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Elevating UX and CX Through Innovation: Washington, D.C. Panel Event Recap

By: Bonnie Coté


This month, SEI D.C. brought together local customer experience and digital innovation pundits to share industry insights and predictions for the future in a discussion-based panel.

 Customer experience (CX) may make all the difference between a thriving business and a failing one. According to a 2017 Forrester report, CX leaders see 5.1 times higher revenue growth than competitors who lag behind, and customers are 4.5 times more likely to pay a premium for an “excellent” experience.

SEI consultants regularly observe the ways in which improved CX transforms business results, which is why we’ve grown increasingly passionate about CX over the years. Our Washington, D.C. office has a dedicated UX/CX capability team composed of consultants who leverage their digital innovation expertise to future-proof clients’ customer-facing digital channels.

Increasing demand for these services inspired six D.C.-based consultants — Bonnie Coté, Patrick Donegan, Tim Gagnon, Cathy Morrison, Matt Robinson, and Jeremy Yanowitz — to put together a CX and digital innovation panel discussion, offering current clients, potential clients, and local practitioners the opportunity to engage with thought leaders in the space.

Food, Drinks, and Thought-Provoking Discussion

On the evening of Thursday, February 6, four D.C.-based CX thought leaders — Shane Clark of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Lauren Kessler of PenFed Credit Union, Chris Cary of Event Farm, and Harry Blodgett of GoCanvas — served as panelists at the inaugural CX/UX event at WeWork Navy Yard.

The event kicked off at 6 p.m. with a networking happy hour, offering the 50+ attendees the opportunity to socialize and form meaningful professional connections. At 6:45, Cathy Morrison introduced the panelists and opened the floor to audience questions.

“Almost immediately, one attendee had a really good question about how to create seamless experiences across different generations,” Cathy remembers.

Chris Cary offered a thoughtful response based on his experience at Event Farm. The organization is an event and experiential marketing platform that regularly supplies large events with connected wristbands, which customers can use for everything from gaining admission to purchasing refreshments.

While customers of all ages appreciate the ease and convenience of these wearables, Event Farm’s clients have found that older customers tend to ask more questions about the wristbands, creating inefficiencies during the check-in process. As such, Event Farm knows to advise its clients to increase the number of check-in staff if they expect a high volume of older customers.

“Know your stakeholder and plan for generational variation,” Cary said. “You need to recreate each customer group’s experience to ensure it’s seamless — because once it becomes a frustration, you’ve lost them.”

This was just one standout moment from the Q&A session, which spanned subjects ranging from digital design principles for streamlined usability to experiential marketing and the evolving world of the ideal customer experience.

Leveraging Insights for Improved CX

Valuable insights regarding user experience create more positive, memorable interactions for customers and providers alike — often elevating brand trust and driving the organization’s bottom line in the process. Unfortunately, elevating the customer experience is often the last item to check off an organization’s to-do list. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, however, no company can afford to push CX to the wayside.

As panelist Lauren Kessler put it, “CX is not just an afterthought; it’s now changing how we approach, deliver, and retain clients. Questions are being asked at the beginning, not at the end. Experience is what customers want.”

Largely, the event panelists agreed with GoCanvas Senior Product Manager Harry Blodgett in his claim that the future of CX is “convenient, personalized, [and] agile.” CMS’s Shane Clark added: “Rapid prototyping is now the norm to ensure the customer experience is driven by actual needs, not legacy processes or assumptions.” The consensus? Integrating customer-centricity into the DNA of a business is key to ensuring its long-term viability.

Thanks to the highly-engaged attendees and the UX/CX and digital innovation experts who served as panelists, SEI’s first CX event was a smashing success. We look forward to putting on more events in the future, and we hope to see you there!

Bonnie Cote

Bonnie Coté

Managing Director

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