Interview with the Solution Principal, Medallia – Rachel Lane


“Build it quick, you don’t need to have a perfect product on day one, test and refine.”

1. Tell us about your role in Medallia?
I am a Solution Principal for Medallia, this means that I spend much of my time with our customers helping them to optimize their experience management programs. I consult on a fairly broad range of topics within customer and employee experience management and am a trusted advisor for them on anything from how and when to engage with your customers to helping them cross that last mile of making strategic decisions and business transformation.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
I actually started out in retail and worked my way up from trainee store manager to retail director and then moved in with a house full of IT grads to be closer to London and my life changed forever. Whilst my new housemates were all genius coders they didn’t know how to run a business, so in 2000 we teamed up to create an online advertising platform. We had a blast and worked long hours, initially as a bedroom operation and then we got funding and took an office. Ultimately this first foray was a failed attempt, we lost our angel investors in the early dot com crash but we all learned a lot and now I was really at the birth of a new era for marketing and technology. I have been in tech ever since and have been a business leader, consultant and practitioner so I have lots of experiences to share. I have been specializing in the customer experience sector now for nearly 12 years, it’s who I am and I have a reputation for being extremely passionate about the customer and have been known to cry when my customers have great success.

3. How do you think technology is upgrading marketing Sector?
Technology has changed the very fabric of marketing, not only can you now really identify your customers right across the Omni-channel you have the ability to personalize to a sample size of one and predict the next customer engagement. Technology has literally removed a huge portion of the spray and pray approach that marketing had in the last decade and created a smart, business oriented sector.

4. How has customer-centric approach optimized the performance of organizations?
I see day after day the positive changes that come from that customer centric approach to business, it has inspired new brands, new products, an evolution in fulfillment and we have never before been more in touch with the wants and needs of our customers. For many brands it has helped them define a much superior business model and of course it has enabled new agile disrupters to grow very quickly and eat the lunch of the big players who struggled to make change quickly enough for the customer.

5. How has integration of AI contributed in delivering better customer experience?
AI is certainly going through its own evolution from those initial deployments creating a little early uneasiness for the consumer by it being a bit too creepy with personalization to now being a must have driver to automate simple service, enable customers to help themselves better and of course drive simple upsell, cross sell and killer conversions. AI has shown us already that it’s not about what you can do with the power of data but what should you do, the customer wants a seamless brand experience without the compromise of loss of data ownership so that’s the line that we are learning to tread.

6. What common practices of companies make their customers & employees dissatisfied?
Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than when you feel that you are having to put more effort into the engagement than the brand. A great example of this for me is when I went to the checkout in a store recently to buy two suitcases that were identical but they had different prices and I was told that they were the same lines but from a different season and she wouldn’t change the pricing so they matched as there was no rebate code on the system to do that, they were making their problem into my problem so I left them both. The assistant that served me did say that she understood my frustration but no one in management would listen to her so she had given up trying. This was an employee that was undervalued and under empowered, these are killer blows for any employee and are key drivers for churn.

7. What exceptional features of your customer experience platform, makes you one of the most loved brand of your clients?
Wow, this seems like a tricky question as there are new ones every day, it depends on what the problem is you are trying to solve but I would say that one of the biggest reasons why customers come to us in the first place is because we are a unified platform so you can bring in customer data from virtually anywhere in your customer’s journey, identify the customer engaging across those channels and bring it into a single platform to analyze and manage by journey. That journey visualization is jaw dropping when the customer sees it for the first time. Our digital solution is also super smart so that you can target customers based on so many things now which means that we get very rich data and the customer does not have their journey interrupted. Smart engagements actually increase customer satisfaction.

8. What advice would you like to give to the technology Start Ups?
Dream big, start small. Think about a typical customer journey today and think about how you could build technology to cut down 50% of the customer effort and 50% of their time. Build it quick, you don’t need to have a perfect product on day one, test and refine. Hire the best that you know, give them a stake in the business, empower them to succeed.

9. How do you prepare for an AI-Centric world?
AI will take many forms. The secret is to know what could significantly help your customers engage with your business better. You will always need the human touch but the humans will need to be at a higher skill level, this is where you need to invest time, money and trust and I feel this is the real risk for being overlooked in the changeup.

10. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent time?
In terms of business developments, I can say that I am heavily involved in preparing some of our large enterprise customers to move their programs significantly forward, some of them are embarking on bringing in Voice of Employee into their experience management programs and some are really moving forward with deep data Omni channel customer journey management. In terms of product developments, you will have to wait and see.

11. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
I work with a wonderful team of people, in fact I can honestly say that this is the first company I have ever worked where every one of my team has the same passion for the customer as me and it’s the first team that I have amazing conversations with. We are all very different but we have a wealth of experience and we encourage each other to be very present with our customers, sharing stories but also with a keen eye on the future so we can advise our customers on what’s next for the industry and what they need to be thinking about.

12. What movie inspires you the most?
The Benny Goodman Story – I love Jazz and I love movies that succeed in convincing us that there is a new way of doing things. I watched this first with my grandmother when I was 8 years old and it made me think that I could challenge the status quo, it’s that same thirst for progressive change that keeps my passion with technology and CX.

13. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, so can you share with us some of the fun pictures of your workplace?
We do have a pretty joyful work culture, we are all encouraged to bring our whole selves to work, this makes for some very entertaining moments. We celebrate inclusiveness and diversity and we have some crazy activities lunchtimes which can mean anything from puppy cuddling to lock picking.

14. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?

Rachel specializes in digital transformation, customer experience management and omnichannel engagement. She has over 10 years’ experience working on large scale omnichannel CX programs across major banks, telco’s and financial services.

Rachel’s has an in-depth understanding of the trends and technologies of today’s digital CX world. As a Digital Solutions Principal at Medallia, she successfully helps companies evolve their CX strategies to enable the entire organization to systematically drive action and win on customer experience.

Prior to her current role, Rachel was Head of Customer Analytics Practice at Verint EMEA.

Medallia’s mission is to help companies win through customer experience. The world’s best-loved brands trust Medallia’s Experience Cloud™, which embeds the pulse of the customer in an organization and empowers employees with the real-time customer data, insights, and tools they need to make every experience great. Growing quickly, with a global footprint that spans Silicon Valley, Austin, Washington D.C., New York, London, Paris, Sydney, Buenos Aires, and Tel Aviv, here, we value people for each of the aspects that make them whole.

For more information please visit our Website.

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