Hailing from the marketing world, Greg knows how to connect the dots between a company's brand and the experiences customers expect. Expectations are on thing, the real question is: Can the company deliver? That's where Greg's focus on digital transformation, martech and de-siloing come into play. Read on to learn how he puts all the pieces together and how he's helped countless companies deliver the experiences customers really want.
Tell us the story of how you got involved in customer experience. How did your career lead you here?
I got involved with customer experience through the world of marketing. As the owner of a digital experience agency, we often got hired to build marketing campaigns and experiences around products and services, and had the opportunity to work with some great brands. What became increasingly frustrating, however, was that no matter how great the branding, or the marketing campaign or experience we built was, if the overall customer experience was sub-par, or if unengaged employees were delivering it, we could never truly deliver on the brand promise.
It was for this reason that, upon selling my agency about six years ago, I increasingly found ways to tie both the marketing and CX worlds together, and to look deeper into the relationship between leadership and the employee experience, and how the customer experiences a brand.
In which industries, verticals or sectors have you focused your CX career?
I’ve worked in several industries, but there are a few I tend to work in more than others, and those include financial services, healthcare, and consumer goods, generally for Fortune 1000 companies.
Why do so many companies struggle with making CX a priority? What are some common mistakes companies make?
There can be many reasons, but the biggest ones are a lack of ability to tie CX priorities and investments into direct returns on investment, and the second one is a lack of clarity on priorities. The latter can be the most detrimental, as many organizations that say customers are a priority continue to make other decisions and initiatives their true priority.
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?
If that conference is in 2023 or 2024 I would make sure AI is a component of it. One of the things I do a lot of in my work, as well as that I find lacking in many organizations is good governance of CX and a consistent method of operationalizing best practices. So a good topic for a CX conference upcoming would be how to create a good CX governance structure while incorporating AI as a partner to your teams.
Have you seen, firsthand, any AI impacts on the practice of CX? What impacts are you expecting in the next few years?
Since I work a lot in the martech space, I have seen already the impacts of personalization, propensity modeling, and next best action in the work that I do. More specific to the world of CX, I am seeing the ability to use AI-based tools to analyze large amounts of customer service transcripts and other data to assist human teams in getting deeper understandings from the mountains of data already technically available.
What skills have served you best in your CX career?
I’ve always had a natural curiosity about how things work operationally which helps to get to the bottom of potential CX issues, and that, combined with my ability to “translate” from one discipline to another - whether that is marketing to technology, CX to data, etc. has come in very handy indeed.
What’s the best advice you’d give someone just starting out in their CX career, or just starting to transition from a related discipline like call-center or customer service management?
I would advise a new CX professional to gain a broad understanding of the different teams, channels, and parts of the org that affect the customer experience. CX is a “horizontal” discipline because the true definition of customer experience is the sum of every interaction that a customer has with a brand. Thus, good CX professionals need to have a broad understanding of all of the elements that impact CX.
When did CX as a discipline pop up on your radar? How have you seen it evolve or change over that period of time?
CX really didn’t pop up for me until about 2014 or 15. I was very focused on digital experience because of my work at the agency I ran, but as our work grew more sophisticated and there become more focus on multi-channel communications, CX increasingly came into focus. I also think a lot of marketers (whom I was one of) started to look at CX more around that time in general because they were wanting to see better long-term results and improve metrics like loyalty and lifetime value.
What trend do you think will be most impactful in (your niche of) the CX space over the next three years?
I think that finding the right balance of personalization and automation and human interaction is going to be key in the months and years ahead. We now have amazing AI-based tools, and consumers are more apt to find self-service and automation appealing, but finding the right balance is not going to be easy.
If there’s anything else that you’d like to share with our readers, please let us know!
To me, the follow-through on CX priorities makes all the difference between the leaders and the laggards. You can see a difference in category leaders that make CX and employee experience top priorities and not simply words in a document that are not acted upon.