Leslie Pagel knows what it means to truly listen to customers. With a track record of two decades in client experience strategy, Leslie knows customers want to be heard, and it’s our job to listen. That’s why we are proud to announce Leslie is joining the Authenticx team as our new Chief Customer Officer. As an introduction, we asked Leslie why she chose this role and to share some insight into her philosophy on customer voice.
What does “voice of the customer” mean to you?
- Voice of the customer means two things – which are separated by an “and” not an “or.” Voice of the customer means we listen to understand. We tend to listen to respond, to reduce average handle time, or validate assumptions. These reasons for listening lead to repeat calls, failed product adoption, declining retention, and other undesirables.
When we listen to understand we immerse ourselves into everything the customer says, including how they say it and what they don’t say. This allows an organization to move from knowledge to having a full understanding and appreciation for the customer.
- Voice of the customer also means we advocate for our customers. When we fully understand where our customers are today, how they got there, and where they are going, we have an obligation to be their voice – using a megaphone. Advocating for customers brings the customer into the fabric of the organization, giving customers the visibility they deserve.
One of these without the other is pointless.
In what ways have you seen the most impact when an enterprise listens and acts on the voice of their customer?
When a company acts on the voice of the customer, the impact reaches all stakeholders including:
Customers develop a deep sense of loyalty: Loyalty delivers many benefits including increased customer tenure, willingness to pay more, amplified word of mouth, and tolerance when you do make a mistake.
Employees are engaged and find meaning in their work: Employees want to be connected to a higher purpose and they want to know how their work contributes to the broader strategy. When a company listens and acts on the voice of the customer, associates can see how their work contributes to something bigger.
Shareholder value increases: The combination of engaged associates and loyal customers creates a win for shareholders too with quicker recovery when the market is down and longer upside.
What is the most compelling innovation happening in the space right now?
Conversation analysis is by far the most compelling innovation happening. Voice of the customer programs have historically relied on things like customer feedback surveys, text analytics, and speech analytics – all of which have value, but they fall short on creating a deep “understanding” of customers.
Customer interactions shape perceptions, and perceptions shape behaviors. So, why aren’t we studying the interaction? One way to study the interaction is to study the conversations a customer has when they do business with a company. These conversations happen in a variety of ways, including over the phone, via chat, in person, video conferencing, etc. During conversations customers share a wealth of knowledge that can be harnessed and turned into actionable insights.
Unlike surveys, which are an evaluation of an interaction after the fact, conversation analysis allows us to study the interaction and the action that follows.
You’ve joined Authenticx, whose mission is to help humans understand humans. What is the biggest opportunity for human understanding?
A big opportunity for human understanding is to start with the action that occurred and use conversation analysis to answer the “why.” A single word, a long pause, and an appropriate display of empathy can alter the action a customer takes. By starting with the action, we gain a deep understanding of how the interaction shaped the outcome.
An example can help. Think about a company who wants to drive digital adoption for a specific task – like scheduling an appointment. We can leverage conversation analysis with digital adoption metrics to understand what conversations lead customers to schedule an appointment online (and which don’t) and more importantly, we can understand what about the interaction shapes the resulting behavior.
Why Authenticx, why now?
I have to borrow from Hamilton for this one. For me “this is not a moment, it’s a movement.”
Authenticx seeks to help companies be the best versions of themselves by helping companies understand humans. This is a movement that I am very passionate about. I’ve also spent over two decades in the customer insight and customer experience space and I know the challenges that companies face and where voice of customer programs fall short. Authenticx fills this gap.
I am more energized now than ever about the possibilities for voice of customer programs and the professionals who dedicate their lives to helping their business be the best version of itself.
We are excited about the impact Leslie will have on our team, our product, and our own customers. See yourself as an Authentizen? Check our Careers Page for other open positions.