Leadership, Empathy, and Transforming the Customer Experience

Original Article by Valoir Incorporated

Valoir’s State of Digital Transformation study published in Fall 2021 found that the biggest challenges for successful digital transformation were not budgets or resources, but departmental politics and lack of executive leadership. Empathy in Action, Genesys Chairman and CEO Tony Bates’s new book, points out that transformation doesn’t happen without leadership. He’s advocating for big changes in the customer experience (CX) game, based on not just new technologies but a new leadership mindset – and a new economic model.

Beyond technology and process changes, real digital transformation happens with culture change, which begins at the top. Most leaders – be they SMB owners or CEOs of publicly-traded companies – are numbers-driven, as they should be. It’s not surprising that digital transformation has been most successful in areas such as sales, marketing, and IT, where digital transformation has clear bottom and top-line impact. It has been less successful in areas such as customer service, where traditional metrics tend to be departmental (such as lowering average call handle time, or ACH) and cost focused, and the links between digital transformation goals and business outcomes have been fuzzy at best.

To change the mindset of leaders, ultimately the numbers have to make sense.

Tony argues for a new metric, empathy-based corporate value (EBCV) and a new measure, an Experience Index, which measures empathy, efficiency, and effectiveness. He describes an “exponential organization” that leverages customer and employee-focused technologies to deliver not only greater efficiency and effectiveness, but empathy at scale as a force multiplier. From a technology perspective, it’s clear that intelligent orchestration (which is a core differentiator for Genesys) is a key component, delivering personalization at scale throughout every customer interaction. With exponential technologies that deliver improved empathy, efficiency and effectiveness, companies can differentiate through personalization and quality of experience.

Although the book doesn’t go into details about how this new measure would be calculated, it provides recommendations on bridging the gap between old and new models, and highlights that there are metrics for customer experience to explore without throwing out the balance sheet:

  • Speaking to the right person (or non-person) is the best way to reduce overall experience costs. Intelligent orchestration that understands what the customer needs and wants – and sends them to the right bot, human, or answer based on those needs and wants – reduces overall interaction volumes.
  • Increased context reduces ACH. If a customer reaches an agent who is armed with knowledge about their issue and previous interactions, they can both move more quickly to a solution instead of rehashing the problem.
  • Reduced agent turnover reduces contact center recruiting, onboarding, and training costs. Better-enabled agents that have fewer confrontational conversations with customers are happier, and retaining them is less expensive than replacing them.
  • An ounce of positive experience is worth a pound of marketing (at least). Although this one is more indirect, companies that take a data-driven approach to measuring brand advocacy (from customers) versus brand marketing (from corporate) can justify shifting budget from the latter to the former and likely get more bang for their buck.

Don’t expect EBCV to show up next to EBITDA anytime soon. However, as companies look to productize and scale positive interactions and harness the power of technology to do so, Genesys is betting on its exponential technologies, and its thought leadership, to guide them.


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