CX Speak

Just Get Started – CX Advice by Mr. William David McCann, Customer Experience Designer

At Customer Guru, we believe that Customer Experience (CX) should be the number one priority for all the Indian businesses so that they become more sustainable and successful globally. Thus, we are on a mission to spread this awareness, inspiring and guiding professionals to adopt and inculcate a customer-centric approach. We are certain that this is a first step to help organizations WOW their customers and create raving fans for themselves.

Continuing with our initiative of sharing experiences of top-notch CX experts, we have another gem of an interview with Mr. William David McCann, a leading customer experience designer and the founder of Bespoke Customer Experience. Mr. David has been working with and training Indian, African and multinational businesses in their mission to become customer-centric organizations since 2014. With the help of various design thinking tools, such as customer journey mapping, he has designed behavioural nudges in organizations to help customers save money. He has also built several employee-onboarding programs that take less time and allow trainees to contribute more quickly. Apart from these, he has also designed and built communication programs for African e-commerce platforms. Prior to this, for fifteen years, he has worked as a banker with Scotiabank and RBC Royal Bank, where he held leadership roles spanning sales, operations, compliance, and training.

In this exclusive interview with Customer Guru, Mr. David shares how his career as a banker helped him understand the need to improve both employee experience and customer experience. Later, he discusses a few pointers on building customer-centric organizations.

We invite our readers to comment and ask questions on challenges they might be facing in their organizations when setting up a customer-centric culture. We would be more than happy to help. This article is framed in a question-answer format; please feel free to share your feedback on the article too.

As a professional, you have contributed across geographies. What role has customer centricity played in your professional journey?

My years as a banker taught me more about customer-centricity than any textbook ever could. The reality in banking is that product — whether commercial loans, credit cards, mutual funds, etc. are largely undifferentiated for the end customer. With some exceptions, customers bought on price and relationship. Building relationships based on an understanding of customer needs and goals was the only way that a banker could position a premium product without going down the slope of discounts. Later, as I progressed into product, training, and operations, the same need to understand the needs and goals of the customers continued to inform and drive how I operate.

In your journey so far, which is the one CX initiative you had pioneered that you are proud of the most? What was the problem it was trying to address and what results were you able to achieve?

The impact I am most proud of was actually my very first project which was an employee experience project. New bankers, like new employees in any profession, want to feel useful, to feel like part of the team. Our onboarding experience used to take six months, and it was often three-four months before a new trainee was able to operate on his/her own, effectively positioning them as a burden to the team. Most new employees quickly became frustrated with the pace of their development, and often complained that they could offer much more. We found that much of the reason it took six months was that we weren’t hiring and training very well, which was reflected in employee satisfaction scores. We also had a high failure rate (nearly 40% when I took over). A series of (in hindsight) obvious changes to how we hired, communicated, and trained reduced onboarding times by 50% and reduced trainee attrition by over 80%.

Generally, teams are always caught up in initiatives that are already planned. In this endeavor to meet the existing KRAs, initiatives that could actually create a positive CX get missed out. How would you handle such a situation and align the team towards the CX goal?

This one’s simple to explain, but works best when it comes from the top. Any new initiative or project is evaluated in part by its impact on CX. Specific CX projects will be approved based on pretty standard metrics, ROI, impact on NPS, Reach, etc., but all other projects need to be assessed against their impact on CX as well. When this is done, new initiatives won’t crowd out the focus on CX at the front of the house.

As for including KRAs around CX, these too are important cultural metrics for an organization, and ideally, every role would have something related to KRAs. In my experience, when CX KRAs are present for most of the roles inside an organization, it’s a sign of leadership and maturity. These are typically in place in organizations that are already practicing a number of other CX practices.

What is your word of advice for businesses embarking on the journey of customer centricity?

Customer experience is a constant improvement discipline; there is no perfect end-state. Start by understanding where your organization is today. Is there a clear goal for customer experience that is well articulated? Is your organization actively collecting qualitative and quantitative feedback? If not, this is a good place to start. Then, create a pipeline of projects that will improve CX, then start pushing through. Things will get more complicated later, but my advice is this – just get started.

Connect with William David McCann on LinkedIn

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