“It has become even more important to know how customers work and interact with your brand. We must take time to understand, identify and obviously engage them at the right time”, says Francoise Terrenes, customer experience expert and freelancer on Malt. 

Customer experience is a topic of growing importance for European organizations since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. But what’s driving it? And what does your company or brand need to do to get it right in 2022?

To find out, we spoke with Francoise Terrenes, an experienced customer experience consultant and a freelancer working through Malt. Watch the video below (in french) or read the english transcript of her talk below.

Transcript

Q: Can you tell us a few words about yourself and your career?

My name is Françoise Terrenes. I’m an expert in customer experience, mainly because I’ve been on the market as a consultant for more than eight years. But also, and above all, because my entire career has been spent in customer relations and customer experience. I was the Head of Customer Experience in an Anglo-Saxon company for four years.

Q: Here at Malt, we have seen an increasing volume of requests for customer experience profiles through our marketplace. What do you think is driving this growth?

It’s a positive thing that the search for customer experience profiles is increasing. It means that companies are recognizing that it’s absolutely necessary to focus on their main mission, which is to know the needs and expectations of their customers in order to better satisfy and retain them. That’s the first thing. 

The second thing is that COVID has helped companies realize that customers are not forever. That, in addition to the fact that they can no longer go into stores, has made it necessary to attract customers, keep them and retain them through channels like the web. It’s therefore necessary to know how customers work and interact with brands. We must take time to understand, identify and obviously engage them at the right time. 

Q: In your opinion, what are two essential elements for developing a strong customer experience?

The first thing is that the General Manager must be at the center of the initiative. They must be “on board”. Either they are the main decision-maker and implement the project through an employee they appoint, or they actually lead the project with a team, since it is quite complex to implement a customer experience strategy alone. 

The second essential aspect is to link the customer experience and business strategy. The customer experience isn’t something completely separate from the company. Therefore, we usually work on the business strategy, the brand strategy that supports the business strategy and then the customer experience strategy that supports the first two. However, often companies only focus on the first two and don’t think about their customer experience strategy. 

A third element that is absolutely essential, which was brought up in a recently conducted survey, is to have the necessary means. This means having a small budget and a team. At the beginning, teams start alone with a very small budget and then as they progress, they might see their needs progress, but these initial means are essential. 

Q: Can you tell us about the link between customer experience and employee experience?

The link is obvious, from our point of view, for two reasons. The first is to know why we work, what the company has decided to deliver and what it has decided to do. Whether it’s in terms of business, behavior or attitudes, everything links back to the customer experience and is absolutely essential. So the employee must know and understand it and follow this logic so that they know what they have to deliver, how to do it, and above all not go too far to deliver a quality of service that’s either over the top or sub-par. 

We have employee experience programs that are dedicated to the employee experience, which means that we have companies, and fortunately there are some. I can think of two examples where we carried out a customer experience transformation strategy and an employee experience transformation strategy at the same time. In other words, we had a visionary CEO who said “I can’t change one without the other”, so we worked together. We worked with the Communications Director, the Customer Experience Director, the HR Director and the CEO. The Director of Communications was there to “set the tone”, communicate, give meaning, explain everything that was being done in the company and the transformation that was going to take place, and we carried out these two fundamental strategies with the same method. It was great because we conducted the employee journey and the customer journey simultaneously. It was extremely interesting and today they are very happy. 

Francoise and other customer experience experts are available for hire through Malt. Discover Francoise’s full Malt profile and start your freelancer search on Malt today.