Our Blog



Customer experience and advocacy: themes from DX2019

DX2019 is New Zealand’s premier digital summit held in Auckland, exploring the trends, challenges and customer experiences driving digital transformation. The sold-out conference attracts a diverse and senior audience drawn by the fantastic line up of speakers. Richard Brown, Intergen's Head of Digital and Experience Design, shares his key takeaways from the day.

Customer experience and advocacy: themes from DX2019

The customer is number one, always

The customer is the number one stakeholder in any organisation, as without them you simply don’t have a job. If you don’t understand your customer, don’t spend any money on anything else.

Vodafone have adopted to their customers’ Net Promoter Score (NPS) being their number one metric for measuring success. Air NZ stated that they know they are successful when their customers tell them they are.

To support this, recent research from IDC (Top 10 digital transformation trends for New Zealand, February 2019) states clearly that there is one unequivocal driver for organisational success: customer experience (CX) and advocacy. IDC estimates that by the end of 2020, more than 60% of New Zealand business-to-consumer organisations will have adopted Net Promoter Score as their leading success metric.

It’s not “Digital Transformation”

It’s business transformation. Transformation of an organisation is fuelled by delivering a better CX in order to compete and grow, enabled by digital technology. This involves changing a business to become agile in order to deliver a better experience, in turn delivering better outcomes.

It’s not just about the customer interactive tier of technology

Businesses need to look both inside in as well as out in order to deliver great CX. Technology is an enabler for customer experience, but also internally to better empower the experience. For example, empowering call centre staff with information about the customer, their interactions and ability to complete necessary tasks for customers, could make or break a conversation.

This further reinforces the argument for business transformation rather than a focus specifically on digital transformation.

Look at the wider competitive landscape to understand your CX threats

Businesses are being disrupted not just by direct competitors, but also from others that are simply delivering a great experience. Customers are starting to expect a superior level of experience, based on their interactions with brands, and therefore will find a better way if your experience isn’t working.

Understand the risk of doing nothing

Your competitor only has to be doing a little bit better for you to lose customers. If you don’t listen to your customers, someone else will and you will no longer be relevant.

It is sometimes hard to articulate in hard terms the business outcomes that derive from delivering a superior customer experience, but there is a clear (and often irrevocable) cost to not staying relevant.

Fix pain points first (N.B. these may have nothing to do with technology)

Listen to your customers and have the empathy to understand why things don’t or haven’t previously worked. It may not directly be technology that needs to solve the initial problems. Understand the customers’ pain points first and resolve these before implementing new digital capability.

Understand the importance of executive buy-in and the right level of business maturity to embrace the change

Without buy-in from the CEO or executive, it may be impossible. It will likely be too hard to run any type of transformation if the business doesn’t want it or understand the need for it. There has to be ambition and appetite for change to be successful.

So what is the why? It is important to understand the maturity of the business to understand ‘where to next’ and the level of change required to onboard the business.

Deliver outcomes

It is important to have a results-first mindset. This will allow you to deliver outcomes with respective results versus delivering outputs coupled with traditional business measurement.

KPIs are focused on looking at the past, while OKR (Outcomes, Key Results) focus on the future and what’s trying to be delivered.

Create an Agile MVT (Minimum Viable Team)

Deliver results by establishing self-sufficient, cross-functional teams that owning specific outcomes in sprints. Establish a minimum viable product (MVP) quickly, learn and evolve with each sprint delivering a release that enhances the customer experience.

Using this method, Vodafone released their bots MVP in six weeks and have released enhancements every two weeks. The bot now represents 12% of all call centre cases, the equivalent of 150 people – and growing.

It’s all about people

People are the most important element to the success of a transformation. Tom Cochran, Digital Transformation consultant and Former Digital Leader, Obama Administration, said. “You will succeed or fail based upon the people in your organisation and their attitudes and beliefs.”

It’s important for leaders to earn credibility with humanity, to listen to customers and people within your organisation, having empathy before trying change and understanding why things haven’t worked previously.

Hiring people with the right attitude is significantly more important than skills. People with the right ambition and desire can easily learn with the right leadership.

Data and CX go hand in hand

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

It’s possible to measure almost anything today. It is important to capture and have data in a central place to be able to understand customers, patterns and trends to deliver a better experience and drive results. For example, use session replay tools to enhance a customer’s journey online.

Use data to help break down the pain points first, then move to understanding patterns.

Key messages

Tom Cochran (Digital Transformation consultant and Former Digital Leader, Obama Administration)

  • Enable people with technology; give them the tools they need.
  • Establish credibility with humanity, listen for several months to better understand, have empathy before trying change. Understand why things haven’t previously worked.
  • You need to take some risk for a return, try MVP, learn, evolve. There is also the risk of not doing it.


  • If you don’t listen to your customers someone else will, and you won’t be relevant anymore.
  • Listen, have empathy and understand why things didn’t work in the past.
  • MVP but also MVT, minimum viable team, cross functional people required to deliver each outcome for each sprint.
  • Number one executive priority is the customer experience.
  • Whole business is now measured on client NPS score, single north star outcome.
  • Digital is completely transparent; people interact with it constantly.
  • Technology for customer experience, also internal to be successful at delivering the outcomes. People and culture embrace digital.
  • One single goal for CX, focusing on NPS not commercial results. CX seen as more important. Flexibility to make positive change and learn.
  • Chat Bot is doing 12% of call centre cases, equivalent of 150 people.
  • Outcome driven, shifting from outputs. They share the results the sprint teams are influencing, why they are important and how they have moved in the previous sprint, creating a result first mindset.


  • Need and appetite for change. Too hard to run any form of transformation if the business doesn’t want it. Lot of talking and no doing.
  • What’s the compelling event, the why?
  • Competitive landscape analysis in industry but also the general market. Customers expect consistent experience they have with other brands/businesses.
  • Understand the businesses maturity, what success looks like, how to measure, and the people delivering number one.
  • Slowly change to outcomes.
  • Define outcomes vs. KPIs. KPIs are looking at the past, use OKR to define objectives and what key results of that objective looks like.
  • Outcome must be measurable e.g. growth, capex, NPS.


  • Really understand the customer journey. You can measure just about anything. Use session reply tools to watch customers to better enhance.
  • Data and customer experience go hand in hand.
  • Self-sufficient dedicated team cross functional deliver specific outcomes.
  • One North Star metric.
  • Growth board, no sugar-coating, bring what’s not working monthly to help resolve.

Jennifer Cherrington (previous Amazon and eBay executive)

  • Business transformation not digital transformation, digital technology is an enabler
  • The Customer is the most important stakeholder; without them we don’t have a job.
  • If you don’t know the customer, don’t spend $1 on anything else.
  • McKinsey & Company: CX focus will increase revenue 5-10% and reduce costs up to 25%.
  • Fix pain points before the new. Take away the pain, remove barriers.
  • If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Capture all the data centrally.
  • Personalisation and Search – helping people find stuff. If people can’t find it, they’re not going to buy it.
  • The competition only has to be a little bit better; speed of change will favour the agile.
  • Scalable technology, flexibility, modular, don’t re-invent the wheel, SAAS model, don’t bespoke.
  • Consideration content – index on Google. Google likes content, Google will send people to your content.
  • New is predicting, finding trends, patterns in data.


  • Must stay relevant, can’t always associate a better customer experience directly to EBITDA. SKCYCITY know they have to be able to open doors in their new hotel with phones vs. key cards.
  • AirNZ know their successful when their customers tell them they are.
  • SKCYCITY: Enterprise perspective of digital, looking inside/out, not just the physical customer/digital layer.
  • Pain points first.


  • 3000 events, 13 venues, 4 million annual visitors
  • Air NZ and similar have raised customer expectations. Expectation RFA can deliver a similar experience in NZ.
  • CX within their top 3 priorities
  • Waterfall approach taking a year per website to deliver, they have 7 sites.
  • Single discovery program and backlog for the business with quarterly releases.
  • Build re-usable models across venues.
  • Customer experience is everyone’s responsibility I the business.


This blog is part of the #cxreimagine series. For more experts' insights, clients' experiences and to download the whitepaper, click the banner.

For more experts' insights, clients' experience and to download the whitepaper, click the banner #cxreimagine

Posted by: Richard Brown, Head of Digital and Experience Design, Intergen | 25 March 2019

Tags: Digital Transformation, customer experience, #CXreimagine

Top Rated Posts

Blog archive

Stay up to date with all insights from the Empired blog