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Put the Customer First with User-Centered Strategies

In this episode, Waseem Kawaf, Global Vice President of Digital Experience at STANLEY Security, shares how he built iterative testing into his team’s DNA by teaching user-centered design strategies that put the customer first.

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Guest speaker: Waseem Kawaf

Waseem Kawaf is the Global Vice President of Digital Experience at STANLEY Security, a division of Stanley Black & Decker. What excites him about the digital space is that it makes possible experiences that are highly personal and immediate: available anytime and anywhere. His team spans all the key digital marketing disciplines, from user design and content through to AI systems and analytics. Previously, he worked with brands such as Bose, Dell, and Rite Aid on their digital innovation. He holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from UMass Amherst and an MBA from MIT Sloan.

Episode summary

This episode features an interview with Waseem Kawaf, Global Vice President of Digital Experience at STANLEY Security, a company that provides security services to institutions all over the world, including schools, hospitals, governments, retailers, airports, and financial institutions. Waseem is an expert in digital strategy and customer experience, having recently shaped STANLEY Security’s digital presence and consulted with many top brands in the past.

In this episode, Waseem shares thoughts on how STANLEY Security approaches customer experience and automation, especially when insights from the data might be surprising. He provides advice on the importance of always keeping up with a changing market and prioritizing user-centered design.

Key takeaways

  • It’s important to continuously test aspects of the digital experience, because customer needs and wants are always evolving

  • Having everyone trained in user-centered design can unite siloed teams and put the customer at the forefront of every initiative

  • We’re at the nascency of the emerging field of customer experience, and successful marketers and CX professionals should look at the large tech giants to see what decisions they’re making

Speaker quotes

 “You always start manual. You always start manual, cause you gotta learn. I do think that’s where companies, and a lot of consulting companies, make errors. You can’t assume what a user’s gonna do. You see what they’re gonna do, and then build on it. You do market research – and so, I feel like we were in a period, for many years on the marketing side, where we were building for the board, we were building for our internal teams, we were building for our own user preferences. So it’s flipping the script there.” - Waseem Kawaf, Global Vice President of Digital Experience at STANLEY Security

Episode timestamps

‍*(01:53) - Waseem’s role at STANLEY Security and his background

*(03:17) - STANLEY Security’s global footprint

*(04:15) - Continuous optimization and evolving with the customer

*(05:31) - The importance of governance

*(09:17) - Use case of automated chat leading to first natural language processing menu and reduced call times

*(12:56) - Why Waseem wants everyone trained in user-centered design

*(16:32) - Challenge in cultural transformation and stakeholder communication

*(19:24) - Looking toward the future: CX is in its nascency

*(23:27) - An example of another company doing it right with customer data (hint: it’s LinkedIn)

*(24:53) - Optimism for the future, even when optimism can feel rare

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