I had the chance to attend and speak at the 2019 CXPA Insight Exchange in Salt Lake City last week. This year’s conference theme – attended by over 300 practitioners, was “Moving Mountains,” which tells the story of where the CX community is focused. Discussions throughout the 3-day conference highlighted the need to continue to strive to ensure the customer is at the center of strategic business decisions.
Three Key Takeaways from the 2019 CXPA Insight Exchange
I'd summarize the conference themes in 3 quick bullets:
- CX leaders continue to focus on driving customer-centric alignment across functions within complex organizations, securing funding and resources to make meaningful CX related change.
- Looking ahead, it’s imperative that organizations add next generation tools and platforms to their people-centric models to enable ongoing CX transformation.
- Along with enabling technology and tools, organizations must focus on building the internal skillsets and capabilities needed not just to imagine – but deliver – an intentional and differentiated customer experience.
Engaging Executives to Effectively Build CX
While building out next generation tools and skills are necessary for CX transformation, executive buy-in and support is essential in order to drive sustainable customer experience transformation. During the conference, I was lucky enough to participate in a discussion titled “Effectively Engaging Executives.” I was joined by a panel of uber-talented and insightful CX practitioners that included Mark Slatin, Senior Vice President, Client Experience at Sandy Spring Bank; Nick Frunzi, Chief Customer Officer at Esri; Maria Marino, who will soon join Gartner’s CX practice; and moderator Carolyn Galvin, Senior Principal Analyst from Nuance Communications.
You could feel the contagious energy in the room surrounding the power of empathy and storytelling to drive internal alignment and engagement. The panelist discussion focused on strategies, lessons learned and advice for gaining executive support – I learned as much as I was able to share. The conversation centered on the need to connect CX strategies to business value (in fact, our 2018 research found that, with the benefit of hindsight, 69 percent of senior leaders attribute successful transformations to clarity of vision and business case). The panel also discussed tactics that included the power of “pre”suasion, the design of executive advocacy programs, and how to combat “the logical decision to discount the future” that impacts the perspective of so many senior executives.
We were fortunate to have great audience attendance and participation – which I think points to the continual challenge of this issue in the community. We also spent substantial time following the session connecting with attendees one-on-one to discuss their specific circumstances, providing thoughts, advice and insight. If you are facing this same challenge, I’d invite you to take a fresh look at our 2018 white paper Lead Where You Stand that’s been recognized by third party analysts as providing “a new angle on a relevant topic and presenting specific actionable recommendations” to help advance your CX alignment future state objectives.
Pushing Boundaries to Move Mountains: Looking to the Future
Beyond discussing the alignment and engagement approach required to “move mountains” on companies’ CX journeys, I was excited how organizations are continuing to push boundaries, including a more deliberate integration of behavioral science, machine learning, video, and progressive surveying and engagement techniques within all manner of VOC efforts. And there is data everywhere driving decisions and experience optimization and improvement; both with – and without – the help of AI.
A last observation - throughout the event I noticed increasingly more conversations surrounding Employee Experience, something that we’ve been working on with clients for the past 10 + years. As companies continue to have these conversations, I think that Employee Experience will likely be a central focus for 2020 planning.
The ability to create experience-based differentiation for organizations remains paramount – and the bar only continues to be raised. The exciting collaboration and conversation at events like CXPA offer a preview for what’s in store for CX and I’m excited to see how the journey unfolds.