The CX Trend Radar 2021 with Nils Hafner – E15

CX Goalkeeper with Nils Hafner – S1E15 is about the Customer Experience Trend Radar 2021 Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper

Prof. Dr. Nils Hafner is a great friend of mine and an outstanding CX expert. In the DACH region one of the most known CX thought leader.

LinkedIn Headliner: International Keynote Speaker * Blogger * Autor * Professor

How Nils explains CX and the examples he is using, make the discussions with him unforgettable.

My key learnings:

  • Nils started with CRM Trends in 2006 and then moved to the Customer Experience Trend Radar
  • The CX Trend Radar is structured in People, Process & Technology covering 18 Trends positioned on a maturity model.
  • The Development in CX Management is technology driven without a real CX vision
  • There is an acceleration of digital but decreasing budgets. Therefore, is it important to focus on differentiating factors (compared to competition)
  • One item was added in 2021: CX Governance
  • Suggested focus for 2021: Value Irritant matrix, Digital experience (instant, immersive) and Conversational AI

Something special about Nils:

  • His hobby is “Reading and World Domination”

His book suggestion:

  • The Effortless Experience, Matt Dixon, Nick Toman and Rick Delisi

Nils shares a quote a not the usual golden nugget: “For a complex problem there is always a simple solution, but this is most time wrong – Umberto Eco”

“For a complex problem there is always a simple solution, but this is most time wrong – Umberto Eco” @NilsHafner on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

How to contact Nils:

Thank you, Nils!

#customerexperience #leadership #innovation #transformation #cxtrends #strategy

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Gregorio Uglioni 0:02
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome and thank for being here for a smart discussion with Nils Hafner. Hi, Nils.

Nils Hafner 0:09
Hello, Gregorio.

Gregorio Uglioni 0:11
I think the best way to start is: DearNils, could you please introduce yourself?

Nils Hafner 0:17
Yes, my name is Nils, I work as a professor at University for the applied sciences in Lucerne, especially in the field of customer management. That means everything in marketing and sales and in customer service.

Gregorio Uglioni 0:33
Thank Nils for the short introduction, as usual, you said not quite a lot of things, but in Switzerland, and I would say in the DACH region, you are something like the CX Pope or the CX guru. He, I already heard quite a lot of names about you. And I think it’s really great to have here., thank you very much for for your time. And I read the first of January 2021, a great article that you published. And this is about the customer experience trend, radar, it’s something that nice and his colleagues are publishing every year. And perhaps let’s start deep diving on this, where does this idea came to create that CX Trend Radar.

Nils Hafner 1:16
So I’m doing this for a very long time ago. So I started in 2006, pointing out the CRM trends for the year, that means are putting together what I saw in the previous year, putting together the development and technology, the development and processes and in, in sciences around customer management, and then pointing out one to two to six trends for the next year, which which will be feasible in the market, which will be relevant in the market and which could be seen as a kind of a trend report. And I found out that I’m not the only one who is doing this. And I want to know, very, very great expert in Germany called Harald Henn. He’s doing this for quite a lot of quite a long time. So I think he’s active in the market since since 30 years or something like that. And so he was doing nearby the same thing, but more from a technology perspective. And so in the end, we thought, okay, let’s let’s put our our knowledge together and tried to have a more holistic view on on customer management. And what we found out is that there are a lot of, let’s call it bullshit bullshit terms in the market. So this is this is quite a problem, especially in the German speaking region, because especially consultants try to mix up German and English words, totally senseless together. And in the end, you don’t know what they want to point out. And so we were asking ourselves, what is really relevant today? What is a trend what isn’t, is serious development, and with which trend should should senior management person in customer management deal which trends should be on his or her radar. And so what we develop is the customer experience management, Trend Radar.

Gregorio Uglioni 3:21
And I went through the old version. And I think it’s really interesting, because you’re really focusing on the most important topics, structured in: people process and technology. But based on the fact that I have you on the stage, it’s better that you explained the trend radar, and not me. I am a big fan of this radar. I’m using it really in quite a lot of meetings to show also what it’s happening on the market. But again, Nils the stage is yours.

Nils Hafner 3:50
Thank you, Greg. So as you said, we took the classical structure out for for for developing this trend radar. So we have three dimensions. It’s the people dimension, where we see trends like CX strategy, the feedback loop or the employee experience, management, the process dimension where we see the customer classical customer journey mapping and customer journey management and topics like omni channel topics like the management cockpit, and in the end the the technology dimension where we see all the different technology trends. So within these three dimensions, we positioned overall 18 In the original version in 2020 18 different trends Now we talked a little bit up to 19 trends and we renamed one or one or two of them. And these 19 trends we positioned on a maturity model and this maturity model is our It goes from from the least mature stage, that vision stage of a prototype stage into the acceptance of the standard to the commodity and sub let’s let me point out what I mean by this. So when we see a trend very, very, very, very early, and some some other great instruments, like the Gartner hype cycle, and you see, okay, people are talking about this, and it is kind of a term a new term. And it’s, it’s a hype topic. Yeah. So it’s most of the time in the vision. Stage, Vision stage means everybody’s talking about this, but nobody knows how to bring this to life. This changes when, when, when, when normally, great companies start to build prototypes. And the first time a company has a prototype, they look at it and ask, okay, is this a feasible prototype? Is this a viable, viable prototype? And so more and more companies are building prototypes. And in the end, it turns out that it is maybe a useful thing, it turns out that maybe a Service Cloud System or CX management cockpit, is a useful thing. And then our companies all over the different industries start to accept this, and this is what we call the acceptance Stadium, the acceptance stadium means that the people know okay, this is a useful thing, but not everybody has it. And so, then it is about bringing things to life are establishing real projects, bring it into work. And from the acceptance phase, it goes into the standard phase seven, the last the most mature phase is the commodity phase. And we have two trends, that CRM systems and on the other hand, the customer data platform, which are in the commodity phase, and we want to show this for one or two more years, and then it drops out of the trend drought radar, because it’s common sense. It’s a commodity, everybody has this instrument in real work, and nobody’s talking about this anymore. Because it’s, it’s totally a totally a standard and commodity thing for everybody. Okay, so this is the this the the main idea of having the strength rider. And so it is an instrument for a decision maker to understand which trend is really relevant, which trend is mature for my company? Are they’re really working prototypes, or is this really in the stage of acceptance, that I need this to have a comparative advantage in the market?

Gregorio Uglioni 8:04
Yes, it was extremely understandable. And for sure, we will make also one link available to show that to see that because one picture is always easier to understand than your explanation, but it was extremely clear. And I think I really like also also the simplicity of the of the representation with these three big topics, people process and technology, and where they are the maturity in the maturity model. And thinking back to what you said, and you did the example of the CRM system that in two years, it will be common sense, I hope so I’m not so sure that it will be for all the companies. However, I think I fully agree. And one example of topics that are in the early stages like virtual reality, I saw quite a lot of fancy use cases, but not really one big solution that that could really help in customer experience. And then basically also to link to my what you said to next question. And you said, we’re speaking about people, process and technology and often also in the past, it was oh, I find out a great technology find try to find a use case. And now where are the biggest priority nowadays, it’s more people it’s more process, it’s more technology, or you need all three.

Nils Hafner 9:31
At first First of all, you need all three that’s always always a mixture just with just with people you can’t you can scale you have no possibility to serve a large numbers of customers. You need process for these and making the processes work you need normally technology. So you need all all of all three of them. So in the end, it depends on what you want to do. And let me point out what happened in the last year so in the last Yeah, we realize that we have a lot of projects in the field of sales management in the field of getting in touch with the customers, avoiding closed shops in the pandemia, investing heavily in ecommerce systems, and investing heavily in technology and marketing automation. And what we saw the same time is that innovation, the process innovation, all the innovation on the people side came to came nearby to zero because of the lack of funds. And so this is really interesting. So, so, what we see at the moment is that developments and customer experience management are so much technology driven, and there is nearby no overall concept behind this. So So what is what is the most important from our side, our point of view is developing a CX strategy, and really reliable omni channel concept, because what we did as we established separate channels, especially for the marketing and for the sales field, because we lost touch during the pandemia. And now it is about bringing it in all together, and designing an overall differentiating customer experience. That means that the customer should realize what makes you as a company different to another company offering the same product for about the same price.

Gregorio Uglioni 11:44
I think that’s, that’s interesting. And to come back to the point you mentioned, Omni channel, I think companies started having one or two channels. And now in the meantime, they have seven eight channels, if we speak about WhatsApp and all these additional tools. And I think also from the progression several years ago, we were speaking about multi channel and that’s something what everybody else was speaking about omni channel, my question to you is, do you think really that the companies need to offer all the channels to their customers? Or are we already in this direction of ultra personalization and therefore companies should be on the channel of choice of the customers?

Nils Hafner 12:29
Indeed the latter one. So, what what what what we see is that that real omni channel, that means every channel available approach is just feasible for the for for large companies with a lot of budget. So, it is a matter of budget. So, if you are planning to have an intelligent approach to customer experience, management, it is our the latter thing that means you should concentrate on what your where your customer wants to be. And so, this is the one perspective the other perspective is that not every channel and therefore every touchpoint is ideal for every kind of business. So let me give you an example which is understandable. Bye, bye, bye, everybody. It is the matter with email and customer service. I personally think that email is not a very very appropriate channel for for for for customer service. Yeah. Because you have this this time lap, you have this time lag and that means you write an email as a customer that the company reads this, some employee reads this and the employee does not understand what is meant by the customer. So because you have stupid rules in your company, that means that means the the insert channel is also the outbound shamble. You write an email back with questions, yeah, this email is read two days later by the customer and answered by them, just because you answer by email, there is no chance that the customer writes in a better way that you can understand this. And so what you’re doing is you’re playing people. And so just take a step back and think about what is the real what’s the real purpose, what is the real idea of the customer using customer services, it is getting a solution. And so for that, for that is maybe not the best touch point to use an email or the best, the best medium. And so what I see is that that superior companies, for example, a large pharmacy company, and Boser said, Okay, we’re not using email anymore for the internal customer service in it because it takes us too much time, and it’s too much hassle for the customer. And so I think it’s always a good idea to select channels on the one hand, and on the other hand, to think a little bit, what does your customer want and what is appropriate, what’s the appropriate instrument for, for solving the customer’s problem in time,

Gregorio Uglioni 15:17
I think this is this is one great example. It’s ping pong. And then if you link this also with KPIs, like first contact resolution, it’s extremely difficult to go from first, contact resolution with email. And one additional topic to mention, it’s also about our this email structure, because most of the time you have multiple questions in this in this in this email, and for one unit, perhaps still a signal for an order, it’s on an information that you could find on the webpage. And the third one, you can do that, but then you have always several requests at the same time. And the same agent needs to answer them. And and therefore I think this is this is key what what you were saying? And also related to that. Everybody knows that the joke, who is driving digitalization in the companies is the CDO response, A) response B) is the CEO response. C) is the COVID-19. And this is the joke that everybody’s saying?

Nils Hafner 16:17
Sure, for sure. For sure.

Gregorio Uglioni 16:19
You mentioned something that I would like to deep dive on one side, yes, we have an acceleration of digital, we need to go digital because of pandemic and everything what is happening. But on the other side, you mentioned something that it’s really important, its budget, the budgets are decreasing. How is it possible to balance budgets that are going down with a big need of going up with the digitalization?

Nils Hafner 16:48
Indeed, so first thing is we have to concentrate we have to concentrate on the real differentiating customer experience. That means our we have to think about differentiation. Yeah, where is differentiation possible? Where do we have the chance to differentiate against the competition. And finding, finding out where this is possible, you should spend your budget on the really differentiating moments in the customer experience. And so on the other hand, that means you have to cut budgets on the other moments. So this has to do with automation. And when we think about customer experience management, we should always think about, do we have a chance to differentiate ourselves against the competition? Or does the customer just need a simple solution, a simple problem solution to go on, and is not the time to offer him? Additional products or services? And so I think this is this is the core idea here. Where can you automate and where should you avoid automation? This is the second question was also somehow important.

Gregorio Uglioni 18:04
I think that I fully agree. And I think back also about this topic on one side is exactly what you’re saying, differentiating where I can do something additional for our customer. And also thinking one step forward. I think genius is defining it and like moments that really counts. And these are the moment where, for example, you missed a flight or something gets stolen. And then it really you need to help the customer, you need to find a way to cope also not from a process point of view, but also from a human to human interaction with with this customer, because perhaps they lost the keys, or they missed the plane, and they have their story to continue. And I think this this is really a key topic. Let’s quickly let’s quickly go back to the trend rather, you mentioned that you are doing that since several years, what are the biggest changes in 2021.

Nils Hafner 18:59
So the biggest changes is, on the one hand, we added the topic of CX governance that means finding finding a way to establish rules in the company who was responsible for customer experience management for the design and the delivery of customer experience management who’s responsible for bringing in ideas who’s responsible for for checking if the if the whole direction of the company goes into a customer centric direction. And so this is this is one one big point for us. Because most of the companies are not really talking about this. They are establishing division or department or just a team for for customer experience management and say okay, your job is to make the company more customer centric and to provide an extra and experience for our customers and as long as you are a team of two three or five, in a company of 15,000 people, you feel sometimes a little bit lost, because it is not your job to deliver customer experience, it is your job to find out where you have today not that optimal customer experience and where to improve, but for the for improvement itself, you need a lot of mock people. And so, I think more and more companies especially the excellent companies are coming on that idea and saying okay, this is really really important. But the second thing is what makes a huge huge huge step towards maturity is the idea of the so called Value irritant matrix. That means, finding out where you can automate away should automate our way or should avoid automation for providing human to human you said it in the perfect way they go human to human interaction on a high level with a high degree of experience for the client. And this is this, I think at the moment the most important to two things on the other hand, we see that during the pandemia during 2020 augmented reality virtual reality systems made a huge step to maturity, because it is good idea to to come closer to your customers on a digital way. So that means simulating real life experiences providing a nearby real life experience immersive experiences in a digital and distant, distant way to stay healthy. On the other hand, what we what we see is on the way, especially in some companies, especially in the services companies and financial services and telecommunications services, is providing conversational AI, that means all these all these what we say chatbots voice bots on a conversational interface like, like Facebook, like WhatsApp, or like the Amazon Alexa system. They made they made a huge leap here in the in the last 12 months. Because people are sitting at home and they’re using these systems every day. And they are somehow different to person to person interaction. Maybe they are then you and they are exciting. And so this books a little bit more or a little bit better than than before.

Gregorio Uglioni 22:59
Thank you nice. And perhaps you spoke about three four trends that are really important. And one strange question which one of the 19 trends do you like most and why?

Nils Hafner 23:14
At the moment, for sure. I like I like to two things two things most because they are they are paying my rent. To be honest. When I’m when I’m talking about at the moment about steering, Customer Experience Management, it is about the financials, it is about proving that customer experience management pays off. And for that you need a viable management cockpit, you need a viable reliable management cockpit that shows you the business numbers your shows the relation to the car, KPIs and customer experience management, the the the net promoter score of, for example, the customer effort score or customer satisfaction. And in the end of the process, key process indicators. And when we’re talking about processes, we talk about marketing, we talk about sales, and we talk about service and service, for example that is could be a first contact resolution rate as a very, very, very interesting indicator here. The second thing is, as I mentioned before the value irritant matrix, because I’m totally convinced that in the times of digitization, the core question is what should we automate and what should we avoid to automate? Let’s take let’s take a certain industry let’s take let’s take the banking industry and the banking industry. They made a lousy job in the end of the 1990s beginning of the 2000s Yeah, they automated their customer relationship. Yeah, they introduced ebanking. And the core idea was to avoid, avoid that people go into the bank branches. Yeah. And every visit in the bank branch costs time. And they said, Okay, normally most of the banking needs could be done over the, the banking. And so the result was on that all the people, wealthy people, well educated people, young people, dropped massively into the banking systems and use the banking systems. And so the bank’s lost their human to human contact. Yeah, they lost touch with their customers. And so banking became more and more standard, if not a commodity. On the other hand, the people who are not that profitable, especially the elderly people, especially not so it people with high IT literacy, they went to the bank branches, longer and they needed more time. And so this is not the best way to automate. And we should avoid doing the same mistake the second time, because this is stupid. And we should avoid stupid management, and sell it means to learn a little bit about what is really a good idea for automating that means our customer dialogues where the customer sees a value and says, Okay, I need an answer I need, I need I need service, I need products and trying to put against that the the feel of the company, that means Okay, is there a sale in for me? If yes, we should speak with the customer? Is there something something new kind of kind of new wisdom in it? And new idea how to make our business smarter than we should speak with a customer? Or is it? Is it quite quite cheap as cheaper to speak with the customer in person? Yeah, if not, yeah, then we should automate the contact, especially for the for all the contexts, where we knew the question where we know the question and where we know the answer. And so it’s by far better, and it’s by far better for the customer to, to have a very entertaining and exciting automation system, helping me with my question than having somebody on the phone who has to answer the same question for the 50th time of the day. And maybe he’s not in his best he or she is not in his best mood anymore. And so automation could be a nice thing, from the perspective of customer experience, and from the perspective of budget.

Gregorio Uglioni 27:48
Sure, thank you very much. I think that’s that’s the key, I am fully agree with you. And we discussed quite a lot about devaluated Multics. I personally don’t understand why it’s not more known in the market, because it was defined the first time in 2008 by Bill Price, the first VP of Customer Service of from Amazon. And this is really a key success factor. If you think about automation in future, you cannot automate everything. And you should should really put the right budget on the right process to be automated. And I think this is the key. And I like also how you started the to answering this question because at the end, you said it’s paying my rent, but also for customer experience. And no ROI, no party, I know it’s advertising for something to drink. But these days is the reality if you want to get the budget to implement something that you need to react to a return on investment. And the last part of this discussion, we spoke again, human to human interaction, and this is time that we would like to get a bit more from your nails. And the first question is your professor urs keynote speaker, you are going to conferences and so on. How can you ensure your work life balance?

Unknown Speaker 29:10
First thing is, I don’t I don’t like this work life balance because it implies that that work is not life. And for me, work is life. I love what I do. And I’m the only one who is responsible for for getting work here. If nobody is forcing me into work, yeah, and for every piece of work I get the only one I can blame for that is a bit bad decision. It’s me. And so this is the first thing that keeps me quite satisfied. Second thing as I have a lot of a lot of interaction with with cool people and they have the same the same idea of bringing things from What this gives energy? And what is what is the thought is that, um, I guess, I guess I have a significant lack of hobbies, I have no hobbies. So I remember one time marketing journal here in Switzerland, marketing and comunicazione made have made a big interview with me. And they, they miss out to ask me about my hobbies, because I didn’t set something about this. And so they had to call me because they are always pointing out the hobbies of somebody. And I said, Okay, write, write, write down reading and world domination. And because I was short on time, they said, okay, and they asked the university should should we write this in the journal and, and my assistant at the University said, Yeah, better, you better you do otherwise, he gets mad about this. And so they really printed that My hobbies are reading and world domination. And if you if you Google for reading and world domination, in German lesen und Weltherrschaft, then you get exactly in one click to my to my blog, half north CRM

Gregorio Uglioni 31:21
where they were nice, and I think about the world domination. And I can understand that. And therefore I’m really happy to be one of your friends. Because then I am on the right side, not on the on the wrong side.

Nils Hafner 31:34
Absolutely. You are my friend.

Gregorio Uglioni 31:38
Okay, thank you for the confirmation, I will keep the recording forever. Which book are you reading? Or which book would you share with us? I know you wrote also a really interesting book, perhaps not speaking about this book, I will put the link in the in the show notes. But perhaps something that you wanted to share with us.

Nils Hafner 31:59
I think a lot of people shared this already the effortless experiences is for me at the moment. Still my favorite book, I say my favorite book, because I got two or three aspects from it on proven by numbers, which I saw in my own practice, and I thought it is very, very confirming for me that they made this research on the other side of the ocean, concerning what people really want. And so that was a that was a book. You can you can sum it up in one one sentence. Nobody, nobody is waking up in the moment in the morning and says, Oh my God, I want to call my insurance company. This is the best things I ever ever did. I am going to call my insurance company. Most people wake up and say, Okay, today must call I have to call my insurance company. It is an obligation because I want to get things done. I don’t really want because I will wait for a long time, I will have a big discussion. And in the end, I get a I get a problem solution. But this is this is the case. So avoid unnecessary efforts. And this is a great book for that.

Gregorio Uglioni 33:14
I read it and I fully agree with you. And if the audience would like to contact you, you mentioned your blog. What’s the best way to contact you?

Unknown Speaker 33:24
I think if you if you put Nils Hafner and enter with the correct spelling into Google, I’m just one click away from you. Maybe LinkedIn, it may be my blog. It may be the university’s website. So it doesn’t matter. The only Nils Hafner you’ll find in the internet, it’s me, except of one I think 15 year old boy in Germany, playing football. If you see anything together with football, and Nils Hafner, except of this on this podcast, for sure. Gregorio then it’s not me.

Gregorio Uglioni 34:00
Okay, but you can confirm you are not a hologram, you’re the real and the writing Nils Hafner.

Unknown Speaker 34:05
Yeah, The one and only .

Gregorio Uglioni 34:07
That’s perfect. And and we were really grateful. All the all the information that you gave us. And this is really my very last question. And it’s always the same question. Do you have one golden nuggets that you want to leave to the audience? It’s something that we already discussed or something new?

Unknown Speaker 34:25
Yeah, the funny thing is, I don’t have because it is too simple. For me. It is too simple. And I thought about this a long time after you asked me to be to be your guest in this podcast. And I think no, I have no golden nugget, because the things are not simple. And maybe if you want to have a quote, a quote from Umberto Eco, a great writer, one of my favorite writers in fiction, and Umberto said, Okay, there is Always for a complex problem, there’s always a simple solution. But this is most time wrong.

Gregorio Uglioni 35:09
Thank you very much. It was great. And I like I really like this that this this sentence, also to the audience, thank you very much for your time, but in particular to you Nils. Thank you very much.

Unknown Speaker 35:22
Thank you Gregorio,

Gregorio Uglioni 35:23
it was again, a big pleasure to be with you. And I’m looking forward to have the next next discussion with you. Have a nice day. Bye bye!

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