In the midst of a global “digital disruption,” customer expectations and technology continue evolving every second. In this presentation, we will help you create a clear path to delivering results. Dan Gordon explores how leveraging data can help you stay ahead of your customers and provide a few key best practices to reach them on their own terms.
Chad: As I said, I really appreciate everyone's time today. This is Chad McDaniel with Execs in the Know and I've got Dan Gordon with West Interactive. And Dan, I'm so glad you were able to spend some time with us today and I'm gonna introduce you here real shortly and I know you've got a great message and story, Dan, that you are going to want to share with us and the group here.
So the topic today was really about the mobile shift and we called it How to Proactively Deliver a Better Customer Experience and couldn't think of a better discussion and topic. And I would bet that no one on the webinar today would argue against the explosive growth mobile has had in the new economy and how it has opened up, I think, numerous opportunities for both kind of new commerce and also customer engagement with our customers and us, as service leader executives, customer first is always of mind to us.
So it then comes to with this. How do we kind of create this better engagement and experience with our customers through the mobile shift? And one of the key takeaways from today's conversation is going to be about what we've called this proactive reach that solves a number of issues of service opportunity but knowing our customers and, ultimately, how we are going to serve them. I heard a reference and I think, Dan, you brought this to my attention in 2016, the new customer currency is what's called transparency and, you know, the importance for brands to be transparent with their customers and we'll get into some of those examples later. But I thought that was extremely relevant, Dan, and I am glad you shared that with me. And then I think, second, how do we leverage the data that can help you stay ahead of your customers and provide a few key best practices to reach them on their own terms?
So Execs in the Know are partners with West and for all the listeners, we did recently work together, I think, on a very insightful, white paper on this topic. And in this white paper, there is an excellent outline of both how you can use proactive messaging in various industries, so whatever vertical you are in, and at the same point, an outline of a five-step plan on where and how to begin. So I'd encourage you, if you'd like to get a free copy of this white paper, you can just email me, firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to send it over to you. It's got some great read and additional insights and examples that we won't be able to get into in today's call.
So let's get started. I want to just say first of all, if you are not familiar with West and West Interactive, I'd highly encourage you to. They are a great global provider of communication and network infrastructure solutions. I know West does many things to manage and support essential enterprise communications but their services, everything from unified communication, interactive services, carrier services and agent services, a variety of things. And, you know, Dan, you've been a great partner with Execs in the Know over the years, really trying to help advance the learning and sharing in the industry as a whole. I greatly appreciate it.
Dan, you've got a big job over there. I know you are responsible for West Interactive's go-to market strategies including all the marketing and analyst relations and offer development. I think you are managing all the go-to market strategies and tactics to conceive, design, develop, and deliver sustainable solutions that drive customer success for your clients. So, Dan, we'll just turn to you for a minute and have you say hello and just quickly introduce yourself and then I'd like to go to a couple quick polls.
Dan: Great. Thanks Chad. I appreciate that. Welcome, everybody and to Chad's comments earlier, we are really excited to talk about this mobile shift and give you a couple of best practices, ideas, a couple of use cases and we're gonna to try to be as conversational as we can in this discussion. And at the end of it, our intent is that you walk away with two or three things that you might be able to take and apply to your business or apply to your customer journey and experiences that they have in your business. So with that Chad, thank you very much. I appreciate it and like I said, we look forward to try to create a conversational discussion today.
Chad: Awesome. Well, thank you again, Dan. So, I'm going to turn to the audience attention. If you folks can help me, I just want to kind of gauge your thoughts around this and I'm going to launch a quick poll for you here and if you could go to the screen here. The question is how active is your current company in promoting the use of self-service channels to your customers for service support versus telephone? And the answers could be very active, somewhat, not a priority at this time. So just take a minute. Show your input in there. I'm going to just give it a couple of more seconds and see where we are at right now.
Interesting to see these results and I'll show it to the audience here in a second. All right, so we're gonna close it down here, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and let me see if we can show the poll. And what I had here, the results were 65% were very active, part of their everyday life, and 23% were somewhat, and 12% not a priority at this time. So Dan, any surprises on that? I mean I'm glad to hear that 65% are very active.
Dan: Yeah. I'm a little surprised that it's not higher than that, but hopefully we'll create some use cases or some ideas for people to look at that channels...emerging channels that they should be using.
Chad: Yeah. So again, thank you very much and I'm going to go back to our screen. I've just got one more quick poll, Dan, that I want to go to here and I'm going to post it back on here. The next poll would be, and this is the last question, and we'll move on. So here's a quick question for everyone is if you were to poll your customers, what percentage would say they would use more than three channels to conclude one interaction? Small percent, common requirement, or we have problems? So if you could take a moment and maybe...can you see that slide, Dan?
Chad: Okay. So hopefully, we've got some folks voting in on here and interesting to see where this is gonna come out. All right, so we're going to close this down. And what I had here, Dan was 70% had small percent, 10% or less, 20% common requirement, and 10% had the third, any general reaction quickly to that Dan?
Dan: Yeah. Just it seems that you find customers traversing channels pretty quickly to solve one interaction, so these results are gonna lead right into a conversation we were having, drop this dialogue in terms of how do we use proactive mobility in creating different customer experiences.
Chad: Absolutely. First of all, thank you to all our listeners and audience. We appreciate your participation. We'll make sure we get those actual results out to you, post the webinar. You'll be getting a link for the webinar tomorrow along with the any of the poll results that we discussed here today. So quickly, Execs in the Know, we're here for you. We are your customer advocate. If you are not involved with us, I strongly would encourage. There is a number of things we are doing to help guide and share overall best practices in leadership within the industry, very fortunate that we've got a terrific corporate advisory board.
All of these brands here, at the end of the day, it's about leaders sharing with leaders and our advisory board does a lot to say, "Hey look, we are here to advance this overall industry and learning as a whole and so forth." So we are customer driven and as I said, there's a number of things we are doing. I hope that if you have any questions, feel free to reach out or you can see all our information execsintheknow.com. Dan, there is a good-looking photo of you. I've got it up there right now. So that's Mr. Dan Gordon and Dan, we are going to just turn right into you. Let's get started on the mobile shift.
Dan: Thanks, Chad. I appreciate that. I think we can all agree that this mobile shift is happening and it started 10-plus years ago with the advancement of the mobile phone itself and one of the things that we talked about, Chad, at your conference back in the February time frame was this idea of emerging channels and how do people, how to brands, solve for emerging channels and how they integrate emerging channels into their customer journey and what's the value of those. And so, we are looking forward to going through some of those emerging channels.
And you think about 10 years ago and when this idea of the blackberry, if you will, and I'm probably showing my age by bringing up the original blackberry that I thought, "Man, I got black and white email holstered on my hip." I mean, can it get any better than that? And I just thought, "Man, it can't get better than having email," and thus began this constant always on, 24/7. I got email now and so I'm always on. And that shift started really with that evolution,
And now, 10 years later, 15 years later, you think about everything you can do on your mobile device, everything from shopping and getting directions and searching for locations and finding your music and treating social media and even linking it to devices that will give you your pulse readout. I mean the things that your mobile device does now, it's pretty amazing. I don't think it's going to slow down anytime soon. And this idea of 24/7, being constantly on, there's some research from Morgan Stanley that has shown 91% of U.S. citizens have their mobile device in reach 24/7. And maybe I'm one of the 9% because I try to put mine down at night but it is constantly a device that people are reaching for all of the time.
And, in fact, spending via mobile device, retail spending via mobile device, topped out at $100 billion in 2015. So this device is just, you know, this thing that is converging channels and applications and in there so much that people can do about or with this device. And quite frankly, it's not even just about an outbound phone anymore. Again, I'll show my age. My kids are in high school and I don't think they know that that mobile device is actually a phone. I think they use it for everything but a phone.
Chad: Well, the real question is they know consumers are expecting the same exceptional experiences on the mobile device and the growth and the statistics behind it speak to, okay, we all know that. And we're gonna, you know, how do we figure that out? And I guess, what Dan, this sort of begs the question, is how do folks on the phone who are listening today, how do we start to make a conscious shift from reactive to proactive communications in this particular channel? What would be your thoughts there?
Dan: Yeah. I think there's a couple of answers really but we are going to focus primarily on the integration of convergence of data within that mobile device and how we can use data to look at integrating this emerging channel into the customer trends. So, when it comes to this intersection of the device and data, and ultimately changing the way that we search, collaborate, and communicate, and use that device to proactively communicate with customers.
And I think there are two primary elements to do that. One is to improve self-service options and the second is to create more personal interactions. So we are going to talk a little bit today about those two goals, how to improve some self-service options and what are the benefits and some use cases around that, and then the other is around how do we create more personal interactions and create more personalized experiences using data in that mobile device.
Chad: So then, let's start Dan with using data to improve self-service options. Can you give us some reasons why you think it's important in some general best practices for folks listening today?
Dan: Yeah. I'll give you two quick stats and then we'll kind of move into some of the meat conversations. One stat that you are seeing on the screen is one in four calls in the call center are either unnecessary or avoidable. And that's primarily research from a customer care perspective and not even from a sales marketing or collection perspective. So there are quite a few phone calls that come in to your call center that can be avoided if you look at on the integration of outbound into your customer journey.
The other stat that you'll see is 75% of customers preferred to use self-service and expected self-service option in different channels. So I go back to that kind of joke I made about my kids but they truly would rather text somebody, even when it comes to customer service, than it would be to call somebody. So those are kind of stats and they reflect how important or how visible the mobile devices and the convergence of this device with the experience itself. So it's becoming one of the same. People are expecting the same experience on that mobile device as they are in person and as they are across brands.
Chad: It would be interesting Dan and I don't have a poll but if we could ask our audience, how many people prefer self-service as the first option. I'm no millennial, kind of double that but the point is, I know for me personally, whenever I'm dealing with a brand, my first reach is always self-service, if that is an option and it's kind of frustrating to me when I don't have that ability. So let's talk about that promoting the next [inaudible 00:14;50], promoting the self-service channel.
Dan: Yeah, and I'm going to back up just a quick second Chad because I think that's an interesting question that people would respond to. Do they prefer self-service? And I think there is this trade-off between how urgent an issue is and how complex it is and so, the more urgent and complex the issue is, in the eyes of the consumer, the more likely they are to try to get to an assisted experience versus the less urgent, less complex. It's more self-serving and it kind of move up that chain, if you will, the more urgent and complex it is. And so, if you look at what are some of those best practices in promoting self-service channels? I'll give you a couple. One is look at the channels that you're using today and think about other ways that you can introduce another channel within that existing channel. I'll give you an example.
So you're on a phone call in IVR and either you're on hold or you're trying to do something in the IVR that maybe you can't do in the application self. Here's a couple of options. One, you could push a text message via your mobile device and create a link or create some conversation that you are now promoting a different channel within the voice channel. So you could create some sort of dialogue, maybe it's an SMS dialogue all of a sudden or maybe you can push a video. So think about ways to promote a new channel within an existing channel. Go ahead, Chad.
Chad: No, I just know that it's a great comment and great to get some examples. Any other examples folks may think about on the call, there is a chat box there if you want to throw a comment or and if you want to say, "Hey, I'm a self-service kind of guy or gal," or "I'm a traditional," feel free to. I just love to hear our thoughts from our audience but that raises a good example and I know we've got some others. Dan, do you need me to go over to the next idea on some of the best practices? I know you gave one there and I think you also had some more.
Dan: Yeah. If you talk about just mapping your customer journey, I know it sounds kind of cliché in many respects but when you are looking at your customer journey, I think that there is opportunities. I know our clients. See, I know we work clients across the country and there is opportunity to look at the data that they have available and determine, and use some of that data to determine what are some of the other channels to offer, when the best timing to offer that channel is. So don't be afraid to use the data that you have within your organization when you're mapping a journey to find opportunities to introduce channels. And again, one other point that's not on the slide, I'd be very clear about the problem you're trying to solve when it comes to the introduction of another channel.
So that will help you really identify, to really clear about the business problem you are trying to solve, or the customer experience friction you're trying to solve for your customer. I think you'll find opportunities to look at or introduce another channel within the existing channel you have. So and, if your flip to the next slide, we'll talk about text support. So one of our clients is a cable teleco satellite that we are using voice only to handle some inquiries and do some technical FAQs, and they wanted to look at some of those calls they thought that could be avoided from their call center, those one in four calls that we mentioned earlier. And is there a way to create some self-service options and offer the caller an opportunity to chat via text message rather than wait on the phone and/or wait for a live agent in the call center?
So, we tested this at a pilot program and introduced SMS chat for technical questions that emanated from the IVR. So this company was pretty specific about the problem that they had with trying to alleviate some pressure from the reps and some of the calls that they had and integrate some simple technical FAQs that might be able to be more quickly resolved via a chat function rather than navigate the IVR and then talk to an agent. And so, what they found in doing this program was 80% of the customers that used SMS chat were extremely satisfied with it. So that told them that, "Hey, this is a good idea. We are going to continue to offer some alternate channels for self-service," and they also realized a $3.4 million savings in a year using SMS chat.
So and to me, those are real numbers. I mean $3.4 million certainly is gonna be a meaningful number to many organizations and I think it's an opportunity to look at the return on investment of that SMS chat program and think, "Geez! The customers, consumers really like it and by the way, we're saving quite a bit of money on this by using it." So I think that's a pretty good use case or a pretty good scenario where a client looked at that option and said, "Hey, we can keep people in a channel that they prefer and save some money and yet not degrade the self-service and the customer experience."
Chad: Really, that is a great example and for our listeners, if there's any questions you want to ask or make sure I asked Dan in regards to the example he used or anything around that, feel free to use the chat box there and/or the questions and I will definitely see if I can get them out to you Dan. So as I said, a great example, but let's look at another point I think Dan you had made earlier. How can you get more proactive by using data to make every interaction more personal, especially when it comes to mobile technologies? And I think the keyword's proactive here, but proactive engagement. So, why is it important in any particular best practice as you can share with our listeners?
Dan: Perfect. Yeah. I think there is an opportunity to create more personal interactions. I think one of the ways to do that is go back to the front end of a conversation around data and how you can use data that you own, data that maybe your vendors own and/or third party data that you could append and look at opportunities to create revenue. Actually, excuse me, to create cost savings, maybe reduce the inbound load into the call center. So nearly 2/3 of customers that subscribe to mobile marketing indicate they've made a purchase as a result of receiving highly relevant mobile messaging. So if you think about that, you are on your mobile device, you get a text message or you get some sort of communication, a push text that says, "Hey, I see you are here," maybe you are using a location-based service, "I see you at this mall and I know you shopped at ABC store before. Here is a coupon or here is an opportunity, a sale percentage, off-sale at the store."
People react to those and research shows that nearly 2/3 of consumers who subscribe to mobile marketing or making purchase as a result of that. So, I think there is opportunity, Chad, in giving customers choice and keeping those customers in the preferred channels of choice. So if you use this data and you have this outbound proactive messaging and people respond to it, which you are going to find they will, they are telling you, if you will, that that's a channel of choice that they like and often times that they prefer. So don't be afraid to use the data that you have and test it and look to see if there's ways that you can reduce inbound load and generate revenue. So, some best practices around this idea, this concept, an integration of using data to create a different experience in proactive mobile, I'll give you two really quick easy ones.
Start somewhere and start simple. So that's the first one. Don't try to solve everything or even anything complex. It's not a one-size-fits-all, it's not a panacea, if you will, but find a use case where people are using their mobile device or could use it and insert that channel into the journey. And so, start somewhere. Start kind of simply, go back to the example I gave earlier, that technical FAQs. That was a simple way that this client of ours looked at their opportunity and said, "Geez! They are on mobile device. We can push some detailed information to them without having to back up the call center or the IVR."
And the second is, the second piece of advice is, don't forget about the data element. Look where you can use data to enhance that moment in time along the journey so that you can think about where you might be able to insert channels of choice or different opportunities to create collaboration and communication along that journey, using what your customers are telling you.
By responding to proactive notifications, they are telling you that's a channel of choice that they like and so if you know that and you kind of use that data that you have in your organization, you can begin to look at the journey and think about where else can we integrate this idea of mobile or of proactive mobile into the journey.
So I'll give you an example, a use case that we worked with one of our clients. And they had three goals in this use case. One was to increase revenue, one was to integrate an emerging channel, and to go kind of back to piece of advice, was they wanted to start pretty small. So they wanted to start with a really specific use case around how to generate more revenue be it proactive notifications in a mobile device for a pay-per-view fight.
So I'll just give you that scenario again. They were marketing a pay-per-view fight and they knew what they wanted to test. Their hypothesis was that they are going to market to customers via text message to the mobile device and they think by doing that that they can generate more revenue, more subscribers, and more takes, if you will, of the pay-per-view event. So that was their hypothesis, if you will. So if you look at the kind of the process that this company went through in order to converge mobile and data together and create some revenue and cost savings, they look across this process and it's again more detailed than this but this will at least give you some high level steps of what you can look at to create a use case and create a test case.
This company started out with what they knew. So they had some information about their customer base. They had some information about proactive and mobility. They had some use case ideas around where they thought it might fit. So and they had some data components and then they said, "Okay, now we have that. In order for us to test this idea, this pilot program," they looked at what other data did they need, what else did they need to know about this potential buyer and where could they get that data.
So they looked at vendor-owned data, they looked at third-party data, they looked in their own organization to find all of these different components that they thought, "Okay, if we are going to test this program, we are going to try to get people to buy a pay-per-view fight via a proactive text message, what sort of data do we have, what sort of data do we need and what are we going to test against? So their hypothesis was based on timing that they felt they could generate more revenue based on the timing of when they offered the fight via text message. So they really started to evaluate and look at this idea of timing and how data could affect the timing of the delivery of the proactive offer.
So they tested some demographic data, some psycho graphic data against the time element and their hypothesis was, by sending of the notification or the offer via notification at a certain time, they could generate more revenue. So what they did is they took these data components and started to do some AB testing, keeping variables, one variable the same and then testing against other variables, right. So they basically did some AB testing and they developed this predictive model of if we do this, then this is going to happen. And so, what they ultimately found and what we found together in doing this work was that timing did affect the revenue side of the equation, changing the opportunity of when the proactive notification was sent.
So what we found was the optimal time to send the offer via text message was two days before the fight and they tested all kinds of [inaudible 00:28:05] but we found that the timing of the offer was critical and using the data to generate and to narrow down the exact timing of the offer was the key in terms of generating more revenue, which they created about $2 million in additional revenue and they received about a 61% lift in the response rates to that offer. So they looked at this opportunity to use the mobile device and create a marketing offer via the mobile device proactively to generate more revenue and quite frankly again, $2 million in my world is kind of a big number and so, I would take that in a heartbeat.
Chad: Well, Dan, there is a number of...I want to stop there and it's been a great, great example. It's generated a number of questions or comments and I just want us...we'll stop for a second here. I want to try to incorporate a few of them. I know, Tom, I don't know, it's really a comment or a question but it is just more of a comment. Live agent chat or automated bot chat. Tom, you can expand on that a little bit further if you'd like but Dan, any reaction to live agent chat or automated bot chat, not necessarily from the example you gave but in general.
Dan: The examples that I have given are all live agent chat. That is what I would describe as sort of virtual agent. So it's almost a combination of peeling off some of the canned responses that could be done in chat and when the sort of library, if you will, of canned responses have been exhausted, there is an agent component on the back end of it. So in the use cases we've presented here, it's a little bit of both. It's a little bit of an automated access to some FAQs that can be interpreted via natural language and pushed back out and then so when that library, if you will, is exhausted, there is an agent component that's looking at the chat itself and responding and then engaging in the chat.
Chad: And Brian, I'm just going to read his, I guess, question or commentary from the example. Brian says what feedback loops have you suggested to use the data in other areas, i.e. [inaudible 00:30:31] product development sales. Do you have any case studies or do you have any more case studies or any examples around that? So what feedback loops have you suggested to use the data in other areas? Think come to my off hand there, Dan?
Dan: Yeah. I'm not sure that this will answer the question directly and if it doesn't, please maybe drop me an email. My email address will be on the end of the presentation but what we found in doing this work is we've created an ROI document that we then share within that client's organization. And so, I'll go back to be really specific and clear about what business problem you are trying to solve using proactive mobility and this convergence of data and I think the more clear you are around what you are trying to solve for, the easier it is to create the use case and then the ROI behind it so then you can begin to socialize it. So what happened in the case of this UFC, our example, we had limited access to the to the client data. They were like, "Yeah, we'll give you a little bit of access. We are not quite sure that this is something that we'd really buy into, but you guys are pretty adamant that you believe there is opportunity to create more revenue and so, we started small.
We started with this is an example of over 10 fights. So, we started the first fight. The results were pretty minimal but yet and the client was like, "Okay, well if you think there is more, let's do one more and then one more and then one more and then one more. All of a sudden, it's the tenth fight with a $2 million swing in revenue and I think that progression of trying to starting small to gain momentum was big and the constant communication within the client's organization about the results created more momentum. So now, this client is opening the doors to the data and saying what else do you guys want? This is starting to become real and sort of feedback loop has been back into the client and release some targeted marketing efforts within that client itself to promote the results that we've created in that campaign. I'm not sure if [inaudible 00:32:53] question directly.
Chad: No. I think that's very insightful and Dan, if you are okay with a few more questions coming in and first of all, you are listening to Dan Gordon. He is the SVP of Strategy and Development at West Interactive. And thank you, Dan, again for your time today and sharing some of these case studies and insights. I'd encourage all of our listeners, let's take advantage of the time we're together, this investment of time. If there's things that are sparking interest or questions, we'll definitely try to get them in there. Dan, I know we've got a few more slides but I want to throw one more comment or question your way if that's okay and this is from Bergen [sp]. It says, is there any instances that the proactive mobility failed? How do you address or resolve that? That was the question from Bergen. Any suggestions or advice there or have you seen anything like that?
Dan: Yeah. I mean in any time you are trying to integrate emerging channels like this, you are going to run into opportunities or instances where it just doesn't work and we subscribe to this fail fast concept, right, where, "Hey, we think this is a good idea and you create this hypothesis around but we think, you know that using proactive mobility or using proactive engagement will help solve this problem." And it hasn't and I think I'll go back to kinda this trade off between complexity and urgency. I think that it becomes use case scenarios where the consumer on the other hand doesn't feel like that interaction is being resolved as quickly and so the chat ends or the library, if you will, of FAQs isn't robust enough to address the issue that the consumer has.
So we've seen that honestly in some of the retail pharma space where we had some interaction where we've introduced this idea and it hasn't worked really well and I think the other the other component where we are kind of scratching the surface, I think not just us, I think it's in the industry scratching the surface. There is this idea of how to integrate MMS in with concept of the mobile device and how we can push video and use video. What are some of the limitations from a technology perspective and networking perspective, I think are hard.
We've tested some MMS that haven't gone as well as we'd like it mostly because of some of the network restrictions, if you will. So we are testing some of that. I think as an industry. MMS is an emerging channel. I think it's going to be something that grows over time but we've done some testing that hasn't gone as well.
Chad: And again Dan, thank you. I know there's not necessarily a complete absolute, right or wrong. It's just different ideas and best practice sharing and insights and everything you've been sharing has been terrific. I just want to point out. At the beginning of the webinar, I had mentioned the white paper. There was a specific section that I thought was very useful, how to use proactive messaging in specific industries and I think you gave some great examples here, maybe some ideas that we haven't thought about so far, I mean healthcare and pharmacy. There's probably 10, 12 different ways you could potentially use proactive messaging. If I'm in retail, consumer or financial services, insurance, travel logistics, there is all these different ways that maybe we haven't thought out of the box before.
So I'd like to encourage the listeners to get a copy of that white paper. Again, it's free and there were some good insights on that particular graph and entities. So Dan, I'm going to move on here and I know, as I alluded to, there were kind of five bullet points you said, kind of how to get started in. And what's interesting, you know, map your customer journey, it sounds so cliché-ish. I go to a lot of leadership gatherings and you ask people who has done customer journey mapping and I think 9 out of 10 or all 10 raise their hand but there is kind of a question behind those questions and we can't just take it at face value.
So one of your recommendation, start with customer journey. Let's just assume most people have. What's missing? Where do we go from here and any insights? What would be your recommendations? And we'll go through some more of these slides here.
Dan: So like you said Chad, I think many of us are starting to map their customer journey. Often times, we find working with clients that they are mapping components of the journey, maybe not the entire journey. So they are mapping components within their functional area, for example, rather than mapping the entire journey. And we talked about it at the conference back in February. This idea of silos is something that the industry needs to address and the breaking down of the silos and kind of functional ownership across the customer journey.
So a couple of things around this customer journey, look at the entire journey, not just the functional area that you've got responsibility for in terms of journey mapping, and two things. One, don't forget about the data that you have within that journey and how to use the data. So, if you have data that can help identify callers and reduce the amount of time and information that they have to share with an agent or share to get to the right spot within the IVR or get from web to IVR, use that data when you are starting to look at the journey itself and the thing that I think most of us forget about in customer journey mapping is sort of this emotional side, the softer side versus just really the smart side of journey mapping. This is what my customer is doing.
There is also a question around what is your customer feeling when they are going through this journey and are they feeling friction? Are they feeling happy? Are they feeling something that is creating a sense of, "Geez, I wish I could do this in another way," and there is important, emotional component to journey mapping that I think is just starting to be explored. So mapping the journey sounds really cliché but expand journey beyond what you think, think about how to use data in that journey and don't forget about the emotional side of that journey, what your customers are feeling through that journey and that will help you identify some friction points.
And second, Chad, I think, in that next slide, we are talking investing energy to create business value. I will tell you philosophically experiences, customer experiences, are created through feeling your brand and employees must understand, align, and commit to your brand in order to activate it with your customers.
So brands, in their experiences, are built from the inside out, not the outside in, and so if you invest in time and energy, not just in the, what I'll call the smart side of your organization and all these metrics, but into the healthy side around culture and the integration of people and technology and culture together, you're going to find that your employees start to live your brand. And in doing that, they're going to create experiences with your external consumers, customers, patients, that is more valuable and reflective than what you can do without having this inside out approach.
So invest energy into your employee base to create these brand advocates because you want your customers to feel the brand that you've built. That's a big one that I think is often overlooked or maybe not considered as important and I think brands that do that really well, if you look at Southwest Airlines, they hire people, their people are really a reflection internally of that brand and you see that every experience you have if you fly Southwest Airlines. I know I do. I fly them as much as I can and they invest a lot of money in those brand advocates. So I'd encourage you to do that.
Third, be a trend predictor. Keep an eye on your competition. And again, I would suggest, I would advocate that you look beyond maybe your traditional competitive set because consumers don't compare you to your competition directly. I believe they compare you to their experiences more broadly. And so, the experience you have at Southwest Airlines, you might sort of project onto experiences that you might have in shopping at a retail for example. You know, why can it be like so-and-so company? Why can't my experience here be like so-and-so? Why can't my experience, when I pick up my car when it's serviced that I get a text message when it's done and I get different ways of communication? Why can't it be like that in the airline space? So look beyond your traditional competitive set, expand your view because your customers aren't comparing you necessarily to your direct competition. They are comparing you to experiences they have across brands more broadly and globally than they ever have before.
And so, if you kind of look at that more broadly, you are going to find places in your customer journey where you begin to think about mm, where might there be other friction and where might there be other opportunity to introduce these channels and sort of combine that, combine this view of your competitive set, this expanded view with industry trends that are happening, again, not just in your industry but more broadly. And we talk about, Chad, we've talked about this in some of your events, these ideas or these trends of, "I want my interaction to be more personal, I want my interaction to be smarter, I want my interaction to be faster and I want to be in more control of that interaction." Those are broad trends or broad feelings, if you will, that consumers have regardless of whether you are a provider, or insurance carrier, a retailer, a cable telco satellite company, a travel hospitality company, kind of consumers want those experiences to be smarter, to be faster, to be more personal, and to be more empowered.
So look at those trends and figure out are there other trends that might impact this customer journey? And then I think when you do that, the fourth idea is make intelligent use of the data and get started by using it. Don't forget that you've have access to multiple data sources. You have data, your vendors have data and there are third-party vendors that have data. So, think about the experience that you might want to design and the journey that you might desire your consumer to have versus what it is today. And where can you plug in data to understand more about the journey itself and to make improvements in that journey. And again, start small. Start small to gain some momentum, to gain some traction. You don't have to solve everything immediately. I think people get overwhelmed with journey mapping and they identify these gaps and then they become overwhelmed with where to start and they never get started.
So start small, start simply, it kind of leads into the fifth recommendation, which is, think about eliminating as much of this one-size-fits-all mentality and try to make those experiences and use the data to make those experiences as personal as you can be. And again, start small, start simply and I think if you do that, you are going to gain some momentum, you are going to gain some ROI and you are going to be able to create momentum internally for more revenue, more cost savings, and even more brand advocates and higher NPS [sp].
So, those are the five steps that we would recommend. And again, those are pointed out in the white paper as well.
Chad: Well, Dan, I know you've given so much. I mean thank you and I want to go back on a couple of points that you just brought in the five steps, the steps we just discussed here about implementation. And I know it's interesting that we talked for years about the importance of data collection, reporting action of data but from your perspective, do you think organizations are making progress? And if you do or don't, why do you think this has been so challenging, any insight on there? So I guess the first question is do you think we, fast forward to 2016, we're making progress in this discussion of data? And why do you think that's been some challenges or that continues to be a challenge? I have my opinions, but I'd love to hear yours.
Dan: I think so. There's a continuum of data and the ability to do go from sort of, what I would describe as reactionary backward-looking analysis to prescriptive and predictive and prescriptive data and data science and analytics and I think we are starting as an industry to really do much better job at looking at historical data and reporting and data mining that information in order to predict the different outcomes using hypothesis. So, I'll go back that UFC fight example I gave you. What we did there was data mining. I mean we looked at reports, we looked at information that we had. It was kind of backward-looking. We thought, "Okay, given this data set and we are going to test it again through different hypothesis and we are going to try gain a different outcome."
And so I think the industry as a whole is getting much better at the data mining component. I think there is all kinds of opportunities to move up that value chain, if you will, and really begin to migrate into predictive analytics and then prescriptive where you really start to drive a different experience or drive different offers and different channels in a very, very proactive way where you are predicting or you are prescribing the next behavior that you want your consumer to take. And I think almost every single organization we have this conversation with, looks at that model, if you will, from the kind of data analytics and mining to how do I use it to predict behavior to how do I use it to prescribe the next best action. I think there are a lot of organizations kind of at this first layer of how am I really using data mining effectively to change the experience. So I think there is all kinds of upside opportunity. I think, as an industry, we're starting to really do a much better job at this data mining component.
Chad: And we talk about the importance of data and again, for our listeners, if you've got any comments or best practices or anything you'd like to share, feel free to add them in the question box and I'll make sure I try to get them addressed here when we have a few minutes left. And the data thing continues to be paramount amongst many other things and we could have a full webinar just on the data piece and component but I like, Dan, your approach where you are taking small actions of success and effort and in getting to that. And there is a lot of ways you can do that very easily but, you know, things we're not thinking about with proactive indication, especially within the mobile piece of the mobile customer engagement. Go ahead, Dan. You have a comment?
Chad: So, we've talked a number of pieces about making the consumer's mobile shift successful and kind of the customer care channel of it, what do see as sort of often the hardest part of organizations to embed in their organizations about the consumer mobile shift?
Dan: What's up? Repeat the question again, Chad. I'm sorry.
Chad: Well, we've talked about a number of pieces today for making the consumer's mobile shift successful for customer care and I guess I was just trying to think about what do you see or do you see often the hardest part of organizations to embed in their organizations or try to do from a mobile proactive engagement component?
Dan: You know the conversations we have our clients, I think, are focused around what are those opportunities or what are others use cases. And I think organizations kind of struggle with the use case itself, creating the use case and how to get off the diamond start. So go back to that white paper. There is a bunch of different ideas around kind of use cases in different industry and I think if you look at some of those and think, "Oh, I could use an alternative channel here or I could introduce another channel in this use case," and think of your customer from the outside in and kind of think about experiences that you have as a consumer and how that might apply to your own business. I think sometimes we don't see the forest for the trees and we don't slow down enough to go, "Oh, I had a really cool experience over here," and what if they did something different?
We've given an example before of kind of emerging channels and almost inanimate objects that are going to provide data and insights down the road. I mean, think about I'm sitting in a chair right now, maybe many of you are sitting in a chair and think about what the chair could tell you down the road. It could tell you things like your maybe your heart rate, it could tell you things like whether or not you're fidgeting, whether or not you've fallen asleep because this hasn't been as enjoyable as you thought. So there is all kinds of data that even a chair could gather from just you sitting in that chair and I think people often times don't just get creative and don't just kind of create these what-if scenarios. So I think the hard part Chad is in generating the use case and thinking about the different applications of what might be. And I think in doing that, often times, well, that's going to be too hard or that crosses so many different parts of our organization that I'll never get buy-in for.
I think those are the hurdles. Those are the things that we typically find in having these conversations like, "Well, it would be great if we could do that but I don't own that part of the customer journey or I don't own that part, that's not my functional area and it's really hard to get some buy-in." So I think the use case, the idea behind it, the hypothesis, the business case associated with it, if we spend this, this is what we think we are going to get different. Those are things that are really, really critical in terms of getting momentum and gaining some traction internally to do this differently.
Chad: And I think we are going to have to, you know, that you talk about the concept use case, business case and the now everything is mentioned, I guess, Dan, so we're going to have to get used to this because when I think of your chair example, I think of the Internet of Things. The thing that comes to my mind immediately is the back end support of that. How are we going to support these new technologies that are absolutely going to come and they are going to give us the insightful stuff but as service leaders, what channel is that coming through? How are we supporting that and how, not just data and systems, but how will that all is going to be tied in? I guess my comment is we've got to get very thoughtful at this moment as far as the way you've outlined the need for the use case, business case and a strong analysis and understanding around it.
Dan: Yeah, and to your point earlier Chad, there could be a whole session about data and data architecture and enterprise architecture and those back end systems to consolidate and consume that data. And I'll tell you, I mean that is a big challenge that organizations are facing, which is our data resides in so many places in the organization that just consolidating it into a single warehouse, if you will, could be a challenge. So yeah, I mean I think it's a big challenge that the industry is going to face in the coming year 24 to 36 months, which is the consolidation and consumption of data and the infrastructure to support it.
And then frankly, the requirement of the people side of the equation, with respect to having those data scientists to be able to interpret the data, because having data is great, but if you can't draw a correlation to it and you can't draw a predictive models to it, then it's just data. Then it's not really actionable information. I think turning data into that actionable information requires some really smart people that I think you are starting to see a lot of growth in traction in terms of data scientists and the ability of those people to really use data. So it's going to be big challenge, no question.
Chad: And I think of our poll question. One of them was what percent would say they use more than three channels to conclude one interaction. And I think there was 30% said it was a common requirement. It happened 10% to 30% of the time. And I think that complexity is going to continue but we've got to get better as brand organizations to resolving service issues in that interaction session, especially when there is a lot of channel hopping or are we trying to make it easy for our customers to do business best versus going back to that journey mapping and all the other stuff that we've talked about here Dan. I'm going to leave on one last question here and I got a couple of last-minute slides for our audience here.
So Dan, I always like to leave sort of a, time goes fast, but leave on a very positive note and, you know, we're all gonna go back to our day jobs after the webinar and I guess that there was hard to isolate to one because they all kind of go within synchronization, but what's the one takeaway or the one action you really want to leave these listeners and our audience with today from today's conversation, I guess? Would there be sort of that one piece you really would encourage and support people to take away?
Dan: Yeah. That's a really tough question, narrow it down to one [inaudible 00:55:36]. We've talked about way too many, frankly, but I would focus on, if there is one thing to take away, look at use cases, create use cases, look at opportunities where you might be able to introduce an alternate channel, an emerging channel within an existing channel, and think about as you mapped your journey, where those instances or use cases might be and start small. Start with a simple idea to gain traction because most of these organizations, they're doing is journey mapping and customer experience or call centers, not necessarily revenue generation centers and so I think the use case and the momentum and showing some initial returning success is critical and I think that's all driven from the use case itself.
Chad: Well stated and Dan, thank you so much. Gracious of you. I know how busy your time is and to you to give us some of your insightfulness today. And again, you've been listening to Dan Gordon, the SVP of strategy and product development at West Interactive. At the end of the webinar, you are actually, tomorrow, 24 hours from now, you are going to get an email link with the actual webinar recording and all the slides that were sent out today.
You are also going to get a survey. You folks are my customer and I would appreciate if you could just take a moment and give me feedback about how you found today's webinar useful and any other insightful information. One other quick comments about Execs in the Know, for our Canadian listeners, we're gonna be, for one day workshop in Toronto at the Royal Bank of Canada on June 7. If that's something you'd like to join us in, it's an all-day workshop about some of the insights that we've been discussing, let me know.
Feel free to email email@example.com And then finally, if you've not been to one of our national events, we hold the Customer Response Summit. It's a great brand to brand mentorship and executive form for two days. We are going to be in the wonderful city of Austin, Texas. And Dan, I know you'll be involved with us there too. That's September 18 through the 20th and you can find all those details on our website.
So on behalf of Dan Gordon and West Interactive, thank you so much. You've been a great guest for Execs in the Know. I encourage all of you to keep doing what you're doing. You have a very tough job. Keep the motivation and positive, making customer first and we are here to help you in that journey. So Dan, on behalf of us, I could not thank you more. Everyone, have a great, great day. This now will conclude our webinar and thank you for your time and attention.
Dan: You're welcome. I appreciate it.