Customer experience is fundamental to the success of any client and consumer facing business. Our expert, Daryn Mason, introduces himself along with the key challenges facing organisations today.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background
I’m passionate about customer experience (CX). I speak, write and advise on all aspects of the subject from marketing to sales and service. I was a pre-sales leader for Siebel Systems and Oracle Corporation for 23 years before leaving in August this year. During my career I’ve led small, hyper-specialised teams and broader, cross-CX teams (around 140 staff).
My other passions include coaching, mentoring and career development. Seeing my staff flourish and be successful in their chosen roles gives me enormous satisfaction. I especially enjoy leading other managers and passing on my own career lessons.
What do you understand by customer experience and what does it mean for businesses?
Customer experience is composed of every interaction you have with a brand, directly or indirectly. More importantly, CX includes your perceptions and feelings invoked by these interactions. In a business world where product differentiation is fleeting, CX is the enduring factor that will keep your customers happy and loyal.
Winning new customers is costly and time consuming, so it’s vitally important for all organisations to maintain strong relationships with existing customers to ensure a strong revenue stream.
What are the top three things to consider when implementing a customer experience strategy?
When implementing a CX strategy, you need to start at the very top and ensure your whole organisation is on board with a customer-first approach. So, my top three considerations are:
(1) Setting the right culture. Ensure that you have a well communicated, customer focused strategy with the highest level of executive sponsorship. It isn’t a one-off exercise either, and needs to be frequently repeated and demonstrated at C-level.
(2) Employee engagement is critical for excellent CX. Your staff need to be trained and empowered to treat customers as they would wish to be treated themselves. Countless studies have proven that happy employees create happy customers (and vice versa).
(3) Intimately understand your customer journeys. By putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and listening to the voice of your customers, you’ll be in a good position to map their journey with your products and services. It’s especially important to identify the emotional ‘hot spots’ that will shape their view of your brand.
What’s the most common mistake people make with customer experience?
One of the most common is to consign responsibility for CX to specific departments or siloes. Customer experience is an organisation-wide responsibility and every member of your staff should be part of that, even if they’re not directly customer facing, they need to understand the clear link to the customer.
You should be relentless in striving to offer a single face to the customer. Not just throughout your organisation, but consistently across the increasing number of customer touchpoints whether online, mobile, in-store, via your contact centre or social networks.
Who has been your biggest inspiration professionally?
There’s no one person who is my biggest inspiration. I try to take the best attributes of people around me to model my professional development. I am very fortunate to have known visionary leaders, creative geniuses, laser-focused project managers, expert coaches, problem solvers and charismatic presenters. My goal is always to adopt the best practice from these people for combined inspiration.
What was the best single piece of advice given to you at work?
I was explaining a staff problem I was having during a period of upheaval and change to a respected colleague and mentor. Having carefully listened, they simply said, “If you see a problem that needs to be fixed and fail to act, then YOU become the problem!”
I’ve always used this to spur me on when difficult decisions or uncomfortable actions needs to be taken.
What does a successful day look like to you?
A successful day for me is a perfectly balanced one. I like to wake early and catch up with the latest news in the CX and tech world, usually posting or re-Tweeting those articles that I find most useful. Then some writing in the morning when I’m most creative and productive. I usually go for a run before lunch to re-energise and continue in the early afternoon. Phone calls are scheduled for when I’m least productive and the stimulation wards off any tiredness.
Late afternoon and early evening times are where I get my ‘second wind’ and I’m productive once again. I like to vary my output by producing something visual or artistic (like a mindmap, presentation or infographic for example).
Ideally I’d do a little socialising with friends or family at the end of a perfect day.
What’s your secret super power?
I enjoy drawing (whiteboards, flipcharts, or just a blank page). I must be very right-brained as I feel compelled to express everything through imagery whenever I can. I’ve heavily relied on drawing and imagery in one or two of my blogs. It’s more time consuming, but much more satisfying.
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