'This is CX' reviews the best practices of building a disciplined customer experience program in a way that creates real business value.

Each episode includes a discussion on a key CX topic, while also highlighting tools that CX practitioners can use, and how CX helps address key challenges our clients are facing.

Your hosts:

  • Michael Manfredo, Principal, Customer Experience
  • Paul Hagen, Senior Principal, Customer Experience


Issues that we hear most frequently from clients center around the need to respond to market changes in a quick/agile way, what they should do with the vast amount of customer data that is being created on a daily basis, and how changing customer expectations influence the internal employee experience. We’ll tackle these challenges and continue to highlight the best of the best (and occasionally the worst) of customer experience. We will also feature our industry, business, and technology partners on the podcast to discuss how CX is impacting areas of business and technology they are dealing with on a day-to-day basis.

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In this episode, Mike and Paul are joined by Eric Freshour, a Senior Manager in West Monroe’s Organizational Change Management practice, to discuss the role of employee engagement in the success of large-scale customer-centric transformations and the importance of a Voice of the Employee capability to have a pulse on the thoughts and emotions of your employees.

In this episode, Paul and Mike talk about what it is customer success, why it’s important to businesses, and how it relates back to customer experience. During this discussion, Paul and Mike talk about how these two functions within the organization can work together and learn from each other to help the organization deliver a positive customer experience and build longer, more loyal relationships with their customers (with some key statistics) by ensuring their success when using an organization’s product or service. They also suggest to CX leaders outside of the B2B tech industry to borrow ideas from this new set of practices.

In this episode, Mike and Paul are joined by colleague Alex Foucre-Stimes, a Manager in West Monroe’s Customer Experience practice, to discuss the use of the same human-centered design tools we use to improve customer experiences - including personas, journey maps, “customer” research, etc. - to ensure success in improving employee experiences from recruitment and onboarding through technology initiatives (e.g., employee collaboration or portal platforms, Microsoft Office 365, CRM, and core business platforms).

In this special “CX Day” episode, Mike and Paul are joined by special guest Heidi Shelton – Senior Director, User Experience at Sephora – to discuss the evolution of her career focus from “user experience” to “experience design and optimization” while helping transform large organizations into becoming more customer and employee centric, and highlighting the impact that a better employee experience has on delivering a better customer experience.

In this episode, Mike and Paul discuss employee experience: what it is, what it means for organizations, and its impact on customer experience. There are a number of terms out there related to EX (employee engagement, experience, empowerment, etc.), and we discuss how they are the same and not, and how companies can start to address EX efforts within their organization.
In this episode, Mike and Paul discuss business-to-business, or B2B, customer experience (and B2B2C or other business models) and the impact of individuals' B2C customer experiences on it. As part of this discussion, they discuss the similarities and differences across the core CX competencies (strategy, customer understanding, governance, measurement, and delivery), including the different challenges these B2B organization face.
In this episode, Mike and Paul discuss the CX Operating Model: what it is, why an organization needs one, and the components that are required to build one. During their discussion, they talk about the purpose of the Operating Model (the "charter"), how the operating model helps make the organization's CX North Star real, the people and structure of the CX function, the processes required to make decisions (governance), metrics to show success, and core tools for the CX Operating Model.
In this episode, Mike and Paul are joined by John Sprunger, a Senior Manager in West Monroe's Technology practice to talk about Augmented Reality - what it is, why it's valuable, how to get started, and what challenges exist, ultimately discussing the potential impact on CX by delivering new experiences via Augmented Reality.
In this episode, Mike and Paul revisit the topic of business agility, the advantage it can provide organizations when done properly, and the role CX leaders and functions can play in driving agility within organizations. They discuss some of the results identified from research completed by West Monroe Partners and the CXPA, including what are top challenges for achieving more business agility, who is leading these initiatives within organizations, and top reasons and tools that make CX Leaders successful in leading these initiatives within organizations.
In this episode, Mike and Paul welcome Mike Rowland, a Director in West Monroe's Customer Experience ractice and leader of the CX Strategy team, to discuss a broader CX measurement framework to demonstrate the value that CX can deliver to an organization and its customers. We recap what CX measurement is and how using the "Balance Scorecard" framework to measure the perception of CX, employee empowerment, and operational efficiencies, and financial outcomes.
In this episode, Mike and Paul are joined by Mark Snyder, a Senior Manager in West Monroe's Operation Excellence practice to talk about Robotics Process Automation - what it is, why it's important, and its impact on an organization's ability to deliver a great customer experience. Mark highlights some of the key challenges that organizations are facing while implementing RPA, including a discussion around the impact of automation to employees.
In this episode, Mike and Paul are joined by John Sprunger, a Senior Manager in West Monroe's Technology practice to talk about conversational interfaces and chatbots - what they are, why they're valuable, how to get started, what challenges exist. At the end, we talk about the potential impact on CX of talking to machines, instead of humans, and the ability to deliver a great experience to customers.
In this episode, Mike and Paul "gaze into the CX crystal ball" and talk about some trends they're seeing in the market and its impact on customer experience, including chatbots and conversational interfaces, robotics, augmented reality, and the like.
In this episode, Mike and Paul are once again joined by Dan Magestro from West Monroe's Analytics practice to discuss "journey analytics", including the value of using data to help personalize customers' experiences by measuring and understanding the current experience and predicting and prescribing "next best actions" to deliver a more effortless experience.
In this special holiday-themed episode, Paul and Mike discuss the importance of organizations showing their thankfulness for customers (i.e. no customers = no business) and the different ways and times this is done by CX leaders, from highlighting customer success to gamification. They also highlight the importance of organizations thanking their employees, as they drive key experiences for customers.
In this episode, Paul and Mike are joined by Jamie Fishman, an Experienced Consultant in West Monroe's Advanced Analytics practice, to talk about how organizations use Descriptive Analytics to better under their customers, including who they are, what behaviors they show, and what drives their experience. Jamie and Paul walk through the analytical analysis to begin segmenting customers based on the data that companies have about their customers and some of the challenges organizations have when trying to complete this type of analysis.
In this episode, Mike is joined by Dan Magestro, Senior Manager in West Monroe Partners' Advanced Analytics practice, to talk about the Enterprise Analytics Landscape required to support data-driven CX. In our discussion, Dan walks us through some of the core components of the Enterprise Analytics Landscape, including the importance of having an articulated strategy around data and analytics within the organization, the right leadership and governance, and a foundational set of capabilities and technology to shift an organization towards a "data-driven" organization.
In this episode, Paul and Mike introduce the first episode of our "Customer Experience and Data Analytics" series, in which we discuss some of the reasons why organizations are looking to leverage the data that they have to ultimately provide a better experience with more value to their customers. We discuss the three high-level types of analytics that organizations can use to deliver insights, including Descriptive, Predictive, and Prescriptive Analytics.
In our sixteenth episode, we are joined by West Monroe’s Organizational Change Management West Coast SME Bill Kirst. We dive into the world of managing large transformational change within organizations, discussing different tools that can be used to help increase the overall success of these change initiatives – including CX transformations. During our conversation, we discuss how empathy is a crucial tool to be used to understand both the customer and the employee during these activities, and how poor communication can lead to break-downs in successfully managing change.

In our fifteenth episode, we begin exploring the importance of building a customer-centric culture to ensure a successful customer experience transformation, including how organizations define roles and responsibilities, hiring employees, training employees, and communicating to employees through a customer-centric lens. We also discuss how culture grows out of the CX governance structure that is initially implemented when an organization begins its CX journey.

In this episode, we continue our discussion about CX Governance and talk about the various leaders/sponsors of CX within organizations, specifically diving into the role and responsibilities of Chief Customer Officers (or CCOs, or Chief Experience Officers, or any number of titles by which they go by). We also explore the different ways CX organizations are structured.

In our thirteenth episode, we discuss the framework of CX governance, specifically the different people, processes, and technology needed to manage customer experience within an organization through accountability. During the conversation, we highlight CX steering committees, their function within the governance structure, their make-up, and their role in decision making. We also talk about the role of governance vs. the role of culture over the course of an organization’s CX transformation. We wrap up our conversation talking about CX project portfolio to help organization understand what and where they need to invest in CX.

In our twelfth episode, we dive into a discussion around business agility and innovation, what it is, why its important for companies to begin adopting this model, first steps to make the changes, and how these concepts support organizations' customer experience transformations. As part of this discussion, we talk about a recent article about Amazon's CEO describing how its most popular feature was not something asked for by customers, and highlight some different innovation design toolkits that are publicly available.
In our eleventh episode, we discuss the art of the survey, CX professionals' go-to tool to begin measuring customer experience, specifically to understand what makes up a good survey and how we can start to reduce the dreaded survey-fatigue. In addition, we chat a little bit about some of the issues United has dealt with and talk about text analytic tools to help analyze surveys.
In our tenth episode, we begin exploring the foundational Voice of the Customer capability, including what it is, why it’s important, how to build a program for it (including our "LARA" framework), and how to take action based on the feedback. We wrap up by talking about Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) tools to help execute VoC programs.
In our ninth episode, we discuss how organizations can begin measuring CX, or the customers’ "perception" of experiences with an organization, including the different types and levels of metrics. We also talk about the "unintended consequences" that result when redesigning experiences through the newer Starbucks mobile ordering experience. We finish by talking about CX Scorecards as our tool of the week.
In our eighth episode, we conclude our two-part series focusing on customer journey mapping by talking about the different uses of journey mapping, including making strategic business decisions and executing organizational CX governance. We also talk about how we use journey mapping to identify key metrics used to measure CX, and the future of journey mapping.
In our seventh episode, we begin a two-part series focusing on customer journey mapping, a key tool use by CX professionals, including the different ways we use journey maps to help organizations understand their current experiences and begin designing future experiences. We also comment on some of the mergers and acquisition activities and its impact on customer experience for Virgin America, and talk about customer "jobs to be done" to help organizations understand what customers are actually trying to do by using their products and services.
In our sixth episode, we discuss ways to tie customer experience back to a quantifiable ROI, and the components necessary for building a successful CX business case. We also discuss some of the behavioral economic theories behind recent events with Uber in our "CX in the News" segment.

In our fifth episode, we take some time exploring one of our primary customer research tools, customer personas, including what it is and our methodologies for developing them - both quantitatively and qualitatively. We also highlight who we follow and what we read to keep up with the latest CX happenings, and talk about how companies can gather customer feedback through our "CX Tool of the Week".

In our fourth episode, we have our first guest host - Pat McClure, Principal in West Monroe Partners CX Strategy practice - to help us talk about Customer Research Methods, what they are, how they can be used, and talks about our "Triangle of Truth" POV. We return to our "CX in the News" segment to talk about Nordstrom and the perception challenges they've recently faced, and highlight the importance of using "observations" in our "CX Tool of the Week" segment.
In our third episode, we explore the different core CX competencies that organizations need to build within to ensure overall success of the CX programs, including Strategy, Design, Measurement, Governance, and Customer-centric Culture. We talk about some of our daily experiences through the use of "clues", and we highlight maturity models as our CX Tool of the Week.
In our second episode, we discuss this importance of defining a customer experience strategy, what a good strategy includes, the importance of the "CX North Star", and how we help organization's go about successfully defining their strategy. We introduce a new segment, "CX in the News", where we talk about some recent updates in the airlines industry.
On Inauguration Day 2017, our inaugural episode of this podcast focuses on what Design Thinking is and how its used to intentionally design new customer experiences. We also cover some real-world experiences that companies may want to re-think ("Experiences that Suck").