Derek Gallimore interviews Justin Tippett, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Australian Customer Experience Professionals Association (ACXPA).
In the episode, Justin talks about the customer experience (CX) industry and how broad and far-reaching it is. He also tells us how customer service has evolved to what we now refer to as customer experience.
Justin is passionate about customer experience, and he shares how his desire to give the industry the recognition it deserves inspired him to establish ACXPA.
Justin started in the contact center space when he was 18. And after 30 years, he set up ACXPA “in gratitude” to the industry that provided him opportunities to grow his career.
Making CX an industry people want to work in
CX is at the forefront of any business. A company’s relationship with its customers and stakeholders is taken care of by CX professionals. The job intersects with various aspects of the business.
Justin says that to be able to do the job well, CX professionals should have a wide knowledge and multiple talents.
“We are an incredibly talented bunch of individuals that work in the industry. And I’ll preface that by saying expertise, not just contact centers. We cover customer experience, digital service, and customer service,” Justin says.
ACXPA’s role is to educate people about the incredible opportunities offered by the CX industry.
“I hope that people see it as an industry that they want to work in, because when I went to school, no one ever grew up and said, ‘Hey, when I go to school, I want to go off and work in a contact center’,” Justin shares.
CX professionals are brand ambassadors
Justin mentions that customers’ relationship with a company begins with and is maintained by CX professionals.
“Customer service people are now brand ambassadors. They are representing the brand in what may only be a single interaction for the lifetime of that customer,” he tells Derek.
So, among the roles of ACXPA is to set and maintain a high standard of customer service within the industry.
He believes in empowering the frontline so that whenever they engage with customers, they have the correct information to duly answer customers’ questions.
“There’s a lot more interest now in making sure we get the right information. And with social media, if you give out the wrong information, you can have some pretty big ramifications for businesses as well,” he says.
He says that with the rise of knowledge management and artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots, the more complex queries are left to human CX professionals to answer. So, there is a higher expectation from human customer care representatives to address matters that require a broader knowledge of the business.
It’s important to give customers choice
The emergence of omni channels for customer service leaves us asking what works for customers. With so many channels and platforms from which business can set up their customer service, Justin says providing options is imperative.
“There’s certainly a lot of things changing, but I think the good organizations enable their customers’ choice,” Justin says.
“If you want to email, SMS, send to WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger. We’re happy to hear from you as well,” he adds.
He notes that although most people opt to do self-service, talking to a human CX professional is inevitable.
“There is a preference to avoid phone calls where you can. But of course, it’s not always possible for some organizations,” he says.
He stresses that providing several platforms from where customers can speak to a representative allows them to choose what works best for them. He also notes that customers prefer whichever channel gives them answers quicker.
Allow CX professionals to be themselves
An interesting point in Derek and Justin’s conversation revolved around letting CX representatives be themselves when answering phone calls.
Justin candidly shares an experience with a Philippine-based contact center where he spent time observing and interacting with the staff.
He shares how fun the representatives are, but when a phone call comes in, they suddenly shift to a serious tone and become extremely formal.
Justin says that “there is a place for offshoring to other countries,” but he stresses that people should not be told to stick to the script and be discouraged from engaging with customers.
“Let the agents be themselves. So it’s a better customer experience,” he advises.