as our employees experienced from their couches at home. Doing so requires a mobile- and cloud-first enterprise and can be difficult for established companies to achieve without a strong top-down commitment.

CMSWire: Beyond rhetoric, what does customer service mean to you?

McCluskey: Customer service is a very personal experience. My late grandmother always told me that it was easier to remember the dirty jokes than the clean ones and that is often the case with customer service/experience. The bad experiences are most often the most memorable. So, it is critical that companies whose mission it is to create amazing customer experiences do so in a way that truly meets and delights its customers at every moment they interact with their brand. When the inevitable mistake or glitch happens, it is important to make sure that the customer’s memory of the experience is how well they were treated during the resolution and not the original problem.

Register today for the free, virtual event: 2021 Digital Experience Conference Series.