Customer Experience Interview with Ronan Smith, Central Bank of Ireland
Although our Digital Experience Live event was postponed we will still be sharing our interviews with our speakers to give you an idea of what to expect. Firstly, we had Fergal McHugh from Arekibo and now we have Ronan Smith from Central Bank of Ireland.
Find out what customer experience means to him and what he thinks the future of customer experience will be.
Who are you and what you do?
I’m the Content & Insights Manager at Central Bank of Ireland. I lead a team of really talented digital and communications experts who are changing how the organisation communicates through its external digital channels. I’ve been involved in the digital industry from the very early days. I designed and launched my first website in 1997 while studying Multimedia in college, and have been working for over 20 years building digital and content capability in large, complex organisations.
What does customer experience mean to you?
For me, customer experience is about delivering the right content, in the right way, to the right people at the right time.
When I first began developing websites in the nineties, it was something of a closed market. Few people had the know-how to build sites, design and functionality were much simpler, “customer experience” wasn’t even a thing as such, and the internet was much more of a push vehicle for content.
Blogging and social media, coupled with the growth of review-enabled sites in the mid-noughties, changed the landscape and blew open the possibilities for online customer interaction.
In the early days of the web, if people didn’t have a good experience on your website they had limited ways to express their frustration. Nowadays people won’t shy away from publishing a poor customer experience – and they have many ways in which to do this.
Companies that really care about their customers know that they must create a seamless, integrated customer experience that works across online and offline.
What challenges are people facing in the CX field?
I think many of the organisations that struggle to provide a good customer experience are bogged down by siloed internal structures. For example, website publishing might sit in one area of the company, social media in another, content generation somewhere else, customer support likewise. The objectives of the marketing department and the business may not be aligned. Where joined-up, collaborative internal structures are lacking, customer experience tends to suffer.
What strategies should businesses use to solve them?
Putting the focus on the customer requires a top-down approach, with a clearly defined CX mandate, clearly defined roles and responsibilities and a culture that fosters and rewards collaboration across teams and departments.
As organisations grow, they often lose agility. When leadership recognise and address this, the organisation is in a much better position to ensure customers have a positive experience every time.
What is the future of the CX?
Customer experience starts with an organisation’s employees; if they are happy and motivated, this comes across in every aspect of the customer experience – from the customer support staff speaking directly to customers, to the content team who spend extra time polishing customer-focused communications.
Personalisation will continue to be important. And, for the customer, it needs to feel personal – not some algorithm feeding you ads for a product because you fit a certain profile.
Experiences are increasingly becoming just as important as the product. And the companies that provide the best experiences are the ones most likely to thrive.
As part of our "10 opinions for 2021" report we interviewed Ronan. Learn about how Central Bank of Ireland focused on content for better UX.