CX One on One: Jennifer Passini

CX One on One: Jennifer Passini

In our CX One on One series, we meet dynamic and talented team members behind the scenes at NICE representing all the facets of the leading customer experience (CX) AI platform. We recently sat down with Jennifer Passini, Ph.D., director of business consulting, customer logistics support. She discussed how incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and the right data can empower organizations to provide exceptional customer journeys, how her role at NICE makes her feel like a kid in a candy story and how she incorporates kindness to brighten the days of others.

Diving into the vast pool of customer experience data at NICE, Jennifer Passini says she feels like a kid in a candy store—excited at the wealth of insights that help drive a seamless customer experience.

“My role at NICE is to leverage data to help businesses make better decisions around customer experience. We work to bring all that data together to empower a better overall experience,” Passini said.

To deliver consistent customer experiences, it’s important that customer experience, digital experience and IT leaders gain real-time insight into the customer journey. A holistic voice of the customer (VOC) program can help organizations pinpoint the valuable building blocks they need from contact center data, hidden in operational data and buried in customer and employee surveys.

“Data is the heart of customer experience. Prioritizing data across initiatives enables contact centers to gain genuine insights from their customer interactions—right down to every nuanced journey,” Passini said.

Data can empower organizations to provide proactive customer service, enhance self-service options, assess the alignment of products and services with customer needs and drive enhancements, she added. From another business perspective, she said leveraging data to grasp customer behavior patterns at every interaction point can pave the way for increased sales and cross-selling prospects.

Artificial intelligence boosts data quality

Jennifer Passini holds a doctorate degree in applied experimental psychology, with an emphasis on consumer behavior. Applied experimental psychology uses scientific methods to study human behavior and mental processes in real-world settings with researchers testing hypotheses and gathering data that can help solve practical problems and improve everyday life.

Her doctorate degree included studying statistics and research design—two things her role incorporates. In fact, her expertise in leveraging data to improve everyday life for consumers helps guide her work at NICE.

Passini started her career in marketing research in the late 1990s, eventually moving away from brand and product research to focus entirely on customer experience.

“At that time, we incorporated a ‘kitchen-sink’ approach where we would ask every single question we possibly could in a survey, every question we could think of,” Passini said. “Today our industry tailors its approach with precision so it’s extremely purposeful, targeted and personalized.”

Artificial intelligence (AI) can help organizations take that leap—with NICE by their side to help oversee data quality.

“We can now leverage more data to drive the right questions. What I tell my team is, ‘Our role is even more important, because we can't just say everyone asks this—just ask this,’” Passini said. “We have to help our clients be strategic with what they’re doing, and NICE technology enables that level of refinement.”

The strength of a unified CX AI platform for brands to deliver exceptional customer experiences is completely dependent on the quality of information for which AI is built.

As Passini explains, data quality makes the difference in safeguarding organizations from a “garbage-in, garbage-out” model.

AI-driven insights can continuously enhance the customer experience and drive business results, accelerate data-driven decisions and quantify improvements in employee productivity and customer satisfaction based on actionable insights. That’s where NICE can be a partner in transformation.

“As a pioneer first out of the gate with a transformative CX AI solution, NICE can be a true differentiator for organizations,” she said.

CX One on One: Jennifer Passini

Unexpected resume addition: brewmaster

Jennifer Passini’s career took an unexpected turn—or you could say a few extra “hops” in a different direction—when she took on the largest domestic beer producer as her first client.

She started in market research in St. Louis, where her first client was Anheuser-Busch. The beer maker encouraged each of its vendors to become brewmasters on the side.

Passini became well-versed in the art and science of brewing by incorporating the four key ingredients of water, malted barley, hops and yeast—including fermentation, yeast management and mash chemistry.

While customer service and brewing seem far afield, Passini’s current work in customer experience to cultivate perfect customer experiences suggests the work of an alchemist brewmaster:

  • Crafting the perfect customer experience: Just as a brewmaster meticulously selects ingredients and follows a precise process to create the perfect brew, customer service must carefully tailor each interaction with customers to provide a seamless and positive experience.
  • Balancing different elements: Similar to how a brewmaster balances various flavors and components to create a harmonious blend, CX must balance different customer needs and expectations to ensure customer satisfaction (CSAT).
  • Continuous improvement and innovation: Like a brewmaster who constantly refines recipes and explores new techniques, customer service must always seeking ways to improve processes, connect customer journeys and innovate in a strategic approach to better serve customers.
  • Attention to detail: Both industries require a keen eye for detail and consistency to ensure every customer interaction or batch of products meets high standards and exceeds expectations.
  • Handling unexpected challenges: Just as a brewmaster must adapt to unexpected changes in ingredients or brewing conditions, customer service experts need to think on their feet and respond effectively to various challenges or customer issues that may arise.
  • Focus on creating a lasting impression: Ultimately, both roles aim to create a memorable and positive experience for customers. A brewmaster strives to leave a lasting impression while a customer service representative aims to leave customers satisfied and loyal to the brand through exceptional service and support.

Adding a contextual layer to feedback

As a manager of a global team of VOC subject matter experts who are the repository of best practices in VOC capture, analytics, reporting and actionability, Passini regularly contributes insights to the NICE blog and other informative content.

In a recent video, Passini discussed how an organization’s focus on orchestrating 100% of customer conversations aligns with its digital transformation journey.

Digital is the channel of choice when customers want to be self-enabled to create their own experience. Leveraging voice of the customer (VOC) helps pinpoint which channels are being used today, as well as expectations and preferences around those channels.

She manages a global team, and it’s not unusual for Passini to have meetings at every hour of the day, whether she’s jumping on a call early with NICE’s European clients or late with APAC clients. The topic is often how they can use the latest technology to deliver the ultimate customer experience, strengthen brand value and boost efficiency, including how to leverage feedback.

“Feedback is contextual. The latest technology enables a better understanding of customer perspectives, given the experience that they have. Knowing how many times they reached out to a brand and on what channel, how long they waited and how long they’ve been customers of the brand—all this needs to be viewed within that context,” Passini said. “That collective data can truly create the story of customers with the help of CX for AI technology.”

Organizations leveraging holistic VOC insights to take an informed, customer journey-based approach to creating contextual, personalized digital experiences can see improved customer acquisition and retention, revenue growth, lower marketing, sales, and support costs and higher customer lifetime value (CLV).

As Passini notes, customers view product research via website, a contact center call and a purchase via mobile app as one continuous journey even though a DX, CX or IT professional sees it as three contacts or micro-journeys across three channels.

In fact, the optimal way to measure whether digital channels meet customer expectations and deliver business value must include gathering direct customer feedback, as well as a deeper understanding of how customers interact with an organization today and how they expect and prefer to interact.

In addition to those daily global meetings, Jennifer Passini brings the NICE talent together on her team for thought-provoking monthly sessions called “CX Guru.”

“CX Guru is an opportunity for us to share thought leadership once a month with the broader team of mostly customer success managers (CSM), as well as sales and implementation teams. Our goal is to check in to make sure that they're infusing best practices and sharing things that they could take back to their clients to help them evolve,” she said.

CX One on One: Jennifer Passini

If you weren’t in CX …

If she weren’t in the customer experience industry, Jennifer Passini would want to help solve cold cases as a forensic genealogist.

“I’m a data puzzle person. I like to take a lot of data to solve the puzzle. In another life, I would pursue another career where that would be my focus. Forensic genealogy interests me since it would involve using DNA to help bring closure to families,” she said.

Forensic genealogists often work on cases such as identifying unknown remains, locating missing persons, resolving questions of parentage or inheritance, and assisting law enforcement in solving cold cases. They use a combination of traditional genealogical records like birth certificates, census data, and historical documents, along with DNA analysis techniques to build family trees, track lineage, and establish connections between individuals.

CX One on One: Jennifer Passini

‘Kindness is free’

In the first few minutes of any meeting, Jennifer Passini takes time to catch up on what others have been doing.

“I would say that my personal goal is just to be perceived as a friend and make that personal connection,” Passini said.

It stems from her mantra—kindness is free.

“Kindness costs nothing to give, but can really have a significant positive impact,” she said. Especially with teenage kids, you sometimes need to remind them of that.”

The message of empathy resonates with her 20-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son.

“They’ll call me or come home to tell me that they told somebody that kindness is free. I love it,” Passini said. “I think it started a few years ago when I wanted my teenage kids to understand that you don't understand what everyone's going through.”

She also carries that message over to her role at NICE.

“I tell my team, too. At the end of the day, we're trying to help our clients create great experiences—and table stakes is kindness,” Passini said. “And I’ve talked a lot of our clients out of measuring courtesy and friendliness as a VOC metric because if your agents are doing that, you don't need to ask.”