The Brave New Voices in the Boardroom

It’s business unusual, & successful businesses have changed the conversation

For years, we have been listening to stats like “companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn, on average, an additional $700 million within three years of investing in customer experience”, or “86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience”. Unfortunately, despite heavy investment into CX, the reality is that very few businesses achieve the kinds of experiences that they are trying to create for their customers.

Those that do, however, not only stand out from competitors, but achieve the kind of mind share that even the largest marketing budgets can’t buy easily. Take, for example, the Ritz-Carlton, which talks about “anticipatory service” and a corporate philosophy of “unwavering commitment to service”. The Florida Ritz-Carlton recently proved it walks the company talk, going the extra mile to ensure that an experience that could have ruined a customer’s vacation – through no fault of the hospitality company – turned into a positive story the family will be telling for years.

A young family that spent a few days at the hotel returned home only to realise they their son had left his beloved stuffed giraffe, Joshie, behind. The son was distraught when he realised, and the parents had no choice but to tell their son that Joshie was “just taking an extra-long vacation at the resort”. The team at Ritz-Carlton called that same night to let the dad know they had found Joshie, and the dad was so relieved, he shared the lies he had been telling his son. A few days later, a package arrived from Ritz-Carlton, including Joshie along with some hotel branded gifts.

This is where most companies would have ticked the CX box, potentially asked for customer feedback, and moved on. However, there was one extra item in the package that took the experience to the next level. The hotel included a binder that outlined Joshie’s extended stay at the Ritz for the son to see. There were photos of Joshie at the pool, getting a massage and even riding a golf cart.

In a world where customers have started expecting companies to not only meet their needs, but to anticipate them and provide superior personalised experiences, this type of interaction should be the norm, not the exception. Decision-makers are starting to wake up to this fact.

Staying competitive

The past few years have started emphasising the importance of actually achieving this type of amazing customer experience. Shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic necessitated global lockdowns and business interruptions, a Walker study found that at the end of 2020, customer experience would overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Two years after that deadline, we know that this is truer than anyone could anticipate, and yet hardly touches on today’s business realities.

In 2018, an organisation providing an average customer experience could stay competitive just by tweaking its pricing. In 2022, after experiencing the (largely unnecessary) product and service shortages caused by the pandemic and international unrest; the digital demands of customers, whether they are B2B or B2C; and the self-service, technology-driven customer landscape, no corporation can afford to ignore what customers want, nor can any organisation ignore the impact of CX on the business.

Those companies poised for success are not only paying attention, but the changes at an organisational level are creating digital-first collaborative enterprises that have integrated CX into their operating models as well as their balance sheets.

Business unusual

The one thing these successful companies have in common is their understanding that the corporate landscape must reflect the customer landscape, and vice-versa. There are some brave new voices around the boardroom table, and these professionals are bringing CX back into the business conversation, trying to address new challenges in an evolved environment with a fresh toolset.

As organisations across the globe continue to grapple with the new business reality defined by increasing digitisation and growing customer demands, inflation and a recessionary environment are putting additional pressure on operating models. Add to that the labour shortages and supply chain issues we have seen over the past year, and it’s no wonder that customer service has degraded significantly.

Wait times in contact centre queues have tripled this year. High volume organisations like the airlines have reached a point where they don’t want customers calling them because they just can’t answer. Companies looking to stay profitable have had to not only prioritise CX, but have started integrating it into the strategic corporate agenda, diminishing the traditional disconnect between CX executives and the rest of the C-suite.

The alignment of CX priorities with those of the CEO and the CMO is creating a focus on customer retention and efficient acquisition, rather than the “spray and pray” approaches of the past. Older standards like loyalty, CSAT, and NPS are being replaced by a renewed focus on the customer journey, with 81% of business leaders saying they have increased their focus on creating more cohesive journeys, according to Gartner.

All of this is enabling multi-disciplinary leadership teams that are driving customer-centric solutions through collaboration and digital transformation. The customer journey has now become as much a part of the boardroom conversation as the P&L, and business leaders are increasingly starting to appreciate the agility this enables.

Leading with agility

In today’s business environment, organisations can’t afford 18 month or two-year product cycles. Nor can they get away with delays in responding to customer demands and feedback. Successful companies are therefore investing in technologies that enable rapid innovation and rapid iteration cycles for shortened time to value.

As business leaders increasingly appreciate the need for real-time data so that they can respond to the real-time needs of their customers, multi-disciplinary teams are becoming more common to provide greater insights, faster. A multi-disciplinary approach enables a holistic view of the customer’s entire experience across channels, departments, and silos. This allows the business to understand the opportunities in dealing with a customer from the moment they walk through the door.

For example, experience, marketing and commercial lenses for the same customer journeys would allow the business to answer whether customers are satisfied, how they cross-sell to those that are, and what the ROI on the company’s efforts is. New tools are therefore needed to enable organisations to identify opportunities and benefits from each customer experience as the experience happens.

These need to be digital-first and multi-channel, as well as able to ingest and process real-time data from a real-time market to model the customer experience in granular detail. Once experiences and actual journeys are discoverable, the business needs to be able to optimise those journeys for success.

As business leaders increasingly appreciate the value CX offers, the brave new voices in the boardroom are calling for better ways to create authentic experiences and relevant engagements. The good news is that it doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re in – improving the experience for customers has been proven (time and time again) to increase retention, satisfaction and revenue. With customer expectations at an all-time high, opportunities abound for agile companies to better align with customers’ purposes and forge new relationships that accelerate growth and strengthen loyalty.

Discover more

We’ve seen businesses achieve the following results, and more. We’d love to show you how they did it. Contact us or book a demo to find out more.

How a fintech improved experience while boosting customer onboarding by 34%

How a retail bank boosted loyalty and increased customer conversion by 96%

 

How an insurer improved engagement rates by 200% and portal registration by 31%

 

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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.

    <h4>Link to CX series</h4>

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