Customer experience was the topic of conversation this afternoon at Adobe’s Think Tank event during Advertising Week, in New York City. (Note: Adobe is CMO.com’s parent company.)
Moderator Julie Hopkins, managing vice president at Gartner, asked a panel of industry luminaries to think of superb customer experiences they’ve experienced. She told them to shy away from the usual suspects, such as Disney, with its MagicBand, and Uber.
“It’s hard to think of a really good customer experience because there are very few,” conceded Jamie Punishill, former Forrester analyst and former head of marketing at TIAA-CREF.
Hard but not impossible. Below you’ll find some of the most interesting sound bites from the 90-minute-long chat.
On good customer experience:
• “Good customer experience is Instacart. They know me, they know what I typically buy, and they are where I need them to be,” said Jackie Huba, author of “Monster Loyalty.”
• “Technology and the big systems behind a great [experience] should be invisible. It should be a simple experience,” said Jon Hackett, senior vice president, emerging technology, at Nurun.
• “Good customer experience has a good layer of privacy,” said Lincoln Stephens, co-founder and CEO of the Marcus Graham Project.
• “When we say CX, we’re talking about good, old-fashioned storytelling and telling stories to make people feel something or to affect behavior. The most successful brands have always been great storytellers,” said John Coyne, head of campaign and marketing experience at Adobe. “An example of good customer experience is what Patrón is doing. They have a VR experience on the website. You can experience the hacienda and the manufacturing process for their tequila. They’re trying to make sure that people really understand the roots of their brand.”
On data’s role in customer experience:
• “Use your data to figure out who your loyal customers are and then design experiences for them,” author Huba said.
• “It’s not that companies don’t know their customers; they just don’t have the full picture. That integrated picture is what companies are struggling with,” said Megan Burns, consultant and former Forrester VP of customer experience.
• “We talk about data, and there is a hurricane of data, but if an organization puts priority on how to use it, they can marry data sets and create experiences,” said Rana June, founder and CEO of Lightwave.
• “CMOs are suffering from an abundance of knowledge. There are organizations that have approximately four identities for one shopper. Our prescription for the CMO: Organize that knowledge,” said Edmund Carey, global vice president of Dun & Bradstreet.
On the technology driving customer experience:
• “The biggest influence on our ability to deliver CX is the tech that allows us to get face-to-face with our customers or with each other,” Burns said. “It’s about building empathy between employees and customers, and between executives and employees and vice versa. Don’t lose sight of humanity.”
• “One technology that is going to be significant is AI. I really believe it will reshape everything that we do. It will be a huge shift in how we do everything digitally, in every digital touch point that we have,” Nurun’s Hackett said. “It is going to redesign all of our experiences and will change consumer expectations.”
On what needs to happen next:
• “What’s underhyped today is the lack of knowledge and sophistication in marketing organizations for people to be able to absorb the world. An education and talent shift needs to happen, and organizations aren’t taking it seriously enough,” Punishill said.
• “The problem I see is that a lot of the KPIs at organizations are around short-term objectives. There’s a shortsightedness about how to build a great relationship with the consumer. It’s kind of like when you’re doing one of these diets. You’re trying to lose the weight quickly instead of exercising and eating right, which is better long-term," Hackett said.
He also said: “Adopting to prototyping and testing will make [companies] more agile."
On what our world will be like in 2030:
• “Written communication, not only by hand, is becoming extinct. It makes me wonder how we will be having a conversation by 2030. ... Our world in 2030: Imagine knowing that someone’s heart flutters when they watch your ad,” Lightwave’s June said.
• “By 2030, technology will be baked into every aspect of life but in an elegant, seamless way. We won’t need screens, TVs, etc. We will think of the phone as crude when this happens. It'll be ‘Minority Report’ stuff. You’ll see data around you. That’s a world that is hard to imagine. Going to a web page or a mobile app won’t exist anymore,” Hackett said.