Customer Equity Accelerator Podcast

Ep. 11 | The Rise of the CXO with Diane Magers

When everybody owns the customer, no one owns the customer. Diane Magers, CEO of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), shares the importance of the Customer Experience Officer (CXO) to an organization and how the rise of the CXO can drive better business results. She joins host Allison Hartsoe to discuss customer experience (CX), specifically in relation to customer equity acceleration. If analytics explains what is happening, then CX explains why it’s happening. Diane shares how through understanding the “why” behind customer behavior and using the analytics, CXOs can shepherd change throughout an organization to better fulfill the unmet needs of a company’s biggest asset: the customer. See the full transcriptView all episodes.


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Mentioned links in the podcast:

Chief Customer Officer 2.0: How to Build Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine

Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business

Ep. 12 | Calculating CLV with Artem Mariychin Ep. 10 | Product v. Customer Centricity

Show Transcript

Allison Hartsoe - 00:04 - This, the Customer Equity Accelerator, a weekly show for marketing executives who need to accelerate customer-centric thinking and digital maturity. I'm your host, Allison Hartsoe of Ambition Data. This show features innovative guests who share quick wins on how to improve your bottom line while creating happier, more valuable customers. Ready to accelerate? Let's go!

Welcome. Today's show is about customer experience, specifically the relationship of customer experience to customer equity acceleration, and to help me discuss customer experience and why you should care. I've invited a special guest, Diane Magers. Diane is the CEO of the Customer Experience Professionals Organization that you didn't know that existed, but you should. It's called the CXPA, and it is an organization for chief customer officers and chief experience officers. Diane, welcome to the show.

Diane Magers - 01:09 - Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here today.

Allison Hartsoe - 01:12 - Tell us a little bit more about being CEO of this organization and about the organization itself.

Diane Magers - 01:18 - Oh, absolutely. Um, well I'll start with the organization itself. We were established in 2011 as a nonprofit association. There was a lot of people like myself in organizations doing work around building better customer experience across the board, like we were talking with marketing or sales or care or digital and really trying to orchestrate the organization around how to create these great experiences and Jeanne Bliss and Bruce Temkin to kind of thought leaders in our space. A said, hey, there's no place for us to go with professionals to really learn from each other and share frameworks and best practices and so they created this association. We are now in just a short period of time. We're over 4,500 members in 70 countries, which really reflects the importance and the formality of our profession in many organizations in the world today. As everybody knows, customer experience was kind of everywhere, and so our associates really help to kind of guide what is it, how can you do it effectively?

Diane Magers - 02:14 - What are the business benefits of it, and really make it kind stand up and sing and dance. I am thrilled to be CEO for this association over the last 18 months and we really had recognized that as a startup association, like many startup companies, we were really had a scaler so for growth because we had so many people coming in and really wanting to get into the profession and really wanted to support them, so I've been very blessed with getting to see a lot of companies going through this takeaway that they are learning and sharing with each other, so I'm in a unique position to be able to kind of help what are the trends we're seeing, what are some of the things that people are doing around particularly customer value and customer equity in this space.

Allison Hartsoe - 02:58 - That's fantastic that this organization is growing up and that you're getting the whole startup experience, but I think the whole concept of the customer experience officer is still pretty new. Can you help us understand a little bit more about how this role relates to customer-centric marketers, and you know what exactly these people do, what it is?

Diane Magers - 03:19 - Yeah. Yeah. That's a really good question. I think when companies began to realize that we as consumers are in control, they kind of took a look at their organization and said, you know, it's like everybody owns the customer, but nobody really owns the customer.

Allison Hartsoe - 03:19 - It's true.

Diane Magers - 03:36 - Yeah, so it was really a way to umbrella up over the organization and create a position that could help orchestrate all of the different silos working together and looking at experiences and identify opportunity or design experiences that we knew were going to be engaging in that would reduce friction and be easy and effective, consistent, reliable, all the things that we want as consumers to do. And so when companies started really putting these positions in place, it was really out of the need to really change the way organizations work. And if you talk to professionals in this space, they'll tell you this is a lot about changing and transforming organizations. How they work, how they make decisions, how they focus on the customer and everything that they do. Because it's not business as usual anymore. Disruption is coming, and so this is really a great way for us to begin to kind of pull that together. And really get a better perspective globally at what customers are doing in an organization and how we can optimize what they're doing.

Allison Hartsoe - 04:33 - So we often talk about that on this show. You know, the need to break down silos. Totally resonate with that. And you know, the need to be across the organization. Sometimes we think about that as the chief analytics officer. How do you see the chief analytics officer being different than the chief customer experience officer?

Diane Magers - 04:52 - Gosh, the way I think analytics are telling us what's happening to really take the interpretation of we know x number of people are visiting our website, or we know x number of people are visiting a retail store, or they're working on this campaign. So analytics are really critical for us to understand what's happening and customer experience is also kind of merging along with that to really begin to understand why. So why are customers visiting our site? Why are they clicking on this campaign versus the other? How can we make that more efficient and effective? Why are they calling our call center? All of those kind of whys behind it, which kind of build more analytics, more, more sentiment, more feedback into the information, but it's also then about, well, so what, you know, we know all this information, and we have all these great data about our customers, but are we putting action behind that? And then remeasuring the impact of those actions on the business and the value that it creates as well as the value that it creates for the customer.

Diane Magers - 05:51 - So that's, that's the difference. We're kind of the escort of taking that great information and making it come alive with the organization working across and through those silos to ensure that all the handoffs and the way they experience are created across the entire customer journey if care for. So that's how the two kinds of work together

Allison Hartsoe - 06:09 - that um, that makes a lot of sense because of I often in analytics, the difficulty is not in finding the, the problem; the difficulty is in getting action. And so it sounds like this role is designed to not only understand the why but perhaps help shepherd change through the organization.

Diane Magers - 06:31 - Yeah. So you'll, you'll talk to, if you, if you think about, you were asking about kinda what is this person new, um, we do a lot of um, taking them information, generating their insights, but, but what's the right thing to get fixed? So there are lots of things you can fix the customer experience, but what's the most important to them and then how do you actually design experiences? So most of the professionals have, most of the professionals in our association have human center design skill sets where they can actually help start with the customer's needs, design experience the right way to again drive that right behavior in the right emotional engagement for the customer. So a spot on.

Allison Hartsoe - 07:08 - Well, I completely agree with that philosophy, Diane. That's a really interesting approach. Let's talk a little bit more about the impact. You know, do you have some examples you can share with us about how the chief experience officer gets impacted the organization?

Diane Magers - 07:23 - Yeah, I would say what typically happens with people think about customer experience. Many people think about metrics. I think about the net promoter score, or we have what we call customer effort score. These are kind of overarching relationship measures. How are people willing to recommend this? Are they seeing if you could do business with, but what I like to begin to talk about really is, well, it's great to know that and to understand where you are, but how does that correlate to the tune and the making based on the behavior you're asking the customer to perform? So I'll give you an example. If I were to say, hey, we're going to help with customers going online and being able to sell for these particular activities. One, if we're driving more customers to a self-serve model versus calling the care center, we're able to reduce the cost to serve.

Diane Magers - 08:14 - If we know that a salesperson can make two or three more impactful calls, then six or seven and we can reduce the cost to sell an increase our acquisition and increase the time to market. Those are things we can tie financials too. So I really encourage folks to look at not only the metrics that you're using, but what business case are you telling around how you're impacting the business. The way that that's kind of tied together Allison is, it's pretty simple. Think about you as a consumer. When you have an experience, it's either, you know, kind of non-effective, right? It's kinda like it just happens or it's bad, or it's super good and so our behavior driven by those experiences. If I'm continuing to have bad experiences with a particular brand, I'm not likely to go back, which means I am taking my customer lifetime value, my dollars and I'm going elsewhere, which means the company's been impacted.

Diane Magers - 09:09 - I might also give bad word of mouth if I have a bad experience that's going to impact their ability to acquire new customers because people might read the reviews or the people that I tell aren't likely to do business with a company that I'm saying had that experience. Conversely, if I'm talking about, you know, I'm a reading champion of a brand, and I'm espousing and really being an advocate for them, I'm probably impacting their new customer acquisition and their cost to sell. So I try to really get people to understand that it's more about how the customers and behaving and the behavior you're trying to drive, which drives the business results. So that's kinda how we begin to tie metrics really. But then the true business value based on what we want customers to do. Just like, just like in marketing, you mentioned that people in marketing kind of talk about campaign uptake. All we're doing is trying to drive customer behavior, and customer experience professionals understand that that behavior is driven by the type of experience that you have with the organization.

Allison Hartsoe - 10:08 - So I'm going to dig in on this a little bit because one of our key concepts, particularly on this show is the idea that not all customers are equal. And in the examples I just heard you give, a lot of it is about, you know, it sounds like it's aggregate experiences giving good experiences across the board for all customers. And yet, one of the fundamental tenants of customer centricity is the heterogeneity and respecting that good customers perhaps deserve slightly different treatment than customers who are more or less giving these signals that they're not really your customer anymore for a variety of reasons. Does that factor in or is that an area that maybe analytics can feed into the customer experience officer?

Diane Magers - 10:52 - Gosh, that's a great question. A great way to kind of think through it. So I kind of call-up this push and pull. So if we know that a customer is buying more and we're paying more attention to them, why did they buy more in the first place? What is in that relationship and in the experience that's really driving them to be a better customer.

And conversely, if somebody is not quite at the customer, not spending quite as much, why not? And how do we understand that? Maybe change that to really drive the behavior. So your point is when you say, hey, can we really push and understand those customers who are already advocates to go for or who are not good advocates or as good to customers? If you will, how do we drive them to be better customers on the opposite end, we know that if we can create those good experiences be can actually drive that behavior. So to your point about having analytics as to when they come in, what they're buying, how they currently are buying and how we can modify that is really all about again, your analytics and how he pulled that together.

Allison Hartsoe - 11:53 - Yeah. Yeah. I think it's a good partnership because there is the concept that some customers are born bad, and I'll give you an example of how this took place in my life. We had a neighbor down the street, and unfortunately, someone in the family committed suicide, and as part of the way that we all expressed sorrow for this neighbor, they asked us to donate to the University of Michigan Depression Center. So we did, and for the next six years, I continued to get marketing mail and reminders to donate more to the center. Now, this was not welcome for a variety of reasons, but one because it was a reflection of this wanting to help this family, but it wasn't a reflection of my family and here was this reminder coming every month or we're not every month, but you know, every couple of months, and so in that scenario I was not a good customer.

Allison Hartsoe - 12:52 - There was no way they were going to make me a good customer. I just was born bad in that scenario. And I think that applies in other scenarios too where sometimes a customer really is just a one time customer for us, and there's no way to grow them into something that's better, but our situations aren't universally static. They don't stay that way always. So it's hard to say that any customer who's a low-value customer is born bad. That just doesn't happen. Or life is dynamic. So I think when we look at the customer experience officer, one of the most valuable things we can provide from the analytics perspective is to really is influence-able which customers do we want to get more of to help drive those business results that you've mentioned, and if we're trying to reduce friction, maybe we want to cut the metrics by certain key components that allow us to see what high value and medium value customers are doing versus what all customers are doing

Allison Hartsoe - 13:55 - and then provide that experience or that framing of the understanding back to the customer experience officer. Do you think that would be useful?

Diane Magers - 14:03 - Oh truly. Because if you think about the money that they're spending investing in the client who is not going to apply, the analytics can really. They might not be able to tell you why. You know, when you say, okay, this person isn't buying, but you should be able to dig into. And part of what we do is kind of push on the data and analytics to say, well we have this whole non-responder group, right? People who we send all this stuff too. They did. The one and done and they never responded to any of our marketing campaigns. Why not? And what is it that they can opt out? Do they want to opt out? Even designing the ability to opt out as important for folks goes, you think would have, you know, and you're kind of bank account relationship with the brand, right? If you were given the option to tell them, look, I'm not going to donate. I know that you're there. If something else comes up, I'm happy to do that. That's probably a better brand for you. They continually getting these reminders of suicide and the kind of a, I'm not going to do anything, and then you pay those guys are wasting a lot of money.

Diane Magers - 14:59 - This could go to better. This money could be reinvested in this suicide program, right? To make the organization more brand your affinity to the brand better. So it's really. I think you're again, right on target with saying it's how we take that information and really try to make sense of it and make sense of it from that human being standpoint. Not It's just a bunch of numbers. That's really; I think what customer experience professionals do. It kind of bring life, what's the customer going through, how are we really understanding what they need from us because you obviously didn't need to have that ongoing communication and relationship with that brand, so I think you're spot on with a lot of people talk about segmentation and value measuring and all of those pieces. It's will how to companies navigate and change experiences based on what they know, and so that's where we really helped us dig in more in those circumstances and make more sense of the information.

Allison Hartsoe - 15:52 - Yeah. What's so important in that is oftentimes in the analytics space, we get really caught up in all of the information that we can measure, but if an item isn't present, you know the smoothness of the opt-out experience or the ability to see the opt-out button or whatever it is, then we can't actually measure it or it just measures low. So it doesn't always give us as clear of a picture. And I love the perspective of the CXO, really thinking about why and bringing in perhaps additional pieces that we didn't have to work with previously. That sounds like a great marriage.

Diane Magers - 16:30 - One thing that you may hear when people look at customer experience, we hear a lot about design thinking and journey mapping. So it's a great example of the type of skill set and competency we bring. So a journey map is essentially a technique that's used to look at your experience. We would put ourselves in your shoes and say, what is it like to be that customer and what are they trying to get accomplished and what do they need? And really designing the company around the customer rather than it is, here's a product, here's the service, here's a campaign that we're sending out and not really designing it from healthy human being. On the other end of that, going to respond. What would drive their behavior? What would drive their emotion or their engagement? Really designing around that rather than being just kind of pushing products and services out. That's what we see a customer in versus product out is kind of the way that we kind of shift organizations to begin thinking,

Allison Hartsoe - 17:21 - oh, that's interesting. It's really customer-centric, customer first customer in product out instead of pushing products so hard and then understanding customers who bought the product as a default behind the product. It's flipping the paradigm as you said in the beginning.

Diane Magers - 17:37 - Exactly. I don't think people kind of realize that when I asked this question a lot when I get front of executives who are saying, what is this customer experience thing and I say, well, do you have a customer strategy? And they look at me like I grew a third eye. We have a succession when we go to market strategies that customers are your biggest asset, and your employees are your biggest cost, so why wouldn't you be designing around that and have a strategy as to how are you going to approach them, how you going to know what they want, what they need, how you're going to fill that need. I mean, that's a great example of what Uber did. They took a concept and said there are some unmet needs here for us as consumers, but I want to know where my car is. I don't want to have to get out my credit card every time they took those needs and converted it in, disrupted an entire industry, so that's how we hope to do is define and uncover those needs that you have as you needed them to stop sending you stuff. How do we meet those needs because we know that drives better engagement, which drives better business results?

Allison Hartsoe - 18:35 - Exactly. Now, let's say that I've made up my mind and I don't want to be a chief analytics officer anymore. I want to be a chief customer experience officer, or maybe I just want to partner with one, and they're a really good way. How would I get started or what would I do?

Diane Magers - 18:47 - Oh Gosh, I. well, one shameless plug for the association. That's what our association does. Nobody starts out being a customer experience professional. We all came from. I came from sales and marketing, and a with a background in psychology and some people come from the care department because they kind of see all the broken experiences. Some people come from VOC analytics market research and say, I got all this data and we're not doing anything with it, and how can I make that happen? So one, look at the associates. There's lots of stuff online. There are competencies like what skill sets and competencies do I need to become a cx professional? A lot of that you can just find on a search. There's a couple of great books I always recommend Outside In by Kerry Bodine that is really helpful. Jeanne Bliss, who was one of the founders of our association, has a book called Chief Customer Officer 2.0 and it really talks about what are the capabilities, and it seems that organizations need to build to come into it as well as individuals. People who want to be a serious professional,

Diane Magers - 19:43 - so those are great ways to get started and then connect with some folks, go on to LinkedIn and find a couple of chief experience officers and just have conversations. We're a very friendly bunch because we do a lot of hard work and I would say as a personality type; we're very outgoing and kind of bringing people into the fold because if you think about it, that's what we do for a living in organizations. We help bring those people together. So really many connectors.

Allison Hartsoe - 20:08 - Do you see people with quantitative backgrounds also coming into the organization?

Diane Magers - 20:14 - Absolutely. We have a lot of people who start with lean six sigma they'd been doing starting with the on, but lean six sigma and say, yeah, we kind of include the customer, but this really adds a whole another layer of how to think about that human being and had a dream that why and that emotion is all that into what I call it. An additional layer behind that process design or the litter around business operations. It just brings another lens, if you will, to that work. So we see a lot of steps start there and kind of come into. Same with market research, you know, like said want to bring in more of that sentiment. I really want the organization to Action on the information it gets.

Allison Hartsoe - 20:54 - Great. Great. Well, this has been fantastic. Dianne, if people want to get in touch with you or your organization with follow up questions, what's the best way to reach you?

Diane Magers - 21:02 - Oh goodness. Go to the website, or LinkedIn. I'm there as well, and I'm happy to answer questions or provide any direction I can for somebody trying to do that. So that's what we do as an association. So happy to help.

Allison Hartsoe - 21:16 - Very nice. Now I'm going to attempt to summarize the things we talked about that please feel free to chime in and add a little bit more. We talked about why you should care about this particular aspect and really the CXPA is a growing organization for chief customer officers and people who are really trying to put the customer first. What I especially liked about what you said was that it really starts with understanding the why behind the customer and thinking and a broad aspect about reducing friction and getting customers what they really need and I think that partners well with analytics where we're oftentimes looking at what's present, what's happening as opposed to what could happen, which is almost the CXOs broader purview. Would you agree with that?

Diane Magers - 21:16 - Totally

Allison Hartsoe - 22:04 - good, and then when we look at what the impact is, how can I get impact out of this relationship? It's really, again, it anchors into the why. It goes beyond the customer relationship scores. So whether you're talking about net promoter score or whether you're looking to connect the call center offset from self-service to the business center and you're trying to calculate the differences there. The CXO is really designed to be on your side to take what you find in the analytic space and drive it into more business impact. Especially. I like this phrase you said about customers in product out, and that's definitely what we believe in is customers first. So thinking about the overall customer experience strategy and customers as the biggest asset of the organization, but especially recognizing that not every customer is equal and I think the analytics teams can help with that aspect for which customers do you want to acquire more of and what kind of experiences would they really respond to.

Diane Magers - 23:06 - Wow. That was a great summary. Thank you for that.

Allison Hartsoe - 23:09 - You're welcome. You're welcome. Good. And then of course, if you're interested in joining the CXPA, Diane's provided the website. I think it's, right? Is the main one. This is a great place to start to understand this perspective about customers in the way you can think a little bit more broadly. I think it's a great feather to put in your cap and additional tools that analytics folks can benefit from. So do you have any, uh, webinars coming up or anything that people who aren't familiar with the organization can join?

Diane Magers - 23:38 - We really do. We have a lot of assets and resources that are. When you go to the website, events and you'll see webinars listed there, there's some assets and resources that are listed under it. We have a very healthy discussion board. You can see other events that are coming up, local events. We have a lot of city networking teams that are starting up. That's a great way to connect to other folks that are doing the same work in your local area, so lots of things to check out there and lots of ways to get connected and talked to other folks who are doing the work and kind of see what's involved and how can I really grow this as part of my professional development.

Allison Hartsoe - 24:13 - Excellent. You know, I also want to thank you for being a sponsor of the customer centricity conference. That's definitely valuable to us, and hopefully, some of your members will come and see what we talk about when we dig into the data and get all crazy about customers. I love that. I love that. I love that. Wonderful. Thank you, Diane, for being a guest. Remember everyone, when you use your data effectively; you really can build customer equity. It's not magic. It's just a very specific journey that you can follow to get results and as always, links to everything we discussed today can be found at this, including links to those books that Diane mentioned earlier. Thank you, everyone.

Allison Hartsoe - 25:03 - Thank you for joining today's show. This is Allison. Just a few things before you head out. Every Friday I put together a short bulleted list of three to five things I've seen that represent customer equity signal, not noise, and believe me, there's a lot of noise out there. I actually call this email the signal things I include could be smart tools. I've run across articles, I've shared cool statistics or people and companies I think are doing amazing work, building customer equity. If you'd like to receive this nugget of goodness each week, you can sign up at, and you'll get the very next one. I hope you enjoy The Signal. See you next week on the Customer Equity Accelerator.


Key Concepts: customer experience optimization, data analytics, Customer Experience Officer, design thinking, human centered design
Who Should Listen: 
C-Suite professionals, digital marketers, business analysts, data analytics professionals, ecommerce professionals, CMOs, customer experience (CX) professionals, CX designers, entrepreneurs, CAOs

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