If Crystal D’Cuhna seems particularly at home talking about customer experience design, it might be because she first got involved in CX by helping others create a home of their own.
After moving from the retail sector to construction around 2009, Crystal found herself recognizing the different personas that make up the homebuyer community. These include first-time buyers, those who are downsizing or some other transition in their lives. In every case, there were emotional drivers behind those buying decisions, which was when Crystal began reimagining her role as sales training manager.
“Now I understand I was designing a customer experience process –changing the way we sold so as not to be so structured or rigid, but in fact be more custom and personalized and crafted and curated for each customer type,” she says. “I was creating a journey map. I wouldn’t have called it that at the time, but that was what we started doing.”
Today, Crystal has built upon what she learned and has focused on educating others. As president and CEO of The INSIDE View, for example, she provides professional development programs to help ignite and inspire those in sales to better serve customers. She also works as a leadership coach and was a founding member of Women in CX.
More recently, Crystal was invited to join the board of CXPA Toronto, which seemed like the perfect opportunity to introduce her to the wider membership through this newsletter. The following interview has been edited and condensed.
All leaders have areas they should probably work on, but what have you found have been important for those in CX right now, whether they have a formal CX title or are just leading teams that are very customer-facing?
Empathy is so critical. You know, most leaders want to coach but they don't know what it means to be a coach. And often people are put into those leadership roles because of succession. It was the next step in their career, but they never signed up to be somebody who inspires people and motivates people. If the leaders are not ignited,or the employees are not excited, then there's no point in trying to delight the customer.
What excites you about joining the CXPA Toronto Board, and what do you feel you have to contribute?
I’ve been a part of the CXPA for a number of years now, and it’s been incredible to see how it has grown. The one area I think we could focus more on is the needs of small businesses. We all know that 89% of businesses are small businesses, and so I feel like that's a group – particularly in the Canadian landscape – I’d like to see become more involved in the CXPA. In some cases, CX is not even on their radar. They just believe it's customer service, and they're not really understanding the strategy behind experience design. And conversely, there’s probably more content and resources the CXPA could provide small businesses.
Another issue all organizations need to put more focus on is diversity and inclusion. Just the other day I was driving and saw a billboard where a company was advertising “Join our team!” and it had a picture of 20 people on it who all looked the same. They literally put all that money into a billboard that will only touch a single segment of the job market. And this is so connected to CX because customers are expecting companies to be diverse and inclusive, too.
How would you describe the value of being part of an association like CXPA Toronto? Why should our current members tell their peers and colleagues to join?
When you study the success of an organization like Starbucks, you quickly realize that one big piece was that they got influenced from a variety of industries. I think we all need to try looking at it through those different lenses. If you're a tech firm, how great would it be for you to get influenced from the hospitality industry, or from an accounting firm? You get so focused on your own industry, right? CXPA is a great place to meet those people and get that wider perspective.