Businesses are now more educated about CX, says Chalhoub Group official

Companies are now forced to look at customer experience in its new reality rather than just providing a good service and a great product.


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Bernadette Geagea. — Supplied photo
Bernadette Geagea. — Supplied photo

Published: Fri 29 Jul 2022, 9:47 PM

Last updated: Sun 31 Jul 2022, 4:33 PM

Khaleej Times is all set to host its prestigious CX Evolve 2022 Summit, scheduled on August 25 in Dubai. The event will highlight new strategies in the customer experience sector and as part of the CX Evolve 2022 build-up, Bernadette Geagea, head of customer experience operations at Chalhoub Group shared her insights on how the sector is poised to witness growth and disruptive trends.

Bernadette is a people’s-person striving to develop others to excel and a firm believer and practitioner of effective cross-cultural communication, anchored with ethical principles in any decision-making.

Over 20 years of comprehensive and in-depth professional experience in mono and hybrid customer experience, omnichannel, digital marketing, Ecommerce, operational logistics, retail, and e-retail. Driving high-performing team management, enhancing customer experience, and manifesting growth and profit margins.

 She is described as the “Chief Energy Officer” by her colleagues.

What has been your most significant CX achievement in recent months?

It is not one thing but a combination of things, in one hand driving through the digitalisation road to reduce the customer effort, providing a seamless and instantaneous transition between different units (sales, OPS, CS, IT etc) to complete the journey and on the other hand as equally important the capitalizing on an excellent human intervention in different touchpoints when needed and requested.

The top challenge that keeps you awake at night, and how are you solving that?

The biggest risk from a CX perspective is system downtime or process failure such as things falling through the crack… Keeping the high luxury service offering and standard high while keeping up with our constant customers' behaviours changes. We should not fail in providing a memorable experience in every interaction as a distinct offering would make me have sleepless nights.

Over the past years, the CX landscape has dramatically changed. How much has it changed in your perspective?

The landscape and scope were always there, I believe businesses/companies are now more educated about CX.

For decades, customers always wanted to be treated with special care and not to be treated as a number. I believe the fundamentals are still the same however with digital transformation factor upon us the CX landscape and scope became wider with a variety of options and alternatives. Covid did accelerate the IT evolution however it did make our customers rethink of values and priorities. For example, Speed of resolution, Empathy, Personalised service are even more important than pre-Covid adding on top customers also are now choosing the brands based on what they are doing on main interest topics such as climate change, how they treat their employees etc?

Companies are now forced to look at customer experience in its new reality rather than just providing a good service and a great product. You will not be able to draw the customer journey map the same way we use to in the recent past. The CX wheel is moving at a high velocity and things like how the customer interacts with the product, what they think of the experience, and how and where did they gather the information. Instead of creating a product or service and looking for a customer that needs it, the NEW CX demands companies to start the journey from the customer's need and then build a valuable product or service that addresses or fulfill it.

How do you see the future of CX, and what challenges need to be solved to reach that “elusive” next level in CX?

CX is the center of every business; it has changed a lot recently which makes it very difficult to predict how it will be in the future. However, what I am sure about is that the basic elements will remain the same, it is all about building trust, relationships, addressing the needs, always empathetic, reducing efforts, it should have the right balance between AI and human touch.

What should organisations do towards getting better RoI?

In the region, we have started seeing more and more companies giving attention to CX however I believe companies need to put behind it the right culture, investments, and drive to stay ahead of the competition. CX did and will always present a competitive advantage if it is integrated at every level of the business and not as a good to have a philosophy.

What is your message to CX community?

The customer should be always be the centre of everything we do.

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