Medallia CEO: Better Analytics Leads to Better Customer Experiences During Pandemic

There is power in number, and the right analytics to surface those numbers leads to better decision making, sLeslie Stretrch, Medallia's CEO, told the virtual audience at his company's Experience 21 conference Tuesday.

"Over the past year, we've seen the true power of collective action: coming together to stop the spread of a deadly virus, distancing from loved ones, family, and friends. We've also been able to bring together the scientific community virtually," Stretch said. "Medallia was built on the belief that there is power in numbers. Analytical insights and seeing the numbers leads to better decision making."

Providing those numbers to more people has the power to improve how customers, patients, employees, citizens, and communities experience the institutions and organizations that are part of their daily lives, he stressed.

"While 2020 was proof that we can change outcomes through massive engagement, it was also a reminder that change itself is non-linear," Stretch continued. "Things can appear to be moving slowly, until they don't. People who don't pay close attention will be caught flat-footed."

Once-great companies like Kodak lost sight of industry shifts that were happening right in front of them, Stretch added. The film giant saw its primary business dissolve as people ditched film cameras for digital ones.

Citing a McKinzie study, Stretch said the top 20 percent of companies saw their profits rise $335 billion in 2020, while the bottom 20 percent lost almost that much, $303 billion. 

"We are in the middle of a talent revolution that too many companies are still denying exists," Stretch added. "Those who are not actively redefining experiences for a smart, distributed workforce hoping that all that happened to us is just temporary will lose the war for talent. If you don't understand every stage of the employee journey, you will lose to the companies who do."

Stretch cited an IBM study that said support for their well-being and a desire for more meaningful work were prime motivators in choosing their place of employment. 

"The notion of what a contact center is has been upended," Stretch said. "The word 'center' is no longer relevant. Centralized command and control service operations were developed on rigid legacy technology constraints. A cloud-supported, distributed servicing model is more agile and resilient than the old way. We have the technology today to do things right."

Coaching, identifying next-best actions and a host of other actions that had been done in a physical contact center can all now all be done virtually, Stretch said. According to another McKinsey study, 69 percent of organizations are doing more skills-building now than ever before.

"Our business operating models are changing, and so are our corporate cultures and priorities," Stretch said. "When you are looking for the early warning signs, the future doesn't seem so uncertain."

It's important to balance the approach to digitization so that the human touch isn't lost, said Christian Schmidt, Volvo's head of consumer experience. "That's very much a part of who we are as a brand. We are a human company. We want to meet people in a personal, human, respectful way. We should use digitization for that. It's a method to get closer to our consumers and to help them get a much better experience, not just with their Volvo, but with everything around it. We want to be in direct relationships with consumers."

Regardless of how many different ways a customer interacts with his company, they see it all as a single channel, Schmidt said. "Customer care is the new electricity when it comes to consumers. We are plugging our relationship with Medallia into another CRM partnership."

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