Episode #168: How the Voice of the Customer Fuels CXM

We all say we’re customer centric, but are we really? Today’s episode is all about the customer, specifically the voice of the customer. We’ll look at how best to listen and engage, how to manage thousands of pieces of outbound content, and how omni-channel care can provide a unified view of every individual customer.

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All right, we are back for another amazing, exciting, foundational episode of the Unified-CXM Experience. And as always, I’m your host, Grad Conn, speaking for Sprinklr, an NYSE-listed company, ticker symbol is CXM. And today I’m going to talk about the foundational principles of CXM. And how social is the foundation of CXM. So should be fun and, I think, somewhat educational episode, pretty narrow casted on CXM. And what we mean by that and where we’re going with that. But just before I get started, if you listened to our anniversary show, Episode 167, I told you that we would be changing the opening music and saying goodbye to Jimi Hendrix, who’s served us well for the last year, and moving on to something else. You’ll notice that that has not happened yet. And Randy, what do you have to say for yourself?

You said you wanted circus music. So, it was not clear what I was supposed to do with that information.

There is a great example, unclear direction leading to poor outcomes. Very well said. So, I think we decided… actually the problem is I hadn’t figured out what I wanted to do. But I think I’ve got it now. I know exactly what I want to do. It’s going to be very, very exciting. I saw movie the other day, and they used this music, and it’s just going to be so amazing. And you’re going to be like, glued to your podcast listening device of choice, unable to tear yourself away from the amazing opening music we’re going to have. So stay tuned. Probably next time.

Alright, so let me get into the foundational principles of CXM, I’m going to start with something that’ll sound a little straightforward for a second. But there’s some nuance in here, which is pretty compelling. So, the first thing I’ll just put out there is, we should probably just define what CXM stands for. And I know many of you know, or most of you know, but some of you may not know. And that’s totally cool, because there’s a lot of acronyms in marketing these days. It stands for customer, the X is experience, and the M is management, customer experience management.

And there are three questions under each one of these things for the customer. The question is, do you approach your business from the perspective of the customer? And there are a bunch of ways of thinking about that. But you know, do you have personas based on the customer? Do you ask your customers how happy they are with you? Do you listen to your customers? How much into the customer are you? I’m going to come back to that in a minute.

Second one is experience. And the core idea in here… and it’s actually a compelling idea is: do you respect the time of your customers — their time? Think about a really poor customer experience that you’ve had, or when you hear people complain about bad customer experiences, they often frame it from the standpoint of: they wasted my time, or it took me hours. There’s a resentment that time is being taken away from you. And time is becoming more and more valuable commodity as we can do more with it. So, as our utilization of time increases, the value of time is increasing as well, if you’ve noticed that. You’ll notice even that people are now using time and their busyness as a proxy for wealth. So, when people want to establish their importance, and they want to establish their prestige, they’ll often talk about how crazy busy they are, and how they don’t have time for anything. And this is just a way of showing that the thing that’s become valuable, time is the commodity that people trade. It used to be that if you really wanted to show you’re wealthy, you would be fat, because you would be able to eat a lot of food and everyone else in town was starving. That’s not so much a thing anymore. We’ve moved on. So, time — do you value it? Your customers will pay you more if you take their time into consideration.

And finally, management. Do you rapidly respond to questions, concerns and comments? When people ask you questions, do you answer them? When they’ve got a problem, do you solve it? And when people say thank you, do you amplify that? Do you thank them back? This idea of actually understanding the customer and understanding the customer’s experience needs to be paid off with a management layer, which is to respond to it. And there’s a subtle but very important difference here. There’s a lot of products and point solutions out there that will listen to customers. But what they’re mostly doing is listening to a sample of your customers and giving you a sentiment score or record of whether people were happy or sad. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that. But I would argue that in today’s world, in a world of mass 1:1, the only thing that’s sufficient is to listen to every comment that people make about you — every comment — and to reply or comment on every one of those comments. Every time your customer calls you, every time your customer interacts with you, you are responding to them, not just taking a record of it. And not just noting. And that’s a key difference between customer feedback systems, or sometimes they’re called XM systems, and CXM, which is what Sprinklr is.

So, what’s the core underpinning of all these things and I just finished talking about? In all cases, they require the voice of the customer. The voice of the customer is the thing that drives CXM. Voice of the customer is the fuel that drives CXM. Makes sense, right? Okay. Let’s take this another step. Today, the voice of the customer is… that’s right, on social channels. Today, the voice of the customer is on social channels. There’s the really great slide from Mary Meeker, who’s the general partner at Bond. Mary Meeker has been doing the Internet Trends report for 25 plus years. And she shows that by generation, the preferred business contact channel — so the preferred channel that people want to talk to businesses with — has changed dramatically. The older generation, loving the phone. And the younger generation is being all about chat and internet and social. This last view was done in 2019, so I can only imagine what’s happened over the last two years. But you see a deep acceleration into essentially asynchronous communication, especially because people are online all the time, and a move away from the synchronous communication of the past. This trend is just going to keep accelerating, and it shows no sign of stopping. So clearly, for the future, the foundation of CXM is social.

Now, the challenge here, because it’s very easy to say the foundation of CXM is social, is that — and the reason this has been a problem — is that social is exponentially complex, versus the traditional channels that is replacing. Even putting a 1-800 number in place and creating a call center, it’s actually not that easy to do… create a PBX and create software for it… it’s not nontrivial. But it’s a pretty manageable problem. If you suddenly think about 24 social platforms, 11 messaging platforms, hundreds of thousands of forums, hundreds of thousands of news sites and review sites, half a billion blogs, half a billion blogs, and all the other stuff that’s out there. Wow. That’s a lot information soup. And to be honest, I think the way that many of us have managed this complexity is to kind of ignore it. There are like literally… I run into people whose company policy is to not even look at anything that’s happening on social channels. Don’t even look at it. If we don’t look at it, we can pretend it’s not there. You know, see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil. I just like, it’s not going to happen, man. Hey, man, it’s all good, because I don’t know about it. But it’s kind of a weird mindset. It’s like, literally, the phone is ringing off the hook, and you’re just shutting the door and putting it in a room on its own. That, to me, is the real issue that I think a lot of companies and organizations have finally had to confront. Because while it’s been okay-ish to ignore it over the last decade… I think it’s a little weird to be honest with you, because I mean, I’ve been working in the salt mines on this for quite a while. But let’s say you felt okay about ignoring it for the last decade, it’s really hard to make the case today that you can keep ignoring it. You’re going to basically be ignoring all your customers, because they’ve all moved there.

So, to manage the complexity of social, people are looking at what do they need to do to do it. And the core issue here is you need to unify all these disparate components of social in order to be able to manage it properly. So, let me just go through some of the key challenges and you’ll recognize these. And again, if you’re in an ignorant mindset, as I go through it, you might go, oh, yeah, that’s why I didn’t want to do anything about that.

So, let’s talk about just listening. Hearing all the different messages that are coming in. You’ve got to listen to millions of conversations in multiple languages… up to almost 196 languages, major languages, in more than 100 countries… could be up to 150, 170 countries, on dozens of platforms. And different platforms are dominant in different countries. And you know, there are hundreds of millions of data sources out there. That’s, that’s a lot, right? That is a lot. And so that’s why Sprinklr created a single unified interface for all listening and research. It’s a single way of being able to look at it. And in fact, there’s a function inside Sprinklr called Explorer where you can search everything out there. Essentially, it’s like Google for all the stuff that Google doesn’t see. So, search for across all the different platforms. And you can ask any question about your brand and see what’s going on. It’s amazingly powerful, because Sprinklr takes a copy of that social web, and brings it local. So, it’s quick, it’s fast, and it’s extremely powerful. One thing I encourage people to do, if they want to know more about Sprinklr, is go to G2 Crowd, it’s a great source of reviews. And people will talk about Sprinklr… “allow social listening without consuming a lot of time,” just, lots of really nice things that people say about us, which is great. But you can see how people are using it to unify social listening and bring it into one cohesive spot. And once you do that, then you can understand the performance of different locations if you’ve got a franchise or a hotel chain, or you can understand what’s going on with your product and how you can improve your product. Or you can understand what’s happening from a media standpoint, and how am I performing in earned media and different locations, and how is paid, owned, and earned working together. There are a lot of different ways of being able to be more intelligent about your company and your product.

Let’s switch gears a little bit to social engagement. So, I want to engage with people, I want to talk to people. Well, if you’re a large organization, even not that large, I mean, any kind of normal organization, you’ll typically have a bunch of handles, sometimes hundreds of handles. So, what are you going to do with that? You’ve got to manage hundreds of handles, again, across multiple platforms, across multiple business units, and, of course, across, multiple countries. That’s very, very hard to do. And it’s obviously very chaotic. This is why I prefer to just ignore this problem, thank you very much, because that seems really hard. And so again, Sprinklr has been built to help you engage through a single platform, with enterprise governance, and a unified view of every customer. It allows you to easily create posts, but also be able to see and collaborate globally, see what’s working, see how things are engaging, see how people are working with it. And again, you know, we’ve worked really hard over the years to create a simple interface that creates a good linear flow, and is very easy to process. So again, check us out on G2 Crowd there as well.

So, content. Let’s talk about content for a second. Man, content is the craziest part of this whole thing. I mean, the number of posts, I mean, literally thousands of pieces of content. And multiple content types need to be created across multiple business units, and multiple languages in multiple countries. It’s a bear. And so again, you can use, with Sprinklr, one interface for all social publishing, planning, collaboration, and optimization. It allows you to see everything in one place and spend less money on creating content that gets unused or poorly used, and see what’s working best. So, you can share best practices. It is, I think, one of the more compelling things about Sprinklr. Because when people are able to work and collaborate on content as a group, it changes the approach entirely. Social advertising. Okay, social advertising, another one of those really challenging things. It’s not like the old days where you just buy a network buy, because you’ve got to publish thousands of personalized ad variants. We have examples of some of our customers doing millions. And they’re in multiple formats. They’re on multiple platforms, you’ve got to be continuously optimizing return on ad spend. And you’ve got to monitor for crises and monitor for comments. Because the crazy thing about advertising and social is that people can comment on the ads. And often people will run campaigns and not look at the comments. We had one example where they were selling an item, it was a DVD, and the comments were all about how you could get the DVD, or the movie itself, free on a BitTorrent service. And so every ad that they ran was essentially amplifying the BitTorrent message, which was obviously… and no one saw it. This is a classic scenario, because you see the ad teams running ads, but not looking at comments, because they’re not engaging. And then the engagement team is not running ads. And so they don’t know that ads are running and they’re not looking at the comments on them either. And so stuff goes out there without people seeing it. So anyway, Sprinklr is a great way where you can use one interface to buy across all the platforms. And you can measure and optimize and drive a whole compliance metric.

One thing also that a lot of people don’t realize about Sprinklr, and it’s one of my favorite features, is that you’re typically running hundreds of campaigns and lots of different platforms, lots of different countries, and something happens. Something may happen in the public sphere that’s like, you know, not a good time to advertise right now. It’s happened a few times recently. Or something may happen with your company, there might be some news or something has come up that’s like, you know what? This is tone deaf. If we ran this ad it would be weird. There is a button in Sprinklr, just a single button, that allows you to stop publishing across all accounts, boom, just like that. And you can also schedule stops and starts. So, a lot of people, I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and say, I love Sprinklr because it gives me my weekends back. Because I can schedule things in advance, I don’t have to go in and individually schedule everything, which is pretty cool. I love that. And I love when people thank me for making their lives better because of the product we have.

And then, care. You know, care is like one of those things where people are now asking for help, expecting to be responded to. So, you’ve got thousands of customers, maybe millions in some cases, looking for support. We actually have one customer that listens to 5 billion mentions — 5 billion mentions — and they handled 12 million customer care cases all through Sprinklr. They’re doing that in an omni-channel way. So, there’s a lot out there. And you’ve got multiple countries, multiple languages, multiple business units. And so again, you’re going to need a single pane of glass to manage this. And you need a unified view of each customer, because they may actually come in on different channels at different times, and need to be able to pull that all together and create guided workflows, be able to improve the way you manage the customer, and elegantly promote the different agents etc.

So, that’s a quick overview of the foundations of CXM, and a little bit of where social plays a role in that. The key thing here is that CXM is intrinsically linked to social, because social is the voice of the customer that powers CXM. The biggest differentiator I would try to put out there is that, I mean, you’ve heard me talk about mass one on one for a while. So, I would say you’ve got to think about this less as a research tool., and more as: I need to hear everybody that wants to talk to me, and I need to talk to them. That’s the system, you’ve got to create. That’s a true mass one on one system. And that is the core essence of CXM.

So, that was a lot. I hope you enjoyed that. There are slides that go with this. So, we may post those to the blog. We’ll see if that we can make that happen. So, you can see the walkthrough on it. I will also probably have some video versions of this in the near future. But for the Unified-CXM Experience, that is all for today. I am grad Conn, chief experience officer at Sprinklr, and I’ll see you — with new music — next time.