Q&A with CPXA CEO, Diane Magers
Diane Magers at CEM 2018!
Diane will be delivering the Keynote address at this year's Customer Experience Management Africa Summit. In addition the CXPA CEO will be hosting a VIP workshop titled: "Simple. Smart. Driven. Build & Execute a CX Strategy in an ROI-driven World"
Q (CEM): What was your background before your role as the CEO of the CXPA?
A (Diane): Understanding human behavior has always been a passion of mine. I actually started out as a clinical psychologist. After practicing for a few years, a friend of mine created a start up and asked me to come help him build his company. I learned so much from that experience and learned all facets of an organization and what it takes to build success. I have created and supported in, and with, many organizations such as Sysco, AT&T, Invisalign and helped them transform and build CX capabilities. In 2011, the CXPA was created and I became a member and volunteer. The CXPA has been a critical support for me as I continually developed by knowledge and competencies in experience management.
Q (CEM): Can you tell us a little about the history of the CXPA?
A (Diane): Founded in 2011 by Jeanne Bliss and Bruce Temkin, the Customer Experience Professionals Association is the premier global non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and cultivation of the Customer Experience profession. It is a by members, for members community of CX professionals from all types of organizations and from many different levels of expertise. We are a place to learn and grow in CX knowledge and competencies. Our community is highly engaged with each other through discussion forums, webinars, mentorship programs, professional development and content committees and many other activities which provide knowledge and resources to our members and partners.
The CXPA supports the professional development of its members and advances the field by providing shared best practices and education, developing standards, offering networking opportunities, promoting the industry, and creating a better understanding of the discipline of Customer Experience.We help customer experience professionals make experience management an integral part of the professional lives and help them change how their organizations create experiences for the customer and to enable them to embed its skill set across their organizations.
Q (CEM): What are the core professional competencies for a CX professional?
A (Diane): The core customer experience competencies include 1) defining and executing an Experience Strategy 2) Creating organizational alignment and accountability 3) understanding customers through feedback, data and analytics, 4) Generating insights, design and innovation, 5)defining measures, metrics and innovation and 6)creating transformational change and culture shift. WE also consider personal competencies as essential to the success of a customer experience professionals success - influence, adaptive, change agent, collaborator and more.
Q (CEM): How do CX professionals drive transformation and organisational capabilities?
A (Diane): I'd love to say there is one thing and one way to accomplish this, but it is actually a vast amount of activities, operations changes, education, process and organizational change, new skills sets, collaboration - the list is long and varies from small changes (like an educational webinar) to major organizational decision-making changes (like prioritization of activities, or data governance).
I often say that Customer Experience has been a catalyst for changing the way organizations think and work. To be more agile, more needs focused, more innovative and more collaborative. So that's where the change management comes in. It's about creating new habits and new ways of thinking. Brands are discovering this is a fundamental shift in what they do and how they work. Because you can't just say you're going to be more customer-centric. You've got to get everybody to believe and understand, 'Why should I work differently?' And that means that everyone - from building maintenance to the CEO - has to know what it is, why it matters and how they can impact change to customer-centricity.
That's where employee engagement is so important to make sure that people understand that they're impacting people's lives by building better experiences, and that's good for the company, and in turn good for their careers. That gets them invested in the work. I think that employee experience is the next deep focus, as well as partner engagement. It's becoming what I call the Engagement EcosystemTM.
Q (CEM): There are a ton of great CX technology providers out there delivering some fantastic data. But do you feel there is an overreliance on technology in CX?
A (Diane): Organizations are closer to customers through technology. It is essential to leverage data, to customize and personalize experiences in various channels, let employees know the customermore intimately and to enable the organization to provide the best experience.
To meet and exceed today's expectations, we need to prepare yourself to fully utilize the data and technology that can support the experience driven environments. But I also believe it is important to focus on the human experience- enabled by digital and technology transformation.It is really about the question of working out what customers really want, designing those interactions and then defining how technology can help enable you to best deliver that intentional experience.
Q (CEM): Are CX professionals capable of effectively interpreting and executing on insights from the huge amounts of data they gather?
A (Diane): It is definitely a challenging competency for organizations in general. But, CX professionals are in the unique position to bring together the data and understand the right problem to solve using design thinking and insight generation techniques. It is teaching the organization what the data means and, not only what they can do with it (with a CX professionals guidance) but also why it is important to leverage the information. It's incumbent on CX practitioners, analysts and business units to work closely to discover the right opportunities from across the enterprise based on the customer's journey and present a credible and cohesive picture of insights, the holistic solution approach and the results.
Q (CEM): How important is it for the CEO and the board to buy into CX?
A (Diane): It is the most imperative part of building and being successful in this discipline. It's important to know that you need to demonstrate the value of experience (beyond just metrics) and the impact and VALUE it will create for the organization. Most recognize that while true customer experience differentiation is a truly worthwhile objective, actually getting there often requires fairly radical organizational changes, investment and disruption in the way people think and work in the organization.
While there are exceptions (those executives who believe in it and know the transformational change, the long-term road they are on, as well as the benefits to be achieved for the organization), it's a rare executive that fully commits to the transformational steps and the journey without strong proof of the results and the value it will create. Most often, customer experience transformation is incremental. It starts small steps and grows over time, with executive buy-in increasing in proportion to the value created. So being able to talk about tangible and intangible business value is critical to CX success.
If you deeply believe, prove the value, plan for the transformational change and can paint the picture of the results, the rewards of CX can be achieved.
Q (CEM): Is there a place for CX professionals in small business? And if so what would that look like?
A (Diane): Of course! Any size organization has to base their business on their customer's needs. Truly defining needs of the customer (listening and co-creating) is actually a differentiator for start-ups and small businesses. I worked with a small professional services firm in a very commoditized space who had created such differentiation in their experience that their referrals tripled, servicing costs reduced and the employee's satisfaction and retention skyrocketed. The principles of human experience know no boundaries to size or organization. We are seeing governments, agencies, non-profits, religious groups and universities take their constituent, donor, members or student as the target of their improvements.
Q (CEM): There are so many professional organisations out there, what is unique about the CXPA?
A (Diane): There are two unique characteristics of the CXPA. One, is the sense of a true community. Our members often say it is their support network and a place they can learn and grow. The second is about creating knowledge beyond what you can learn from general information and theory. We are a community of practitioners who are sharing the "how", the challenges, techniques, models, frameworks, checklists and ideas in a way that can't be gleaned from general sources. The power of learning and sharing with each other is a premise of our differentiation.
Q (CEM): If you wanted to join the CXPA how do you go about that and who should consider it?
A (Diane): Simply visit cxpa.org or simply send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org. The membership information is comprehensive and registration is simple. We welcome anyone who wants to learn and grow in this profession. We welcome beginners and experts, every discipline and every mindset. As experience continues to be a differentiator in the marketplace, these are core professional development skills anyone should be developing.
Dianne will present a workshop session focused on translating engagement into business results and balancing financial goals with the demands of creating compelling customer experiences is a constant challenge. Learn to target, measure and achieve benefits of call reduction, increased retention, referral increases, and reduce cost to serve from CX improvements - while you engage your customers. Embed structure for CX benefits into your internal processes, discover the art and science of tracking benefits realization and avoid common CX challenges
"Book Now for the 2018 CEM Africa Summit to attend this workshop and many more whilst you engage with the foremost CX leaders from Africa, Europe and North America"
Diane is a passionate, experienced Customer Experience executive, change agent and sherpa for new and developing customer obsessed leaders. She believes that brands who win choose to focus on human and emotional elements of business.
Diane has over 25 years of building and growing Customer and Employee focus. She is currently interim CEO for the Customer Experience Professionals Association. Most recently at AT&T, she led Customer Experience strategy by transforming customer and associate engagement. In 2011, she founded Customer Experience Catalysts as a consultancy and thought leader for organizations who were launching or progressing customer and employee experience to grow their brand value. She also developed and led Customer Engagement at Sysco Foods Corporation. Diane holds an M.S. in Psychology and an M.B.A. She is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) and also holds NPS, VoC and CEM certifications.
The 7th Customer Experience Management Africa Summit is being hosted on the 1st and 2nd of August 2018 in Cape Town.
Click here to register online.
Click here to request the agenda.