Speaking.com Interview with Lior Arussy
The recipient of CRM Magazine’s “Influential Leader Award”, Lior Arussy is known as a man who gets results in the fields of customer experience and customer-centric transformation. His knowledge of how to help organizations stop focusing on the product and focus on the customer comes from his experience working with some of the most prestigious brands in the world, among them Capital One, Thomson Reuters, HSBC, E.ON, Nokia, SAP, University of Pennsylvania and Wyeth.
Passion and purpose will become differentiators of products and services; only vendors who are willing to rise up to that challenge will be able to command premium prices and customer loyalty.
SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the customer experience trends you see emerging within the next ten years?
ARUSSY: Customers are going to play a more integral role in the overall experience they receive and will no longer be passive in the experience that’s being delivered to them. Passion and purpose will become differentiators of products and services; only vendors who are willing to rise up to that challenge will be able to command premium prices and customer loyalty. Employee engagement and loyalty will become a critical factors for organizations looking to foster sustainable success.
SPEAKING.COM: How do you suggest people embrace customer-centric transformation?
ARUSSY: Here is the advice I would give:
• Be honest with yourself about the true nature of your customer relationships.
• Understand the financial impact of not embracing customer centric transformation.
• Humanize your organization.
• Empower your employees to delight.
• Measure what matters.
• Train your people to know how to delight. Don’t assume that they know already.
SPEAKING.COM: Can you give us three tips for improving customer service?
ARUSSY: First, start every day by calling a customer and saying thank you for the business. Second, surprise your customers with small acts of generosity, and third, ask your customers, “What else can I do for you?”
SPEAKING.COM:How can organizations foster customer experience innovation?
ARUSSY: An organization can foster customer experience innovation when they:
• Create an environment in which everyone understands the customer on a human and emotional level.
• Walk in the shoes of the customer and identify their pain points.
• Foster an environment in which mistakes are acceptable so employees can experiment.
• Celebrate the heroes who are trying new ways to delight customers.
• Let go of all the cynics.
SPEAKING.COM: Are there any clients you have worked with that exemplify customer experience transformation? If so, how did they do it?
ARUSSY: All of our clients have achieved success in different ways. We have been a part of 160 transformations to date. The approach we are taking is a disciplined integrated approach that accelerates the transformation by combining data-driven research, innovating experimentation, employee engagement and training, metrics alignment, and a strong sustainability program.
The #1 obstacle to performance excellence is people thinking they are doing it already.
SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the main obstacles to performance excellence and how can an organization overcome them?
ARUSSY: The #1 obstacle to performance excellence is people thinking they are doing it already. Overcome this by setting clear goals on how do you measure excellence and who is the judge of it (the customer, not you). The #2 obstacle is companies operating in silos and as a result customers suffer and performance is less than optimal. Address this by journey mapping, aligning to the customer perspective, adopting measurements that unify the whole organization, and offering incentives to change. The #3 obstacle is that oftentimes it is assumed that employees know how to deliver exceptional experiences but we find that employees are operating on procedures and not customer-based guidelines. They need the time to learn and practice how to deliver exceptional experiences before we expect them to deliver it.
SPEAKING.COM: What are a few of the reasons why organizations fail to deliver excellence?
ARUSSY: Some of the reasons organizations fail to deliver excellence are:
• Lack of consistency in leadership support
• Assumption that the task of transformation is minor
• Conflicting metrics
• Lack of employee training
• Lack of sustainability
• Lack of rewards and recognition for those who are delivering exceptional results
• Process vs. Customer Orientation
• Lack of understanding of the true customer needs
It is only when we target exceeding customer expectations that we can provide the new performance standard that is constantly changing as customers are adopting and heightening their expectations.
SPEAKING.COM: How can excellence be redefined and a new performance standard set?
ARUSSY: Excellence can be redefined and a new performance standard set based on what will surprise the customer, not what will meet their expectations. It is only when we target exceeding customer expectations that we can provide the new performance standard that is constantly changing as customers are adopting and heightening their expectations.
SPEAKING.COM: What are your main professional passions?
ARUSSY: Making an impact on people’s lives and inspiring people to change and discover the exceptional within them.
SPEAKING.COM: What other projects are you working on currently?
ARUSSY: A day in my life includes working with a chain of dialysis centers, helping a car manufacturer delight their customers, helping a bank understand their customers better and developing the next research in the area of customer experience. It’s very diverse and I work with various industries with different customers and different challenges.