• July 27, 2020

On the (Online) Scene: Medallia, Talkdesk, Verint, Genesys, and Pegasystems Hold Virtual Events

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Fred Reichheld Suggests Earned Growth as a New Loyalty Metric

Fred Reichheld, who created the Net Promoter Score (NPS) 17 years ago, in early May introduced a new metric, called the Earned Growth Ratio, which he said patches some flaws in the current NPS framework. Reichheld unveiled the metric during a fireside chat at the Medallia Experience online summit, Medallia’s virtual event.

Earned Growth Ratio, Reichheld said, gauges customer loyalty through the lens of revenue growth, identifying which revenue streams come from existing customers doing more business with a company and which ones come from referrals.

The Net Promoter Score measured loyalty based on one question: Would you recommend this company to your friends or family?

NPS, he said, is sufficient to get a read on customer sentiment, but true loyalty takes the form of repeat purchases, referrals, and responding to requests for feedback.

Reichheld further noted that his NPS metric has been frequently misused, with companies tying it to bonuses and other performance-based incentives.

Medallia also used the online event to launch Medallia Speech, bringing real-time voice transcription and speech analytics into Medallia Experience Cloud; LivingLens video asset management capabilities, providing a central hub for video and other media assets; and several other product additions across its Medallia Action Intelligence product line. They include the following:

• Intelligent Alerts, which provides risk scoring and notifications for customer interactions that might contain legal issues or indicate possible customer churn;

• Customer Effort Scale;

• Employee Micropulse with embedded video for capturing employee feedback; and

• Athena Coaching Intelligence, to show how customers like interacting with company employees, how teams are performing, and which employees need additional coaching or training.

Medallia’s product suite is also being enhanced with technologies that the company gained during its acquisitions of Crowdicity in October and LivingLens in February, and is being integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Workday’s workforce management solutions. —Leonard Klie


Focus on Overall Experiences, Not Single Interactions

Dennis Snow, a former customer experience executive at Disney, emphasized a new way of handling customers that emphasizes full experiences rather than individual tasks. Snow was the keynote speaker during Talkdesk’s Opentalk virtual event in May.

Snow identified three principles that he said are “at the heart of a service-driven mentality.”

The first is looking at everything through the lens of the customer. When companies do this, they can start to understand why customers do what they do and why they ask the questions they do, according to Snow.

Key to implementing this principle is what he called “service mapping,” in which companies look at every step in their customer service processes and then consider what mediocre and excellent service would look like in each process. Mediocre service, he said “is a sin of omission.”

The second of Snow’s principles is paying attention to the details. Everything speaks volumes, either enhancing or detracting from the brand’s image.

The third principle is creating what he called “moments of wow.” These moments don’t need to be grandiose, according to Snow, because even “little wows can add up.”

Customer service, Snow explained, hinges on accuracy, availability, partnerships, and advice. Customers expect accuracy and availability, but when contact centers can also make customers feel like partners in the overall experience and offer advice, “that’s when you create wow moments,” he said.

“If you follow these three principles, the natural outcome is customer loyalty,” Snow stated.

Talkdesk also used the online event to roll out CX Cloud, an end-to-end customer experience solution on a single, unified platform, and Talkdesk Connections, a cloud-based integration platform designed specifically for contact centers to help them pull in data from any source.

Talkdesk CX Cloud offers a customer experience platform powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Features include omnichannel support, workforce engagement tools, an integrated agent desktop, mobile agent support, workforce management, quality management, call recording, deep data analytics, and collaboration solutions.

Talkdesk Connections is a platform for building custom integrations to home-grown apps, core industry systems, and on-premises data within minutes.

Talkdesk CEO Tiago Paiva emphasized the push to the cloud, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, which he said has forever changed the contact center industry.

At the start of the pandemic, only 43 percent of contact center agents worked from home. During the pandemic, that share jumped to 95 percent, and Talkdesk expects 57 percent of agents to continue working from home through the second half of the year, even after U.S. businesses open back up. Leonard Klie


Companies Need to Improve Collaboration to Improve CX

Though there is plenty of discussion about dedication to customer experience, many companies still fall far short of that goal, according to separate studies by Verint Systems and Forrester Research unveiled at Verint’s Engage online event in late May.

In the Verint research, 47 percent of people who contacted customer care said they couldn’t complete their tasks digitally, with most saying they couldn’t find the information they wanted or experienced technical issues.

In Forrester’s study, 45 percent of customer experience pros cite a lack of collaboration as their most significant obstacle.

To be truly effective, experience management needs to expand across the enterprise, speakers stressed throughout the event.

That became especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, which set in motion a dramatic increase in digital and contact center interactions, with a corresponding increase in customer feedback, according to Ben Smith, global vice president and general manager of customer experience solutions at Verint.

“Your customers want to talk to you right now about what is going on,” Smith said. “The priority for CX pros is to create great experiences. We do that to drive customer loyalty and to decrease operational costs. You need to capture, consolidate, and analyze feedback across channels, which will guide both tactical as well as strategic decisions within your business. Now more than ever, CX professionals must ensure that you are listening to your customers so that you understand what they want and need right now in those highly emotional interactions that they are having.”

Rather than improving, the lack of collaboration has worsened, according to Faith Adams, Forrester senior analyst.

Many teams approach customers without any coordination, Adams said. “Many times they are doing their own thing, in isolation from one another.

“To transform, companies must change and make sure the customer is front and center. Today, rather than using contact center teams as CX hubs, many companies don’t even make them part of CX efforts. It leads to a very fragmented, disconnected approach to customer experience. This leads to a struggle to improve and transform your CX,” she said.

In addition to the lack of collaboration, companies suffer from a lack of a customer-centric culture, Adams added.

“It’s unfortunate that [the pandemic] had to be the catalyst for organizations to change, but for many, if they don’t right now, they’re going to have a tough time surviving and thriving, because their customers will go elsewhere,” Smith said. —Phillip Britt


Companies Pivoted Quickly to Remote Work with Genesys

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies had to quickly move their contact center managers and employees out of the office and to work-from-home environments. It was not easy, speakers emphasized during Genesys’s Virtual Xperience conference in late May.

Homesite Insurance was one of those companies. It needed to move 600 agents—as well as supporting managers, IT specialists, and hardware—to home environments quickly.

Under normal circumstances, the move could have taken a couple of months, but with everyone pitching in and help from Genesys, the move was completed in 14 days, according to Tony Alonzo, the company’s customer engagement solutions leader.

“There’s a lot of old-school thought that you’re going to lose productivity when you move to a home office, but the big benefit has been better engagement,” Alonzo said. “Productivity has actually gone the other way. Call handle times are down, sales are up. There’s a lot more collaboration.”

As a result, customer satisfaction scores have risen, Alonzo added. “It’s been a really great story for us. We’ve come together and are a little more collaborative.”

Tony Graczyk, assistant director for engagement and workforce management at fellow insurance firm Principal, said his company had a bit of an edge over others because the company already had some employees working remotely. But it was still an unfamiliar situation.

Some of the new remote employees didn’t have a quiet space or furnishings suitable for use for eight hours a day.

Another issue, Graczyk said, was keeping employees engaged.

Principal looked for small things to increase engagement. One idea was letting employees change their profile pictures and include pictures of pets or their new work surroundings. “Those kinds of things helped to spur on some of that engagement as well as helped us have more of a sense of community, that we are all in this together and working through all of these changes,” Graczyk said.

Leaders also became more attentive to staff needs, and agents became more attentive to the stress customers were facing, apologizing to customers for latency or other issues, Graczyk said. “Being forward with those issues has helped them connect with the customers. It helps customers feel a connection.” —Phillip Britt


Pega Introduces Pega Process Fabric

Pegasystems founder and CEO Alan Trefler is espousing a new, more fluid process for overall digital transformation that allows businesses to “move fast and stay ahead of customer needs.”

In his keynote at Pega’s Inspire online event in early June, Trefler urged companies to build “from the center out around the customer journey,” something that will require them to weave together artificial intelligence, predictive and adaptive analytics, case management, a dynamic API, and a virtualization layer.

At the same time, this center-out approach needs to incorporate business logic around customers, lines of business, product categories, and geographies, while still being quick and agile.

“Speed is the hallmark of a center-out business,” he said.

Kerim Akgonul, Pega’s senior vice president of product, agreed, pointing out that companies today have no choice but to automate their businesses, engage customers one-to-one with empathy, deliver easy and efficient customer service, and do it all quickly.

To help companies do that, Pega introduced Pega Process Fabric, a cloud-based software architecture to streamline how organizations drive work across distributed enterprise technologies.

Available through Pega Platform, Pega Process Fabric combines dynamic APIs, an open framework, robotic process automation, and data virtualization to bridge connectivity gaps from end to end. It weaves together enterprise technology from different vendors into a unified platform.

“Too often, organizations looking at digital transformation face a false choice,” Trefler said. “They either settle for a temporary band-aid, such as robotic automation, or they are forced into expensive process reengineering that demands massive organizational change. Pega Process Fabric offers a revolutionary alternative: a lightweight, cloud-native approach that can easily connect technology and processes from end to end across an enterprise and beyond. We believe this will transform how employees get work done and how customers experience their preferred brands.” —Leonard Klie

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