Monday, March 2, 2015

Customer Experience Conversations: Maxwell Luthy

Today, the customer experience (CX) landscape is drastically changing with the explosion of new and emerging technologies affecting the customer journey. With all of this change, it is now more important than ever to understand what it takes to create a strategic customer experience program.

That’s why we recently sat down with Maxwell Luthy, director of Trends & Insights at, to discuss the state of CX today and what’s in store for the future. Luthy is speaking at the upcoming Total CX Leaders Conference 2015 this spring in Miami.

This year, the two-day conference brings together thought-leadership to focus on higher level thinking around the strategic alignment of customer strategy, technology and business aspirations. Linking data driven behavior to business results, designing next generation customer experiences and measuring the impact of your customer programs is the difference between great and greater.

Here is what Luthy had to say:

IIR: What is the best customer experience you’ve had?

Luthy: Like many people, I clearly remember my first Uber. Beyond the convenience, value for money and seamless payment, the highlight for me was when I stepped out of the vehicle at my destination and saw the app’s prompt to rate the driver. It was easy to do and the journey was fresh in my mind. I particularly love how the drivers are also able to rate passengers. There are legitimate concerns about discrimination as a result of the ratings, but putting the responsibility back on to the customer to be a pleasant and punctual passenger is genius.

So much today shows how consumers are increasingly empowered in the brand-customer relationship. It’s nice to see a little power back in the providers’ hands! The customer experience benefits from both parties’ involvement in the two-way rating system. Without sounding too idealistic, drivers and passengers may become more courteous to each other around the world.

IIR: What is top of mind for you regarding customer experience in 2015?

Luthy: One of the major themes we’ve witnessed at, is how consumers are taking expectations that were cultivated online, offline. Customers who’ve grown accustomed to the personalization, customized experiences, dynamic pricing, and transparency of the online world increasingly demand those perks in the real world. Many of the trends that we track reflect this shift.

Brands must use customer data (with permission), new technologies, and old-fashioned, people-powered customer service to make sure the 2015 customer experience is personal, painless and contextualized across all channels.

IIR: What is your prediction for where customer experience is going this year and beyond?

Luthy: One way that many of the fastest growing startups around the world are providing superior customer experiences is by employing “peer armies.” By utilizing a network of peers who aren’t traditional employees, businesses are able to provide local, personalized services at a national or even global level. That’s how Instacart affordably delivers products from its customers’ favorite stores in one hour. Peers can even be utilized to provide authentic product reviews, Made, a UK-based furniture e-tailer allows shoppers to view photos of products in the homes of customers who’ve already bought them. The shoppers who’ve uploaded the photos are proud of their homes and happy to improve the customer experience for others.

Another trend we will see more of is “honest flexilibity.” This is where brands are honest about the limits of their product or service (they communicate it clearly to customers), yet they are as flexible as possible with their efforts to find a solution.

A great example is from BMW, who knew people hesitate to purchase an electric car when they suffer from ‘range anxiety’. In other words, what if I need to do a long journey and the battery runs out? Rather than skirt around the issue or use marketing to allay the concern, they created the ‘Add-on Mobility’ program, where those who purchase the all-electric BMW i3 can register to access other, gas-powered BMWs should they need one. This trend is exciting because firstly, it taps into the new reality that brands must be honest and open about their limits, because in the digital era consumers find out everything. Secondly, it reflects how flexible they have to be to meet consumers every increasing expectations.

Want to hear more from Luthy? Don’t miss his keynote session, “Key Consumer Trends to Kick Ass With…Now!” at Total CX Leaders Conference 2015 this June in Miami. For more information about the event or to register, click here:

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