4 Critical Trends in Customer Experience (CX)

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

How people live, work, and shop has been forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Simply relying on what your company has done in the past is no longer enough to keep consumers happy. It’s critical that organizations adjust to the changing consumer landscape and consistently deliver exceptional experiences. Companies that are ignorant of rising trends risk losing loyal customers to more future-facing competitors. Thus, here are four customer experience trends marketers should keep an eye out for:

1. Touchless CX is here to stay

Customers want to make purchases with as little interaction as possible. Touchless experiences such as contactless payments, curbside pick-up, and touch-free restrooms are not only safer but more convenient. In fact, customers want touchless options once the crisis subsides as it has proven to make their lives easier and more efficient. According to GetApp, 82% of customers expect contactless experiences in 2021 and beyond. Investing in making these experiences as seamless as possible will be key to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

2. Virtual assistants are the new app

Voice technology has come a long way. Roughly 1 in 4 Americans now own a smart speaker and over 110 million use a virtual assistant such as Alexa, Google, or Siri. Voice is frictionless and offers users almost instantaneous answers and gratification. It’s a hands-free and hassle-free experience, unlike having to download and figure out an app. The rising popularity of voice technology means marketers and CX specialists should explore ways to leverage voice to make the customer experience better. This will mean they will need to regularly fine-tune their SEO strategy to optimize for voice search. As voice recognition continues to improve, and usage of voice assistants grows, it will be imperative to have a strong voice SEO strategy to stay ahead of the competition.

3. Consumers want contactless, not human-less

While contactless experiences are preferred at checkout, companies must still provide real human support when technology fails. Few things are more infuriating to a customer than having to wait or speak to a robot for help. One bad support experience can sour an otherwise positive experience. Scouring help documentation or navigating complicated system trees to reach a customer support representative is annoying and time-consuming. If your company has call support capabilities, considering doing away with automated voice-system robots altogether or offer callers the chance to “press zero to immediately reach a customer service agent.” In-person help is the most ideal, but if that’s not an option, live text/chat can also bridge the contactless support gap.

4. Dynamic personalization

90% of U.S. consumers find marketing personalization very or somewhat appealing. Dynamic personalization is content that adapts to each individual customer and understands their purchasing habits and behaviors, so it is correctly modified to enhance their experiences and produce conversions. Investing in dynamic personalization can help marketers optimize the consumer experience so that every interaction your customer has with your brand is personal and custom-tailored to their individual needs and interests. Simple ways to leverage dynamic personalization are personalized recommendations, personalized email offers, and intelligent ads (offer a perfectly timed code or discount to convince your customer to pull the purchase trigger). By ensuring your website or app only presents useful or relevant material, you can build trust, improve your brand and encourage repeat business.

This content has been adapted from the Critical Trends in Customer Experience: CX Futurist Blake Morgan on What Consumers Now Expect webinar hosted by AdWeek.

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Women in Leadership: Laura Smith, Hertz Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Customer Experience

Laura Smith

Noetic’s Women in Leadership series highlights strong women leaders across industries who inspire us personally and professionally – as leaders, collaborators, and humans. They are recognized and influential in their respective fields and they leverage their positions of leadership to uplift, encourage, and support other women. 

This month we are proud to feature Laura Smith, Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Customer Experience at Hertz.

Of your achievements, what makes you most proud?

Believing I didn’t have to choose between my career and family. I believe you can be brilliant at both. Nine years ago, I took a huge risk and moved to the U.S. with a newborn baby and a 3-year-old to a new role, new country, and new life. While this came with sacrifice, I am proud of everything I’ve achieved since then.

What is your rule of thumb when it comes to leadership?

Listen more than you speak. It’s hard to bring people with you if you aren’t clued into where they are. Take time to pay attention to the smallest details, so you can paint a big picture and a bright future.

Who has had the biggest impact on you and your career?

I’ve learned a ton from amazing individuals around the globe over the past 20+ years who have taken time to share their wisdom, feedback, and advice. One such piece of wisdom was during a conversation about moving up in the organization. They said, ‘Find the work that needs to be done and do that work. All good things will follow.’ That advice really mattered and made a difference to me.

My husband has also made a big impact. He is my No. 1 fan, biggest believer, and supporter. I couldn’t do half of what I do without him.

What has been your greatest lesson in the workplace?

Don’t shy away from difficult decisions. Call mistakes early, tackle issues head-on, and deal with people issues swiftly. In all those situations, be honest about why, communicate changes transparently, and share learnings so others can grow from these experiences, too.

How do you strike an optimal work/life balance?

As a busy wife, mom and executive, I’m very conscious of balance but there are no perfect scales. Dinner together with my family is rarely missed when I’m not traveling, and breakfasts to catch up on the weekend are sacred. But I don’t make it to all school events, and we have do-overs if we can’t celebrate an occasion on the exact day. I’ve learned I don’t have to do it all, and the importance of breathing and letting it go.

Workouts are non-negotiable for me to help destress, even if that means 4:30 a.m. starts so I can fit it in. At work, it’s important that meetings have a purpose and agenda and that I’m taking time daily to develop my team, so I have a solid support network I can count on.

I also strongly believe in all the ‘Rs – relaxing, rejuvenating, recharging – so it’s important for me and my team to take time off so we can all stay at the top of our game!

What are you most passionate about outside of work?

I have major wanderlust! My list of places to travel to is growing by the day. I also love to be outside and enjoy running, biking, and hiking…familiar paths, and discovering new trails.

What’s your advice to young females beginning their careers?

Don’t fall into the trap of being the note-taker or organizer. Be prepared, know your audience, anticipate questions and problems to be solved. Share your voice with answers, ideas, and solutions. Ask for help when you need it and don’t hold back. The ladder is high and very climbable.

If you had to do anything over, what would it be and why?

I often reflect on what I could or should have done differently after a conversation, an important meeting, or at the end of the year. But I don’t have any regrets. I believe in diving in, making progress, and that done is better than perfect. I reflect, take insights, and apply new learnings as I go. It never ends and is a continuous process.

What are some of the challenges women continue to face in their careers?

Having the confidence to speak up. I’ve had some difficult situations where I wished I would have sought advice or spoken up sooner. Having a strong network inside and outside of work and the courage to speak up and seek input on how to navigate challenging situations is not a sign of weakness, it’s a vital part of self-validation, growth, and moving forward.

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Noetic News: Welcome to the Team, Nellie!

Nellie Ryan

Hello, my name is Nellie and I’ve been a longtime friend of the Noetic team and a big admirer of their work and now I’m thrilled to be their newest Consultant!

I’m grateful that I’ve built a career doing something that I truly enjoy. It all started with a summer internship at a small advertising agency working for a powerhouse female marketing leader that inspired me to pursue marketing as my career. I love all the possibilities and challenges that marketing offers. I love that it’s science and art. And that a strong brand can connect people, spark emotion, and create an attachment that drives engagement and delivers growth. I love that it moves very fast, fostering curiosity as you chase new approaches, new platforms, and new tools that can drive more marketing value.

That internship sparked my obsession with marketing and a 22-year (and counting) career where I’ve worked at advertising agencies on big brands like McDonald’s and at Discovery where I worked with talented teams to build and shape TV brands, digital content platforms, and audiences with multi-media strategies and award-winning campaigns. Most recently, I spent time at Amazon Music where I focused on global engagement marketing. And now a new chapter with Noetic!


Noetic’s values, process, and the big energy I felt from this small team is how I knew this was the right place for me. All the reasons I’m passionate about marketing were affirmed in each conversation I had with team members. But I’m most excited to come full circle and be able to learn from and work for another powerhouse female marketing leader, Nancie McDonnell Ruder! I’m eager to provide value and partner with the Noetic team and clients to strengthen brands and marketing power from the inside out.

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Noetic News: Welcome to the team, Ginny!

Ginny Townsend

My name is Ginny and I’m the newest Consultant at Noetic. With a background of 15+ years in the marketing and strategy world, I’m excited to be a part of this powerhouse of a Team. 

As I’ve been telling my personal and professional networks about joining Noetic, the word I keep using to describe this firm is “home.” Finding a culture like Noetic’s and finding a team of driven professionals who feel like kindred spirits is rare and I’m grateful to be here. During the interviewing and onboarding processes, I was struck by the consistent level of thoughtfulness around each interaction, and I continue to be impressed by the level of excellence with which Noetic operates internally and externally.

With an ALM in Finance from Harvard and BA in Marketing Management from Bellevue, my passion lives at the intersection of marketing strategy and finance. This is where great brands remain viable and are able to continue serving their clients at the highest level. 

I’m grateful to have already had a rewarding and engaging career doing in-house marketing, agency-side marketing, and most recently marketing and strategy consulting. In these roles, I’ve had the honor of working with brands large and small that span from financial services and brokerage firms to municipalities, to prestigious universities, and pretty much everything in between. 

In addition to this work, I’m an advisory board member of a legaltech firm, I’m an angel investor, and a Kickstarter Alum. In my free time, I greatly enjoy hiking with my family.

From this varied work, I bring best practices from different industries and my belief in the power of elegant simplicity and “win:win:win” to the Team and its clients. I look forward to working and providing incredible value alongside my fellow best-in-class consultants here at Noetic.

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Noetic News: Welcome to the Team, Madelaine!

Madelaine Santa

Halo, สวัสดีค่ะ (sawadee kha), 你好 (nǐ hǎo)!

My name is Madelaine and I am the latest addition to the team at Noetic. A little bit about me: I was born in Jakarta, but I grew up in Southeast Asia. I lived most of my life in Bali, Bangkok, Singapore and I’m now based in Washington, D.C. I studied Advertising in undergrad and I have over 5 years of experience as a creative professional and general generalist. Some of my passion projects include designing an exhibition for a social entrepreneurship expolaunching a home-cooking app, and directing a zero-waste fashion editorial.

Recently I graduated with a Master’s from Georgetown University, which is where I met Noetic’s founder Nancie McDonell Ruder (she’s an Adjunct Professor in one of my courses). I was about a month away from finishing my program when I discovered that her firm was looking for a Junior Consultant. The position seemed a perfect fit and I knew consulting was an environment where my affinity for being interested in well… everything!! was an asset and not a weakness. 

During the interview process, I was blown away at the caliber of the people on Noetic’s team. Yes, they were smart and experienced professionals, but they were also genuinely kind and empathetic. They saw beyond my relative inexperience and saw that I could bring my drive and enthusiasm to the table. They assured me that I didn’t have to know everything from the get-go. It was more important to stay curious, ask questions, and just be my authentic self. Even though I was the one being interviewed, I left each one feeling more energized and confident in myself.

Two weeks in and I still feel this way every time I speak to my colleagues. They’ve embraced me wholeheartedly and they’re still reminding me to observe and absorb. I’m also delighted to report that at Noetic, the company values aren’t just words on a website. It truly is ingrained into our process. It’s used when communicating with each other and with clients. It’s referred to when we hit a hurdle. Throughout my initial onboarding, my colleagues have exemplified Help & Kindness First by taking the time to Zoom call with me one-on-one and answering my many questions with patience and grace. And on my end, I’ve been working on maintaining a Curious Spirit and Dynamic Positivity as I adjust to my new role. 

Right now, I’m looking forward to navigating the dynamic world of consulting, working with amazing clients, and getting to know the Noetic team better (I’ll be meeting them all in person later this month). Words cannot express how honored I am to be here and I’m excited to utilize my creativity, problem-solving skills, and passion for excellence to help build and strengthen brands from the inside out.

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Women in Leadership: Michelle Russo, Chief Communications Officer at the United States Chamber of Commerce

Michelle Russo

Noetic’s Women in Leadership series highlights strong women leaders across industries who inspire us personally and professionally – as leaders, collaborators, and humans. They are recognized and influential in their respective fields and they leverage their positions of leadership to uplift, encourage, and support other women. 

This month we are proud to feature Michelle Russo, Chief Communications Officer at the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Of your achievements, what makes you most proud?

I often advise younger executives to be fearless in their careers. The only risk in taking chances is failing to learn. As I reflect on my own career highlights and choices, I’m proud that I’ve ‘walked the talk.’ I’ve taken on roles and responsibilities that ‘on paper’ I probably had no business taking on, but I did it anyway and learned a lot along the way.

What is your rule of thumb when it comes to leadership?

There are many definitions of leadership. The only one that matters to me is this: A leader is someone people WANT to follow, not someone people HAVE to follow. Underscores the importance of influence and inspiration rather than hierarchy.

Who has had the biggest impact on you and your career?

My mother. She put herself through college while raising two little girls. She went on to get an MBA and built a very successful career as a professor and mentor to so many people. My fearlessness stems from her example.

What has been your greatest lesson in the workplace?

The importance of allies. You can’t just be good at what you do. You need people in your corner and at your side.

How do you strike an optimal work/life balance?

Every person has to define ‘optimal’ for themselves. My family is the most important part of my life, but my career has been a lifelong passion. And I never apologize for either.

What are you most passionate about outside of work?

Traveling with my family. Meeting people from different places and experiences.

What’s your advice to young females beginning their careers?

Be fearless! Take chances. Be curious. Be yourself.

If you had to do anything over, what would it be and why?

Nothing. Maybe I would have spent less time sweating the small stuff.

What are some of the challenges women continue to face in their careers?

The Double Standard, although some of it is self-inflicted. I’ve never seen a panel or interview where a male executive is being asked about work/life balance. In turn, I’ve never/rarely heard a male executive raise the subject proactively.  

What is the most important quality we can offer in our day-to-day roles? 

Demonstrate curiosity and continuous learning. My third-grade teacher had a sign in the classroom that set the course for my life: “The only stupid question is the one not asked.” I tell my kids, “I’d rather look stupid than be stupid.”

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Consumers are Ready. Are Your Digital Platforms?

Photo by Firmbee.com on Unsplash

The masks are finally shedding. Refreshed business and social norms are solidifying. Many organizations are re-emerging with a refined vision and product formulated and optimized over the past 14 months. With that enhanced plan solidified, now is the time to optimize your digital strategy towards fueling accessible growth in today’s landscape.  To ensure your digital platforms re-emerge refreshed and ready for what 2021+ brings, we delve into David Rogers’s top strategies to thrive in the digital age.

  1. Access:  How quick, easy and flexible are your digital interactions? Consider everything from load rates, mobility to response times.
  2. Engage:  Is your content sensory, interactive, and relevant to your customer needs? Explore the stickiest part of your brand identity and what makes it special and unique.
  3. Customize: Are there ways to rely more heavily on AI to personalize our interactions with intent? Distill audience segments to prioritize and messaging that resonates.
  4. Connect:  Where is their innate value of consumer or product connection? Analyze meaningful opportunities for creating, sharing, and participating digitally via videos, images, or votes.
  5. Collaborate:  Does our brand or product lend itself toward collaborating with consumers? Could this enhance our product or consumer value? Explore and apply Wikipedia, and Uber-like business models to ideate determine applicability.

Your brand’s path toward a digital refresh will be as unique as your renewed business strategy and goals.  Our Noetic team is here to guide your digital re-emergence and set you on the path for growth. Let’s get started together.

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Women in Leadership: Julia Ziegler, Director of News and Programming at WTOP News

Julia Ziegler

Noetic’s Women in Leadership series highlights strong women leaders across industries who inspire us personally and professionally – as leaders, collaborators, and humans. They are recognized and influential in their respective fields and they leverage their positions of leadership to uplift, encourage, and support other women. 

This month we are proud to feature Julia Ziegler, Director of News and Programming at WTOP News.

If you could provide a nugget of wisdom…

Success does not come without a lot of hard work and commitment. I believe every successful person has had to sacrifice at one point to get where they are today. In journalism, that might mean working holidays/overnights, picking up shifts on your day off, or staying late during a breaking news event. Promotions and opportunities do not come to those who want them simply because they want them. They come to those who put in the work to grow themselves and enhance their craft.

What is your rule of thumb when it comes to leadership? 

People always come first. I will drop everything I’m doing if someone on my team needs to speak with me. A business can’t operate without great, engaged people, which is why your people should be at the center of everything you do. Take care of those people…help them grow…lead them to success. 

Who has had the biggest impact on you and your career? 

Professor John Sanchez, my news media ethics and broadcast journalism professor at Penn State. I would not be where I am today without him. His belief in me as a young journalist pushed me out of my comfort zone and his work ethic is something I continue to model today, along with the work ethic of my parents and grandparents who worked hard for everything they had.

What has been your greatest lesson in the workplace? 

Listen more. It’s something I’m still working on 18 years into my career but it’s incredibly important. You learn more when you listen more.

How do you strike an optimal work/life balance? 

I’m probably not the right person to ask this question to! I love my work therefore I spend a lot of time engaged in it. Journalism is a mission-driven profession, a part of my being, and something that brings me joy. I’m lucky that way. That said, if you work hard it is definitely important that you also take time to disconnect. I’m big on taking mental health days – random days off that are just for me and give me time to reset. And in my day-to-day life, it’s important to be present. The dedication and focus I show while I’m at work, I also bring to my family and friends when I’m with them. 

What’s your advice to young females beginning their careers? 

I would say this not just to young females, but young people in general. Take every opportunity someone throws your way. Say yes to learning and trying new things (even if you aren’t sure how they fit into your ultimate goals). Be proactive. Get to know your coworkers. The people around you have so much valuable information and lessons to share, and most are willing if you speak up and ask. 

What is the most important quality we can offer in our day-to-day roles? 

Empathy.

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

How Can Leaders Train Themselves and Their Teams Now For Later?

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

Through our almost two decades of experience working with organizations of all sizes across all industries, we’ve seen a lot of what works well… and unfortunately, a lot of what doesn’t. In the last year, one thing we can state with certainty: senior leaders’ ability and willingness to invest in their and their team’s learning – consistently and significantly – allows teams to weather the most turbulent of storms. This is especially true in the last year,  with massive transformations, remote working, and unpredictable challenges no one could have anticipated, the leaders and teams who invested in their development through Training & Coaching have yielded the strongest results. How so?

BY STRENGTHENING YOUR LEADERSHIP YOU FORTIFY ALL THE SEATS IN YOUR TEAM

When you sit in a new seat – by moving up to the C-Suite seat or in another vehicle altogether – skilling up is essential. For some leaders who oversee many different functions outside of their core expertise, expanding and refining skills and knowledge across all of the areas they manage can determine whether they will sink or swim in that new role. We recently worked with a newly promoted Chief Marketing Officer at a global Fortune 500 travel company. Although they were highly skilled and talented from their previous roles and responsibilities, they had some gaps in some of the core skills required to be an effective CMO… in a pressurized situation to deliver and deliver quickly for a travel sector so hard hit by the global pandemic. To that end, Noetic conducted personalized coaching and curriculum, featuring practical and theoretical tools to arm and elevate this leader’s ability to manage with a difference across their entire team, propelling them, and their team, to success. 

OPTIMIZING YOUR TEAM’S VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENT IMPROVES PRODUCTIVITY

Can you imagine starting a new role in a new company having never met anyone on your new team or in the company overall? How about leading that team? We bet you can because we’ve met so many in this last year who have encountered this very situation, and chances are you have too (maybe you’ve even experienced it yourself). In this age of working remotely, there are new dynamics to consider and address to ensure your team is surviving and thriving. We interact virtually very differently than how we interact in person. Having clear communication within a team is challenging enough in person; in a virtual work world, it’s critical. One way to build a more cohesive and successful team is to assess everyone’s working style preferences through DiSC®  analysis. The results can reveal how to more effectively work together by leaning into your similarities and stretching into your differences. Understanding the way your colleagues prefer to work and communicate can help bridge gaps, prevent or solve misunderstandings, and increase productivity. It can also identify if your team is heavily skewed to one DiSC® style – a balance of styles is a constructive consideration when recruiting for new hires. Noetic can assess your team through DiSC®  and conduct customized workshops to make the most out of your profiles. Learn more about DiSC® here.

NURTURING HIGH-CALIBER TALENT TO RETAIN FUTURE LEADERS

Your biggest asset is your employees. Investing in their abilities and giving them the opportunities to strengthen their existing skills and learn new ones is beneficial for everyone to drive growth for the individual, the team, and the company. It can also fend off attrition rates which are extremely vulnerable right now. We’ve had several large-scale clients in the last year heavily focused on an individual’s development precisely for this reason. Like our marketing executives coaching engagements, we offer Coaching for Emerging Leaders and Talent to ensure emerging leaders feel supported, stable, and nurtured even in the most uncertain of environments. A significant first step is taking our  Art & Science Assessment to identify and diagnose your areas of strength and others we can develop together. An investment in your team is an investment in your long-term success and the leaders of the future. 

If you’re a senior leader looking to sharpen your skills or have team members who need a focused approach to prepare them for the next level, Noetic offers various Training & Coaching services to achieve your goals. Let’s skill up!   

For more information, contact us at hello@noeticconsultants. 

To see more content from Noetic Consultants be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself…

Alicia Lisowski

In my 20+ year career, I have worked in the largest span of functions and company sizes one would probably ever achieve – if they had set their sights on doing so. This includes working in a company of one (my own company), building small start-ups, and holding leadership positions in several global agencies partnering with some of the world’s largest companies as my clients. Throughout this journey, I have held fast to my core beliefs in the power of creativity, innovation, and character. With this breadth of experience and same core passions – I recently chose Noetic as my new adventure.

I have been in Nancie McDonnell Ruder’s orbit for more than 20 years – the Founder of Noetic. I have watched her consistently act as the type of CEO + Founder I most admire – whip-smart, generous, effective, focused on creating and delivering work with excellence, and being a true leader who brings out the best in those around her. So when Nancie asked me to join Noetic I was intrigued – and then when I came to know her powerhouse all-female team and the outstanding companies and people who comprised Noetic’s client base – I was truly sold. 

So far I’m most enjoying tackling the different types of problems our clients face, where we craft solutions in partnership with them and then deliver the work with excellence. With strategy at its core, Noetic provides research, branding, training, and coaching that enables brands and the people who build those brands to clarify who they are and deploy this authentically inside and outside their company walls. 

There is no “one size fits all” with Noetic – each client gets our thoughtful attention so we fully understand their needs on their terms. We meet them where they are, operating in our genius zone to work hand-in-hand to understand what they truly need, then honestly and openly, tell them exactly how and why we are uniquely positioned to jump in and help. When we find that our expertise is not a direct hit for solving the client’s needs, we offer up other solutions and partners as suggestions. Operating with this level of integrity is really special, and I’m delighted to be a part of a company that lives its values every day.

Being so early in my tenure at Noetic, I have to say I’m looking forward to many things. One that first comes to mind is getting to meet my colleagues in person soon – I have only ever met Nancie, and the last time I saw her in person was years ago! 

I’m also looking forward to seeing how the work I’m touching creates a tangible business impact for our clients. Marketing and Leadership are two essential elements of any company’s work, and when we help our clients get these areas right, a lot of positive results grow from there. 

Finally, I’m looking forward to resuming sharing more of my own thoughts on my and Noetic’s digital platforms. I’ve been told over the years I’ve provided helpful insights, shared great content from others, and occasionally inspired even a laugh or two – so it’s time to get back at it!

I look forward to meeting you and finding out how we at Noetic can work with you to achieve your goals.