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Tell us the story of how you got involved in customer experience. How did your career lead you here?

My initial introduction to CS/X was after I was hired to be the Head of Customer Success at a startup, and brought in to “fix the churn problem.” Through my work at that start-up, I began diving into everything CS/X. A number of CXPA events brought me enlightenment about where CS starts, and CX ends.

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In which industries, verticals or sectors have you focused your CX career? 

Primarily I’ve worked with B2B SaaS companies, as they are the majority of organizations that have a CS department. That said, CS and CX are making their way into all verticals, and I’ve worked with Healthcare, Manufacturing, Logistics, and more… all looking to implement CS/X.

Why do so many companies struggle with making CX a priority? What are some common mistakes companies make?

I think most companies are still figuring out what CX is for their business. Being a fairly new part of the enterprise (when compared to product, sales, marketing, etc.) leads many to still be figuring it out. I think the main mistake I see, is a lack of self-awareness. The best companies are those that realize what they know…and don’t know. Too many companies today think they know what their customers’ experiences are like, but they actually don’t. 

You’ve been selected to give a keynote address at a major CX conference. What topic will you discuss and what major points will you touch on?

My expertise, and value I bring to the board, is the intersection of Customer Success and Customer Experience. Where does CS start and stop…and where does CX do the same? Long story short: CX is about the customer journey, where CS is about the destination. Did they get what they wanted (CS), and did they get it how they wanted (CX)? 

Have you seen, firsthand, any AI impacts on the practice of CX? What impacts are you expecting in the next few years?

I think that AI will not replace people, in any organization. However, AI may replace people without AI. Meaning it’s an incredibly powerful tool, depending on how it’s used and what the goals of our usage of AI are. However, without an effective AI strategy and full understanding of its capabilities, it won't render our desired outcomes.

What skills have served you best in your CX career?

Empathy first and foremost. CS/X all starts with thinking like your customer. And to think like them, we must see the world through their eyes. To do that, we must lead with empathy. Understanding in as much detail as possible, what our customers see/feel/think. And how we can make their lives better, by way of our services and products. 

Read a book. LOL, it sounds obvious, but I’m amazed at how many people don’t do research around CS/X and other industries. Wanting to break into an industry, especially with applicable experience like call-center or customer service management, is a great career move. However, to be a desirable candidate, more people need to become educated. Read a book. Get a certification. Learn from those that have been there before.

What trend do you think will be most impactful in (your niche of) the CX space over the next three years?

CS/X at scale, either via AI or other tools and technology, will definitely be a trend we continue to see expand in the industry. As more and more organizations are tasked with “doing more with less,” digital becomes more and more paramount to the central focus of CX organizations.