customer experience future“The wise advice that ‘What got you here won’t get you there’1 is what we as customer experience leaders need to be thinking about everyday,” said Milista Anderson, SVP at FIS Global in a Customer-Centered Management talk show interview. “What we did five or ten years ago won’t be good enough for what we have to do in five and ten years from now. At our company’s leadership summit, I was inspired to hear our leaders on the stage saying with equal voice how important customer experience is alongside with revenue growth and innovation.”

Forces shaping new requirements for what’s known as “workforce of the future” include 24/7 business interactions, business digitization, transparency to customers, global competition with reduced barriers to entry, and the pace of change in customer expectations, technology, economic and social trends.

“No matter what type of company you’re in and what you provide, you need a consumer experience mindset”, Milista explained. “Even though we are a company selling to other businesses, everyone we touch as users of our products and services is a consumer who has high expectations for things to be solved rapidly. There will be a need for more access to data and ability to turn it into information. We’ve got to bring in people who are bold and disruptive thinkers.”

Marketing and customer experience workforce of the future must be holistic thinkers who can easily see the connections between disparate things and who can balance the big picture and details in their day-to-day job. A major initiative at FIS is unification of clients’ experiences across the products and services they buy. “FIS One is not just about products and domain knowledge, but equally important is how to treat the customer and how to anticipate their needs.”

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“I’d recommend the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) as a good resource to adopt best practices,” Milista advised. “ClearAction Value Exchange is a treasure trove of tried-and-true practices, with a lot we can contribute to and gain from. Solve-SpacesTM are unique as a quick way to get through a challenge, with suggestions on how to move forward.”

ClearAction Value Exchange helps employees and executives fill gaps in engagement:

  • Adopt methods to engage customers on their terms.
  • Practice building trust internally and externally.
  • Differentiate the value you provide.
  • Ensure your brand promise matches what is being delivered.
  • Tap into the natural motives of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Influence your peers and other organizations internally to align with customers and evolving market needs.
  • Make it naturally appealing for others to collaborate with you enthusiastically.

“Automation requires everyone to pull together. It introduces urgency for coordination,” Milista observed. “For retention of clients in the past, it was difficult to see one unified view of clients across our various product groups. Now that we’ve established a database of clients at-risk, we not only want to become better at analyzing the data, but also inferring meaning from it. We’re encouraging our employees to bring in an outside view, and go out and find others doing what we’re doing or not doing, for validation. It’s an understanding that everybody is part of the customer experience provision.”

“We’re finding resources like the ClearAction Value Exchange to help with that. The way it’s designed is unique in setting up your profile so the content is curated personally to you,” said Milista. “It gives you an opportunity to interact in forums and Webcast ConversationsTM. You know you’re talking with people who are facing similar challenges and goals. People want to be there and want to give and gain as much you do.”

The Exchange helps marketing and customer success/care/experience roles create just-in-time solutions to coordination gaps:

  • Learn how to consider interdependencies in your work — who depends on your work outputs, and vice versa.
  • Gain insights for designing your efforts to be inclusive, coordinated and collaborative with your stakeholders.
  • Find out how to connect and course-correct with those whose agendas or styles are different from yours.
  • Bridge existing silos in data, systems, channels, organizations, vision, assumptions, motives, goals, metrics, and handoffs. And bridge those silos from the get-go in making assignments and starting initiatives.

“Our Chief Customer Officer has championed an awareness and desire across all the company to get behind FIS One,” Milista continued. “It’s rewarding to see so many people who are removed from client support who can tell you what that initiative is and get onboard with how important it is to have a client retention strategy. We’re starting to see the types of behaviors, actions and skill sets we want our clients to know to be driven into our global learning process.”

“All of us, no matter where our company is in maturity, are still learning what is best practice,” Milista commented. “As soon as you learn a best practice things may change through an acquisition or with customer expectations. Don’t be intimidated thinking you don’t know as much; you know as much as others and your participation is valued. We’ve used the ClearAction Value Exchange to involve teams with lunch-and-learns talking about what they’ve discovered and how they’re applying it to their current situations. It’s a knowledge-building, knowledge-sharing place. I want to broaden it even further and create more accountability at my peer level to make sure we’re getting a lot out of it, and use it as a mechanism for reinforcing the things that are coming out of our CX Mindset training.”

ClearAction Value Exchange is full of pragmatic solutions to overcome gaps like these which are universal in marketing and customer success/care/experience roles:

  • Discover how to connect what you do to what’s important to your top executives, and how to demonstrate the value you’re generating.
  • Explore ways to build shared vision among your leaders and across your stakeholders, internal and external.
  • Find out how to focus attention on what will make a difference for employees and shareholders alike.
  • Learn how to balance urgent versus mission-critical demands, strategic versus tactical efforts, and flexibility versus discipline in executing plans.

“We’re already seeing a lot of good feedback from customers that our unification initiative, FIS One, is working,” said Milista. “We’re going to see a better informed management workforce, and as we go forward to backfill positions we’re looking for mindsets and technical skills for automation and robotics, which will help us in our bold quest to double revenue.”

Advice from Milista for companies that want to prepare their marketing and customer experience workforce for the future: “Don’t spend a lot of time on how things have been done in the past. Get a sheet of paper and re-imagine what you want your service/product to be in the future and set about making that happen. Get the right influential leaders in the right positions to help, because customer experience is always about influence and it’s important to find the right influencers in your organization to help with the cause.”

For more information, see How to Solve Customer Experience Silos

Customer Experience Strategy Quiz

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Image licensed to ClearAction Continuum by Shutterstock.