1. One of the major mergers of late 2018 is the SAP-Qualtrics merger, what are your thoughts regarding the operational tangent of the merger?
The SAP/Qualtrics acquisition is clear recognition that effective companies need both big and small data; that data-driven business decisions are not merely transactional data from sales and clicks, but also about understanding your customer, asking them questions, and gathering their feedback. SAP has made a bold and perhaps even visionary move with bringing these two types of data under one roof. That is not to say that the path to marrying the two will be quick or easy, but they are forging ahead of their competitors by being the first to wrangle with the challenge. Ultimately, they will reap the benefits when successful.
2. How important is the granular understanding of the customer in order to make the company beneficial on an operational level?
In today’s experience economy, every aspect of the business – from product and services to brand and marketing – needs to be fully informed and responsive to the customer. That customer understanding isn’t just in terms of their experiences with the brand, product, services etc. as they move through the funnel. This is fundamentally important, but it goes beyond that. Businesses need to understand their customer in entirety: their lives, the attitudes, options, and values. In essence, they need to understand their truths, right down to the granular level, in order to deliver, delight, and keep them coming back.
3. From the recent observations regarding the SAP merger along with the past observations from the major mergers, it is observed that the companies are more inclined towards real time operational strategy. Can you emphasize a detailed importance summary on real time customer experience and preference tracking methodology.
Today’s world operates in real time. Digital transformation means customers are used to almost instantaneous interaction with brands and their products and services. This real-time nature means brands can’t afford to wait for quarterly or annual check-ins to review how they are doing in the experiences that they are delivering to their customers.
Brands need to be continually checking the pulse ensuring they are on-track, course correcting where needed and identifying ways to improve.
4. Digital transformation is observed to put consumer facing business closer and closer. Would you agree with this?
Yes. The brands that are out front with digital transformation have evolved into digital-first, responsive, data-driven businesses focused on providing superior customer experiences to capture and retain customers in a noisy, crowded digital landscape. Over the past decade, customer insight has moved from a ‘nice to have’ to become central to fueling the customer experience. Whereas in the past, consumer insight was something that informed areas in silos – such as advertising messaging and effectiveness, brand health or ad hoc fuel for innovation. But the rise in the experience economy, fueled by shifts in technology and culture, has resulted in the business-critical need to understand their customers and use that data to design a real-time personal experience.
5. How should major brands prepare for the growing shift in customer experience?
First and foremost, brands need to learn about their customers; uncover their truths. Go beyond what they like (or don’t like) about your brand, product, services and delve into their lives. Who are they? What are their values? How do they live their lives? How does your brand fit into their lives? And so on. Don’t make assumptions. Rather always ask and keep asking to ensure you capture any shifts as they begin to occur. Then use this data to tailor experiences that will keep them as brand loyalist and advocates.
6. What should be the core tenets of real-time feedback functioning?
There are a few key elements to keep in mind. Firstly, gaining feedback in real-time – or as close to real-time as possible – is vital to capture the experience while it is still fresh in the customer’s mind and limit any post-rationalizations or memory loss. Therefore, make it easy and quick for the customer to provide their feedback. Be concise with the questioning, capturing only what is essential. Build a feedback system to alert relevant teams of issues and ensure they follow up promptly, either directly with the customer or addressing concerns internally. Finally, monitor KPIs to track overall progress and change course as needed.
7. Tell us about your role at FocusVision and the team/technology that you handle.
I’m SVP Research at FocusVision, where I use my expertise to help clients best apply FocusVision’s technological solutions. I consult and provide guidance on a range of research approaches, from survey design best practices to getting the most out of online communities and webcam interviewing to enable clients to gather rich customer truths.