This week’s Customer Experience Forum was far more than just an event for customer experience (CX) professionals. It was an event for any business leader who truly cares about customers. And this includes many CIOs.

Attendees gather at the 2013 NYC Forrester CX Forum

As far as I’m concerned, the best CX presentation by a guest speaker was given this morning by a former CIO, Paul Heller. Paul is now Managing Director of the Retail Investor Group at Vanguard. While his session was energetic and full of humor, it also conveyed his message about the business of delighting clients very clearly. Paul suggests we all need to get in touch with the why, how and who of our business:

  • Why are customers doing what they do? To answer this question we really need to get to know the reasons for customers doing business with us. Vanguard took the time to ask their customers why they invest and they discovered people want to have more time to do the things they enjoy, they want less stress and to avoid being bored. Trust me, it’s way funnier the way Paul describes it.
  • How is all about building rigor into the business process so that the right things get done consistently. Vanguard also works hard on the process to consistently delight customers in ways that are also consistent with the company culture. Vanguard worked with Jim Collins (Good to Great) to help define their flywheel and they work daily to apply it across the business.
  • And the who is all about the clients, crew (employees) and community. Being very careful about the employees you hire so as to bring the right values to work each day in the service of the customer.

Getting the whole system of why, how and who to work together is what it takes to consistently delight customers. And with a Customer Experience Index score of 83, Vanguard appears to be doing just that.

Of course there was a whole lot more great content at the Forum, with great Forrester presentations too. So my recommendation is this, if you missed this week’s forum, don’t miss Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum West in October, or the London CX event in November.

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