Glen Drummond challenged CX leaders to see their role as “building cathedrals,” rather than just “laying bricks,” in his welcome address to participants at the 2015 Customer Experience Strategies Summit.
Chief Innovation Officer here at Quarry and an expert in helping companies make the shift from being product-centric to customer-centric, Glen Drummond acknowledged that creating cathedrals would take more than just CX leaders changing their perspectives on CX; it requires the sharing of new thinking across the organization.
Drummond encouraged CX leaders to actively shape conversations in their organizations around five key topics connected to the overarching topic of customer experience, with an eye to changing perspectives and priorities. These topics are:
Organizations need to recalibrate their understanding of where “disruption” comes from, Drummond suggested. Disruption doesn’t actually arise from technology, products or competition, he said, but is rather, ultimately, about customers abandoning our value proposition in pursuit of another experience they prefer.
In many organizations, there’s an assumption that customers are loyal because they buy lots of product over time. But when those customers abandon us for another experience they prefer, we’re left asking: what happened to their “loyalty”? Organizations need to redefine loyalty around new concepts, Glen said, not just “units sold.”
Organizations are continuously amassing vast amounts of operational and customer data from across their operations. But can that data tell us why customers behave the way they do or why they select our value proposition over a competitor’s? CX professionals need to help their organizations avoid being ‘data-rich, insight-poor’ and, instead, develop actionable insights as pillars for CX design and delivery. It’s these insights, Drummond said, that allow us to unlock new opportunities for brand building and innovation.
We need to get our colleagues to ask themselves, “What is a brand?” We need to change the notion that a brand is a symbol, name or visual design to one that recognizes that brands are the feelings our customers associate with us based on the experiences we create. CX leaders need to help their organizations see beyond the material aspects of branding. They need to realize the opportunity that rests in creating relevant and resonant experiences that build engagement and brand affinity.
Too much of what we think about when we conceptualize ‘innovation’ is about new product development and introduction. Noting that 80% of new products fail within their first year, Drummond challenged the audience to help their organizations reconceive of ‘innovation’ as not just new products, but new value built through delivering differentiated customer experiences.
Drummond’s ideas are in accord with those in Niraj Dawar’s influential book Tilt. Dawar argues that to build competitive advantage into today’s global and technology-driven economy, companies need to shift their focus from ‘upstream advantages’ (e.g., manufacturing capabilities, access to raw materials, supply chain) to ‘downstream advantages’, where companies interact with customers in the marketplace. This message underpinned Drummond’s welcome address and it’s one that highlights the opportunities to build value that CX leaders have in front of them.
Drummond left us with two questions: Are CX leaders ready to lead? And, more importantly, are companies ready to listen? Companies that can answer yes to both, he said, stand to gain a great deal.