Blog Post
Thoughts from CXFS NGCX 2023
by Beth Karawan
“The very good presentations offered interesting points of view and new ways of thinking about how to "do" CX”

Earlier this week I attended CXFS NGCX in Boston. One benefit of having the tracks combined in the same location is that I could bounce back and forth between financial services-focused content and other industry-related content, based on what sounded the most interesting in the agenda descriptions. Like most industry conferences, there was a mix of very good presentations and not-so-good presentations. Some presentations offered no new insights, or spoke primarily about their company’s products and services. The very good presentations offered interesting points of view and new ways of thinking about how to “do” CX. Here are the presentations I thought were the most impactful:

  • How to Balance Organizational Transformation with the Customer Experience: RanDee Platt from Santander Bank discussed managing customers’ expectations through the transformation process of becoming “a digital bank with branches.” She explained how she and her 7-person team simultaneously managed internal leadership expectations while also communicating product and process changes to customers in a simple, clear, and consistent way. She also emphasized that driving transformation isn’t always about investing in a new tool, technology, or platform; rather, it’s about having an integrated approach across key stakeholders who are aligned on one common goal — doing what’s right for the customer. In a session immediately following, RanDee spoke with Alex Higbee and elaborated further on the transformation process, explaining how they used customer segmentation to craft the right types of digital engagement strategies for current and future customers in this high-change environment.
  • Building Insights and Innovation Capabilities to Support Growth Efforts: I missed the first few minutes of Trish Wethman‘s presentation, about how Best Egg built insights into the innovation funnel and shared best practices on how to leverage data and analytics to gain meaningful insights about customers, but it still made an impact. As a former consultative market researcher and client-side insight strategist myself, her comments about understanding the difference between data and insights, and asking more questions to better understand the problem versus simply applying a familiar solution to get at answers quickly, were especially resonant for me. I also appreciated her mandate to align with key stakeholders who are willing to challenge the status quo of institutional knowledge.
  • Strategies for Measuring the Immeasurable: I had not originally intended to listen in on this presentation in the NGCX track, but was having an engaging conversation with my table-mates from the previous session and didn’t want to leave. I am so glad I stayed! Similar to Trish Wethman’s presentation, Chantel Wilson Chase‘s presentation spoke to my researcher’s heart. Best practices in identifying those “black holes” in your data that can stem from things like using the incorrect methodology for data collection, non-responders to your questions, only asking what people do and forgetting to ask why they do it, etc. She used a very interesting real-world scenario to bring context to her points, as it related to measuring employee experience (which, surprisingly, only a few presenters addressed in their content).
  • Lessons Learned While Scaling CX Orgs: I had the opportunity to meet Ben Segal the night before his presentation and learn more about the company he works for, Thesis, and the interesting work they are doing in the field of nootropics. His presentation the next day was equally compelling for a few reasons – it was interactive, it was personal, and it offered a fresh point of view on how to implement CX in an organization. First, it’s great to want to always go the extra mile for customers, but that’s not scalable; instead, consistently reach for the extra inch because those small actions will add up over time. Second, when hiring for your call centers it isn’t necessary to hire people with call center experience (because those skills can be easily taught); rather, hire people with good interpersonal and in-person customer service skills (because those skills cannot be easily taught) and that will shine through whether they are interacting with customers via phone, chat, or email.
  • The Power of Stories to Improve CX in a Metric-Centric World: I was initially interested in Raj Sivasubramanian‘s presentation because he works at Airbnb (one of our executive advisors, Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., wrote the New York Times best-seller “The Airbnb Way”). Raj practiced what he preached and used some very compelling personal and customer stories and videos to bring his points to life. Based on all of the nodding heads in the room, he also really hit home that many organizations make the same mistake of falling into the Metric-Centric Trap of creating 50-page decks filled with trended data charts that don’t contain actionable insights. He also gave some good advice on how to engage with co-workers so that your CX data breaks through versus the other operational metrics they are usually inundated with.

Overall, it was two days well-spent, connecting with and learning from other CX thought leaders. Perhaps we’ll be back next year to share our thoughts on how to continue to push CX forward. Here at ImprintCX, we help organizations of every size develop a framework to create meaningful, deep human experiences for their most valuable customers. Interested in knowing more? Let’s get started.