Fostering a Culture of Ownership & Investing in the Employee Experience

Culture eats strategy for breakfast, said management theorist Peter Drucker. And it doesn’t happen on its own. Creating an outstanding employee experience is an ongoing job. In 2019, we doubled the size of our team — growing from 300 to 600 people. We grew in diversity and locations, with more than 38 nationalities represented across our offices. We recruited hundreds of new hires and integrated two acquisitions comprising hugely talented teams.

Our employee Net Promoter Score is currently at a healthy 11 (for scale, an eNPS greater than 10 is good and one greater than 50 is amazing) — this makes us 1) very happy and 2) committed to pull all the stops to keep our team engaged and happy. As we head into a new decade and continue to grow our team, we are staying true to our core values and finding new ways to bring them to life in our employee experience.

Building a culture of transparency and accountability

We’ve worked hard to build visibility and transparency at Contentsquare. Our shared goals are highly visible, and we have regular department and team-wide check-ins to see where we stand, what’s working well and what’s not. All employees set quarterly goals and we trust they are doing their best to meet their objectives and will readily share any hurdles they face. That’s why in 2020 we’ve introduced greater flexibility around the way we work because we care more about results than hours worked, where we work, or how many holidays we take. This led us to rethink our approach to working from home and to implement unlimited vacation days in the US to replicate the success of this model in our Tel Aviv office. 

Investing in personal growth

We believe that if our employees grow, the company will grow. We’re fully committed to investing in the career development of each member of our team. The CS Space Academy portal we launched this year is a one-stop-shop for our employees’ internal training needs. We’re a very international team with increasing opportunities to work from a new country. We have people choosing to transfer to another office every month, and recently we organized ten moves, including UK to France, Tel Aviv to New York, etc. We’re on the cusp of launching a new Learning & Development strategy, and we have big plans afoot to further grow our Peer-to-Peer learning programs, because we believe in our internal expertise, knowledge sharing and co-development. We also started a brand new onboarding program called Rocket Days, where we gather 10 to 20 newbies a month in our Paris office for a few days of training and French immersion! We’ve also kicked off an internal management mentorship track.

Energizing our team and realizing impact

Most of all, we want our team members to be excited about coming to work. About the ambition of our vision and product roadmap. About the impact each team member can have. That’s why we encourage contributions, involvement, ownership and ideas. In fact, our employees truly drive our innovation agenda — every year we host a company-wide Hackathon and the winning projects are included in the company roadmap. We’re very proud of our company culture and of the work our local culture crews do to keep things fun, unexpected and lively. And even though we’ve grown significantly, we still think it’s important for everyone to come together once a year at our annual WorldWide KickOff. This event highlights our commitment to transparency, as it’s the opportunity to align everyone around our strategy and recognize the terrific contributions of all our employees. Think 600 people in the countryside, two hours north of Paris, for three days…

What matters to our employees matters to us

We want to become more socially accountable, and we’re investing in several initiatives to help get us there. We’ve had several employee-led efforts to introduce sustainable practices, including the CS Green tree-planting initiative, which was a winning Hackathon 2019 project and our Culture Crew-led volunteer days. Our customer and prospective customer community expressed an interest in discussing the advancement of women in ecommerce so we’ve created new forums to do just that with more than 100 attendees at our London event last week.

One team = shared success

Everyone on the team is part of the Contentsquare adventure and we recognize that the success of our company relies on each and every one of our employees. That’s why we’ve announced that in 2020, we’ll be giving every full-time employee stock options.

In short, we’ve set ourselves some ambitious goals but we believe the experience of working towards them is just as important as achieving them. We think employee engagement starts with listening to the team, which is why we have regular surveys, daily direct discussions, monthly Let’s Talk employee sessions and, for (the few shy folks) our anonymous online question box. The growth we’ve experienced in the last couple of years has been tremendous and strengthened our organizational culture no end, and we know our best developments are still to come. Stay tuned!

New Year, New UX: Three Digital Experience Trends On The Horizon For 2020

It’s 2020, the beginning of a new year, and more notably, a new decade. With our environment shifting constantly around us, and both our physical and digital worlds increasingly blending together, it can be difficult to imagine what lies ahead. 

Here are a few trends we observed in 2019 that we believe will gain even more momentum as digital CX surges ahead in the new decade.

Are Bottom Navigations Making a Comeback?

As mobile traffic continues to grow, so does the size of our smartphone screens. Screen sizes have almost doubled since the first iPhone release, with market share shifting drastically to larger screens as sales increase. In 2019, 43.4% of the market share was dominated by screens sizes 6” and above. Reaching the top of mobile screens remains difficult, which is why smartphone manufacturers have adapted thumb zones for larger mobile devices.

To adjust to changing device designs, we are slowly seeing the navigation shift back down to the bottom of the mobile screen. More recently seen at the top of the screen, top-level functions on some apps and mobile sites are coming back down to the bottom of the display, where they are easier for users to access quickly, no matter the device size. Take a look at Uber and Lyft: 

Most of the key and primary functions are at the bottom of the screen, with an additional tab bar. Secondary functions that are not associated with the current and most primary tasks are still findable behind the hamburger menu, which remains at the top of the screen.

 

Bottom navigation is proven to be a winning UX tactic for ride-hailing companies Uber (left) and Lyft (right)


From Work to Home, Across all Devices

Given the surge of mobile use in the past decade, syncing across different devices in different environments is now a far from a perk, but is now a must. User experience (UX) continues on even after users interact with their first device. For example, users may start watching their downloaded Netflix shows on a plane, but finish them on their phone or tablet, or even on the less mobile, but highly relevant, smart TVs at home. 

Because our physical and digital devices are continuously blending together — at least as far as usage is concerned — it is imperative for companies to store specific user data in order for the experience to continue smoothly. From saving items in your shopping wishlist to pausing past streamed or downloaded shows, users want to be able to log into their accounts from any device, and pick up exactly where they left off.

Augmented Reality, from Your Makeup to Your Shoes

Yet another sign of the physical and digital worlds coming together, augmented reality integrations are ramping up across channels. Retailers are attempting to bridge the gap between brick-and-mortar and digital experience (DX) by creating immersive environments to create added value for customers.

According to Gartner, 100 million consumers are projected to shop in AR online and in-store in 2020, with 46% of retailers planning to deploy AR or VR solutions

Although 69% of the nation shops online, 56% of those who shop online say they would prefer to shop in-store. So in-store environments continue to matter, despite speed and convenience winning when it comes to digital experiences. As networks and connections increasingly improve with the advent of 5G, AR technology is helping brands to bridge the gap between users’ in-store and digital experience.

Check out this immersive experience with Sephora’s Virtual Artist:

It is the perfect marriage between customization and virtual reality. Users can upload an image of themselves (or use a model) and see the results of multiple product lines and a variety of styles. What the user is “wearing” is listed below the image, and can be removed or clicked on to go directly to the relevant product page. 

The Future of CX is Already Here

Technology that might have seemed impossible a decade ago is today a reality. The devices we use are now deeply connected to our lives, creating a closer connection than we have ever had with our consumers. If there’s one lesson we’ve learned in the last decade, it’s to embrace the new, and expect our consumers will do the same.

 

Hero image: Adobe Stock, Via rcfotostock

Digital Predictions: Recipes for Conversion Health in 2020

You’ve spent the last few weeks making merry with friends and family, and it’s likely you overindulged. Today, you don’t want to look at another cookie, and you’ve swapped the booze for green juice. You’ve resolved to fill the next decade with yoga and maybe even meditation.

But what are you going to do to improve your digital strategy in 2020? How are you going to go about building a healthier, nourishing, more blissful experience for your customers? 

Here is our roundup of 7 trends we think should guide your digital resolutions this year.

1. The experience wars heat up

The numbers have been out for a while: the gulf between businesses’ perception of their own customer satisfaction versus the consumer’s reality is widening. On the other hand, brands that are synonymous with excellent Customer Experience (CX) are reaping outsized benefits. According to a Forrester report, insight-driven companies are growing 7-10x faster than the average enterprise.

The key to a great CX lies with… your customers. The new standards of experience demand greater, smarter customer proximity — one that hinges on a true understanding of what your audience expects and how it wants to connect with you in 2020 and beyond. If you choose not to go all-in on creating an unexpectedly great experience this year, you do so at your own peril.

2. Leaders scramble for new metrics

Knowing how your brand stacks up to customer expectations — and how many different factors from price, to app ease of use, to customer support — contribute to the experience is still a challenge. This is the year many digital professionals will rebel and demand meaningful analytics that are easy-to-consume. Many brands are finding themselves constrained by old metrics, which can tell you how many people visited your site, and how many converted, but don’t offer many clues as to why they left without buying, or if a purchase was in fact the primary goal of their visit. 

When it comes to understanding customers, metrics such as content attractiveness and engagement, friction scores and even an objective measure of consumers’ Digital Happiness paints the story between the clicks. You’ll see more CX Index and e-NPS type metrics coming out from agencies, consulting firms and analytics players this year to help meet the demand.

Having access to a system of insights that can capture the nuances and fluctuations of customer behavior, and translate these into actions is how you turn customer intelligence into intelligent CX.

3. More brands flip the acquisition model

Digital teams understand that getting as many people as possible through the door is no longer a viable business strategy. It’s simply too expensive and it is not in fact, a customer-centric approach. Why invite someone in unless you can actually deliver value to them? More brands are shifting their focus to analyzing what happens once customers are on their site in order to better understand who they should be marketing to in the first place, and how.

Think about it — not everyone will want to convert on your site (maybe they’re here to check out in-store availability, use the store locator, etc), and those who do will have a specific customer agenda (they might want to see if a coupon works, to check out fast on their smartphone, etc). The key is to understand: 1) what are your high-value segments, 2) how they like to browse.

By analyzing and understanding the journeys and behavior of customers who are already on your site or app, you can surface intelligence about what they’re trying to do, and in turn, use this intelligence to target specific segments with highly relevant experiences. Don’t forget: the best remedy for churn is a relevant customer experience.

4. Smarter content

Which brings us to content (…don’t all roads lead to content?).

Businesses invest a ton of time and resources into creating content that communicates the brand’s offering and helps customers connect with their values. But how do you measure the impact of content decisions? How do you know what content to display for which audience? How do you maximize your creative investments and merchandising strategy?

Well, it goes back to those smarter metrics. Your customers are giving you real-time feedback on your content with every swipe, tap, scroll, click, etc — each element of your site is either a relevant step in the journey, a distraction, or worse, an obstacle. Customer journey insights are finally becoming operational at scale. And, advanced AI-driven analytics will help translate this customer feedback into actions your team can take to improve the experience and your bottom line. Don’t be left behind.

5. Personalization partners with privacy

Brands in 2020 are going to become better at combining their personalization efforts with their customers’ privacy concerns. Why? Because consumers today want more of both. High profile data breaches and an overload of personalized marketing that isn’t in fact that relevant have made consumers wary of oversharing in the digital world.

But is it really possible to personalize without personal info? We think it is. The beauty of behavioral data is that it delivers on both these demands: privacy and personalization.

Because one consumer does not equate one way to browse a website. And just because a brand knows your name, birthday, address and a few of your interests, doesn’t mean they know what drives you crazy when you’re trying to refill a standing cat food order on your mobile. By analyzing and aggregating the behavior of specific customer segments (based on their context and intent) digital teams can unlock a much deeper, truer type of personalization than that made possible by demographic data. 

And if you are going to collect data, the key is to use it well. Be transparent and clear about any request for personal information — customers are often willing to give information that is genuinely going to add value for them.

6. D2C is the new flagship store

Marketplaces don’t afford brands the same level of control over the end-to-end customer experience as direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketing. By entrusting others to promote and sell their products or services, businesses are not only settling for lower margins; they’re essentially giving away crucial customer intelligence they could be using to elevate and personalize the brand experience. 

And when you’re competing on experience, as brands are today, owning the relationship with your customers so you can better meet their needs and expectations — and strengthen your community at the same time — is crucial.

This isn’t an entirely new phenomenon, and it’s not only reserved for new, agile startup companies. Leading brands like GoPro have shifted their strategy, and are putting more emphasis on owning the end to end experience, and cultivating a meaningful, enduring relationships with their customers on their digital properties.

7. Inclusivity becomes core to your digital strategy

According to the CDC, one in 4 U.S. adults has a disability that impacts major life activities. So if your website and app are not accessible to everyone, that’s 61 million people (in America only) you’re not including in your CX decisions.

The good news is when you design for disability first, you often come up with solutions that are more advanced and smarter than if you hadn’t. Brands everywhere are putting innovation at the service of inclusivity, and are leveraging new technology to future-proof the CX, improve accessibility, and ensure customer-centricity is not just for some, but for everyone.

Final thoughts

We’re heading into a new decade of innovation, digital creativity and intelligent technology. Your best strategists in 2020 and beyond will be your own customers. The key will be to tune into their expectations and align your experience strategy with their goals. 

It’s time to get a new yoga mat, and a new solution to translate customer behavior into profitable CX actions. As you navigate your favorite sites to find the first, think of the dozens of micro-decisions you take as a consumer: click on this image over that one, filter by size, give up halfway through a scroll, login as guest, etc. 

We help brands make the journey to digital wellness more seamless and satisfying. The rest is up to you.

 

 

Hero Image via Shutterstock, by Boiarkina Marina