To Master Customer Experience, Focus on the Now

In a recent Fresh Takes episode, Total Expert’s Chief Customer Officer Sue Woodard spoke with Brittany Hodak, the Chief Experience Officer at

Their focus: how companies can master customer experience when customer expectations are higher than ever. Read on for three helpful insights from their conversation.

1. Customer Experience Happens in Real Time

The legacy approach to customer experience involves sending monthly surveys, getting maybe a 4% response rate, and reviewing findings in the quarterly meeting.

That approach doesn’t work. By the time you see the data, it’s too late to change anyone’s experience.

Even worse, when you wait too long to survey customers, they’re only likely to remember experiences that were exceptionally good or bad. Your data ends up illustrating only the extreme ends of your customer experience.

The solution: Ask people in real time about specific parts of their experience. For example, don’t wait until a customer has closed a loan to ask about their experience. Reach out when they submit an application, when they upload docs to the portal, when they speak to a loan officer for the first time. Get information mid-stream so you can fix anything that’s going wrong.

2. Today’s Customers Expect More Than Ever (and Aren’t Afraid to Switch Brands)

The stakes are high right now. People’s lives were upended by the pandemic. One outcome a lot of companies are seeing is that customers are more open to trying new brands and more likely to switch brands if they’re not happy.

In other words, customers want to be treated like the valuable asset they are.

Again, gathering and acting on real-time information makes it possible to do this. 

Think of Uber: customers are asked to rate drivers as soon as they leave the car. To boost their ratings, drivers offer water, candy, phone chargers. They ask about the music and the temperature. 

And because drivers also rate customers, everyone has skin in the game. Everyone is invested in treating each other well because it will affect their future ability to get rides or fares.

3. Customer Experience Starts with Employee Experience

You can’t improve customer experience unless you start with employee experience.

Think about it: if that hotel employee can’t switch a guest’s room without manager intervention, the process will be full of headaches and delays. If Uber drivers didn’t have the power to call out bad customer behavior, they might stop driving.

For great CX, you have to get buy-in from people on the front lines of customer interaction and empower them with the tools and authority to take care of customers. You have to create a positive CX culture so customers know they can trust your entire brand.

Today’s Takeaway: Follow the Platinum Rule

The platinum rule isn’t new, but it’s the linchpin of customer experience: don’t treat people as you want to be treated, treat them as they want to be treated.

Discover how they want to be treated by asking. In real time. And then respond. Do that with every customer throughout their interaction with your brand, and you’ll have the tools you need to create the kind of customer experience that keeps people around for life. For the full conversation, check out the full episode.