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vol. 32 • No. 12 • December 2019

The Authority on Data-Driven Engagement & Operations

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The coming loyalty industry disruption

Engaging customers digitally

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Leads between the lines

Courtesy Ipsos Canada

Taking the pulse of digital marketing ❱ 7 ❱ 18

How TD delivers great customer experiences


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Vol. 32 | No. 12 | December 2019 EDITOR Brendan Read - brendan@dmn.ca

On the cover

DESIGN / PRODUCTION Jennifer O’Neill - jennifer@dmn.ca Advertising Sales Steve Lloyd - steve@dmn.ca CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Gary E. Barnett Dax Hamman Cliff Bell Rajan Kohli Rob Commons Steve Leer Len Covello Steve Levy Ted Guggenheim Miki Velemirovich LLOYDMEDIA INC. HEAD OFFICE / SUBSCRIPTIONS / PRODUCTION:

302-137 Main Street North Markham ON L3P 1Y2 Phone: 905.201.6600

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Taking the pulse of digital marketing

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What do Millennial SBOs actually want?

Loyalty

home@dmn.ca • www.dmn.ca EDITORIAL CONTACT: DM Magazine is published monthly by Lloydmedia Inc. plus the annual DM Industry Guide. DM Magazine may be obtained through paid subscription. Rates: Canada 1 year (12 issues $48) 2 years (24 issues $70) U.S. 1 year (12 issues $60) 2 years (24 issues $100)

How TD delivers great customer experiences Contact Management

How to accomplish digital transformation

❯❯ 3 Ensuring happy B2B customers

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POSTMASTER:

Text to better service

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The coming loyalty industry disruption Features

Twitter: @DMNewsCanada

❯❯ 5 Enabling access Aging customers, those with disabilities face buying/payments obstacles

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Tapping the immense value of conversational analysis

A light touch is key for successful customer communications

Leads between the lines

December 2019

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What do Millennial SBOs actually want? By Miki Velemirovich

M Miki Velemirovich is president, Cargo Canada.

illennials have grown to be one of the most important demographics for marketers to understand. Millennials currently make up the largest generation in history, and they represent the fastest-growing segment of small business owners (SBOs) in North America. They are poised to become the largest group of B2B decision-makers by 2025. But as the first generation to grow up in the new digital age, they remain misunderstood. We at Cargo set out to better understand this generation. Building on our Small Talk series, we conducted an innovative neuromarketing study in collaboration neuromarketing consultancy BRANDthro, that combined neuroscience and emotion artificial intelligence (AI) to identify the triggers and drivers behind Millennial SBOs. The research unveiled a number of surprising discoveries about their motivations and makeup that proved that stereotypes don’t always match the reality. Overprotectiveness leads to cautiousness One of the most shocking findings was that Millennial SBOs are cautious, directly counteracting previous stereotypes of Millennials being reckless risk-takers. The reasons are twofold. The world that Millennials grew up in has shaped their outlooks on business today. Growing up with helicopter parenting, “Baby on Board” stickers and bicycle helmets has created an overwhelming sense of caution. As well, the turmoil the Millennials’ parents lived through left bad tastes in their mouths; living through the Great Recession and witnessing much of their parents’ savings and assets be destroyed has resulted in a strong distrust in large, faceless corporations. Perceived economic and governmental stability has also been lost. All of these factors have triggered a careful pace so that they can avoid making the same mistakes they once witnessed: especially when it comes to decision-making for their own ventures. Rational trumps emotional Across generations, every decision made by an SBO is powered by emotion because for them, their business is their life. But when it comes to Millennial SBOs, decisions are made with a balance of heart and logic. This generation of SBOs is more informed than any previous generation and it shows. In addition to emotions, these business owners ensure they have all of the necessary information before committing to a decision: a process that has been made easier through the extensive information now available on the Internet. In comparison to “older” SBOs — who often let emotion overpower rational thinking — Millennial SBOs use information, like product and service reviews, to leverage insights from their peers and confidently make decisions based on both factual and emotional motivators.

❱ DMN.ca

The trust in tech continuum Ironically, despite living in a digital age, Millennial SBOs are skeptical of technology. Millennials particularly the youngest, understand the benefit of advanced technologies for their businesses. But they also realize the full potential of a digitally connected economy. It is a reality that concerns them because they understand the accompanying negative repercussions, including the impact of data breaches and disregard of privacy. They are also concerned about the unknown potential of AI. On the other hand, older Millennials fear technology for different reasons. This segment of SBOs are wary of technology because of both the speed and complexity of its evolution and they find it difficult to keep up with the latest technologies. While fear is prevalent, it is not widespread across the generation. The last segment, mid-age Millennial SBOs, are those that grew up alongside new technologies and they embrace change more willingly. The segment is more eager to explore technology solutions. Purpose supersedes profit Businesses are no longer being established with the intention of generating revenue. Instead, businesses are being built by Millennials with a greater mission and sense of purpose in mind. This is a mindset that goes beyond personal business; Millennial SBOs expect the same sense of purpose from the brands they work with. For Millennials, work and life are more integrated than previous generations, fuelling the emphasis on a greater purpose. By placing higher importance on the “why” and not the “what,” Millennial SBOs strive to achieve a goal that positively guides their lives and contributes to the notion of living their ideal “best life.” Businesses trying to reach Millennials need to understand this in order to stay competitive. Taking the guesswork out of marketing As organizations look to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced environment, the latest advancements in technologies provide essential tools that can help to strengthen their offering and better understand customers. While this research is only the first step in our mission to better understand the different demographics of SBOs, it outlines critical trends that marketers need to begin to understand now in order to have more educated conversations with clients. Only by fully understanding a group’s values and mindsets can we take the guesswork out of marketing to them, ultimately delivering valuable and profitable results for the businesses moving forward. For more information and study findings, the full report can be downloaded here: https://www.thecargoagency.com/study. December 2019


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Loyalty

The coming loyalty industry disruption with putting the customer at the centre of the experience. To manage this issue, we’re already seeing the rise of better technology and new cloud-based loyalty program platforms. This technology will only improve, thereby enabling the companies that are at the forefront of loyalty to engage members in ways that are meaningful to those individuals, in real-time, and without requiring any IT resources.

By Len Covello

C

anadian financial institutions and retailers turning to loyalty programs to drive customer engagement is nothing new. But the loyalty industry in Canada has left both brands and consumers wanting more. The issue is that many of today’s loyalty programs run on unsophisticated technologies with little segmentation capabilities and zero personalization features. When it comes to loyalty redemption, customers want ease, choice and value, and they simply aren’t getting it. A common misconception is that companies don’t want consumers to redeem their points, when, in fact, the opposite is true. Banks and retailers invest generously into their loyalty programs with the goal of driving engagement, as the redemption process is where they can really deepen that emotional connection with their customers. The benefits are clear for businesses: customers who shop with loyalty points have higher conversion rates and purchase more than those who don’t. Luckily for brands left frustrated ❱ DMN.ca

by the state of their loyalty programs, key innovations in the industry are now making it easier and more affordable for them to engage their customers. The loyalty industry is prime for disruption. Here are three key trends that are shaping the future of loyalty in Canada: 1. New technology will increase personalization capabilities. The world’s best loyalty programs all have one thing in common: they do an excellent job of using customer data to create personalized offers. For those brands playing catchup there is work that still need to be done. Let’s use an example of a grocery store chain. Because grocery stores know exactly what their customers are purchasing, they should be able to send out item recommendations and coupons specific to each person’s needs. However, while the grocery store may know how to collect customer data, they may not have figured out how to use the data to develop personalized offers. While such an offer may seem obvious to make, most of the technology powering loyalty programs in Canada weren’t built

2. More redemption options will create happier consumers. Ease of use, poor value and lack of redemption options have always been the top pain points and drivers of customer dissatisfaction in the loyalty industry. That’s because typically loyalty programs are siloed, only allowing users to earn and redeem within the company’s own ecosystem, and they often come with restrictions that make it difficult for customers to redeem their hard-earned points. One common example are airlines or hotel chains setting blackout periods on travel or nightly stays, which ultimately restricts consumer options. However, many leading brands are now starting to get out of this mentality. They are creating strategic partnerships that put the customer first by providing them with more offers that allow them to redeem their points for more items or services that fit their specific lifestyles. Bottom line: the brands that don’t offer more choice when it comes to redeeming loyalty programs will see their customers take their business elsewhere. 3. “Points as currency” will create a new loyalty economy. What more redemptions options for consumers ultimately signifies is the biggest trend that will shape the future of loyalty in Canada: the rise of the “points as currency” economy. If the goal of a loyalty program is to create real, emotional

connections with customers, then brands must focus on driving redemption to things that matter to their customers, no matter what the good or service is. Many leading brands are now starting to recognize this and are deploying loyalty programs that allow their customers to liquify and convert their points to the loyalty currency of the customer’s choice that they can then use to redeem “outside” items or services. For instance, imagine being able to use your grocery store loyalty points to pay for your Netflix subscription or building up points at your preferred gas station and then redeeming them on Amazon. “Points as currency” is the ultimate in personalization because the customer chooses what to redeem, when to redeem and from where to redeem. The more places a customer can redeem their points and the easier it is, the more emotionally engaged and delighted they will be with a brand’s loyalty program. Faster, more frequent redemptions also offer the bonus of reducing the liability on a business’ balance sheet, and at a lower cost per point. Final thoughts While the loyalty industry has long been stuck in a lose-lose cycle where neither brands nor consumers got what they want, the future of loyalty in Canada is bright as the technology improves and more and more loyalty-specific professionals enter the industry. With new innovations allowing businesses to build loyalty programs cheaper, faster and with greater flexibility, it will soon be easier for brands to create genuine connections with their customers through personalized offers. Ones that allow Canadians, and loyalty members in the rest of the world, to use their points as currency for products and services that fit their lives. Len Covello is CTO of Engage People.

December 2019


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Features

Courtesy Ipsos Canada

Taking the pulse of digital marketing By Steve Levy

T

he top video game was Wii Sports. Some of the must-have gifts on holiday wish lists included a chocolate cell phone with unlimited texting, an iPod Nano and charity Livestrong bracelets. The year was 2006. To say our 2019 wish list would not include these items would demonstrate a high degree of “truthiness” (which, by the way, happened to be the Top Buzzword of 2006). Although it has been little more than a decade, this brief look down memory lane is a good reminder of how quickly our lives, wants and needs evolve. And just how quickly marketers need to move to match this consumer evolution. In 2006, Ipsos and the Canadian Marketing Association launched the annual Canadian Digital Marketing Pulse report with the goal of assessing the digital December 2019

marketing landscape. And, like comparing wish lists of the past, the 2019 Pulse report, with additional partners Vizeum and strategy, exposes how much digital marketing has changed in Canada.

What’s changed? Clearly, the digital space has changed and grown since 2006. The components/tactics that we explore under the digital umbrella have expanded and changed over

This evolution creates an enormous challenge for marketers. This evolution creates an enormous challenge for marketers to read the present and predict the future. After all, it is hard to be an expert in a space that is in constant change resulting from new platforms, tactics and technology.

the years from 10 to 15. In 2019, they are: email marketing, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, digital signage, influencer marketing, social network marketing, augmented reality, digital audio, online video marketing (OLV), web site,

display advertising, programmatic marketing, branded content/ native marketing, wearable technology and voice search marketing. While each component warrants discussion, I will cover just a few here: those that saw change and those that we found to be of particular interest to Canadian marketers. Social network marketing. Because it is tied to our culture, social networking marketing allows brands to quickly connect to cultural moments, more so than any other marketing tactic. Both familiarity and usage have grown for marketers and agencies since last year, which speaks to the effectiveness of this tactic. Despite privacy and security concerns regarding social media, two-thirds of Canadians reported no change in their social media DMN.ca ❰


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Courtesy Ipsos Canada

Features

habits in recent months. At the same time, advertisers have not stopped or reduced using social network marketing. Only 5% say that privacy concerns have caused them to reduce spending on social media, online video, display and programmatic advertising. However, many advertisers have put in place stricter guidelines and brand safety rules and have become more responsible with data ownership. Overall, this tactic has become engrained in marketing, and as such we will likely continue to see a steady upward trend in its use. OLV. Video is everywhere, so to win in digital, you must win in OLV. In this context, many advertisers now plan for digital video-first production, short or long form, and across multiple platforms, including mobile and social. OLV is less expensive from a production perspective and more flexible. It is starting to impact video production standards, mainly because of the need to get to the point before the skippable five second marker. Of course, this is all done to drive brand awareness, engagement and response. Web site. Designed to attract and retain visitors, web sites remain an important piece of the marketing mix, especially with the growth in eCommerce. Three in four marketers agree that web site optimization for mobile is more important than developing an app. ❱ DMN.ca

Marketers will continue to seek out the next “new” digital tactic. Digital signage. Specifically referring to digital screens delivering branded content and third-party advertising, we are seeing an increase in usage. This is at least in part a function of the fact that there are more boards in existence/more opportunities, and they are becoming easier to buy. Another key aspect is improvement in the ability to geotarget ads on digital signs and to display different ads at different locations, not to mention the fact we are now able to manage them by day part. Also key is that these ads cannot be ad blocked. And if this is not enough, we continue to see production and screen costs moving down. Finally, programmatic buying is becoming more common with digital signage. The upward movement seen among agencies is often a lead indicator of what will happen among marketers. Wait and see Most of the digital tactics discussed this far are mainstays with proven marketing track records. These relative newbies are wearable technologies, voice search

marketing and augmented reality. Each of these tactics face their own challenges as they vie for agency and marketer approval. Wearable technology refers to clothing and accessories incorporating computer and advanced electronic technologies, most commonly seen in watches/ fitness trackers and shoes. It seems clear that while several wearables are succeeding from a consumer product perspective, they are most certainly not seeing success as an advertising platform. Marketers are neither familiar with them nor are they using them frequently. Perhaps it is simply too early. Voice search marketing allows consumers to perform searches by speaking into a device such as a smartphone, Google Home or Amazon Echo. In 2019, familiarity and usage amongst agencies and marketers remains low for voice search marketing. More education and engagement is needed for this new tactic to gain traction. Augmented reality (AR) is the use of digital technology to enhance or alter a real-world experience or content. Although familiarity has grown from 4% to 25% with agencies in the past year,

adoption hasn’t taken off. For now, the most common applications of AR can be seen in medical/health and education environments. However, we may see this change as the associated virtual reality (VR) technology is increasingly built into platforms like Snap. Today the AR/VR technology is expensive, there is uncertainty about its scalability from an advertising perspective, and as such there remain big question marks about their return on investment (ROI). While marketers are uncertain as to what the mid-term future holds for digital marketing, there is certainty about one thing: 81% agreed that their “organization cannot afford to have a weak presence online”. Digital marketing is critical to a brand’s success. As the digital space continues to evolve, marketers will continue to seek out the next “new” digital tactic, whatever it may be. Steve Levy is the COO of Ipsos Canada.

Check us out online

dmn.ca

December 2019


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Features

Leads

between the lines Tapping the immense value of conversational analysis By Dax Hamman

Learning from customer conversations As Disney and a range of other companies are discovering, there’s much to be learned about consumers’ wants, needs and emotions from the massive December 2019

volume of verbiage that people volley during their social media conversations. When individuals’ words come unsolicited and unprompted, as they do in informal online conversations (versus via surveys, which usually come with an inherent bias), they tend to carry greater weight, meaning and marketing value. By contextually connecting what people say in their online conversations to what they’re likely to buy as consumers, conversational analysis is proving to be uniquely adept at uncovering that meaning and tapping that value. As much as everyday human conversation has shifted from face-to-face to online (we’ll let the social scientists weigh in on that), conversational analysis leverages the constant flow of digital dialogue to provide unprecedented

predictive insights into consumer behaviour. Using natural language processing (NLP), which employs AI to process and analyze large amounts of natural language data, conversational analysis parses the constant stream of online conversations through the lens of an expansive taxonomy of keywords, phrases and classifiers. That taxonomy is continually updated as new words — slang, jargon, brand names — enter our lexicon while others drop off. Conversational analysis reads between the lines of these unprompted and unsolicited conversations to glean actionable and scalable insights into how peoples’ use of specific words and phrases make them more or less inclined to buy products. Ultimately, the behavioural data science behind conversational

analysis enables it to define a highly relevant and engaged consumer better than traditional demographics, psychographics and contextual or behavioural markers. Why conversational analysis is superior Unlike these other approaches, conversational analysis uncovers correlations in first-party data that speak to a specific audience’s emotions, needs and intent. It takes much of the guesswork out of the targeting equation by predicting consumer behaviour based not only on what consumers say, but also how strongly they say it. By tracing keywords back to specific conversations and user information, conversational analysis creates profiles and defines unique audiences of consumers who show the greatest likelihood of engaging and

Courtesy audience.ai

W

hen Disney wanted to promote a recent superhero film on social media, it decided to throw traditional targeting tools out the window and try something new. The promotion involved a series of short and personalized videos featuring stars of the movie. Instead of indiscriminately carpet bombing the Twitter universe and hoping the videos would occasionally find their mark, Disney sought a more refined, scientific and impactful approach to reach genuine movie fans, thus maximizing its investment in the video campaign. So, it turned to an emerging artificial intelligence (AI)-driven tool called conversational analysis. Conversational analysis delivered. Simply by identifying certain keywords and phrases that people were using in their online conversations, Disney was able to connect with a highly targeted audience of close to 10 million people across dozens of unique segments. The campaign yielded true personalization at scale, producing more than two million video views in its first 24 hours — three times the benchmark for total views — along with about 440,000 opt-ins.

DMN.ca ❰


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FEatures purchasing at the most opportune times. While traditional marketing often relies on a shotgun approach, conversational analysis is especially strong at recognizing nuance. When a certain global athletic apparel company wanted to better understand its target female customer, conversational analysis helped it to identify a critical distinction between “athletic females” and “female athletes.” This provided valuable insight into what was important to each of those audiences, pinpointing the music, media channels and spokespersons with which they connected most. The company leveraged that insight into a highly successful repositioning of its brand messaging to women. The ability to glean both explicit and implicit meaning enables conversational analysis to recognize nuance. In an analysis we published of people moving or renovating residences, for example, conversational analysis

❱ DMN.ca

picked up on the implied meaning in comments like, “We are really outgrowing this place,” and “I hope mortgage rates stay this low”. It was then used to create target segments of people who are seriously contemplating moving. Meanwhile, the analysis also was building segments around more explicit language about mortgage brokers, school districts, etc., that suggested the moves were imminent. In a marketing world that’s all about immediacy, conversational analysis enabled real-time/ near-real time targeting of these audiences through listening and dissecting fresh online conversations, as these individuals were actively engaged in the process or in the contemplation of moving or remodelling. Rather than well after the fact. Best practices As new as conversational analysis is in the marketing realm, brands and companies are learning how to effectively

leverage its timeliness, predictive powers and other attributes. Based on our observations of a range of campaigns involving conversational data here are a few suggestions to consider: 1. Be sure to pick a subject people are conversing about. Obvious but very important, nonetheless. The greater the volume of fresh online conversations to analyze, the stronger, more targeted and more segmentable the leads will tend to be. 2. Approach with an agile mindset and methodology. One of conversational analysis’s best attributes is its flexibility and refinability. The same data can be iterated and segmented in many different ways, allowing the user to learn from their targeting experience on the fly and adjust accordingly. 3. Use it for online or offline campaigns, or both. Conversational analysis has the ability to provide highly defined lead audiences for direct

mail, contact centre, email, social media and other forms of marketing and promotion. 4. Let conversational analysis stand on its own. As tempting as it may be to overlay conversational data with demographic data from other sources, doing so lessens rather than increases the clarity of the conversational data. 5. Take a toe-in-the-water approach. As scalable as conversational analysis is as a targeting tool, and as new as it might be to some organizations, it’s well suited to testing with a trial program, then scaling up based on results, budget and comfort level. As Disney and others are finding following their initial forays into conversational analysis, the results it produces often speak for themselves. Dax Hamman is chief marketing officer for

audience.ai.

December 2019


THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MAGAZINE ISSUE 4 • 2019

The

Technology Issue ❯❯ How to accomplish digital transformation ❯❯ Ensuring happy B2B customers ❯❯ Text to better service ❯❯ Enabling access ❯❯ Don’t mess up messaging


Technology

How to accomplish digital transformation By Rajan Kohli

T

he digital future is upon us. Almost every aspect of our lives has been made easier thanks to technology, and digital transformations have dramatically changed industries from hospitality to transportation to retail. Consumers are now accustomed to controlling their own experiences. And with the rise of on-demand services, companies must adapt to retain their customers, keep up with start-ups and remain viable. So, what exactly is digital transformation? In the context of a business, it means continuously developing and evolving products, services and experiences for customers that drive increased revenue and profitability. Digital transformation is the effort and journey a company needs to undertake to truly “be digital,” not just “do digital”. And when done right, this helps enterprises deliver on their brand promise to customers.

Success redefined Digital disruption has redefined how companies determine success. In the past, success was reflected only by the bottom line, which is a lagging indicator when the world moves so fast. Today, it includes customer experience (CX), customer advocacy, nudging and many other leading indicators of business. End users expect more, because they can. With online reviews, social media and more, customers can make or break a business with the click of a button. It is up to companies to leverage digital tools to keep up with these heightened expectations and maintain brand loyalty.

CX strategy In a competitive market, CX is the sum of all interactions a customer has with a business, whether through phone, live chat, email, social media or digital marketing. The best CX strategies deliver high-level, meaningful experiences for customers at each of these touchpoints. This is why companies need to track and understand these interactions at every stage of the customer journey and understand how technology can improve the CX. We’re all familiar with using technology to help collect data from direct and indirect customer interactions while keeping regulations like PIPEDA, Europe’s GDPR and California’s CCPA in mind. When implemented correctly, the results are a win-win for customers and businesses. 2 | Contact management

Here are some examples: • Personalized communication. By learning more about the customers (demographics, location, engagement history), companies can better meet their needs and offer them exactly what they want. For a telecommunications company, this could allow it to know exactly whom to contact about a new plan or communicate outages; and • Channel optimization. One of the benefits of having multiple channels for customers is being able to analyze key data from a variety of sources. This provides companies with a thorough understanding of outreach trends, and it can illuminate why and how customers reach out, and how companies can optimize their channels for a desired behaviour. For example, this may mean targeting online chat options to customers who prefer electronic communication over phone calls.

Mixed results Implementing new technology can have many benefits on the CX. Yet many Canadian business leaders continue to struggle with digital transformation. A recent Wipro survey of 1,400 global C-suite leaders, including 200 in Canada, yielded several key findings about executives’ digital transformation programs and the barriers to their success. When it came to digitally transforming their businesses only 14% of Canadian business leaders said their efforts were “very successful” while 64% said their initiatives were “somewhat successful.”

Improving programs Executives shared that digital transformations seem overwhelming at first, so it’s important to adequately prepare their companies for what comes next. When organizations properly manage expectations, keep senior leaders aligned and ensure they have the right partners working with them, they see success and increased profitability. One of the best ways to ensure a successful digital transformation is to work with a partner that has expertise in both strategy and implementation. It’s never too late to start. 82% of our Canadian survey respondents believe companies that started their digital transformations later than others still have a chance to beat their competitors in the long run. Those respondents are right. The speed of return of investment (ROI) from digital transformation in Canada is striking. In fact, 18% of Canadian executives saw measurable results of their digital transformation in less than six months, 26% saw it within six to twelve months and 54% said one to three years. Our most promising finding? No one waited longer than three years to see a ROI. Digital transformation is a process, not a one-time event. Regardless of the industry, it’s never too late to innovate, especially when it comes to better serving customers. Customers increasingly drive the business process and they have options to go elsewhere. Executives who embrace the right strategy and digital tools can help ensure those customers continue to choose their company well into the digital future. Rajan Kohli is president of Wipro Digital, the digital services unit of Wipro. Issue 4 • 2019


Ensuring happy B2B customers How JDR Solutions provides excellent customer care

Sharon Miedema is on the team of JDR Solutions’ customer service representatives who handle customer contacts from their home offices.

By Steve Leer

H

appy customers make for happy equipment leasing executives. Often that business bliss begins with the frontline customer service representatives who answer lessee phone calls and email messages. Reps just like the seven Toronto, Ont. area women who work for JDR Solutions, Inc. The seven — Lesley Evans, Debbie Forbes, Andrea Medeiros, Sharon Miedema, Mary Mancini, Tina Ventura and Dale Barillari — juggle more than 350 inbound and outbound calls and emails each day for JDR, which provides back office services to the finance and leasing industry. The calls and emails come from JDR equipment lessor clients throughout Canada and the U.S. and run the gamut from questions about monthly payments to delinquency notices and to general lease finance information. It’s a challenging but important job in the high-paced world of lease finance. “Customer service means going above and beyond what it takes to make the customer happy,” says Mancini, “whether it is answering questions or listening to a customer’s concerns. We try to be as efficient and timely as we can and maintain a positive attitude.”

inquiries and when and how those inquiries were met. The Internet and social media also have proven invaluable. Sharon Miedema utilizes the online platforms to skip trace companies and individuals whose addresses have changed yet have not notified JDR. “Nine times out of 10 we’re able to locate them and adjust their accounts accordingly,” says Miedema. “We’ve also used the Internet to locate personal guarantors who may have moved and didn’t advise us. The Internet and social media have been fantastic tools for us.” On the hardware side, more documents are scanned and transmitted by email today than are sent to clients via fax. “Faxing has become almost obsolete,” says Medeiros.

Critical role of technology

Some processes haven’t advanced as quickly as others. One example is invoicing. Many lessors still prefer mailing paper invoices to lessees despite the trend towards electronic invoicing. That leads to more manual labour. “We spend an awful lot of time doing manual interventions to give the customer what they are looking for,” explains Evans. “That is the biggest part of my job right now. It’s probably 90% of what I do.” Customers who ask that their invoices be structured differently than ordinary invoices sent to a company’s other lessees also can pose problems. “They may ask for information that we can’t add to our system to make it display on their invoice, or they want it broken down in a certain way by group or assets, and we’re not able to do that in the system without manual intervention,” she says. “The system cannot automatically produce

Continuous improvement is an everyday goal for customer service reps. In a business climate where problem-solving often is measured in minutes, not hours, successful reps look for ways to work more efficiently. Even minor improvements in service practices can save time, and ultimately money. Technology has played a big role in moving the efficiency needle forward. Customer service reps today must be equally adept at computer applications and old school postal mail, to meet the specific needs of every lessee who calls, writes or who receives a payment notice. The JDR customer service/collections staff has seen its share of technology changes in careers that average 25 years per team member. Work that traditionally was done in one central office is now done remotely at home. Which means no traffic or weather to worry about in getting to work on time, so that customers are not left on-hold. Digital records have replaced — for the most part — paper records. What once was kept in large file cabinets now fits neatly in folders on computer desktops. “The office has become primarily virtual,” says Forbes. “It allows for faster resolutions of customer issues.” One popular go-to software package of the JDR team is the Microsoft Office Suite, particularly its Excel spreadsheet program. Excel is used to track customer Issue 4 • 2019

Moving to portals

everything some customers are looking for.” Medeiros points out that many invoice issues will be resolved as more lessors add payment portals to their web sites. A portal is a separate password-protected web page within a web site for authorized users. Most customer-dedicated portals allow users to check invoice histories, view their lease contracts, submit online credit applications and a host of other things, in addition to submitting payments. JDR builds both customerand sales staff-centric portals as a value-added service. “Customers are constantly asking about the ability to pay online, which is where a portal comes in,” says Medeiros. “Portals minimize the number of emails coming in asking for invoices, which often must be mailed to them. Customers complain that the mail is very slow and that they don’t have time to make the payment on time before they are assessed late charges. We offer to email invoices to them to make the process quicker. We’ll do what we can to help them.” Adds Forbes, “With the addition of reseller and customer self-serve portal technology, it is much easier working with clients and customers, regardless of location, time zone or when they wish to do business.” In the end, it’s all about keeping customers happy. When it’s working right — as it usually is at JDR — both the customer and the customer service rep are pleased. “We rely on good communication and listening skills, and are patient as we assist each customer,” says Mancini. “It contributes to customer satisfaction, and that is our top priority.” Steve Leer is director of marketing and business development at JDR Solutions Inc. (www.jdrsolutions.com).

Contact management | 3

Courtesy JDR Solutions

Technology


Technology

Text to better service By Ted Guggenheim

T

oday, business is moving faster than ever. We live in an on-demand economy. Your customers can get whatever they want — a ride to the airport, the latest Avengers movie and even a date — with the apps on their phones. With the world at their fingertips, customers expect instant service. Patience for waiting has all but disappeared, and your customers simply will not wait on hold, wait for representatives to respond to their emails and/or wait for solutions to their problems. Because it’s a consumer’s market, if you ask them to wait too often, they will simply move on to a different solution. To respond to an eager customer base quickly — without losing the personal touch — businesses need to shift their communication strategy away from phone calls and even email and towards messaging-based outreach. Think about it. You don’t even call your friends and family anymore without sending a quick text to see if they’re free to talk. So why rely on telephone outreach when it comes to customer service? Text has quickly become the preferred form of communication for today’s on-demand economy. It’s why more than 90% of customers want to message with companies, according to a cited in an Inc. article. And why over text messages are responded to 60x faster than emails reports HubSpot.

Text has quickly become the preferred form of communication. Here’s why your customer service team should start using texting today.

Move at the speed of today’s customer. Think back to the last time you had to wait for something. Maybe you were stuck in a traffic jam, or in line at Starbucks or waiting for a call back from a customer service rep. If you’re like most people, these moments of waiting for something have become few and far between. So, instead of wasting time in traffic, you might take a Lyft and get some work done during your commute. Or to combat that afternoon slump you’ll order your latte ahead on the Starbucks app, so your drink is waiting for you, instead of the other way around. And more and more, customer service teams follow the same model. They don’t make their customers wait at all: they use text messaging and other messaging services to connect them with real people in real time. 4 | Contact management

Builds better customer relationships. It’s not just quick service your customers are looking for. The on-demand economy doesn’t just bring anything to you quickly: it brings precisely what you are looking for. More and more, companies are moving away from a transactional mode of interaction — in which money is king, to a conversational mode of interaction — in which the relationships rule. The hard fact is that customer personalization has become missioncritical for businesses. A third of customers recently surveyed by Accenture, published in its report, Put Your Trust in Hyper-Relevance, said they abandoned a business relationship because personalization was lacking. And according to a Forbes article written by customer service expert Shep Hyken, poor customer service is costing businesses more than $75 billion a year. With this in mind, there are a few ways that text helps customer service teams build better relationships: • Text meets customers where they are: on their phones and on the go; • Text is instant, casual, friendly and easy to personalize, thus making it a natural tool for starting conversations; and • Text has 10x the response rate over email and phone. A text-enabled communication strategy boosts your inbound and outbound conversion rates at all points throughout your contacts’ journeys.

Texting makes phone touches more effective. When phone calls are necessary, such as for delving into more in-depth issues, discussing complex options, text messaging helps you connect by

phone more quickly and makes better use of your time once you do. Here are some tips on how to make the most of the text-phone one-two punch: 1. Text-enable your business phone number. Allowing customers to text and call you at the same number takes the guesswork out of communicating with your customer service team and makes it easier to switch between text and voice calls. Plus, when you do text-enable your number, you’ll likely find a backlog of messages from customers who have already been trying to text you! 2. Follow up on voicemails with quick texts. The majority of your contacts are not listening to their voicemails. With the popularity of voicemail-to-text features, voicemail is becoming more like text because that’s what people prefer. 3. Schedule phone calls by text. If you’ve been having trouble getting a customer on the phone, text is an unobtrusive way to find the best time for a call. It can bypass lengthy rounds of phone tag, save your team’s time and make your customers that much happier. What we talk about when we’re talking about customer service has changed. It’s not just what you communicate to customers; in this day of constant information, how you communicate with customers is increasingly crucial. Texting is a simple way to meet your customers right where they are. Ted Guggenheim is CEO and co-founder of TextUs.

Texting is a simple way to meet your customers. Issue 4 • 2019


Courtesy Semafone/iStock

Technology

Enabling access Aging customers, those with disabilities face buying/payments obstacles By Gary E. Barnett

I

n many organizations, the call or contact centre serves as the central hub for customer service, sales and

customer engagement. Even today, with the multitude of different communication channels available – including web sites, email, social media, online chat and more – speaking on the phone remains one of the most popular ways for consumers to connect with businesses for customer service and to make purchases. In fact, Microsoft’s 2017 State of Global Customer Service Report shows that 74% of people choose to contact customer service departments via phone, which is more than any other channel. Why? Because people still value human interaction. Contact centre agents make customers feel valued and understood, ensure transactions are completed correctly and even up-sell or cross-sell additional products and services when appropriate. However, when it comes to making purchases or paying bills over the phone, certain members of our society face challenges. Many phone-based payments solutions require customers to manually enter their payment card details directly into telephone keypads. But elderly customers and those with disabilities may struggle to accomplish that task and require an alternative method. While advanced speech recognition applications have, to a considerable extent, resolved that problem, they are far from foolproof, they can also be frustrating to use, and keypad entry is still the fallback. The information entry Issue 4 • 2019

issue becomes exacerbated when wireless devices are used: on account of their small keypads.

Canadian accessibility requirements Like many nations, Canada’s population is growing older, driven by the aging Baby Boomer demographic. In 2016, seniors outnumbered children for the first time, according to Statistics Canada, and the imbalance has only continued to grow. At the same time, also according to Statistics Canada, one in five Canadians over the age of 15 has a disability, whether it’s related to vision, hearing, mobility or something else. To help ensure that these individuals have equal access to participate in all aspects of society, accessibility laws have been written in Canada to protect their rights and to prevent discrimination. The Accessible Canada Act, which became law in June 2019, is aimed at preventing accessibility barriers in information and communication technologies, including digital

content and the technologies used to access it. Organizations can now face a fine of up to $250,000 if they do not comply. Similarly, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) makes it compulsory for public and private sector businesses to follow established sets of accessibility standards. This is relatively straightforward when it comes to ensuring that a businesses’ web site(s) are accessible because the standards are published.

Multi-channel challenges However, difficulties can emerge when a business is dealing with multi-channel customer engagement. Most of Canada’s current accessibility regulations focus on setting standards for a single customer engagement channel (such as the web site) and tend not to consider customers’ needs in situations where they start in one channel but then switch to another to complete the transaction. With the rise of personal, digital voice assistants like Siri, Alexa and Contact management | 5


Technology Google Home, many people no longer need to physically dial a business’s number on their phone. Instead, they simply issue voice commands, such as “Siri, call Hydro.” The ability to use voice commands to manage routine daily tasks like this has dramatically improved accessibility and the quality of life for many people living with disabilities. However, when a customer uses a voice command to call a contact centre, but then is forced to switch from voice commands to using the telephone keypad in order to input their payment card information, it can be frustrating, thereby negatively affecting their customer experience (CX). It may even cause the customer to abandon the call, potentially causing the business to miss out on sales revenue.

A new technology and practice Given Canada’s aging population and its accessibility legislation, businesses must begin to design multi-channel accessibility as standard in their customer journeys. Fortunately, new, multi-channel payments solutions are emerging that enable them to seamlessly and securely accept payments across any channel, while improving accessibility, compliance and the CX. For example, live voice capture technology allows callers to make payments over the phone without needing to physically input their payment card details into the telephone keypads. Callers are on the lines with contact centre agents or salespeople as opposed to computerized or automated speech recognition voice assistants. When

it comes time for the customers to make their payments, the agents or sales personnel places the calls into a secure voice capture mode and the callers speaks their sensitive payment card details aloud. The agents/sales personnel cannot hear the sensitive payment card details, but they are able to monitor customers’ progress and follow each steps of the payment transactions, while remaining available if the customers need help at any points along the way. Once the payment data is captured, the agents/sales personnel can take back control of the calls to complete the transactions and collect any additional nonsensitive information that is required. With live voice capture technology the customer’s sensitive payment data are securely routed directly to the payment processors. This both helps keep their sensitive data secure and reduces the risk of fraud or data breaches because the data are not collected, recorded or stored by the contact centre. Likewise, because the agent/salesperson on the line cannot

hear the payment card details, there is no risk of a malicious employee copying down a customer’s card numbers and using it for nefarious purposes. And because the payment card data never touches the contact centre network, the technology helps keep the contact centre in compliance with data security and privacy regulations and standards. At the same time the easy-to-use nature of the technology and the fact that a customer simply speaks their sensitive data makes it an ideal solution for elderly customers and those with disabilities, enabling the business to comply with Canada’s accessibility regulations. With the right mix of technologies, businesses can provide a convenient and highly secure, multi-channel sales process, thereby delivering accessibility and inclusivity without compromising on security and the customer experience. Gary E. Barnett is CEO of Semafone.

Don’t mess up messaging A light touch is key for successful customer communications By Cliff Bell

I

n theory, digital tools make things easier for people. But that’s not always true in our hyperconnected, app-fatigued and always-on lives. When it comes to technology, there’s a whole lot of friction caused by the mental labour required to use our ever-growing list of “simple” tools. But what if communications between businesses and consumers was as easy as a text message? The way we communicate with friends is not radically different than when we’re trying to communicate with companies. We’re working through logistics, providing information and getting answers back to make a joint plan. The rise of messaging platforms like Apple Business Chat and WhatsApp Business have the potential to alleviate friction, but only if brands are intelligent in their use of this communications channel. The key is to learn from past failures and abuses (see email) and to respect the admittedly fuzzy boundaries of acceptable behaviour that consumers have already established for messaging exchanges. 6 | Contact management

Changing tools and behaviours Digitalization hasn’t replaced any of the ways we talk to one another: it’s just added new choices. Your mom still leaves voice messages on your ancient answering machine. Your employer insists on Outlook for external correspondence, although Asana or Slack are your internal preferences. Your sullen teenager only speaks with you via emoji. You still need to call, email, text and Tweet to get your co-worker to answer a question. These multiple choices require management and can add complexity to your daily life. Thus, there’s a never-ending search for an allpowerful tool that will work best for everything that doesn’t transpire

face-to-face. Right now, that tool is a messaging platform.

Messaging magic Be it WhatsApp or WeChat or Viber or Telegram, billions of people, according to industry sources, have signed on to the messaging bandwagon. This is bigger than mere texting. Messaging platforms allow people to exchange images, GIFs, video and audio. And they are rapidly enabling access to myriad other services and applications, such as ordering lunch, setting appointments, buying gifts and tracking shipments. Messaging technology supports incredible communicative flexibility, all within a single personalized environment. As the platforms mature, they will let you deploy Issue 4 • 2019


Technology almost every mode of digital communication within one app. It’s no wonder people are embracing the charms of messaging in droves. And where people go, businesses follow. Messaging offers companies more than a novel venue for advertising. It represents a new means for doing business and popular platforms are lining up to welcome commerce. Witness WeChat miniprograms or Facebook’s launch of WhatsApp Business and its Calibra digital wallet for Libra, its new cryptocurrency, which will be available in Messenger, WhatsApp and as a standalone app. Already, individual investors can even fund a TD Ameritrade brokerage account with Apple Pay through Apple Business Chat. But brand forays into messaging require finesse.

Conversations ebb and flow It’s important to consider what is driving users to the messaging world. People adopt these platforms because they support a new model of ultra-convenient, asynchronous (start-stop-and continue-at-will) communication. With messaging you can have in-the-moment, realtime exchanges, broadcast to groups large and small, with innumerable stop-and-go threads. You can conduct meandering one-on-one conversations extending as long as you like, and you’re free to enter and exit them on your own timetable, to suit your needs. For brands, it is a behavioural transformation to have conversations with consumers in the way they already communicate with their peers and friends. As this ebb-and-flow custom takes root, it’s important that brands are able to engage with the same kind of convenience that their customers have come to expect through messaging. Many younger consumers may become frustrated at a company’s unresponsiveness, not realizing that their requests went into limbo because the company phone number doesn’t receive texts. But here’s where finesse enters the picture. There is a key difference between the way we communicate with friends and family versus the way we would communicate in an asynchronous world with businesses, and it relates directly to expectation.

Who controls the clock? With messaging, the expectation on the customer side is asynchronous communication, with continued conversations. If they come back in two minutes, two hours, two days, two weeks or two years, they want that

Issue 4 • 2019

business to pick up the thread correctly — and instantly — with the information that’s already been given in the stream of the conversation they’ve been having. On the business side, it is definitely not acceptable to respond in an equally whim-based asynchronous manner, but the customs of conduct are still a bit loosey-goosey. WhatsApp’s enterprise product instituted a 24-hour window for brands to reply to consumer messages before incurring charges to encourage business responsiveness and a growth feedback loop. But messaging platforms require restraint from over-solicitousness. It would be quite off-putting if a customer service agent sent an “R U still there?” inquiry in a messaging thread. That pressure for a response is the worst thing to do in an asynchronous world, where the expectation is that the customer controls the clock and will reply to the agent on their own timetable. Brand messaging practices will require nuance to be of service without seeming pushy or smug or discourteously familiar.

Those who forget the past … The growing popularity of messaging platforms presents an opportunity for brands to correct the failures that drive users away from other communication technologies. For example, feature bloat on business web sites can ruin the user experience by making it hard for customers to find the needle in the overwhelming haystack of information. But with an asynchronous messaging thread, customers should be presented with only the answer they want, based on what they’ve asked. To keep the thread clear and

simple, brands must exercise restraint. If a customer service agent can send video when it would be more effective than text, great! And if the agent can send images or take payments or send options, fine, but only if needed. If messaging is to remain compelling and convenient for the customer, brand responses should be driven by necessity. There’s also a lesson to learn from the original digital asynchronous communication technology: email. The danger is that brands may see the same financial incentives that drove them to abuse email as a marketing spam channel. Consumer embrace of messaging has a direct correlation to it not becoming a perceived nuisance like email, which is now largely an archive facility. That’s partly why we keep our friends and family on the message thread: they don’t pound us with stuff that we didn’t ask for and don’t like.

Brighter future The asynchronous way people now communicate with one another in their personal lives is turning into an expectation for the business contact centre as well. With messaging platforms, businesses have an opportunity to be intelligently proactive in addressing customer needs: as long as they respect the customer’s time and the emerging platform etiquette. If a business can resist the temptation to turn its messaging platform into a spam channel, it will serve as a huge differentiator in the modern customer experience. Cliff Bell is senior director of the Innovations Foundry at Genesys (www.genesys.com).

Contact management | 7


// 18

Excellent Execution

How TD delivers great customer experiences By Rob Commons

T Rob Commons is vice president,

strategic relationships, Adobe Canada.

oday’s banks are in the customer experience business as much as they’re in the financial services business. After all, customers not only expect convenience and personalization from the apps they use to conduct much of their banking, they still need guidance when it comes to financial decisions surrounding important moments, like leaving home and starting their first job or saving for a mortgage. As customer interactions increasingly happen through apps and web sites, banks are focused on designing better customer experiences for their digital channels. TD, one of Canada’s leading banks, with a strong presence also in the U.S., has long sought to differentiate its brand by stressing superior customer experience through superb convenience and highquality service. TD, aware of the highly competitive environment on both sides of the border, is designing meaningful experiences to help its millions of customers across North America build financial confidence while banking with ease.

Empathy plays a critical role too. A wealth of design talent TD has created an in-house design team known as DCX (Digital Customer Experience) where designers work on new ways to delight employees and customers. The team focuses on delivering consistent, high-quality products and services, including new kinds of customer experiences that put a human touch on banking, from internal employee online portals and chatbots to voicebased interfaces. Immersed in TD’s strategy, people and processes, the DCX team spans across North America and relies on industry-leading creative tools to bring their ideas to life. For example, the TD MySpend app gives customers real-time visibility into their spending, making it simple for them to monitor and track their spending. TD MySpend makes it easy for customers to understand their spending habits and to celebrate their victories, without requiring them to enter cumbersome data. Investing in design Good design has played a big role in the evolution of TD’s customer experiences. When developing new applications, the design team researches customer challenges, immersing themselves in the field to observe how customer experiences play out. From ❱ DMN.ca

there, a diverse team, including product owners, designers, copywriters, subject matter experts and customers come together. Design thinking workshops also help the teams identify customer challenges and find new ways to address them. “Design thinking is fuelling new ideas and solutions,” says Imran Khan, TD’s vice president of Digital Customer Experience. “By identifying the root of customer problems, we can put ourselves in our customers’ shoes and explore new ways to reimagine how we engage with them.” Taking a new approach The key lesson TD has embraced is that meeting customer needs requires new ways of working, which is why the DCX team is increasingly embracing new ways of designing and prototyping customer experiences. To achieve their goals, the team is using new tools, including Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe XD, to respond to customer needs and expectations rapidly. Rather than forcing designers and developers to work with a static file or wireframe, Adobe XD allows designers and developers to share a single, dynamic prototype. It captures specs, comments and changes, thereby improving collaboration and streamlining hand-offs by ensuring everyone is always working on the latest version. The workflow enabled by Adobe XD proved especially helpful on a project the DCX team considers as one of its greatest successes: redesigning TD’s U.S. web and mobile platforms to make the experience and design more consistent across the platforms. More importantly, given the company’s Canadian roots, Adobe XD has helped designers align their work across the border. As DCX service design director Eric Kaiser says, “We have an enterprise design standard and our strategy is to align our digital properties in the U.S. and Canada. Adobe XD helps us share designs and foster a one-TD Bank approach.” Creating real experiences, for real people TD’s success isn’t merely the result of great design or data-driven decision making. Empathy plays a critical role too. In identifying and evaluating experiences and opportunities for new digital experiences, TD’s DCX team focuses on developing features that will make a difference in customers’ lives and help them feel good about their financial decisions. “What makes TD unique is that we start with design,” says Khan. “We’re willing to try new things, experiment and explore to get to the right experience for our customers. We want to empower them to be confident about their financial future, and TD has the reach and the talent to do that.” December 2019


// 19

Resource Directory Data Analytics

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