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The Authority on Data-Driven Engagement & Operations

Data Marketing ❱ 9 1:1 with Don Peppers ❱ 11 E-mail Append 101 This map shows household spending on dinner at restaurants in Toronto, ONt. The information comes from Environics Analytics’ FoodSpend database.

Courtesy Environics Analytics

❱ 6 Making sense of data trails


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Vol. 32 | No. 3 | March 2019

PRESIDENT Steve Lloyd - steve@dmn.ca

DATA marketing

DESIGN / PRODUCTION Jennifer O’Neill - jennifer@dmn.ca

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Advertising Sales Mark Henry - mark@dmn.ca CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Danny Heuman Shai Berger Kelly Koelliker Greg Brown Stephen Loynd David Chavez Tom Martin David Ciccarelli Scot Riches Rob Daleman Elliot Sedegah Sebastien Filion Stephen Shaw Todd Grossman

Making sense of data trails Customer Centricity

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The need for speed

LLOYDMEDIA INC. HEAD OFFICE / SUBSCRIPTIONS / PRODUCTION:

DATA marketing 302-137 Main Street North Markham ON L3P 1Y2 Phone: 905.201.6600 Fax: 905.201.6601 Toll-free: 800.668.1838 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) DM Magazine is an independently-produced publication not affiliated in any way with any association or organized group nor with any publication produced either in Canada or the United States. Unsolicited manuscripts are welcome. However unused manuscripts will not be returned unless accompanied by sufficient postage. Occasionally DM Magazine provides its subscriber mailing list to other companies whose product or service may be of value to readers. If you do not want to receive information this way simply send your subscriber mailing label with this notice to: Lloydmedia Inc. 302-137 Main Street North Markham ON L3P 1Y2 Canada. POSTMASTER: Please send all address changes and return all undeliverable copies to: Lloydmedia Inc. 302-137 Main Street North Markham ON L3P 1Y2 Canada Canada Post Canadian Publications Mail Sales Product Agreement No. 40050803

Canada’s hot 2019 data topics

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1:1 with Don Peppers Spotlight: List Management

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E-mail Append 101 A quick and easy guide to grow your list

Branding & Advertising ❯❯13

Making your brand voice heard

The three key innovation CX trends for 2019

❯❯ 4 Creating a high-value, digital-ready contact centre

❯❯ 5 Using RPA to manage contact infrastructure

❯❯ 6 Elevating CX with AI

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How AI benefits advertising Excellent Execution

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Contact Management

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Twitter: @DMNewsCanada

Turning a mistake into success March 2019

Geodemography can improve finding and contacting customers

Courtesy Environics Analytics

EDITOR Brendan Read - brendan@dmn.ca

Protect against the AI/chatbot backlash

❯❯ 8 How adding call-backs works wonders DMN.ca ❰


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Customer Centricity

The need for speed T

Elliot Sedegah is group manager, strategy and product marketing for Adobe Experience Manager (www.adobe.com).

he modern customer is voracious, constantly seeking out new content. As soon as one piece of content is consumed, they are busy clicking on the next, which needs to be served up immediately. This nonstop demand for content represents endless opportunities for brands to connect, delight, engage and sell, but it also places incredible demands on creative teams. For modern marketers, that means creating endless streams of new and personalized images, video, audio and interactive elements, all tailored to whatever platform their customers are using. As a result, creatives are under pressure to increase the volume of content: without sacrificing quality. According to the 2018 Adobe State of Creative and Marketing Collaboration Survey, the average piece of short-form content takes 17 hours to produce while the average piece of long-form content takes 27 hours. Conversely, nearly half of respondents (47%) reported content quality as their top priority, which suggests that creatives are not willing to sacrifice quality for speed and volume. Therein lies the challenge for the modern marketer: how can you increase your content velocity without sacrificing quality? Thankfully, today’s digital tools can help creatives manage the growing demand for personalized content, without compromising their standards.

Asset reuse: increasing quantity without sacrificing quality Digital Asset Management (DAM), according to TechTarget, is the “business process for organizing, storing and retrieving rich media and managing digital rights and permissions. Rich media assets include photos, music, videos, animations, podcasts and other multimedia content.”1 While DAM is not a new concept, larger organizations or heavily matrixed companies can have a tough time getting an efficient operational model and the right technology system in place to manage rich media assets. As a result, many companies wind up stitching together solutions or settling for a messy and complicated network drive to manage one of the most critical points of the content workflow. They struggle to create content quickly (within budget) and scratch their head why. The difficulty of managing content at scale is a common challenge we hear from customers: “We know that we made a bunch of stuff, but we’re not sure where it is. We didn’t tag it. We can’t find it. We’re not sure where our ads or videos are.” It’s no coincidence that whenever an asset “disappears” from these ad hoc solutions the creative team usually grinds to a halt while people search for old versions, or even reshoot, rewrite or redesign something that in all likelihood can be found in the cloud. And when it comes to creating content and getting it out the door quickly, marketers stated that ❱ DMN.ca

the time to create content is the single biggest barrier to delivering content, according to the survey. The right DAM strategy alleviates the strain during the seemingly endless content creation cycles. DAM platforms help creatives overcome the digital asset grind by democratizing content control. Creative teams can easily access what they need, when they need it. There’s no shouting across the floor, waiting for the New York or Vancouver office to open or booking a costly reshoot because you can’t find the images. Everything is front and centre, no matter your team, your office or your content needs. Asset management isn’t a topic that your C-suite gets excited about. But if they want to solve your company’s content velocity problem and connect cross-channel themes to the same assets, it’s a practice they need to embrace. 1 TechTarget, “Guide to implementing digital asset management systems and strategies”, June 2013.

Delivering exceptional experiences Companies are finally realizing that every customer is unique, who are on their own individual journeys, and who have specific wants and needs. As a result, to engage with them digitally requires providing content that is specific and tailored to them, on the channels of their choice. For example, Redtag.ca, which is one of Canada’s leading retail travel agencies, was launched in 2004 and quickly established itself as the go-to resource connecting travelers with the best vacation deals available. But as the company quickly grew, it found that its measurement and marketing strategies become increasingly complex, with the brand engaging its customers through multiple channels, including online, mobile, e-mail and contact centre. A company dedicated to creating amazing travel experiences for its customers, RedTag.ca knew it needed to create exceptional digital experiences for its customers as well. As a result, the company decided to transform its digital marketing strategy by leveraging the latest solutions within the Adobe Experience Cloud. These allowed the company to streamline many of digital marketing processes from gathering actionable insights through customer intelligence to deploying personalized content across any channel. Doing so helped the growing company establish a data-driven culture to better understand the overall business, drive success and deliver exceptional content to customers anywhere, anytime. March 2019


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Data Marketing

Making sense of data trails Geodemography can improve finding and contacting customers By Danny Heuman

I

n an increasingly data-driven world, consumers leave trails of digital crumbs whenever they wander the Internet, wave their loyalty cards or charge something on credit. By collecting these data, organizations believe they will be better able to locate and reach their customers with the prospect of gaining additional sales. It’s a sensible approach. However, these data crumbs on their own can only take you so far. Data can tell you where your consumers have been or what they may have done in the past. But that information does not tell you who those people are, where they are going or what their preferences might be. While advertisers and marketers see some value in understanding where consumers were at some point in time, they are more focused on what those people might do next and where they can find others like them. The power of geodemography Data are a valuable resource, but they need to be actionable to offer real value to an organization. The most effective way to transform data into insight is through geodemography. Geodemography is a branch of market research that assigns the attributes of small areas like neighbourhoods to the consumers who live within them and, based on these assignments, divides the consumer marketplace into meaningful segments that are locatable and reachable. Geodemographers have been helping organizations gain consumer insights without infringing on privacy for more than 40 years, which is why this approach has not only survived the arrival of big data, it has thrived. Geodemography looks for patterns in local communities and neighbourhoods. It straddles the traditional techniques of national sample surveys and the micro-precision promise of big ❱ DMN.ca

data and links them together using geography as the unifying factor. It’s based on the premise that people tend to cluster in locales that share similar values, demographics, beliefs and affluence. While these local areas are not homogenous, statistically they share enough similarities that they can be treated as such. The concept that households within neighbourhoods can be bound together by a set of shared traits is more than just a theory. The ability of geodemographers to analyze communities and break them into segments has helped countless organizations in every industry identify and engage their target markets. As established as this field is, some companies continue to be astounded by the level of detail geodemography can provide using only a postal code. However, the results speak for themselves. Using this approach: ❯❯ Heart & Stroke Lottery increased its net profit by 54%; ❯❯ Mackenzie Health Foundation saw the performance of its annual direct mail and telemarketing campaign jump by 62%; and ❯❯ Hydro One enjoyed a 390% higher engagement rate from their bill insert campaign. Why geodemography works Given the seemingly limitless supply of data that is now available, one might surmise that organizations should be able to tailor their marketing plans to individual consumers. But, in practice, targeting individual consumers is impractical and costly. Richard Webber, one of the founders of geodemography, described why businesses are better off focusing on neighbourhoods rather than individuals. “The more specific our targeting capabilities, the easier it is to lose sight of the contextual data that

This map shows household spending on dinner at restaurants in Toronto, Ont. The information comes from Environics Analytics’ FoodSpend database.

can help to explain both the social influences to which consumers are subjected and their motivations and aspirations,” he said. “If the highly specific and the contextual can be kept in balance, then it is much easier to identify the correct medium of communications as well as the message.”1 While it’s almost impossible to understand what motivates people to make a specific purchase, a

data-driven profile of consumers in your target market can help you make reasonable conclusions about what those factors might be. Even without your own data, there are plenty of quality data sources available to help you get at those factors. “Canada offers a wealth of survey data that geodemography can leverage,” explained Jan Kestle, founder, president and March 2019


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Data Marketing

Copyright ©2019 Environics Analytics. Source: Environics Analytics | ©2006-2018 TomTom Additional Sources: City of Toronto, Province of Ontario, Esri, Census Canada | Disclaimer: Scale bar is for reference only.

CEO of Environics Analytics, in The Analytics Journal. “Government and private sector organizations conduct reliable surveys on spending, media preferences, technology adoption, leisure activities, tourism and many other aspects of day-to-day living.”2 All of these data can be modelled down to the neighbourhood level, which is what makes these data actionable and measurable. March 2019

In some cases, this type of standardized segmentation is all an organization needs to gain meaningful insights about their target market to make better, evidence-based decisions. This is especially true given many organizations, even today, have so little data and insight about their customers. But when paired with transaction data or infused with the richness of big data sources

like mobile data, organizations can quickly, consistently and cheaply build detailed profiles of their customers without the need of costly customer surveys. For instance, say you collected mobile data that observes a set of devices regularly showing up at fast-food restaurants. By relying on these data, one might conclude that those individuals enjoy fast food. But what happens if some of

those same devices also routinely show up at high-end restaurants? Without a broader understanding of who is using those devices, there is no way to know what is driving those visits. By using geodemography, using nothing more than a postal code to link the information together, you might learn many of those devices Continued on page 12 DMN.ca ❰


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Data Marketing

Canada’s hot 2019 data topics By Scot Riches

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he Canadian Marketing Association’s (CMA) Insights Council kicked off 2019 with a lively discussion about trends and hot topics at a recent meeting. We debated what the data-driven Canadian marketer should be paying attention to in the year ahead. This energetic conversation with data scientists, strategists and research professionals covered a lot of ground, from emerging technology to age-old organizational challenges. Here are five topics that seemed to drive the most discussion. 1. Voice. Even beyond insights and analytics, the role of voice search and personal assistants in the marketing mix will have the attention of many marketers in 2019. Some on the CMA Insights Council are focused on how the use of voice can capture more natural customer insights, but also on the privacy concerns with this kind of data collection. Others on the council are struggling with how to use all this voice data they are already collecting and how to cope with the pace of change and volume of insights. Much of the council’s discussion was about what’s next. The way consumers are asking questions is changing so rapidly, along with consumer expectations. The idea of picking up or interacting with a specific device to ask our questions is slowly disappearing. We have moved from query by search bar, to smartphone and to “air” (via personal assistants). Where does this leave the brands that ❱ DMN.ca

we are marketing? What role can the insights and analytics function play in ensuring marketing success in this new environment? 2. Augmented reality (AR). AR is finally starting to find its way into marketing programmes in a more practical way than ever before. From a data and insights perspective, Insights Council members are confronting the actual implementation and measurement challenges associated with AR becoming a day-to-day reality versus just pie-in-the-sky thinking. Really understanding how customers are experiencing and interacting with brands via AR applications and then turning those insights into action will be a hot topic for many marketers this year. 3. Hyper-personalization versus hyper-relevance. Consumers’ expectations of personalization are on the rise. From an insights and analytics perspective, delivering on the expectation of customized experiences remains a hot topic. While in the past we discussed this in terms of delivering hyper-personalized experiences, our latest conversation focused on how we ensure that these personalized experiences are actually relevant to consumers. “Just because it has my name on it doesn’t make

it relevant” is something we are hearing more often. A lot of the time, relevance equals speed: the most hyper-personalized communications can be irrelevant if they are delivered after the purchase decisions have been made. 4. Single view of the customer. Insights Council members noted that many Canadian organizations, particularly larger ones, still struggle with how to define and manage a single view of the customer. In other words, the idea of having an aggregated view of all the data an organization has on a customer in one place rather than across disparate systems or platforms. With new, emerging and more unstructured data sources becoming available all the time, this idea has never been more important from both marketing measurement and planning perspectives. 5. Attracting and retaining data and analytics talent. The Insights Council discussed the fact that almost two-thirds of big companies and brands are now employing chief data officers (CDOs)1 and adding more and more data scientists into their business teams. For some, the struggle is finding and keeping the right data talent: and the focus in 2019

will be on creating collaborative environments, with fewer silos and more teamwork. In this kind of environment, insights and analytics can provide the most value and practitioners also feel the most valued. These five hot topics were not the only issues raised by the Insights Council. As an example, marketing practitioners are still trying to make sure they are balancing the basics of personalization with organizational pressures on the return on investment (ROI), basically the costs/benefits of doing what customers expect. The good news is that it seems like data and insights-based marketing is getting more and more attention: leaving no shortage of topics for the Insights Council to discuss. The Canadian data-driven marketer certainly has a lot to think about in 2019, and that’s a good thing. Scot Riches is the chair of the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) (www.the-cma.org) Insights Council and Chief CRM Officer at RI. The CMA’s Insights Council has a mandate to provide thought leadership to Canadian marketers about leveraging data, analytics and consumer insights to improve business decision-making. The Council meets on a monthly basis and creates content for the Association’s blog. 1 Randy Bean, “Big Data Executive Survey 2018”, NewVantage Partners, report, January 8, 2018.

March 2019


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Data Marketing

1:1 with Don Peppers By Stephen Shaw

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n 1993 the interactive future seemed excitingly close. The World Wide Web had become freely available to the public at large. Services like Prodigy and Compuserve were already offering online subscribers dial-up access to a broad range of networked services. Then-U.S. vice president Al Gore earned notoriety heralding the “information superhighway”. And the launch of the Mosaic browser ignited the digitization of commerce.

This revolution in communications technology gave hope to marketers who were agonizing over the decline of mass media. They were even more inspired by a new book called The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time. Written by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, the book imagined what the future of business might look like due to rapid technological change, particularly the emergence of individually addressable media. Intended as a “guidebook for competing in the 1:1 future”, the book argued that to succeed marketing would need to “put customers first” and that would only be possible by building “the deepest, most trusting relationships” with customers. A giant best-seller, the book made “one-to-one” (1:1) marketing the buzzword of the decade. Soon after, Peppers and Rogers parlayed their fame into a major consultancy business (sold to TeleTech in 2010). Their names became synonymous with the rise of interactive marketing. Today, a March 2019

Courtesy Stephen Shaw

Don Peppers

quarter century later, the future has finally caught up with many of their predictions. Don Peppers remains an ardent proponent of putting customers first. And while many of his original ideas have become mainstream, he recognizes that businesses are still struggling to catch up to the 1:1 future he and his partner envisioned a quarter century ago. Stephen Shaw (SS): Last year marked the 25th anniversary of your book. What do you feel you really got right and what predictions never quite turned out? Don Peppers (DP): One prediction we got right was in Chapter Eight, “Take Products to Customers, Not Customers to Products,” which was about what we now call e-commerce. We felt that offering products unique to customers, whether they were mass-customized or just personally relevant, was the future. We suggested that companies needed to begin thinking about their “share of customer” instead of market share. To increase market share, you usually have to reduce your price, which lowers the unit profit. However, with “share of customer”, the more a customer buys from you, the easier it is to sell to them, thereby decreasing the cost of sale. We called this difference “economies of scope” as opposed to “economies of scale”. The bigger the scope, the more profitable a customer is likely to be. We also had a few science fiction predictions in our final chapter which we called “Society at Light Speed,” where we wrote about, amongst other things, what we now call the gig economy. One prediction we got really wrong was in Chapter Nine, “Make Money Protecting Privacy, Not Threatening It.” Our argument was that consumers would become worried about the amount of personal information out there. We thought that might create a business opportunity for “privacy buffers” which would make money serving as trusted intermediaries. But people today really aren’t as

concerned about their privacy as we thought they would be. SS: Given the privacy intrusions we’ve recently seen, the data breaches, the introduction ofstricter regulations, is that still true? DP: Maybe our prediction will come true sooner or later. As the saying goes, “If you’re online and the product is free, you’re the product.” You see most online vendors trafficking in information about their audience. Their users aren’t really their customers: they’re the advertisers paying them to reach their users. I’m optimistic about solving the privacy dilemma. I just don’t think it’s going to bring down society. Transitioning to the 1:1 model SS: Are companies still struggling to get out of the starting gate with 1:1 marketing versus the startups that don’t have to worry about legacy processes and systems? DP: I think it was Esther Dyson who said, “Why did it take God only seven days to create the world? Answer, because she had no install base.” That’s one possibility. I think that certainly has aided the startups. But I think there’s another very, very important aspect of startup businesses and that is they are much more likely to be owner-managed. Jeff Bezos is the controlling shareholder of Amazon. It’s almost comical to hear investment analysts lamenting Amazon’s reluctance to provide better dividends… because he’s investing in the future. I sometimes tell companies the reason you sell customers things they don’t want, or need, is because you’re operating on too short a timeframe. Customers have long memories and how you treat them today will affect how much business they do with you in the future. Quarterly performance reporting is the real culprit. SS: Is the failure to transform their businesses fast enough on a 1:1 model the fault of marketers who are not good at being

change agents? DP: There’s enough fault to go around. Martha and I wrote a book in 2005 called Return on Customer where our argument was that you should treat customers like a scarce resource. The market for customers is finite. There’s no bank you can go to and borrow some customers for a little while. So rather than looking at spending in terms of return on investment, you should think about your return on customer. Increasing your customers’ lifetime value is a very valid way to create real economic value for your business. But marketers and financial people just haven’t been talking the same language. One of the problems from an accounting standpoint is that customers are not capitalized assets. For the most part, businesses just don’t put them on the balance sheets. SS: No, they’re subsumed under the goodwill line. Customer equity is buried under brand equity. DP: That’s right. Today 70% of the market capitalization value of S&P 500 companies is in intangible assets. 30 years ago, that figure was 5%. The reason Google is worth billions is the future intentions of their customers. That’s what the stock market is valuing. The fact that we don’t have the value of customers on the balance sheet is one of the most difficult obstacles to any marketer trying to justify the cost of a campaign to earn customer trust. How do I quantify the value of trust? The value of trust lies in the future, not in this quarter or next. Rising customer expectations SS: Forrester Research’s customer experience (CX) tracking shows a plateauing of CX quality indices across most sectors. Companies simply aren’t succeeding at delivering a better customer experience, notwithstanding all the hype. Is that due to an enthusiasm gap or is it because the cost of transformation is too forbidding for most companies to swallow? DP: All of the above. However, I’d be careful in your premise that the DMN.ca ❰


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Data Marketing quality of the customer experience is static. Everything is relative. A customer in 1980 would be ecstatic about the level of customer service today. However, it is what economists call the “Red Queen Effect”. In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass Alice encounters the Red Queen, a chess piece who has to run faster and faster just to stay in the same place. Well, that’s what businesses have to do. Your competitor today is Amazon or Apple or Netflix, because they have raised expectations. SS: There’s an expectation gap. DP: The problem is that traditional marketing has always been based on building people’s expectations up in order to get them to buy. And so marketing never says anything except that the product is perfect in every way. Which of course just sets up customers for disappointment. SS: Yet the Net Promoter Score (NPS) has risen to the top of the corporate scorecard these days. It’s now a beacon metric that’s forcing organizations to focus on improving the CX. DP: I agree 100%. I just had lunch with Richard Owen the other day. Richard now runs a company called the Owen CX Group. Richard was the CEO of Satmetrix, which co-created the NPS, later acquired by NICE Systems. Richard will tell you that people’s expectations are subjective. That’s why voice of customer surveys may be excellent early warning systems for points of friction in the CX, but they’re not as useful gauging consumer sentiment. That’s because consumer sentiment goes up and down, like ocean waves. As the economy gets better, people’s attitudes improve, as it goes down, they decline, and it has nothing to do with your performance as a business. You have to put the voice of customer surveys into context. Changing brand success pathways SS: Brands realize the path to success is no longer strictly through the advertising door; they actually have to stand for something. Nike’s [Colin] Kaepernick campaign is an example. What’s your opinion on the concept of brand purpose? ❱ DMN.ca

DP: That’s a great question. The whole idea of social sentiment and a sense of purpose is going to be increasingly important. It explains everything, from Donald Trump’s election and Brexit to the Kaepernick example to the companies that are piggybacking on the #MeToo Movement. The moral sensitivities of customers are going to figure increasingly in the marketing efforts of businesses. I think that’s very perceptive for you to suggest that. SS: Well, I just think there needs to be a rediscovery of integrity. What’s encouraging about this shift is that marketing is taking the lead on this conversation. DP: I think that is encouraging and that’s good. I’m fundamentally an economic conservative. I’ve always believed in market forces. Sometimes people associate those principles with the idea that nothing matters except shareholder value. But I don’t see any fundamental contradiction because if my customers care about my purpose as a business, my shareholders are very well served. I like to make the comparison between Apple and AOL. AOL was legendary for deceiving customers and for making it really ridiculously difficult to quit the service even when they wanted to. And Apple was legendary for being maniacally focused on the user experience. AOL was never able to make the transition from dial-up to Wi-Fi. Whereas Apple created a music company, the smartphone category and then the tablet category. And at each point, its customers were cheering it on. When AOL was bought by Verizon, nobody was sorry to see it go. SS: Now you see all these directto-consumer brands popping up here, there and everywhere, giving P&G a run for its money in certain categories. Isn’t this so-called subscription economy a manifestation of the very things you predicted in 1:1 marketing, that is, highly individualized marketing based on a consensual relationship with a customer where you’re delivering continual value? DP: I agree 100%; it’s “everything as a service” economy.

Marketing for the future SS: Apple’s brilliance has been creating an ecosystem which locks people in because of the integrated experience it offers. Is it the future of companies creating these integrated ecosystems? DP: That’s what Martha and I called a “learning relationship,” a relationship with the customer that gets smarter and smarter. However, I don’t think it’s immune to competition. Companies of the future are going to want the emotional attachments with customers that characterize purpose-driven organizations. And those emotional connections are not easily duplicated by competitors. The people who love Apple are going to follow Apple even if Samsung can completely replicate the iPhone service, because if you’re an Apple customer, you’re a rebel, you’re creative. SS: If you had to redesign from scratch a marketing organization to fit the future, what would it look like? DP: I believe that a company needs to organize itself around its customers. You want to know who your most enthusiastic customers are because you don’t have to sell everybody, just those who can’t live without your product. Let me tell you a quick story. I helped Steve Blank in his Entrepreneurial course at Stanford where there are 10 teams that compete with different startup ideas. One team last year had a really interesting idea for a smartphone app that would tell you how inebriated you are by looking at your eye movements. Now, who’s going buy it? Well, they talked to parents first, but they said, “No, we trust our kids”. They talked to students, and they said, “‘No, I know when I’m drunk”. They talked to police officers, and they said, “Well, you know, we have the breathalyzer test”. But then they stumbled across one group of customers who said, “Oh, my God, I gotta have this!” Parole officers. Because if you’re a parole officer, you have to periodically check your client’s sobriety. How much easier it would be to call and say, “Hey, look into your phone right now. I want to know what your sobriety

is,” right? The lesson here is they don’t need to sell to everybody. They could create a whole business around parole officers. You want to find your most enthusiastic, must-have-it customers and then the second most enthusiastic customers and then the third most enthusiastic, and so on. SS: A segment-based model for organizational design. DP: Yes, yes. But be careful using the word “segment”. Segment is a marketing term and as a customer, I can be in more than one segment, right? To go back to the book, we’ve talked about putting customers into “portfolios”. A portfolio is a group of unduplicated customers. So a customer is only in one and only one portfolio. Today, there’s always some person at a company responsible for bringing a product to market and making that product profitable. A portfolio approach would mean there’d be people in charge of particular customers. Their job would be to improve the value of those customers. And that’s portfolio management. SS: One thing that stood out for me in reading that last chapter in your book, and it’s actually chilling, is that one of the negative aspects of technology is the potential to isolate people from their adversaries. I don’t mean to introduce politics into the conversation, but isn’t that one prediction you wish hadn’t come true? DP: You’re probably right. People will gravitate to people who have similar views. And the more they talk with their friends who share the same views, the more extreme those views will become. And I think you’re seeing this today. Is there a remedy for that? I think the remedy is education. I think the biggest weakness of democracies today is that the education systems are just are not preparing people for a world where everyone’s connected all the time. And that’s going to be a big issue in the future. Stephen Shaw is the chief strategy officer of Kenna, a marketing solutions provider specializing in customer experience management. He is also the host of a regular podcast called Customer First Thinking. Stephen can be reached via e-mail at sshaw@kenna.ca.

March 2019


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Spotlight: List Management

E-mail Append 101 A quick and easy guide to grow your list

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-mail marketing is generally less expensive than traditional mail or telemarketing initiatives, often yielding a high response rate and a solid return on investment (ROI). Proven as direct and trackable, e-mail adds value by bolstering customer participation and retention rates, maximizing response and enabling personalized communication. Historically, this higher tech method of outreach is optimized to directly engage with customers, driving greater and more measurable campaign impacts. But obtaining and maintaining individual correct and preferred e-mail addresses can be tricky. Therefore it’s worth taking the time to understand how best to add, or append, e-mail addresses to your postal customer database, including smart tools to apply and pitfalls to avoid. It’s important to note that while Canadian e-mail and data laws are quite demanding in terms of privacy and compliance, marketers can easily tap into e-mail append to reach consumer and business targets in the Canada and other parts of the world (see sidebar). Here’s a guide that we put together which we call “E-Mail Append 101”.

What exactly is e-mail append? E-mail append is the process of bulking—or adding—e-mail addresses to your postal customer database, which should already consist of names and postal delivery addresses. Basically, the e-mail addresses are obtained by matching those records from the marketer’s database against a third-party database in order to produce corresponding e-mail addresses. There are critical differences in appending for business versus consumer customers. Business e-mail append allows marketers to send e-mails to specific contacts at companies. Consumer e-mail append provides the opt-in e-mail addresses of residents that are linked to the provided names and postal addresses: all of which are based on detailed information from a large network of vendors. How does e-mail append work? Business e-mail appending matches the files against profiles of companies’ e-mail addresses. Many service providers stop there and deem the appends complete. But if a cleaner, better list is the ultimate goal—and it should be—it’s best to take an extra step. Once e-mail matches are made, letters should be e-mailed to those individuals

with the option to opt-out. It may sound counterintuitive, but this is the most important aspect of e-mail marketing: sending the permission request. Melissa’s data shows that less than one-fourth of 1% choose to opt-out. The timeframe to allow for businesses to respond to your permission request is usually five to seven business days. The appended e-mail addresses—including optout e-mails for suppression—are collected and the file is returned for use in the marketing campaign. The consumer e-mail append service matches customer files against various databases. When matches are found, the e-mail addresses are added to the files. Like the business e-mail append recommendation above, letters should be e-mailed with the option to opt-out. After allowing five to seven business days for responses, final numbers are calculated, excluding undeliverable and opt-out e-mails. During the data collection process for the consumer append service, subscribers voluntarily disclose their personal information and have access to a privacy policy which states that their information could be

CASL compliance first steps Canada’s laws regarding e-mail and data protection and privacy, such as Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) are among the most stringent for global marketers. Becoming CASL-compliant is a critical first step to both lawful e-mail marketing in Canada and compliance with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for global marketing programmes. Here’s how: ❯❯ Tap into your data protection officer to continually audit your target lists and purge contacts that fall outside of CASL or GDPR compliance; ❯❯ Ensure unsubscribe options are clear and consistent on every e-mail communication; and ❯❯ Apply your resources to ongoing compliance, with routine checks and reporting to maintain clean, legal data as fuel to marketing programmes. Compliance and privacy regulations are here to stay. The Canadian firms that become experts at how to meld marketing and compliance will win the day with the most successful and resultsoriented campaigns. March 2019

Courtesy Melissa

By Greg Brown

shared with third parties that have customer relationships with the individuals. Following the completion of the e-mail append process, the enhanced files are returned to the marketers. The e-mail addresses appended are those that were matched and successfully deliverable. What are the costs involved in e-mail append? E-mail append is generally sold on a per match basis, with significantly higher pricing for consumer versus business records. The business e-mail append percentage will also vary depending on the accuracy of the contact names and company data in the submitted list. The more accurate and up-todate the contact information is at the get-go, the higher the append rate. The typical append rate for business e-mails is 10%-25%, especially if the database is validated prior to adding the e-mail addresses, according to our data. Consumer databases have seen match rates from 15%-30% as an industry standard, although much depends on the quality of the input and the rigorousness of the service. For example, a lower-end service could result in appending a much higher rate of bad or not opt-in/out emails. Overall, match rate success depends on this as well as a host of variables, from the age of the data and postal address quality, to the industry and the customer demographics. Improving deliverability adds critical value Once e-mail append is used to revitalize existing postal or telephone targets lists, marketers should take steps to keep e-mail lists clean and current. E-mail verification (in batch mode or at point of data entry) and e-mail DMN.ca ❰


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Spotlight: List Management change of address (ECOA) services help avoid bouncebacks, blacklisting and harm to senders’ reputations.

they switch jobs, Internet service providers or move. Some even change their e-mails to protect

Data enhancements are crucial to helping marketers achieve their goals. For example, many of the e-mail addresses in a database may be good and deliverable in theory, but simply contain grammatical errors. These errors can occur from typos, entering the wrong domain names, formatting problems and misspellings (i.e., yaho.com versus yahoo.com): all of which can be improved with tools or services that validate and correct e-mail data. ECOA services further help update and clean databases containing e-mail addresses. Most errors occur because the recipients no longer have those particular e-mail addresses. Many individuals change their e-mail addresses frequently, for example when

themselves from being spammed or receiving unsolicited messages. With an ECOA service, current e-mails are provided against addresses that are old, invalid or changed. ECOA also updates lists with the customers’ preferred e-mail addresses, an attention to detail that significantly bolsters response rates. Leverage the web Most companies feel they don’t have enough information to execute e-mail appends. Fortunately, there are data hygiene service providers that can actually “fill in the blanks” with the information required to append that coveted e-mail address.

Other types of services can expand the value of e-mail appends, for instance tools that track anonymous web site traffic and then match it to a consumer database to return names, addresses, e-mail, phone numbers, latitude/longitude coordinates and IP addresses. By identifying each web visitor, including the exact pages and number of times visited, marketers have access to a significant new source of leads. Tapping into prospects that were previously hidden, supported by validated contact information and deep demographics, marketers can grow sales by crafting the perfect retargeting campaigns. As a business intelligence tool, of sorts, this type of service complements analytics with additional useful data. For example, a direct mail piece might receive a 2% response rate. A more complete picture of campaign success can be developed by looking at some of your anonymous web visitor analytics. The additional demographic information is helpful in determining whether your

targeting was accurate. Data enhancements are crucial to helping marketers achieve their goals and increase response rates. Starting with e-mail append is an excellent tactic to bulk up the size of your e-mail lists and build stronger customer relationships with optimized outreach. Adding web visitor tracking is an ideal counterpart to e-mail append, connecting with targets gleaned from a smart, sharp prospecting tool. These are critical components of a synergistic approach that capitalizes on e-mails to fuel maximum ROI, increase sales and bolster response rates…all while personally targeting the right people. Greg Brown is vice president of Melissa (www.melissa.com), a provider of global contact data quality and identity verification solutions that span the entire data quality lifecycle and integrate into CRM, e-commerce, master data management and big data platforms. He has written on a range of data quality trends and challenges for leading publications. Connect with Greg at greg.brown@melissa.com or LinkedIn.

Making sense of data trails Continued from page 7

come from areas that consist predominately of young families, which may account for the fast food purchases. You might discover that many of the households from those same neighbourhoods also frequently entertain business clients at high-end restaurants. Suddenly you know that the consumers you observed eating fast food are likely affluent and are more willing to spend on convenience than the typical family, which is a very different message from someone who likes fast food. The efficiency of geodemography is that it offers insights that don’t have to be directly tied to the observed behaviour. For instance, the geographical segment may reveal that the households in that area respond well to unaddressed mail. Or that they spend considerable time on Instagram and listening to Spotify, which could be vital to the success of your marketing efforts if you are investing in Twitter and radio advertising. ❱ DMN.ca

Privacy by design Geodemography complements the use of client data if it is available, but another advantage that can’t be overlooked is its ability to deliver actionable insights without compromising consumer privacy. In a world where organizations are on constant guard against data breaches, personal data can become a liability. Since geodemography doesn’t require anything other than a postal code to function, businesses can significantly reduce the amount of personally identifiable information they collect. As a result, in the case of a data breach, the greatest risk is that someone will expose a list of postal codes. There wouldn’t be enough information to know what a specific household purchased, let alone identify their address. Embracing geodemography Given the costs involved with collecting personal information and maintaining a database,

companies should embrace geodemography. Not only does it take complex data and make them easy to understand and apply, but it also does so in a cost-effective and privacy-compliant way. For all of the data companies gather, they only provide them with a window into their customers’ interactions with them; it doesn’t offer any insight about whether those customers have the capacity to spend more or if they

are also doing business with a competitor. Big data can help them get closer to the answers they were looking for, but geodemography is what makes these data actionable. Danny Heuman is the chief analytics officer at

Environics Analytics. 1 Richard Webber, “Why geodemographics is relevant in an age of Big Data,” The Analytics Journal (Fall 2016). 2 “Geodemography Q&A with Jan Kestle”, The Analytics Journal (Fall 2016).

To send press announcements, please direct them to

Brendan Read, Editor, at brendan@dmn.ca

March 2019


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Branding & Advertising

Making your brand voice heard By David Ciccarelli

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n the new audio age that is upon us, are you ready for what the (near) future of voice-first technology has to offer? Given that by 2020, it’s projected that 30% of all web browsing will be done without the use of a screen1, the answer should be yes. Voice-first technologies can and should be used to help make your brand voice heard. However, despite the rapid adoption of home assistant devices, and the proliferation of voice and sound into almost every aspect of our lives, from in our homes, to on our commute and beyond, instead of seizing opportunity many marketers are still lagging behind. Voices.com’s annual trends report survey polled almost 2,000 creatives and found that only 20% were actioning a strategy to position their brand for voice search: meaning that 80% weren’t taking any action at all2. That said, it’s still early days. There are several ways that brands can begin to build brand voices and incorporate audio into their marketing campaigns, as well as their customer service channels. Create a sonic brand Before diving into the world of tech, spend some time developing the description of your sonic brand voice. Traditionally, more consideration has been given to creating and developing the corporate voice in written format, whether that’s been in print or digital. Now, your brand voice descriptors, which are linked to the core values of your company, need to be relayed into sonic qualities as well. The messages auditory tones convey can rise above language March 2019

barriers. For instance, people from around the world may label a piece of music as having the same emotional vibe (e.g. sad, happy)3 even though the listeners may have completely different life experiences, languages and backgrounds. This emotional interpretation, quite unique to audio, further underlines how important it is that you are intentional about which emotional response you want to create with your audio branding. Think of brands that have already developed iconic soundmarks, like the upbeat “ba-da, ba, ba bah” of McDonald’s famous “I’m Loving it” sonic campaign, to the start-up sound of a Mac computer. All of these examples evoke a feeling that matches an intentional brand vibe. Aim to do the same. As a special note: If your sonic branding includes a tagline, ensure that it’s short enough (under the 10- second mark) so that your audience doesn’t fast forward through it when it appears, for example, in a video or at the beginning of a podcast. Launch a voice-first application After creating a sonic brand voice, you’ll have an identity that is reusable across all media. You can then begin to make your mark on voice-first applications. The next hurdle is deciding on your point of entry. On this front, there are many options to integrate your marketing efforts into the audio space and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. It can help to consider voice-first applications as falling into one of two buckets: static or dynamic. Static voice content offers only a one-way interaction, such as a podcast episode. In this way, it

is similar to radio. This form of audio content may be a good fit for complementing either short or long marketing campaigns. For example, podcast ads strategically placed in a relevant show, along with discount codes could help you boost orders, while launching your own Alexa flash briefings, could be a long-term play to keep audiences engaged. Other examples of static voice content include Flash briefings and audio blogs (note: your corporate blog is a great source of content which you can convert to audio). On the other hand, dynamic voices, such as the one you may need for a branded Alexa skill, enable a two-way dialogue between the brand and users. These are not necessarily complicated to create, but there should be great consideration placed on how the interaction will unfold and whether it’s a good fit for your marketing objective. Customer service considerations Brands can be expressed sonically throughout all touchpoints, such as music-on-hold and the voice of your IVR. Now you can also extend this to voice-first technologies. One way to do so may be converting your online Q&As or FAQs into an Alexa skill that customers can interact with. Housing this useful information in a skill can offer a way of cutting the influxes of calls to your customer service line, while also providing clients with a consistent form of accurate information—on demand—with your chosen brand voice. These interactions also allow customers to feel in control of their journeys, as opposed to feeling like they are being led on journeys through your telephone system

with no end in sight. Keep in mind that voice-first technologies are helping to support users who are browsing the Internet by voice. Because of this, you can aim to position your brand as the most reliable source of answers to common voice queries by optimizing your web site for voice search. Experiment, leverage evergreen content Whether you decide your brand’s entry point to voice-first tech is going to be static or dynamic, remember to treat the experience as an experiment. Put parameters around the scope of it instead of thinking you’re going to run it indefinitely. Define the end-state and then you can work toward it, evaluate and see if it met expectations. For example, if it’s a podcast you’ve set your sights on, then make a commitment for 10 episodes to see if there is traction. Once there, assess what you’ve learned. Test and iterate, learn and build again. Also, don’t try to change the world off the hop. As you experiment, creating evergreen (not date-stamped) content will allow you to create more freely, and you won’t have to worry about maintaining a certain cadence, especially if the content flops. Voice-first applications are new to many of us, and, therefore, it may take many attempts to find the right audio fit for your brand. The hardest part of starting, is starting. Begin today and you’ll be ahead of the curve. David Ciccarelli is CEO of Voices.com (www.voices.com). 1 Heather Pemberton Levy, “Gartner Predicts a Virtual World of Exponential Change”, Gartner, article, October 18, 2016. 2 Voices.com, “2019 Future Trends in Marketing, Advertising and Voice Over,” report. 3 Amplifon, “The impact of sound on the brain”, article.

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Branding & Advertising

How AI benefits advertising By Sebastien Filion

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rtificial intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming a mainstay in numerous industries globally, enabling more efficient manufacturing, safer transportation and faster problemsolving and data processing. While these practical applications are actively seen almost daily, AI is also being applied in ways we don’t see at first glance, namely in the world of advertising. As it evolves and improves, it will provide numerous benefits for advertisers, publishers and marketers. Programmatic advertising, campaign support AI is notably having considerable impact in programmatic advertising. It is used to develop profiles of online and in-app viewers, which are then used to tailor appropriate and relevant ads for each unique user. This allows advertisers to target large scale audiences more effectively, including through publishers, offering ad experiences tailored to their editorial content without having to blanket entire sets of web sites in the hopes that the right viewers will visit. AI is also assisting full-scale campaigns, analyzing entire datasets against key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine what is working and what needs to be changed. While not particularly ❱ DMN.ca

innovative in the wider industry context, AI’s entry here provides valuable support by significantly reducing the capacity for human error: which is always a possibility when comparing and contrasting any amount of performance data. Solving digital advertising problems So where then, is AI solving real digital advertising problems? First, by expanding on the development of audience profiles AI systems are being used to evaluate and identify the most eye-catching and relevant advertisement to use for any online individual. This process, often known as dynamic creative optimization (DCO), begins with the system identifying a unique user and their specific profile. With this information, the system can then look through any number of creative items in a campaign and based on the user’s profile, select the creative that will work best for them. For example, if a campaign is running hundreds various images to drive traffic, it will have numerous colour and creative combinations. If the campaign begins to see a trend of stronger positive responses to creative assets featuring a red call-to-action than a blue or a green, the DCO system will select and display the pieces of creative which match that profile. The purpose here being to present viewers with an advertisement that is similar in

characteristics to ones they’ve connected with in past. Second, and moving forward, AI is becoming an ever more valuable tool in programmatic digital advertising through the process of supply path optimization (SPO). Through this process, marketers can maximize every advertising dollar. SPO selects each possible avenue to deliver an advertisement to a given web site or application, evaluates and compares the options offered by each ad publisher and makes a choice that gives the buyer the best bang for their buck. If an advertiser wants to run an ad on a specific site, for example Forbes, the advertiser would want to optimize that ad to run at different times, for different prices and to different audiences. Instead of choosing randomly or working through each possibility manually to identify the best combination, an AI system can run through the possibilities quickly and determine the best choice for each ad. This saves hours of planning and means an advertiser can publish an ad quickly and efficiently.

to get in front of an audience, the best choice comes down to the best price to performance ratio of any given option. Using an AI system, a company can build a pool of information based on previous sales for a certain target site or app, at a specific time, for any given audience; in this pool of information would be the most recent prices any given ad has sold for. With this information at hand, predicting the price an advertising space will sell for becomes a possibility, providing a valuable competitive edge for specific publishers. Further, this could create a more competitive marketplace in the future as prices are predicted earlier and more accurately, giving a window to price slightly above or below the trend. While these are only a few ways AI is moving in to and affecting the world of digital advertising, especially as programmatic advertising becomes a primary driver in the industry, one thing is quickly becoming clear: AI is only going to become more important for effective advertising.

What’s next for AI and advertising? Looking ahead to what is next for AI and its application in advertising, ad exchange platforms are at the forefront of development. On these exchanges where multiple publishers put forth potential avenues for an advertiser

Sebastien Filion is CTO and co-founder,

district m (https://districtm.net/en/). Sebastien’s background in software development and deep understanding of programmatic functionalities from both the demand and supply side of the industry has supported district m in their goal to help clients yield maximum results from their advertising spend. March 2019


THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MAGAZINE ISSUE 1 • 2019

The Innovation Issue ❯❯ The three key innovation CX trends for 2019 ❯❯ Creating a high-value, digital-ready contact centre ❯❯ Using RPA to manage contact infrastructure ❯❯ Elevating CX with AI ❯❯ Protect against the AI/chatbot backlash ❯❯ How adding call-backs works wonders


Innovation

The three key innovation CX trends for 2019 By Stephen Loynd

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he customer experience (CX) team at Frost & Sullivan has seen three important innovation trends come across our desks in 2018, each of which has resulted in detailed white papers. We recommend that Canadian organizations examine each of them, as they will be impacting enterprise CX strategies in 2019 and beyond. Practical, cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. Frost & Sullivan notes that AI-powered virtual agents present significant potential to improve the CX in the contact centre, but also implementation challenges. (a) AI’s new cognitive abilities. AI, as a concept, has been around for decades. Why then does it seem that AI is only now being inserted into the CX in such valuable ways? One key driver of this trend is advanced speech recognition capabilities that have finally allowed contact centres to access the vast cognitive abilities that AI has to offer. Natural language understanding (NLU) means AI-enabled machines can hear, process and correctly capture intent and context, and AI solutions are now demonstrating their true power in a variety of ways. Advancements in speech recognition and cloudenabled delivery has opened the door to the rapid expansion of AI cognitive abilities that mimic live agent behaviour across dozens of conversations: which simply wasn’t possible before. (b) Impressions of complexity. But while the advantages of automating more customer carerelated processes are real, it’s important to focus on the practical applications of AI rather than the too often overly dramatic headlines associated with it. According to recent surveys by Frost & Sullivan’s Stratecast team, 20% of all companies have plans to adopt some type of AI-powered solution in the near future. But those surveys also show that many companies are labouring under the impression that AI is complex and costly to implement.

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Action item: approach AI a low-risk, high-value manner. Scale your contact centre by augmenting your current technology with cloud-enabled AI that seamlessly integrates with your existing systems to automate one conversation at a time, rather than undertaking a complete “rip and replace” overhaul. Taking a practical

2 | Contact management

approach to AI simplifies the decision to implement AI capabilities, but it also ensures that AI-enabled tools will deliver value upon implementation, rather than requiring a protracted period of training and customization. Ask about the Frost & Sullivan white paper, The AI-Powered Virtual Agent: Practical Realities & Actionable Strategies. Robotic process automation (RPA) solutions. RPA software that incorporates technologies such as AI and machine learning (ML) to automate routine, rules-based, high volume tasks that are timeconsuming and sensitive to human error promises to change the nature of business. Here’s how: (a) A virtual workforce in varied automations. RPA software “robots/agents” mimic human beings in the handling of certain types

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of processes including inputting or manipulating data, triggering other processes or communicating with other systems. This virtual workforce can work unattended, attended or in hybrid automations. Tasks can be scheduled or triggered automatically or manually. (b) Enabling digital transformation. Automation must help achieve operational optimization and increase productivity, otherwise it makes little sense. The objective is to introduce a set of solutions that will enable true digital transformation. In essence, RPA is contributing to digital transformation on a strategic

Focus on the practical applications of AI rather than the too often overly dramatic headlines associated with it. Issue 1 • 2019


Innovation

We’re living at a time of fast-moving digitization, that exponential technological change is upon us and that the contact centre needs to innovate to keep pace.

rather than simply a tactical level. It’s also an initiative that will help to spur greater collaboration across business units. Action item: start with a strategic assessment. Look for RPA applications that are scalable and reliable, that follow a development process that is repeatable and allows for robots that are maintainable and reusable, that provide for access control and auditing and that can be managed similar to live agents with centralized control. Develop a cross-organizational automation strategy to determine which projects require heavy IT involvement and which can be done with simple RPA tools. Identify areas of high volume and repetitive tasks and then take advantage of vendor proof of concept to initiate a “land and expand” approach to cross-enterprise automation. Use RPA to facilitate cross-organizational data dependencies and maintain consistency of data entry. Ask about the upcoming Frost & Sullivan white paper, A Strategic, Actionable Approach to RPA.

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Agile and DevOps: helping transform the CX. As the pace of technological change quickens and increasing customer expectations further catalyze a time of techno-consumerism, many organizations are adopting the IT methodology known as “Agile and DevOps” for their CX applications. The term Agile Development describes iterative and incremental software development methodologies; it’s an approach to software development embracing requirements and solutions that evolve through collaborative efforts of self-organizing cross-functional teams and their customers. It advocates adaptive

Issue 1 • 2019

planning, evolutionary development, early delivery and continuous improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change. DevOps is an extension of the Agile Development methodology, a blending of two disciplines in order to emphasize the collaboration, communication and cohesion between typically separate developer teams and IT operations teams. Here are further points to examine and keep in mind: (a) Keeping up with rapid change. In effect, the concept of Agile requires its twin concept of DevOps at a time when the pace of innovation and change is accelerating, and the typical operations team needs to deploy new releases more quickly and with less disruption. While Agile and DevOps has been around for awhile, more and more companies are beginning to apply its practices to their CX environments as a means to address rapidly evolving business requirements. Agile and DevOps are designed to provide businesses maximum efficiency and minimal interruption while making needed improvements to customer engagement applications. (b) A data-centric, selfoptimizing future. Agility and transformation are essential because the rapid adoption of digital technologies is producing waves of data that are impacting every industry, shaping a new shoreline that will characterize a data-centric, self-optimizing future. Digital leaders will be those organizations that are skilled at utilizing business analytics to offer deep insights into customer behaviours, wants and needs, developing new products and services and ultimately innovating

and exploiting new business opportunities. Action Item: take a forward-looking approach to operational CX. Frost & Sullivan believes that a new approach to CX operations will help determine the difference between past and future, between business failure and future success. Therefore, appreciate the fact that we’re living at a time of fast-moving digitization, that exponential technological change is upon us and that the contact centre needs to innovate to keep pace. It’s not enough to measure net promoter score (NPS) or other high level, backward-looking metrics. You need to understand operational metrics about your CX so you can proactively improve and positively affect your NPS and the other metrics through a more actionable, forward-looking approach. Think more strategically about operational CX and consider an Agile and DevOps transformation process that features automated testing and monitoring at its core. Ask about the Frost & Sullivan white paper, CX Innovation: Rising to the Challenge of Techno-Consumerism Through Agile & DevOps Transformation.

Key takeaway The customer contact landscape continues to be disrupted. Enterprises need to be thinking strategically about how developments will continue to impact the space in 2019 and beyond. Clearly, these are by no means the only technology-related topics of importance as far as the CX goes, but it’s noteworthy how much interest we received in them over the course of this past year, and how many companies will be deploying these solutions going forward. Stephen Loynd is global program director, digital experience, Frost & Sullivan (www.frost.com), Stephen.Loynd@Frost.com.

Contact management | 3


Innovation

Creating a high-value, digital-ready contact centre By Rob Daleman

B

ased on overall revenues and market size, the Canadian domestic contact centre market continues to face headwinds. IBISWorld recently reported that the Canadian telemarketing and contact centre industry shrank by -3.2% from 2014 to 2019 and it predicts additional declines through 20241. The continued slowdown in domestic contact centres is attributed primarily to two trends in the market: one, the offshoring of contact centre jobs and two, consumers increasingly shifting to emerging digital channels for support. However, the news is not all bad. By focusing on putting personalized, engaging and compliant customer communications in the hands of their customers and agents, contact centre leaders can have a strong impact on the overall customer experience.

Driving offshoring Let’s look at the first trend of offshoring and the underlying driving factors and outcomes. During my time at one of Canada’s leading contact centre vendors, I saw firsthand how many teams were focused on projects that helped them compete by increasing efficiency. These included funneling contact requests from multiple channels into the centres, allowing information collected on one channel to be presented to agents to make phone conversations frictionless, and routing customers to the best agents to fit their needs based on analytics for faster time to resolution. As these technologies have become more pervasive globally, however, the efficiency advantage has proved to be unsustainable, leading to more offshoring of jobs. The impact has been that those that remain in-country are shifting to more complex, higher-value activities that require more skilled employees. Unfortunately, the technology focus of many contact centre executives has not directly supported this trend. While traditional projects have aided customers in initiating their points of interaction with the contact centre more efficiently, the projects do very little to support the underlying digital process transformation required to allow the business to work at the speed of the contact centre. It is not a surprise then, that a 2018 market study by Customer Contact Week found that today’s top customer complaint of contact centres is unprepared agents2.

Focusing on resolution Today’s contact centre is an extremely important linchpin in business. Agents control exceptionally important customer touchpoints, including loan applications, insurance claims and health insurance benefits inquiries. They are being asked to engage in complicated discussions and draw up complex documents in response to customer inquiries: often doing so interactively in real time with customers. 4 | Contact management

Customers do not have visibility to the underlying complexities of your business; they are simply looking for first contact resolution, friendly agents and quick resolutions, regardless of the processes required to support the agents in delivering those experiences3. This is where customer communications management (CCM) technology has a strong part to play in enabling skilled and efficient domestic agents. Modern CCM platforms present complex documents to agents in a streamlined interface, hiding the complexity that exists under the surface. Behind the scenes, CCM solutions are gathering data from core and legacy systems, integrating content updates from subject matter experts (such as legal, compliance and marketing) and even taking data input from the customer gathered across a variety of channels. As the agents work through customer requests on the phones, they are able to build up complex documents through scripted dialogues that contain the most current offers, products and language from across the business and output them as customized communications for the customers. These systems also provide automated approval processes, allowing agents to create and submit documents in one step and permitting them to quickly move on to the next customer while allowing supervisors to manage document approvals.

Moving to omnichannel Now let’s examine the second trend, or force impacting contact centres today and that is the shift of customers away from voice to emerging digital channels. This trend is clearly seen in the adoption of smartphones by Canadians which, at the tail end of 2018, would likely be approaching 84%4. Meanwhile, fewer than 25% of businesses can handle complex interactions in digital channels today5. While many companies look

to bring on new digital experience technologies to support emerging channels, line-of-business professionals and IT staff alike are faced with a difficult choice. One, embrace a digital-first strategy to get to market on new channels quickly, or two, an omnichannel approach that supports the overall end-to-end customer journey. In both instances the contact centre frequently loses out, as digital projects are not completed with an end-to-end journeys in mind, and more specifically, don’t tackle challenging business process improvement challenges. This leaves the customer stuck between a great pre-purchase experience, often powered by exceptional web and mobile technologies and a lacklustre customer experience. It is important to focus on processes that enable digital experiences that are fully integrated with the documents and content that customers interact with. For example, migrating PDF forms to interactive digital forms to allow customers to initiate complex interactions via self-service is an important step in enabling the customer in the channel of their choice. These solutions must tie back into systems that support agents to manage complex interactions with customers. They also must quickly build and issue contracts, claims and other documents that customers are looking for and output them on any channel whether that be via print, PDF documents via e-mail or posted to interactive web sites. Again, this is an area where CCM is poised to help companies address complex challenges by leveraging one set of communications templates and all of the core content inside the enterprise and making these available to customers across all channels. Canada’s contact centres are challenged by a need to support increasingly complex engagements Continued on page CM 9 Issue 1 • 2019


Innovation

Using RPA to manage contact infrastructure By Kelly Koelliker

T

he hybrid workforce is a growing reality in today’s contact centre. By handling repetitive and mundane tasks, robots accelerate productivity and make it possible for back-and front-office employees, like contact centre agents, to spend their time on more substantial projects. By 2021, Forrester Research estimates there will be more than four million robots handling office and administrative work, as well as sales and related tasks1. There is another use for robots that goes a little deeper than automating contact centre agent tasks. In an innovative form, robotic process automation (RPA) is helping to simplify, modernize and automate the processes that ensure contact centre infrastructures are running properly.

Complex needs and operations In many organizations today the contact centre is the strategic nerve centre that drives customer engagement and loyalty. Customers have become more demanding, seeking an excellent seamless customer experience (CX) on the channels of their choice. When they decide to reach out to the contact centre it is because, in most cases, they didn’t find what they are looking for on selfservice. Successful conversations between customers and agents are imperative to maintain customer satisfaction, regulatory compliance and operational efficiencies. But a contact centre’s infrastructure is incredibly complex. It includes a tangled web of systems and vendors that demand constant support and testing. There are many points of failure that require monitoring and verification from the ACD, to the recorder and to the handsets. Yet many organizations rely on primitive methods of evaluation, including “walking around” and spot-checking equipment. Customer loyalty suffers as a result. Here are three key reasons that monitoring the infrastructure is a job ideally suited for this unique type of RPA. 1. Resource constraints make it nearly impossible to monitor and verify that calls are being received, routed and recorded properly. Whether it’s an end-to-end view of the system or the viability of a single handset, monitoring issues with telephony is often a time-consuming manual process. To verify individual pieces of equipment are functioning, IT resources must test each line to discover an issue, or alternatively wait until a problem is discovered: when it is too late to resolve. Too often, reliance on one-time or spot testing fails to provide the needed early warnings that something is amiss. Further, once a problem is discovered, multiple IT resources are usually required to diagnose the issue. The lost time and cost associated with this process is both wasteful and a drain on resources. Issue 1 • 2019

2. Accurately and completely recording contact centre calls is imperative. Due to compliance regulations, legal requirements, quality assurance and business analytics as well as other reasons, recordings of contact centre interactions need to be retrieved. When calls fail to record, the problem likely does not surface immediately, leaving the situation to balloon into an expensive and timeconsuming headache. A call that was not recorded cannot be recreated: the moment is lost. Fines may be incurred, insights are lost and customer satisfaction can plummet, often before the problem can even be fully diagnosed. 3. Troubleshooting issues with a communications infrastructure can be extremely complex and time consuming. When there is a problem in the telephony infrastructure, there could be several reasons. There could be an issue with the phone line, the phone itself, the ACD, a configuration error, the recorder or an issue caused by a software upgrade. Cloud/ hosted contact centre as a service (CCaaS) introduces even more points of failure into the telephony stream and further raises the need for automated monitoring and verification. Consequently, it can take weeks to find and diagnose problems. Furthermore, it is increasingly difficult to find staff with the expertise across vendors and versions to maintain these systems end-to-end and troubleshoot issues cost effectively.

“Virtual engineers” to the rescue RPA can eliminate the timeconsuming and incomplete manual testing of these systems through using automated verification

solutions that serve as teams of “virtual engineers”, which proactively alert the organization to possible issues, potentially saving weeks of time and effort. As a result, they are making it much easier for contact centres to know that all calls are received, routed and recorded properly. From the performance of a single handset to a holistic view of the health of an entire telephony infrastructure, this distinctive solution automates manual configuration and monitoring to create efficiencies, improve accuracy, save money and reduce risk. The net benefits are big savings and major advancements in compliance and customer loyalty for forwardthinking companies.

How RPA eliminated 10,000 hours of work Here is an example of the benefits applying RPA for contact centre infrastructure can provide. In a highly-regulated industry like banking, accurately and completely recording phone conversations is imperative. For a large European investment and retail bank, supporting 120,000 IP telephones across multiple locations, its sheer size and operational complexity posed a significant challenge in meeting this objective. The handsets are situated in a variety of locations, including front offices, branches, trading floor desks and contact centres. The financial institution’s expansive phone lines and related systems had to be checked manually before the start of each day by staff at each location. Results were then manually recorded and any issues were communicated locally, but not shared across other locations or the broader organization. In addition, the tests were not consistent between sites and were often based on local and/or onsite knowledge. This Continued on page CM 9 Contact management | 5


Innovation

Elevating CX with AI By David Chavez

P

eople are the fabric of every company, and the engagement and success of employees directly correlates to both business results and customer satisfaction. Companies that effectively use nextgeneration digital technologies, combined with human intelligence, including emotional intelligence, have greater prospects for higher customer-centricity, loyalty, employee fulfillment and revenue growth. Digital leaders recognize that artificial intelligence (AI) is necessary for continued growth and innovation in today’s world. In 2019 this technology will begin to see greater prevalence in the contact centre. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2022, 72% of customer interactions will involve AI in some form1. The key to a successful implementation of AI in the contact centre, however, is ensuring the right strategy is in place. And that employees are set up for success.

Understanding customer needs What is AI in this context? AI is computer software created and trained by humans that automates some tasks and allows natural language interaction with humans. AI has the promise of raising the customer experience (CX). When AI is combined with chatbot technology it can give businesses the ability to automate basic contact centre tasks, focusing the interactions to the actions usually needed at those specific points. However, AI is only as valuable as the human intelligence that goes with it; the programmers need to understand what customers need at that point to foster the automation. By shifting basic tasks to automated technology, organizations will be able to provide live agents with the capacity to tackle complex interactions: interactions which go beyond the intelligence of technology and require the human touch to solve. The return on investment (ROI) for spending resources on AI is there. Consider the top companies significantly investing in AI today: Google ($3.9 billion), Amazon ($871 million), Apple ($786 million), Intel ($776 million) and Microsoft ($690 million)2. Even among those businesses without such ample spend, research shows 46% are expecting an increase in revenue when AI is applied to customer service3. By allowing AI to make contact centre interactions better, more intuitive and faster through intelligent routing, behaviour matching and increased access to 6 | Contact management

actionable data, organizations will be able to deliver more authentic and meaningful experiences during the customer journey than ever before. For example, think about the application of AI to analyze past consumer behaviour and intelligently pair customers with the best resources, both agents and subject matter experts, available organization-wide. During each of these interactions, they are granted real-time knowledge from data-driven internal and external databases including CRM, demographics and psychographics. Advanced predictive information gives agents, experts and enterprises the leverage to carry out quick service inquiries and match customers with informed insight to address their needs, all while driving personalized, goal-oriented outcomes. Like understanding how likely a customer is to buy a product: all before the first “hello”. The benefits of AI continue after every interaction. With all conversations recorded and transcribed, managers have complete coverage and supervision of their employees on demand. The AI-empowered contact centre is sure to demonstrate performance improvements across the board with employee productivity and customer service satisfaction.

Where to start There is a vast landscape that AI can applied to in a contact centre. Selecting a place to start can be daunting yet it is critical. Many innovations fail because of a lack of focus on the desired outcome in mind, often yielding the dreaded science experiment. Instead begin by thinking

narrowly. Find a pain point in the customer journey. If it includes repetitive mundane tasks, then it is likely ripe for AI automation. Define success criteria, better if it is clearly measurable. Pilot the programme and include in it the ability of customers to provide feedback on their likes and dislikes of the interface and iterate. Once it is complete, move on to the next pain point. This makes AI adoption gradual and practical and helps the eventual human to human interactions to be more impactful. Consumer expectations and technology solutions are rapidly evolving and influencing major changes to the contact centre. Enterprises that are planning to invest in AI have identified specific cases for applying, or are experimenting with transformative solutions across the organization, specifically AI for conversational intelligence, robotic process automation (RPA), analytics and insights. These technologies are helping to fulfill the needs of brands that are striving to drive customer loyalty and satisfaction by meeting the demands of a contextual end-toend service experience. By taking care of the customer first, AI brings increased profitability due to improved conversion rates, business processes and agent satisfaction. Why apply AI for customer experience now? The real question is: if not now, then when? David Chavez is vice president, innovation, Avaya (www.avaya.com). 1 Gartner, “Gartner Advises Business and IT Leaders to Influence the Long-Term Direction of Artificial Intelligence”, press release, November 7, 2017. 2 Olivia Krauth, “The 10 tech companies that have invested the most money in AI”, TechRepublic, January 12, 2018. 3 Teradata,” State of Artificial Intelligence for Enterprises”, report, October 2017.

Issue 1 • 2019


Innovation

Protect against the AI/chatbot backlash By Tom Martin

F

orrester Research predicts a year of reckoning for artificial intelligence (AI) in 20191. The market research firm foresees a backlash against automated chatbots, which routinely exasperate customers searching for assistance. The high expectations placed on AI in customer service will also fall back to earth this year. The intended cost savings through reduced headcount in the contact centre will not outweigh the damage done to customer satisfaction. What should customer experience (CX), customer care and sales leaders do about the AI backlash?

the customer’s confidence (or lack thereof) in judging alternatives. Low risk/high confidence engagements can be mapped to automated support tools while others may be mapped to high-touch human support.

Courtesy Glance Networks.

1. Be realistic about the limitations of AI. Poorlydeployed AI can be damaging to the CX. Specifically, it can compromise trust. “AI is supposed to make our lives better,” said Keng Siau, a professor at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. “Smarter companies are being proactive about this by developing trust.”2 One AI practitioner at a leading financial services provider I spoke to recently expressed that keeping expectations realistic is crucial when working with chatbots. They work hard to level-set with line-of-business and contact centre management, establishing realistic cost-savings targets and making them aware of potential negative impacts to customer satisfaction. In an April 2018 webinar hosted by destinationCRM featuring Glance Networks and Forrester Research3, it was suggested that AI has an appropriate role in the relationship between the enterprise and the customer. However, CX professionals must begin by understanding the customer journey and determine which interactions are best handled by bots and which should be handled by humans. Highcomplexity transactions should be given the human touch.

CX professionals should map customer journeys and determine which ones are appropriate for automated support versus human support. For example, in the above graphic, you can see that a Loan Calculator would be an AI function and a Loan Application would receive human support. Model your buyer behaviour based on important characteristics of the customer’s decision like their financial investment, the duration life of the decision and Issue 1 • 2019

2. Build better escalation paths from AI to humans. Forrester Research predicts that “a whopping 60% of chatbot deployments in 2019 will not have effective live-agent safety nets attached to web chat sessions”4. One major reason why customers have grown to hate chatbots is they are often ineffective and offer no recourse in securing solutions to customers’ issues. CEB (now a part of Gartner) reported that, although customers may have a preferred method of communication with your brand, 84% of customers simply want their issue resolved as quickly and easily as possible5 and are willing to be directed to the best possible option to achieve that result. In other words: if AI can deliver a speedy solution to the customer’s problem, the customer will be satisfied. But what happens when AI fails to solve the problem? It is strongly suggested that you build an escalation path that allows the customer to rapidly escalate from the failure of AI to awesome human engagement that can convey empathy, resolve the issue and save the day. 3. Invest in technology that creates superhuman contact centre agents. Forrester Research predicts that onethird of companies will modernize agent desktops to augment the human workforce6. Instead of using technology to replace humans, this application of technology would improve the agents’ abilities to do their jobs with superhuman quality and efficiency.

For example, the same AI practitioner mentioned earlier told us his financial services company is creating a “banker bot” that does not interact directly with customers, but instead assists human agents to perform their human-to-human interactions better. The banker bot will feed agents customers’ historical records so that the agents can have more contextually relevant conversations with customers. The banker bot can predict additional products customers might find useful and tee up sales support aids for the agents. The banker bot also can predict the questions customers are likely to ask and can tee up corresponding help documents and resources for the agents. Another example is cobrowsing or screen sharing technology integrated into the agent desktop. This allows agents to see where the customers are stuck in the web sites or apps, giving the agents an immediate understanding of the customers’ problems and enables the agents to guide the customers to speedy solutions. Cobrowsing and screen sharing can eliminate the awkward and time-consuming “game of 20 questions” at the beginning of each call where customers struggle to explain their problems to the agents. Companies should add to the agent toolbox technologies that can connect with their customers on an emotional level, understand the customer more fully and easily, solve problems faster and communicate more effectively. The ability of a service provider to demystify and personalize the CX is the tiebreaker in industries where service and product offerings among competitors is approaching parity; CX is the ultimate “brand enhancer” for any company. 4. Automate KPI capture in the CRM. Sales reps revile the coming of AI because of its capabilities to collect key performance indicators Continued on page CM 9 Contact management | 7


Innovation

How adding call-backs works wonders By Shai Berger

T

oday’s consumers have very high expectations when it comes to customer service in general and contact centres in particular. Providing superior service is critical, especially since “60% of consumers say they’ll drop a brand (even one they love) after just a few sub-par experiences.”1 A surefire way to fall out of favour with a customer is to leave them on hold for more than a few minutes. The solution to hold time is to offer a call-back as an alternative. The more formal name is virtual queuing, because what’s happening behind the scenes is that each caller’s place in line is held virtually so they are free to enjoy their day while waiting. Although the concept of replacing hold-times with call-backs has been around for decades, two major changes have sparked renewed interest in recent years.

Lowering tolerance The first change is that consumers have a lower tolerance for waiting on hold, and are vocal about this on social media channels. The web site OnHoldWith.com, which shows a live feed of hold-time complaints via Twitter, provides a dramatic—and sometimes entertaining—look at the anger caused by this problem. Surveys confirm this trend as well. A recent survey of 1,000 U.S. adults showed that putting put callers on hold is ranked first or second as the top irritant across all age groups2. The survey also found that 10 minutes is the maximum amount of time callers are willing to wait on hold, whether making a customer service inquiry or a complaint.

New technology The second change stems from the contact centre industry itself. Adding call-backs used to require equipment-based solutions that (a) required considerable effort to deploy and (b) came with hefty price tags. So, while large-scale companies like Air Canada, Rogers and WestJet have had call-back options available for years, smaller operations were priced out of this market. Advances in cloud-based technology and new usagebased pricing models mean that contact centres of any size can now add call-back functionality. This trend was confirmed by the recent Contact Center Decision-Maker’s Guide from ContactBabel. After surveying 222 contact centre managers, it reported that 40% of contact centres now offer call-backs, up from 37% in 2017 and 22% in 20123. This is a positive trend. That same report listed the top reasons that people dislike the waiting-on-hold process: • “Not knowing how much longer you’ll have to wait”; • “Repetitive announcements”; • “Having to restate account information already given”; and • “Can’t do anything else in the meantime.”

There’s some interesting psychology behind that top reason. According to David Maister’s The Psychology of Waiting Lines, unexplained waits are perceived to be longer than explained waits. This is also known colloquially as “Dentist Chair Time” (Sorry, dentists!)

Dealing with call spikes Call-backs can also be offered on a scheduled basis, where callers can choose future time slots. This option has a very “high-touch” feel from the callers’ perspectives, but its real power comes from allowing contact centre managers to handle spikes in call volume more effectively. Having “spikey” demand is one of the most difficult challenges for contact centre managers. If they staff to the peak volume, they will have a lot of excess agent capacity at other times. Agent labour is the costliest component of contact centre operations, accounting for up to 75% of the total4, so overstaffing is not an appealing option. Call-backs also help smooth out spikes in call volume by deferring calls (in a customer-friendly manner) until a time when there is excess agent capacity. In a sense, call-backs let the contact centre do a better job matching the demand for agent time with the supply of agent time. This results in more efficient use of resources.

Time to add call-backs is now If your company operates a contact

8 | Contact management

centre and does not yet offer callbacks, you are falling behind your industry peers. But even without that pressure, call-backs should be at the top of your technology wish list because they are truly a winwin proposition: callers have more pleasant experiences and the contact centre becomes more efficient.

Keeping the pressure up As a consumer, you can help keep the industry moving in the right direction by mentioning the callback alternative to companies you do business with. And when you’re stuck on hold, consider Tweeting about the experience (try to include the company’s Twitter handle and the hashtag #onholdwith so it will be indexed by OnHoldWith.com). A little venting might make you feel better, and—you never know—it might be the final nudge that convinces a company to add call-backs. Shai Berger is co-founder and CEO, Fonolo (www.fonolo.com). Shai is responsible for setting the company’s strategic direction, product innovation and driving growth. His experience and accomplishments within the customer service and contact centre industries have positioned him as a thought leader and innovator in the space. 1 David Clarke and Ron Kinghorn, “Future of Customer Experience Survey 2017/18”, PwC, survey. 2 “Genesys study shows people unite across age groups in their shared dislikes; everyone hates being put on hold and getting incorrect information”, DMN.ca, December 14, 2018. 3 ContactBabel, “The US Contact Center DecisionMakers’ Guide 2018-19”, report. 4 “Contact Center Decision-Maker’s Guide 2018-2019”, Ibid.

Issue 1 • 2019


Innovation

Creating a high-value, digital-ready contact centre Continued from page CM 4 through a growing number of channels. But modern CCM solutions—with their combination of data management, content management and omnichannel output—are well poised to help contact centre executives in Canada make the transition to supporting more skilled agents here at home to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Rob Daleman is vice president, corporate marketing for Quadient. A subsidiary of Neopost, Quadient (www.quadient.com) is a leading provider of customer communications management (CCM) technology, enabling organizations to create better experiences for their customers through timely, optimized, contextual, highly individualized and accurate communications for all channels. 1 IBISWorld, “Telemarketing & Call Centres - Canada Market Research Report”, January 2019. 2 Brian Cantor, “2018 CCW Market Study: The Customer Experience”, Customer Contact Week, August 27, 2018. 3 Cantor, Customer Contact Week, Ibid. 4 eMarketer, “Top 25 Countries, Ranked by Smartphone User Penetration, 2016-2021 (% of population)”, October 19, 2017. 5 Cantor, Customer Contact Week, Ibid.

Using RPA to manage contact infrastructure Continued from page CM 5 impeded the availability of test results to the right teams at the right times, with key trending and incident information not properly circulated or used to improve service over time. With automated verification, the bank reproduced its previously manual test flows, with robots simulating the key strokes and system interactions used for each test on each platform. The bank developed more than 150 tests for its critical voice platforms globally. Dashboards provided centralized views of all tests, and the testing schedule across sites and alarms and outputs, so that local and global monitoring teams could see all issues as they happen. Access to the dashboards is based on user role, enabling the bank to provide the right level of visibility to staff, as well as limit viewing by site, country, region or globally, depending on role privileges. As the bank went about the process of automating its manual tests, automated verification helped it uncover and fix several configuration inconsistencies across sites. Moreover, the introduction of automation challenged the bank’s support team to ensure that service and infrastructure Issue 1 • 2019

builds were standardized globally, so that automated tests would run consistently time and time again. This focus on configuration consistency not only helped eliminate issues, but also resulted in a consistent operational platform based on a standard configuration guideline. Thanks to the process and testing with automated verification, the bank saved more than 10,000 hours of staff-time, while also increasing the consistency and accuracy of reporting and alerting. Additionally, the solution helped the bank improve adherence to voice recording compliance, thus reducing fines. Finally, the bank’s local and global monitoring teams benefited from enhanced visibility of tests, results and issues via a central dashboard.

The foundation for a positive CX As organizations implement unique RPA solutions in the contact centre they usually start by identifying a list of current tasks and processes as candidates for automation. Many of them are self-service processes that don’t require any human intervention, such as handling customer address changes. Still others are hybrid processes, where RPA serves up the information an agent needs to complete a customer transaction or solve a customer problem. If your organization is making its list of candidates for automation, don’t forget to consider innovative RPA for protecting the infrastructure that makes the allimportant phone interactions possible with your customers. That is the key to a strong, positive CX. Kelly Koelliker is director of content marketing for Verint, The Customer Engagement Company (www.verint.com). 1 Craig Le Clair, et al. “The RPA Market Will Reach $2.9 Billion By 2021”, report, Forrester Research, February 13, 2017.

making it possible for sales agents to launch sharing sessions directly from the agent desktop. The solution made it extremely easy to launch demos. At the same time, the metadata of the sharing sessions are now automatically captured as activities in the CRM, making it easy for sales management to inspect the sales process to ensure that demos are being conducted at the right sales stage. As a result, ConstructConnect has seen a 40% improvement in lead conversion, driven in part by a 66% increase in the volume of demos to new leads and its sales cycles shrink by 60%. Providing exemplary customer service is a linchpin in capturing and retaining customers. AI can play a role in customer engagement, but ultimately humans are the best resource for closing sales and maintaining high customer satisfaction. AI can do many things, like scheduling and compiling information, but ultimately this technology simply is not equipped to provide empathy and a caring touch to a customer’s problem. Achieving the right balance between technological advances and humanity is the way to succeed in 2019. Tom Martin is the CEO of Glance Networks where he and his team help enterprises create the ultimate customer experience with smart, omnichannel visual engagement solutions based around integrated cobrowse, screen share, mobile app sharing and one-way agent video. For more information, visit https://www.glance.net. 1 Michele Goetz, Brandon Purcell, Craig Le Clair, Diego Lo Giudice and Mike Gualtieri, “Predictions 2019: Artificial Intelligence”, Forrester Research, report, November 6, 2018. 2 Christopher Null, “Dealing with AI backlash”, ServiceNow, blog. 3 “The ROI of humanizing customer service engagement”, DestinationCRM, webinar, April 2018. 4 Predictions 2019, Ibid. 5 Matthew Dixon, Lara Ponomareff, Scott Turner and Rick DeLisi, “Kick-Ass Customer Service”, Harvard Business Review, January-February 2017. 6 Predictions 2019, Ibid. 7 Predictions 2019, Ibid.

Protect against the AI/chatbot backlash Continued from page CM 7 (KPIs), grade sales reps and penalize underperformers. Forrester Research predicts that salespeople will start to game the system and input falsified data into systems in an effort to save face7. There is another way to take KPI gamesmanship completely out of the equation, of course, and that’s by building frictionless workflows for agents that automatically capture KPIs in the CRM system. For example, one of our customers, ConstructConnect, a data provider for the construction industry, has integrated screen sharing technology into their CRM system,

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Events Calendar March March 31-April 2 Association of Fundraising Professionals AFP ICON 2019 San Antonio, Texas http://afpicon.com/

May May 7-9 WB Research eTail Canada Toronto, Ont. https://etailcanada.wbresearch.com/ May 9 Association of Fundraising Professionals, Ottawa Chapter, Fundraising Day Ottawa, Ont. https://community.afpglobal.org/ afponottawachapter/home

May 13 Canadian Prepaid Providers Organization Third Annual Prepaid Symposium Toronto, Ont. www.cppo.ca/prepaid-symposium May 14-16 Payments Canada 2019 Payments Summit Toronto, Ont. https://www.thesummit.ca/ May 16-17 DigiMarCon Canada Toronto, Ont. https://digimarconcanada.ca/ May 28-29 Retail Council of Canada STORE 2019 Toronto, Ont. www.storeconference.ca

May 28-30 CSPN 22nd Annual Conference Toronto, Ont. http://conference.mycspn.com/ May 30 Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Toronto Chapter, Fundraising Day Toronto, Ont. http://afptoronto.org/

June June 5-7 PostalVision 2020 Arlington, Va. http://www.postalvision2020.com/2019annual-event/ June 12-13 Big Data and AI Toronto 2019 Toronto, Ont. www.bigdata-toronto.com/2019

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Excellent Execution

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Turning a mistake into success W

Todd Grossman is CEO Americas at Talkwalker (www.talkwalker.com), a social listening and analytics platform that helps marketers measure, promote and protect their brands. Todd is also an avid hiker and runner and is passionate about improving education in Africa.

hat happens when a pricing error has the potential to become a PR nightmare? Hong Kong Airlines (HKA) had to find a fast answer to this question last August when online bargain-hunters noticed an astoundingly low price for one of its transpacific flights: too low, in fact, because the price in question was an error. With social buzz spiking due to reactions to this amazingly low fare, HKA had to quickly decide whether or not to honour its incorrectly-listed price. But a crucial factor played into the airline’s decision-making process: what effect would its choice have on its longterm brand perception? As brand managers and PR pros know, even a seemingly simple issue like a wrong price can have a lasting ripple effect. What’s really at stake in these situations isn’t just the satisfaction of those customers who would be directly affected by the company’s decision. But, almost as critically, is the reaction of the thousands of potential customers whose first—and, likely, lasting—impression of a brand can hinge on the social buzz that surrounds the corporate response to the incident. Fortunately, the airline didn’t have to make this decision alone. By using a mix of social listening tools like Talkwalker and Hootsuite to track social mentions and public sentiment about the situation, and by reviewing how other carriers had handled similar problems in the past, HKA was able to use the data at hand to quickly make a decision that it felt confident in. So, what was the outcome? Well, let’s begin with the details of how the error got noticed and then we’ll see how HKA’s decision affected the course of the conversation.

What’s really at stake isn’t just the satisfaction of those customers who would be directly affected by the company’s decision. But, almost as critically, is the reaction of potential customers. Creating a PR dashboard Hong Kong Airlines had established a blended Hootsuite and Talkwalker dashboard that allows the carrier to monitor its social media mentions and relevant conversations. The airline’s dashboard includes alerts that inform it whenever an HKA-related topic is suddenly generating more conversation than usual. These alerts activate if a person with at least 5,000 Twitter followers comments with a mention of the brand or if there is a sudden increase in posts about a related topic. ❱ DMN.ca

On August 16, 2018, the first alert was raised after an HKA flight from Los Angeles, Calif. to Shanghai, China was mispriced at just $561 and the online buzz was building fast. Within 24 hours, it had gathered over 229 mentions, up 104.5% from the previous day. The buzz from these mispriced tickets was causing a huge increase in mentions, engagement and reach: the kind of sudden brand awareness burst that could easily backfire. Using data to decide Thanks to its social listening programme with Talkwalker, HKA was well prepared to react strategically and to compare how other companies had handled similar issues by seeing what impact their reactive measures had on their brands’ reputations. For example, when British Airways faced the same problem in June 2018, it decided not to honour the incorrect price. This created 2,200 mentions in 24 hours (up 73.9%), with a peak negative sentiment of 91.4%. With this data in mind, HKA made a different decision: it would honour the erroneous price for any flights that had been booked within 24 hours of the incorrect fare’s first listing. Actively public engagement By using a combination of Talkwalker and Hootsuite to track social engagement, HKA was able to stay apprised of the conversation around the pricing issue in real time. The airline then used these platforms to engage directly with its audience and offer a human connection. This helped to keep the conversation both positive and wide-reaching, which led to overwhelmingly favourable PR exposure. Monitoring conversations To see how successful their strategy was, HKA monitored the resulting conversations to assess the long-term impact. It saw a growth in mentions of “Business Class” related to HKA, with 35.1% of brand conversations mentioning the term. This has helped boost HKA’s ongoing positioning in this market. Mentions of “Hong Kong Airlines” also increased 268.1% in the U.S., along with a 105.5% overall global increase in potential reach. In addition, the brand sentiment continued to be positive for the following months, as more consumers traveled with the brand and had good experiences. In fact, at no point during the pricing snafu did the brand have a negative sentiment spike, a benefit that HKA attributes to being wellprepared, data-influenced and able to adapt on the fly. “Social listening and analytics tools are critical to our success,” said Dennis Owen, general manager of branding and social media at Hong Kong Airlines. “When we can see what’s happening in real time on social media, we can then make timely and informed decisions and communicate these decisions well. In this case, with a pricing error suddenly creating 4,900% more social engagements in a one-week period, we managed to turn what could have been a damaging issue into a fantastic PR opportunity.” March 2019


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