ShiftCX Event Frankfurt

Ksenia Khalina: Customer Experience Marketing requires a holistic approach.

Digital networking continues to advance and a holistic customer experience, which is coordinated across all channels, is more important than ever today. The omnichannel age has entered. With Shift/CX 2020 in Frankfurt am Main, this change in marketing, sales and service can be actively shaped. In addition to the ideal opportunity of experience exchange, the specialist conference offers various project experience reports, special keynotes, deep-dive workshops and in-depth discussions on the subject of „Customer Passion“.

We have invited Ksenia Khalina, former Head of Global Trade & Shopper Marketing at Heineken, to give us some insights into her project experiences and to share her knowledge at the event on 25th March 2020. In her keynote, Ksenia Khalina talks about the customer passion as a guiding principle for the omnichannel customer journey. In the following interview, she explains what this lecture is about and gives us 5 key recommendations on how to approach the change of the customer journey.

Ms Khalina – Ksenia Khalina on Customer Experienceyou are having one of the keynotes at Shift/CX 2020. Can you please provide us with three keywords, that describe your talk the best?

I will be talking about Customer Passion that is:

  • Customer-data-driven,
  • Brand-led,
  • Channel & Occasion-relevant

(well, a bit more words 😊).

In your former role – how did the Customer Experience idea change the marketing approach?

Customer Experience Marketing requires a holistic approach to the full customer journey. If the responsibilities of creating Customer experiences for different parts of the journey are in different hands (departments) of an organization then as the result and overall customer experience is “broken”, not seamless and not efficient at the end.  Therefore, for Marketing or Commercial departments of any companies (including FMCG or CPG companies – selling the mass products to consumers) there is a strong need to rethink a traditional organization set-up where brand marketing, digital marketing, shopper marketing, sales, and e-commerce, customer experience departments very often operate in silos. These companies must transform and reorganize themselves to achieve integrated Customer Experience along the complete omnichannel consumer journey. To achieve maximum efficiency, there have to be a function/department, which would overlook the whole journey and ensure the integrated customer activations. This was exactly my idea and task during my last almost 5-year assignment in Global Heineken: to transform Shopper Marketing in the function that would be end-responsible for the omnichannel Consumer/ Shopper Journey.

One of your key topics is the convergence of the funnel and the change of the customer journey. What is the challenge behind this?

Yes, the conversion funnel is much more converged today than two or even one year ago. The reasons for that are first of all, a non-stop growth of on-line selling (I mean not only e-commerce, but social-selling as well) and omni-channelization of customer behaviour. Time between seeing the brand/product ad or info and the purchasing decision moment became very short recently, and can be measured in minutes quite often. The challenge connected to this is clear – if you are not ready, not sending recruiting stimuli and not triggering the right behavior at the right moment; and not suggesting quick and convenient transaction – then you simply miss the momentum. You miss sales and you don’t recruit new customers and even can lose your “loyal” ones.

What is your recommendation on how to approach this situation?

Well, there are several recommendations and I will speak in more details about them in my presentation on the 25th of March. Now I will mention just 5 key of them:

1) Keep your focus on recruiting new or lapsed customers and re-recruiting the “loyal” customers. Don’t treat your loyal customers as if they are with you forever now, earn their love and re-recruit them again and again!

2) Start with data, continue with data: start with Customer insights (needs and expectations), continue with understanding their barriers, don’t forget about the behavioural triggers and stimuli. Only then come up with integrated activations to deliver the most relevant and distinctive experiences for all parts and touchpoints of the Customer journey. Analyze the efficiency and learn (with machine or without).

3) Customer Experience should always come from a Brand – it should deliver a Brand Promise, be based on Brand values, deliver a Brand Reward (rational and emotional). Creativity is a must as creativity triggers empathy, good emotions and purchase decision at the end.

4) Know the context – only deep understanding of the context – occasions and full channel landscape – allows to be relevant, convenient, quick.

5) Ensure maximal reach –brand message/ activation/ engagement should reach maximum of the customer base. Remember that engaged employees help effectively increase the reach.

At Shift/CX we are discussing the need for having a “customer passion” throughout the organization to provide a true customer experience. What have been your experiences on this?

Well, I need to be honest with you – I had different experiences during my professional life. In some cases there was a lot of talk about being customer-oriented, customer-passionate. However, in reality those were just words and people from different departments were operating in silos having different business KPIs not linked to the customer happiness purpose and objectives. Or sometimes you would hear from top management that cost cutting or shareholders gains are the first priority… instead of consistent prioritization of customer satisfaction. To my understanding and experience, Customer Passion should start from the top, should be part of the company long-term goals, which are then translated in shorter-term objectives and people’s KPIs.

Recently I was consulting the CEO of one of the biggest relocation companies in Austria, in development of the business transformation strategy and setting the long-term goals. So, instead of answering the question “where do we see the business in 5 years?”, I suggested the CEO to think about “how can we make our current and potential customers happier in 5 years from now?”. It was great to see how the question about customer happiness streamlined the thinking in innovational/ transformational direction and helped to discover new doors to new business opportunities. Which consequently could help transform the business, i.e. reshuffle & redirect the budgets/investments; create new customer products and experiences; modernize business processes; optimize costs; improve people’s capabilities, collaboration and engagement; attract new talents. And as a result generate higher revenues, increase the footprint and market share, and deliver higher profits.

What are your topics and questions that attendees can come up to discuss with you at Shift/CX?

I would be happy to share my experience, thoughts and answer the questions about various aspects of Customer Journey and Customer Experience, be it:

  • How far we need to go with Personalization? Is it feasible to identify too many different Personas and to activate too many different journeys?
  • Is it enough to only consider rational customer needs and expectations? How about the emotional ones?
  • What about touchpoint activations, how many of those CX Marketers should focus at? Role of Occasion-based marketing in Customer Experience.
  • What role does Brand play in the Customer Experience? Many activities/ experiences seem to be very “non-branded” like customer service, chatbots or logistical, payment experiences? Why shall we care about Brand in these situations?
  • Channel landscape: why is it important to have an Omnichannel strategy?
  • Long- or short-term efficiency when it comes to Customer Experience?
  • Why Creativity is so important in Customer Experience activations?
  • Customer Experience role and place in organization? (especially in CPG companies)
  • Why do we need to care not only about Customer engagement but also and first of all, about employee engagement?

Other topics which are close to my heart are questions related to Branding, Shopper and Trade Marketing, E-Commerce and overall Digital Business transformation.

What are your key expectations for participating in the event?

I am looking forward to hearing presentations of other keynote speakers Dr. Michael Wu about “Unlocking Customer Passion With Big Data & Science” and Phil Winters on why the Customer First approach needs the Customer Passion. I also expect to learn from the practical cases about:

  • successful use of chatbots and underlying data-management;
  • key success factors and optimization of Customer Experience & Engagement in organizations;
  • role of a brand in Customer Experience;
  • role of AI and machine learning vs. role of a person in the CX/ UX process.

Looking at the Agenda I’m confident there will be a lot of very interesting and thought-provoking presentations, conversations and workshops. And as always, last but not least, I expect a lot from the networking!


Thank you for your answers!

Sie wollen Näheres zu dem diesjährigen Motto der Shift/CX erfahren? Lesen Sie auch unseren Blogbeitrag: Customer Passion bedeutet Leidenschaft für kundenorientiertes Handeln!

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