The Symphony of Customer Experience

by Dan Blacharski, Published on customerthink.com, Apr 10, 2016

The customer experience journey that companies must take to accommodate today’s more digitally-aware and engaged customers now goes beyond the traditional approach of satisfaction surveys, call center guidelines, and social media presence. Media-savvy customers with an extended digital reach and a need for immediate answers are expecting and demanding more, and those older methods will no longer give marketers the insight they need to compete.

Listening through multiple channels, uncovering insights as to what the customer wants, and then taking action on an individual level is the new normal – and in an enterprise that may encompass multiple customer-facing departments and multiple indirect sales channels, gaining this level of customer experience insight is almost like conducting a symphony orchestra.

From a single voice to a symphony

Customer Experience (CX) has become a huge focus across industries. On the technology side, there are more tools available to track all customer touch points and derive insights, and on the enterprise side, more companies are acknowledging the need to incorporate CX into their marketing strategies. “I don’t think it’s really anything new,” said Paul Cole, President, North America, at inQuba, provider of a world leading Customer Experience software platform. “A lot of the principles we espoused in the ‘90s still elude a lot of companies today, but it’s an irrefutable reality – economically and otherwise – that if you do a better job of managing a customer portfolio, you have more profitable growth.”

There has been an evolution though, and Cole notes that in those earlier days, being customer-centric revolved around the challenge of maintaining the integrity of customer data. “There were limitations in addressing the notion that all customers aren’t created equal, and while everyone deserves a great experience, you need to treat customers based on their individual needs, expectations, and value. That was difficult to execute in a time when it was understood intellectually, but we didn’t have quality data.”

The onset of ERP and CRM systems to identify customers and gather more data advanced the state of the art, but even then, the question remained – what do you do with that information to produce a better outcome? In a global economy, product differentiation and price can become a slippery slope, and the half-life of many products continues to shrink. The ability to differentiate and create a level of “stickiness” among a customer base grows more challenging, and when it becomes impossible to compete on price and product, what’s left is the customer experience.

“We can’t deliver a great experience with a bad product and an expensive solution,” said Cole. “But if we can deliver what they are asking for at a reasonable cost, the point of differentiation is going to be the experience. We need to have a better appreciation of the customer journey, how they interact with you and through which channel, and for what purpose. We have to start with better data, and that answers the question of how we can interact with the customer in a way that is responsive and creates a greater bond with them.”

The “Net Promoter Score” developed at Bain has long offered an empirical measure around a single question – how likely is a customer to recommend a company to a friend, colleague, or family member. That single KPI became a major predictor of loyalty and willingness to buy more from a given provider, and was able to show a company which customers were promoters, which were detractors, and which were passive – “But the way you move somebody from passive to promoter, or detractor to promoter is by delivering a better experience at every moment of truth you have with a customer,” said Cole. “What has given rise to CX has a lot to do with the fact that now, we have better enablement. CX was limited to change management, people, and governance, but now, it has been baked into the enterprise with software platforms that allow you to orchestrate a more efficient and effective customer experience, by being able to listen to them, capture the voice of the customer, across all channels and gather both unstructured and structured data into a single data model. That is what allows you to learn what they have been trying to tell you.”

The democratization of data

That multi-channel data – together with analytics – tells you what precisely will move the dial. And once you learn what customers are trying to tell you, then you share that with all stakeholders and democratize the data so it’s no longer isolated in one place. This requires going beyond the traditional turf wars and embracing what Cole calls an “orchestration” approach to the Customer Experience.

An orchestration approach to Customer Experience means that all stakeholders, whether internal or part of the indirect sales channel, get to see the customer dashboard, which informs them what the customer perception is of their particular function as the customers go through their journey. “The inQuba platform allows you to engage directly with that customer, so you can for example, identify a disgruntled customer and then close the loop much closer to the point of getting feedback,” said Cole. “The CX platform world now allows the company to sense what’s going on with the customer more quickly, and more in the context of what they are experiencing, and with less latency in terms of acting on it.”

Much of the CX movement is driven by the existence of so much more data than was previously available. The simple equation is that with more customer data, you can learn more about customers and better serve them on a more customized and personalized basis.

On the corporate side, the democratization of this data is an essential component of success – that is, the ability to provide all stakeholders with an understanding of customer perception. “We see ourselves as the ERP of customer experience,” said Cole. “It used to be that the market research department held the data at a very aggregate level, and now we’re talking about using that customer data to improve the operations. It’s all part of the continued evolution of customer analytics. The plus is the ability to interact with your customer at the key moment of truth, to understand the context of how they are interacting with you, and to intelligently respond.”

With that data, it becomes possible for any customer-facing employee in any department to make a quick and appropriate decision on how to triage a problem and engender greater loyalty. “We see that customer experience management, managing the voice of the customer, as a way for companies to home in on their processes, and understand where they are losing ground with customers. Often, that is difficult to pinpoint. This allows you to understand, in the context of what’s happening, what you need to do to deliver a better outcome.”

Orchestrating the insurance industry’s journey

It’s a product that everybody needs, but nobody wants. The industry has resorted to clever advertising campaigns in an attempt to counter a perception of an unwieldy bureaucracy and long hold times on the phone, and Madison Avenue-generated icons from Progressive Insurance’s friendly-faced Flo, to the khaki-wearing “Jake from State Farm” illustrate that the industry is at least aware of the problem.

Capgemini’s “World Insurance Report 2016” goes a step further to illustrate exactly what insurance customers, specifically those in the Generation Y demographic, really want – and how insurers must change their approach to capture and keep this audience. The report shows that this younger and more tech-savvy audience wants to connect with their insurers through multiple channels, including mobile, and are less likely to want to interact with a live agent than are other age groups.

Capgemini-clipAnd while the Capgemini report shows that CX scores have gone up in general within the industry, within the Generation Y demographic, CX scores have gone down, and expectations are higher. “In North America, Generation Y customers report 24 percent less positive experiences than other customers, clearly demonstrating that Insurers have their work cut out for them. They interact twice as frequently, ask more questions, and they are being disappointed,” said Ian Campos, Senior Vice President and Global Insurance Services Leader for Capgemini. “And yet, this represents the future revenue stream for the majority of these companies. The notion of being able to address the customer on the channel they want, when they want it, with contextualized information specific to their needs, is challenging the major carriers. Those who are getting their heads around it will be the winners, and the next generation of insurance is going to be one with more interaction, more planning, and preventative interchanges between policy holder and carrier. That means you have to do a better job at every moment of truth.” Furthermore, said Campos, “Insurers need to relentlessly gather and make sense of the feedback from customers, which can come from a multitude of sources. This is where platforms like inQuba help in orchestrating the sourcing, analysis and synthesis of the voice of customer and converting that into actionable insight.”

With a majority of policy holders having little to no interaction with the carrier after purchase, insurers need to take a more proactive stance if they want to sell a broader set of services. “They need to do a better job in those key moments of truth to build trust, and strengthen that relationship,” said Cole.

The customer journey

The customer journey, or a sequence of events that outlines the entire relationship, is consequential but can get confusing, especially in an environment where there are many stakeholders as is the case in a company with an indirect and extended sales channel with potentially hundreds of channel partners selling to thousands of retailers. “Journey mapping” is a strategy that looks through the lens of the customer experience as they interact with your company from the point of researching suppliers, to deciding to renew or re-subscribe, and every step in between. “The new mantra is to map that journey from the outside in, then to identify what the critical motivators and dissatisfiers are for each step in that journey, as perceived by the customer, an then to connect that to the internal stakeholders who run the processes to deliver that,” said Cole.

It’s challenging to overcome the territorialism that has always been so common with attitudes about who owns the data and who gets to see it. But those companies who are more forward thinking about customer experience are buying into the democratization of customer data, mapping the customer journey, and transforming all those single and disconnected voices into a symphony of customer experience.

 

 

 

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    Bruce Eidsvik

    inQuba President, North America

    Bruce is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience in sales and marketing mainly within the customer experience space. Bruce has held senior executive roles at Genesys, a private equity backed cloud customer experience company and OpenText, a NASDAQ listed information management company, where he led their Global Growth Marketing and Sales Development organizations. Prior to these roles, Bruce was the Managing Director for the APAC region at Genesys, based out of Singapore. Bruce is also an entrepreneur and a co-founder of Insight Venture backed VoiceGenie Technologies Inc, which was successfully exited in 2006.

    This work has led Bruce to points around the globe, helping both Fortune 100 and SMBs alike. Bruce is a frequent keynote speaker at CX events worldwide, where he is more than happy to share his experiences and best practices to help others. Bruce is a team builder, has a passion for driving creativity, developing leaders and getting stuff done. Bruce strongly believes that fun is an important component of driving great results. Outside of work, Bruce is an avid skier, road and mountain biker, triathlete and in love with the mountains.

    Bruce holds a Bachelors of Science degree with Honors in engineering physics from Queen’s University. After 14 years abroad, Bruce and his family are back in Canada and living just outside Banff, Alberta.

    Liza Rogers-Nolte

    Head: Inside Sales SA and Marketing

    Liza joined inQuba shortly after inception in 2011. She has held various roles and responsibilities during the time and has been vital to the success of the business. Since 2016, Liza has headed up inQuba’s global Inside Sales function, responsible for identifying, qualifying and nurturing new business relationships. She also plays a fundamental role within inQuba’s marketing function, being jointly responsible for all key, global marketing events. Liza also manages the relationships of inQuba Partners, specifically the Microsoft Partner Relationship for which she is the MSFT Alliance Partner Manager.

    Prior to inQuba, Liza spent over 10 years in London (UK) gaining international experience in various industries. This included working closely with top executives in FTSE 250 and blue-chip companies in industries such as banking, private equity, investment property, executive search, and others.

    Prinay Panday

    Head: BI and DevOps

    Prinay is responsible for overseeing all IT operations, technical delivery and technical strategy for inQuba, ensuring alignment with the company’s business requirements and goals. Prinay is responsible for assisting other departments within inQuba, such as Product, Development and Professional Services, in utilising technology efficiently and profitably. He also spent several years in software development at inQuba which has provided him with deeper insight into effective technical delivery and operations of the inQuba platform. Prior to joining inQuba, Prinay worked in IT operations and software development across various industries including insurance, banking and retail. Prinay holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from the University of Johannesburg.

    Dasha Naidoo

    Head: Product Experience

    Dasha joined inQuba in 2013 and has held various positions over the years. Dasha found her niche when she joined the core Product team in designing the inQuba CX platform. As the Head of Product Experience, she is ultimately responsible for the overall user experience and value delivery to inQuba’s customers. Dasha has been instrumental in the product’s success, providing insight into design, customer behaviours and practical solutions to complex customer challenges. Before joining the product team, she spent 2 years guiding customers through their Customer Experience programmes.

    With a professional career spanning 10+ years, Dasha has extensive experience across CX, Marketing, Campaign management and Data management and analysis. Dasha holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Information Systems Technology) degree from the University of KwaZulu Natal.

    Kobus Snyman

    Head: Service Operations

    Kobus is responsible for overseeing all technical operations including customer support and general operations activities ensuring the inQuba’s customer platform is optimal and stable. He has extensive Systems and Business Analysis experience gained from industries such as Banking, Information Technology and Mining. He has gained solid knowledge in Project Management, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity management as he managed the Disaster Recovery site for one of South Africa’s Big Four Banks for a significant period. In 2016, Kobus joined inQuba as a Senior Analyst and has subsequently been promoted to Head: Service Operations, bringing with him the technical platform knowledge as well as customer management experience gained through the management of large, strategic inQuba clients. Kobus holds a Certificate in IT Service Management (ITIL) and SDIP. He also holds an ‘Essential skills for the Business analyst’ certification.

    Eben Odendaal

    Head: Professional Services

    Eben is responsible for the successful delivery of inQuba’s CX solution programmes to clients. He is an experienced Business Consultant and Project Manager and has delivered multiple Management Consulting, Digital Application and Software Development programmes, across multiple industries, throughout his career. Eben holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Pretoria, an MBA from the University of Stellenbosch and is a registered Project Management Professional.

    Allan Lee Son

    Senior Software Architect

    Allan is a Senior Architect in the core team working on the architecture and development of the inQuba CX platform for over six years. As a technical lead, product designer and software architect, he is a driving force in the inQuba Product Development team, providing insight into design and practical solutions to complex software challenges.

    Previous to joining inQuba, Allan’s five years at On-IT-1, developing software solutions for the Bosasa Group, have given him broad perspective on design, development and deployment of software applications across various industries, including aquaculture, youth rehabilitation, fleet management and device integrations for biometric and programmable logic controllers. Allan brings this valuable experience to bear on the challenges of developing a globally distributed SaaS platform.

    Allan completed his treatise in 2006 and holds a honours degree in Bachelor of Commerce (Computer Science and Information Systems) from the Nelson Mandela University.

    Warren Reed

    Senior Software Architect

    Warren is responsible for high-level software design choices and selecting the best tools, platforms, and technologies for developing and delivering inQuba’s CX software platform. He helped build the inQuba platform from the ground up, including products such as Engage, Case Management, and Journey Analytics. He implemented the continuous delivery pipeline that automatically deploys inQuba’s software solutions globally. Prior to inQuba, he spent five years at Bosasa architecting and developing systems for vehicle maintenance, youth development centres, access control security, and job recruitment. He also spent two years at Korbitec developing legal practice management software. Warren holds an honours degree in Computer Science and Information Systems from the Nelson Mandela University.

    Jon Salters

    Non-Executive Director

    Jon brings with him a wealth of experience in market research and technology enabled services in the insights domain.

    Prior to being strategic advisor to inQuba, Jon spent four years at Vision Critical, the world’s leader in Insight Community solutions where he launched Vision Critical’s presence in Africa, re-launched their partner program internationally and was also integrally involved in the team that executed the spin-off of Vision Critical’s Research and Consulting business unit which became a cornerstone of the newly formed Maru Group.

    Jon holds a GDE in Engineering Management and a B.Sc Mechanical Engineering (industrial Option) for the University of the Witwatersrand.

    Antony Adelaar

    Head: Product Marketing

    Antony joined the inQuba story early, towards the end of 2011. He is responsible for the planning, design, production, marketing and release of inQuba’s CX software solutions to customers on 4 continents. Prior to managing product, Antony oversaw the account management team who in turn oversee inQuba clients using the full range of inQuba CX solutions.

    Antony has ten years’ experience in market research across the African continent and across all major industries. Prior to inQuba, he headed up digital research at an agency, Yellowwood Future Architects, which specialises in strategy, research and design.

    Antony completed post-graduate Leadership Development studies at Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), following a Bachelor’s degree (Industrial Psychology) at the University of South Africa.

    Trent Rossini

    Managing Director

    Trent is responsible for all operational delivery, professional services engagement, product conceptualisation and delivery of inQuba software. Prior to joining inQuba, Trent was the CIO for Discovery Health and in 2003, was appointed as COO of PruHealth, Discovery’s UK joint healthcare venture with Prudential. He also spent several years consulting on various systems integration projects for Deloitte and Accenture.Trent holds a B.Sc.(Mech) Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Graduate Diploma in Industrial Engineering.

    Micheal Renzon

    Group CEO

    Michael Renzon is an entrepreneur and visionary and the driving force behind highly successful internet, technology, content and Customer Experience companies. He is an Endeavor Entrepreneur, the leading high-impact entrepreneurship movement around the world, and was named the Most Promising Entrepreneur of Entrepreneur Organization (EO) in 2006.

    Michael’s thought leadership in Customer Experience and Customer Journey Management has been adopted by leading companies around the world who use inQuba’s analyst-rated Customer Journey SaaS Platform and Methodology to drive their customer experience transformation and customer journey optimization.

    Michael holds an MBA from the University of Cape Town, an Honours Degree in Computer Science and a Bachelor of Economic Science Degree, both from the University of the Witwatersrand.

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