This Is CX
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"This Is CX" is a discussion about all-things "customer experience", hosted by two guys (Mike Manfredo and Paul Hagen) that want to help people understand what customer experience is and how it can be done in a way that creates real value. We will share personal experiences and best practices, in our hope to make the world a little more customer-centric.

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    An Interview with Kyle McSlarrow, Senior Vice President of CX Strategy and Journey Design for Comcast

    In this episode, Mike and Paul are joined by special guest Kyle McSlarrow, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience Strategy and Journey Design at Comcast. We discuss how CX is structured and operates within Comcast, how they use the NPS system to drive operations and budgeting, the company’s challenges continuing to improve scores, and how to maintain positive momentum.

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    Reaction to the Wall Street Journal's Article on NPS

    In this episode, Mike and Paul discuss the Wall Street Journal’s article about the Net Promoter Score (NPS) as a “fad” metric being used by organizations in an attempt to demonstrate their focus on customers – ultimately highlighting many perceived challenges with the metric itself. They discuss what the article got right, what it got wrong, and some best practices to avoid the identified measurement challenges.

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    An Interview with Angela Ferrante and Emily Rasowsky, CX Leaders at Sparkfund

    In this episdoe, Mike and Paul are joined by Angela Ferrante and Emily Rasowsky, CX leaders from the company Sparkfund, a subscription-based provider of building energy systems for businesses. We discuss how and why Sparkfund built a CX discipline, the challenges they've faced in executing on this vision, the relationship between a CX Leader and CX Executive Sponsor, and some key lessons learned for other CX leaders.

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    An Interview with Todd Unger, Chief Experience Officer of the AMA

    In this episode, Mike is joined by special guest Todd Unger - Chief Experience Officer at The American Medical Association - to discuss his path to becoming a C-level executive focused on delivery of value through the day-to-day engagement with customers at the AMA. They discuss how the role fits within the organization, the successes and challenges he's had with delivering on his vision for customer engagement, and sharing some key lessons-learned for other experience leaders within their organizations.

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    The Impact of a Customer-Driven Digital "Product" Mindset

    In this episode, Mike and Paul are once again joined by Kyle Hutchins, Senior Director and leader of WMP's Digital practice, and Nick Hahn, Director in WMP's Digital practice, to discuss CX's impact on an organization's digital transformation efforts. During this conversation, the group discusses the need to be a "capabilities-led" organization that puts the customer journey at the heart of the business, including potential overlap or alignment with CX capabilities, to make digital transformation successful. The conversation wraps up with a couple of key takeaways for CX leaders to fully support (or lead) their organizations' digital transformation efforts.

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    A Discussion on Customer Experience and Digital Transformation

    In this episode, Mike and Paul and joined by Kyle Hutchins, Senior Director and leader of WMP’s Digital practice, and Nick Hahn, Director in WMP’s Digital practice, to discuss CX’s impact on an organization’s digital transformation efforts. During the conversation, the group talks about how organizations create new value for customers within rapidly changing environments (thanks to digital enablement), key tips for success, which issues trip companies up in their transformation efforts, potential organizational structures that manage these large transformations (including CX leadership roles), and how to get started within the organization.

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    An Update on Emerging Technologies and CX

    In this episode, Paul and Mike welcome back their colleague John Sprunger, Senior Architect in West Monroe Partners' Technology practice, to give us an update on three key emerging technologies that were highlighted last year as opportunities for CX professionals to support or lead experimentation efforts to improve the customer experience for their organization, including: Conversational Interfaces (chat bots), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and Machine Learning (ML).

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    Episode 39: Gazing into the Crystal Ball - CX Trends for 2019

    In this episode, Paul and Mike discuss five key trends they see impacting the CX world in 2019 with which CX Professionals should be considering for their own organizations and profession, including experimenting with new technology, the consolidation of the CX Tech space, focus on value creation to avoid CX's demise, CX's place in recession-proofing your business, and the continued focus on linking Employee Experience and Customer Experience.

    Paul and Mike would like to thank all of their listeners for following along in 2018, and look forward to picking back up in 2019. Have a wonderful holiday season!

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    Episode 38: An Introduction to Blockchain and CX

    In this episode, Mike and Paul are joined by Kayvon Hosseini, a Blockchain expert at West Monroe. We explore what Blockchain is, what it means for customer experience leaders, how firms are getting started with it and the opportunities for CX pros to ensure the needs of customers/employees are met.

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    Episode 37: Giving Thanks for Your Customers (2018)

    In this holiday-themed episode, Paul and Mike discuss the importance of organizations showing their thankfulness for customers (i.e. no customers = no business) and the different ways this is done by CX leaders. They also highlight the importance of organizations thanking their employees, as they drive key experiences for customers.

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    Episode 36: Is CX in danger of dying?

    In this episode, Mike and Paul discuss some troubling statistics about the customer experience field that threaten its future. They discuss the business failure to realize financial benefit or differentiation through customer-centric transformations, the reasons for this lack of success, what it means for CX professionals and business executives, and what organizations can do to fix the problems.

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    Episode 35: Driving Action from Customer Insights

    In this episode, Mike and Paul talk about some key challenges organizations face in broadly taking action on customer insights that organizations identify. They discuss changing behavior by making insights more approachable and integrated in employee tools and daily activities to enable real-time decisions based on customer data, while avoiding the dreaded score-chasing culture mistake.

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    Episode 34: Understanding Employee Engagement Through Voice of the Employee (VoE)

    In this episode, Mike and Paul are joined by Eric Freshour, a Senior Manager in West Monroe’s Organizational Change Management practice, to discuss the role of employee engagement in the success of large-scale customer-centric transformations and the importance of a Voice of the Employee capability to have a pulse on the thoughts and emotions of your employees.

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    Episode 33: Bringing Customer Success and Customer Experience Together

    In this episode, Paul and Mike talk about the intersection of Customer Experience and an emerging role called Customer Success. They talk about what it is, why it’s important to businesses, and how it relates back to customer experience. During this discussion, Paul and Mike talk about how these two functions within the organization can work together and learn from each other to help the organization deliver a positive customer experience and build longer, more loyal relationships with their customers ( with some key statistics) by ensuring their success when using an organization’s product or service. They also suggest to CX leaders outside of the B2B tech industry to borrow ideas from this new set of practices.

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    Episode 32: Using Human-Centered Design to Improve Employee Experience

    In this episode, Mike and Paul are joined by colleague Alex Foucre-Stimes, a Manager in West Monroe’s Customer Experience practice, to discuss the use of the same human-centered design tools we use to improve customer experiences - including personas, journey maps, “customer” research, etc. - to ensure success in improving employee experiences from recruitment and onboarding through technology initiatives (e.g., employee collaboration or portal platforms, Microsoft Office 365, CRM, and core business platforms).

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    Episode 31: A CX Day Interview with Heidi Shelton

    In this special “CX Day” episode, Mike and Paul are joined by special guest Heidi Shelton – Senior Director, User Experience at SEPHORA – to discuss the evolution of her career focus from “user experience” to “experience design and optimization” while helping transform large organizations into becoming more customer and employee centric, and highlighting the impact that a better employee experience has on delivering a better customer experience.

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    Episode 30: An Introduction to Employee Experience

    In this episode, Mike and Paul discuss employee experience: what it is, what it means for organizations, and its impact on customer experience. There are a number of terms out there related to EX (employee engagement, experience, empowerment, etc.), and we discuss how they are the same and not, and how companies can start to address EX efforts within their organization.

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    Episode 29: A Discussion on B2B Customer Experience

    In this episode, Mike and Paul discuss business-to-business, or B2B, customer experience (and B2B2C or other business models) and the impact of individuals' B2C customer experiences on it. As part of this discussion, they discuss the similarities and differences across the core CX competencies (strategy, customer understanding, governance, measurement, and delivery), including the different challenges these B2B organization face.

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    Episode 28: Building a CX Operating Model

    In this episode, Mike and Paul discuss the CX Operating Model: what it is, why an organization needs one, and the components that are required to build one. During their discussion, they talk about the purposed of the Operating Model (the "charter"), how the operating model helps make the organization's CX North Star real, the people and structure of the CX function, the processes required to make decisions (governance), metrics to show success, and core tools for the CX Operating Model.

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    Episode 27: Delivering New Experiences through Augmented Reality

    In this episode, Mike and Paul are joined by John Sprunger, a Senior Manager in West Monroe's Technology practice to talk about Augmented Reality - what it is, why it's valuable, how to get started, and what challenges exist, ultimately discussing the potential impact on CX by delivering new experiences via Augmented Reality.

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    Episode 26: Adapt or Fail - CX's Role in Business Agility

    In this episode, Mike and Paul revisit the topic of Business Agility, the advantage it can provide organizations when done properly, and the role CX leaders and functions can play in driving agility within organizations. They discuss some of the results identified from research completed by West Monroe Partners and the CXPA, including what are top challenges for achieving more business agility, who is leading these initiatives within organizations, and top reasons and tools that make CX Leaders successful in leading these initiatives within organizations.

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    Episode 25: A Framework to Measure Customer Experience

    In this episode, Mike and Paul welcome Mike Rowland, a Director in WMP's CX Practice and leader of the CX Strategy team, to discuss a broader CX Measurement Framework to demonstrate the value that CX can deliver to an organization and its customers. We recap what CX Measurement is and how using the "Balance Scorecard" framework to measure the perception of CX, Employee Empowerment, and Operational Efficiencies, and Financial Outcomes and provide the appropriate "balance" when managing Customer Experience within an organization to deliver value. We also discuss that value of "hallway metrics" and the future of CX measurement.

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    Episode 24: Automating CX Through Robotics Process Automation (RPA)

    In this episode, Mike and Paul are joined by Mark Snyder, a Senior Manager in West Monroe's Operation Excellence practice to talk about Robotics Process Automation - what it is, why it's important, and its impact on an organization's ability to deliver a great customer experience. Mark highlights some of the key challenges that organizations are facing while implementing RPA, including a discussion around the impact of automation to employees.

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    Episode 23: You Talkin' to Me? An Intro to Chatbots

    In this episode, Mike and Paul are joined by John Sprunger, a Senior Manager in West Monroe's Technology practice to talk about Conversational Interfaces and Chatbots - what they are, why they're valuable, how to get started, what challenges exist. At the end, we talk about the potential impact on CX of talking to machines, instead of humans, and the ability to deliver a great experience to customers.

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    Episode 22: Gazing into the CX Crystal Ball

    In this episode, Mike and Paul "gaze into the CX crystal ball" and talk about some trends they're seeing in the market and its impact on customer experience, including chatbots and conversational interfaces, robotics, augmented reality, and the like.

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    Episode 21: Personalizing the Experience with Journey Analytics

    In this episode, Mike and Paul are once again joined by Dan Magestro from West Monroe's Analytics practice to discuss "journey analytics", including the value of using data to help personalize customers' experiences with organizations by measuring and understanding the current experience and predicting and prescribing "next best actions" within experiences to deliver a more effortless experience.

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    Episode 20: Giving Thanks for Customers (and Employees)

    In this special holiday-themed episode, Paul and Mike discuss the importance of organizations showing their thankfulness for customers (i.e. no customers = no business) and the different ways and times this is done by CX leaders, from highlighting customer success to gamification. They also highlight the importance of organizations thanking their employees, as they drive key experiences for customers.

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    Episode 19: Understanding Your Customers Using Data

    In this episode, Paul and Mike are joined by Jamie Fishman, an Experienced Consultant in West Monroe's Advanced Analytics practice, to talk about how organizations use Descriptive Analytics to better under their customers, including who they are, what behaviors they show, and what drives their experience. Jamie and Paul walk through the analytical analysis to begin segmenting customers based on the data that companies have about their customers and some of the challenges organizations have when trying to complete this type of analysis.

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    Episode 18: The Enterprise Analytics Landscape for CX

    In this episode, Mike is joined by Dan Magestro, Senior Manager in West Monroe Partners' Advanced Analytics practice, to talk about the Enterprise Analytics Landscape required to support data-driven CX. In our discussion, Dan walks us through some of the core components of the Enterprise Analytics Landscape, including the importance of having an articulated strategy around data and analytics within the organization, the right leadership and governance, and a foundational set of capabilities and technology to shift an organization towards a "data-driven" organization.

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    Episode 17: CX, Data, and Analytics...Oh My!

    In this episode, Paul and Mike introduce the first episode of our "Customer Experience and Data Analytics" series, in which we discuss some of the reasons why organizations are looking to leverage the data that they have to ultimately provide a better experience with more value to their customers. We discuss the three high-level types of analytics that organizations can use to deliver insights, including Descriptive, Predictive, and Prescriptive Analytics. We start off our episode by discussing the value (or maybe lack there of) in measuring customer experience through the use of emojis.

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    Episode 16: Managing Change for CX Transformations

    In our sixteenth episode, we are joined by West Monroe’s Organizational Change Management West Coast SME Bill Kirst. We dive into the world of managing large transformational change within organizations, discussing different tools that can be used to help increase the overall success of these change initiatives – including CX transformations. During our conversation, we discuss how empathy is a crucial tool to be used to understand both the customer and the employee during these activities, and how poor communication can lead to break-downs in successfully managing change.

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    Episode 15: What Makes a Customer-Centric Culture?

    In our fifteenth episode, we begin exploring the importance of building a customer-centric culture to ensure a successful customer experience transformation, including how organizations define roles and responsibilities, hiring employees, training employees, and communicating to employees through a customer-centric lens. We also discuss how culture grows out of the CX governance structure that is initially implemented when an organization begins its CX journey.

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    Episode 14: CX Leadership and Organization Structure

    In this episode, we continue our discussion about CX Governance and talk about the various leaders/sponsors of CX within organizations, specifically diving into the role and responsibilities of Chief Customer Officers (or CCOs, or Chief Experience Officers, or any number of titles by which they go by). We also explore the different types of CX organizations that they head within organizations to drive CX, including three different ways in which they are structured.

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    Episode 13: An Introduction to Customer Experience Governance

    In our thirteenth episode, we discuss the framework of CX governance, specifically the different People, Processes, and Technology needed to manage customer experience within an organization through accountability. During the conversation, we highlight CX steering committees, their function within the governance structure, their make-up, and their role in decision making. We also talk about the role of governance vs. the role of culture over the course of an organization’s CX transformation. We wrap up our conversation talking about CX project portfolio to help organization understand what and where they need to invest in CX.

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    Episode 12: Business Agility and Innovation with CX

    In our twelfth episode, we dive into a discussion around business agility and innovation, what it is, why its important for companies to begin adopting this model, some first steps that can be taken to make the changes, and how these concepts support organizations' customer experience transformations. As part of this discussion, we talk about a recent article about Amazon's CEO describing how its most popular feature was not something asked for by customers, and highlight some different innovation design toolkits that are publicly available.

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    Episode 11: Measuring CX - The Art of the Survey

    In our eleventh episode, we discuss the art of the survey, CX professionals go-to tool to begin measuring customer experience, specifically to understand what makes up a good survey and how we can start to reduce the dreaded survey-fatigue. In addition, we chat a little bit about some of the issues United has dealt with and talk about text analytic tools to help analyze surveys.

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    Episode 10: An Introduction to Voice of the Customer

    In our tenth episode, we begin exploring the foundational Voice of the Customer capability, including what it is, why it’s important, how to build a program for it (including our "LARA" framework), and how to take action based on the feedback. We wrap up by talking about Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) tools to help execute VoC programs.

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    Episode 9: An Introduction to Measuring Customer Experience

    In our ninth episode, we discuss how organizations can begin measuring CX, or the customers’ "perception" of experiences with an organization, including the different types and levels of metrics. We also talk about the "unintended consequences" that result when redesigning experiences through the newer Starbucks mobile ordering experience. We finish by talking about CX Scorecards as our tool of the week.

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    Episode 8: Taking Journey Maps to the Next Level

    In our eighth episode, we conclude our two-part series focusing on customer journey mapping by talking about the different uses of journey mapping, including making strategic business decisions and executing organizational CX governance. We also talk about how we use journey mapping to identify key metrics used to measure CX, and the future of journey mapping.

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    Episode 7: An Introduction to Journey Mapping

    In our seventh episode, we begin a two-part series focusing on customer journey mapping, a key tool use by CX professionals, including the different ways we use journey maps to help organizations understand their current experiences and begin designing future experiences. We also comment on some of the mergers and acquisition activities and its impact on customer experience for Virgin America, and talk about customer "jobs to be done" to help organizations understand what customers are actually trying to do by using their products and services.

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    Episode 6: The ROI of Customer Experience

    In our sixth episode, we discuss ways to tie customer experience back to a quantifiable ROI, and the components necessary for building a successful CX business case. We also discuss some of the behavioral economic theories behind recent events with Uber in our "CX in the News" segment.

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    Episode 5: Understanding Customers Through Personas

    In our fifth episode, we take some time exploring one of our primary customer research tools, customer personas, including what it is and our methodologies for developing them - both quantitatively and qualitatively. We also highlight who we follow and what we read to keep up the latest CX happenings, and talk about how companies can gather customer feedback through our "CX Tool of the Week" highlight of "customer diaries".

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    Episode 4: An Introduction to Customer Research

    In our fourth episode, we have our first guest host - Pat McClure, Principal in West Monroe Partners CX Strategy practice - to help us talk about Customer Research Methods, what they are, how they can be used, and talks about our "Triangle of Truth" POV. We return to our "CX in the News" segment to talk about Nordstrom and the perception challenges they've recently faced, and highlight the importance of using "observations" in our "CX Tool of the Week" segment.

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    Episode 3: Core CX Competencies

    In our third episode, we explore the different core CX competencies that organizations need to build within to ensure overall success of the CX programs, including Strategy, Design, Measurement, Governance, and Customer-centric Culture. We talk about some of our daily experiences through the use of "clues", and we highlight maturity models as our CX Tool of the Week.

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    Episode 2: CX Strategy and the CX North Star

    In our second episode, we discuss this importance of defining a customer experience strategy, what a good strategy includes, the importance of the "CX North Star", and how we help organization's go about successfully defining their strategy. We introduce a new segment, "CX in the News", where we talk about some recent updates in the airlines industry.

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    Episode 1: An Introduction to Design Thinking and CX

    On Inauguration Day 2017, our inaugural episode of this podcast focuses on what Design Thinking is and how its used to intentionally design new customer experiences. We also cover some real-world experiences that companies may want to re-think ("Experiences that Suck").

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