Gilbane – Customers and Engagement Keynote

People on panel:

  • Donna Rossi – Western Union
  • Kumar Vora – Adobe
  • Shannon Ryan – non-linear creations
  • Michael Fisher – Alterian

Kumar –

  • How do you creative rich, interactive experiences with contextual information in those interfaces?
  • Industry has spent a lot of time on how things look on a screen.
  • The experience is not just about how things look on the screen but the whole process (example: dealing with a car insurance company after an accident).
  • If you can’t measure something, you can’t optimize the outcome. It’s important to think of multiple channels and multiple devices.

Mike –

  • Ability to collect and analyze data – If you understand the data, you can create engaging customer relationships.
  • Provide content solutions and web analytic solutions / social media monitoring solutions.
  • Trying to provide a single, holistic view of the customer.

Donna –

  • Understand what is the customer’s end-to-end journey, including post-purchase experience — across all services, regions, channels (retail, online, call centers, mobile)
  • Make sure that they are developing an experience that customers both want to use again and also talk to their friends / family in a positive way.

Shannon –

  • Area 1: Strategic consulting and planning
  • Area 2: Front and back office solutions
  • Area 3: Agency within an agency (marketing analytics and social media monitoring)

What is world class customer experience?

  • Shannon – Every visit to a website is a negotiation: customers want something and as a corporation you want them to do something.
  • Donna – Experiences differ throughout the world. You have to understand around the world what those differences are. What’s the interaction with the customer? Do they want to do business with you on an ongoing basis? Understand what the customer needs are and delivering / exceeding them.
  • Mike – Experience is going to be tied to the analysis that you conduct. Understanding the social feedback around a brand. People do trust a brand more when those brands engage in the social feedback loop.
  • Kumar – The customer experience won’t be limited to one interaction on the screen: you need to think about the whole process (transaction on a web site, delivery, whole experience)

Have consumer’s expectations declined?

  • Donna – Customers expect the same from Western Union regardless of whether it’s in person, online, mobile, etc. Customers want to be recognized for previous transactions. Customers are expecting the same type of service or better no matter what channel.
  • Shannon – Expectation has increased. People expect everything to run like Google. They want to type in one or two keywords and get an answer.

Is there a gap between what organizations can do between customer expectations and what companies can do to fill in that gap?

  • Mike – Socialization of your brand is right in front of you. Expectations are higher because of the research consumers are doing online. Consumers are more promiscuous than they ever have been. Finding ways to engage with that customer, fill the gap, make sure the positive feedback is viewable on your web site. They will listen to testimonials and word of mouth more than they will listen to what you are trying to tell them about your product.
  • Kumar – User interface design used to be the last step in designing a system. What are the services that a consumer wants from a brand? Ask that question first and then work backwards into the systems you build to support them.
  • Mike – Make sure to test your way in. Test taxonomies. Everyone navigates different. No reason not to have different profiles and create experiences that are unique to type of consumer coming to your site.
  • Shannon – Spend a lot of time doing A/B & Multi-variate testing.
  • Shannon – Can’t spend all your time designing a website that is purely customer focused. What role is the organization going to play if you turn over all the experience to the customer? What role does command and control have to play in a Web 2.0 world?
  • Donna – How do you balance the customer recreating what your brand is about? What do you put in their hands vs. your hands. You need to make sure that you stand behind your brand. How do you become not reactive? You’re going to have people that are constantly giving you negative feedback? How do you identify the trends and respond to the trends instead of every point of negative feedback.
  • Mike – There are times when you’re not going to react to the individual consumer but that you’re going to hear broad themes and react to those. Alterian did study on the 44 brands that advertised in the Super Bowl. Watched Pepsi closely about their decisions not to advertise in the Super Bowl. Assumed Coke would overtake them with advertising. Demi Moore tweeted that she was in love with the Pepsi Refresh project. Coke never overtook Pepsi in regards to customer sentiment, popularity, etc.
  • Mike – Example of Dave & Buster’s being connected with “dog fighting” after Michael Vick used restaurant to hold autograph signing session. Dave & Busters actually contacted individuals on social media to try and help brand.
  • Kumar – Changing product timelines based on the expectations of the customer. Older products are maturing more slowly while other products are trying to keep a faster pace.

How does this affect competition?

  • Shannon – Need to be true to your brand. Some of the techniques that are available to some organizations should be offlimits to other brands / organizations. (A big bank in Canada shouldn’t go viral with a funky chicken video on YouTube.)
  • Donna – Western Union has 160 year old heritage. Even though they are a large, older brand, they are always watching for what newer companies are doing and what’s happening outside of their business. Still asking the question of what’s true to their brand. Trying to learn from what’s happening in other industries and how to differentiate themselves from smaller startups but still maintain trust with customers.

How different cultures are intreacting with brands differently?

  • Donna – There are differences between cultures but what are the commonalities? Everyone cares about their family? (Example: Several cultures focus on Mother’s Day.) Focus on the common items but then have (Indian – focus on TV channels; Hispanic – focus more on mobile)
  • Kumar – How are brands reacting to the diversity of the consumer needs. Bank specifically set up interaction with teenagers that were going to college and how they needed to manage their money. “Virtual Wallet”. Brands are reacting to the demographics they are servicing and building completely different interactions based on those demographics.
  • Mike – New moms are more social than any other social group. They have higher transaction rates and they spend more per transaction. Hispanics transact 26% more via mobile than other channels.

Why is mobile the last thing people think about?

  • Mike – Need to stop operating in silos. Mobile needs to be part of the strategy.
  • Shannon – Need to address this in 12 months after the impact of the iPad and tablet launches are realized.
  • Donna – Western Union customers are on the move. Piloting ability to send money through the mobile device. Regulations on mobile technology are still evolving. How do you address convenience vs. privacy?
  • Kumar – Technology barriers were very high (different technologies, different platforms, open/closed app stores). Need to create open platform development. In 12 months, the landscape will have changed a lot.

Is there going to be a mobile platforms winner that people should focus on?

  • Kumar – Hopefully there won’t be a winner. Focus on multiple platforms.
  • Mike – Agree that there hopefully won’t be a winner.

What are the negative implications of personalization?

  • Kumar – Example of checking your bank account balance (in branch to ATM to mobile banking). Banks must offer 24/7 banking and mobile access, but people aren’t necessarily depositing more than they were before. Companies must provide a higher level of service while still decreasing cost.
  • Shannon – You can do personalization really well with personas instead of long-tail. The more you more towards personalization and trying to connect with the “7 people in Oklahoma” and the end of the long tail, the faster you’re moving away from your brand.
  • Donna – How do not target the exception instead of the rule.
  • Shannon – Humans are very multi-personality. Sometimes they are in contradiction (you might be different at work vs. at home — Facebook profile vs. LinkedIn profile — same person, but very different profiles). Customer needs to have an input into what is a world-class customer experience.

Comment from the audience about how Amazon allows you to customize your experience  by removing products so they don’t show up again.

  • Kumar – Want personalization to be subtle. Wants it to be there, but not as in your face.