TechBytes with Brennan Wilkie, SVP, Customer Experience Strategy, InMoment

Brennan Wilkie

Brennan Wilkie
SVP, Customer Experience Strategy, InMoment

A CX Blueprint could be a fascinating aspect of building a modern marketing campaign for millennial customers. However, the fading boundaries of CX and User-Experience (UX) make it hard for traditional SMEs to focus their resources on new-age expectations. To understand how CX exponents leverage data and if data privacy could be the biggest challenge in CX Intelligence, we spoke to Brennan Wilkie, SVP, Customer Experience Strategy, InMoment.

Tell us about your role at InMoment and the team/technology you work with.

I am fortunate to have a fun mandate — to think differently about the customer experience so that we can innovate and push the boundaries of how CX is applied within our clients’ organizations. To accomplish this, I employ a skilled team of practitioners with expertise in CX readiness and design, best-practice methodologies, and technology enablement.

Our team provides an ‘architect’ specialization to craft a CX blueprint and maturation roadmap that acts as the critical play-book throughout our clients’ lifecycle of building, scaling, and sustaining, a thriving customer listening program.

Why is there still such an ambiguity in the definition of ‘online CX’? What is the universal definition of ‘CX for multi-channel customer touch points’?

In my experience, I come across ambiguity in cases where CX is misinterpreted as UX (User Experience). UX is a function of how consumers interact within a digital channel. This may incorporate the ease, fun, or convenience of an online interaction, but it is only one part of the larger experience when it comes to engaging with a brand and its products or services.

CX represents the sum of all interactions between a consumer and a brand, both direct and indirect. Some interactions are short-term, meaning they involve a specific transaction or contact with a brand. Other interactions are relationship-based, occurring over the longer-term.

To define CX for multi-channel, is to understand where these short and long-term milestones take place throughout the customer journey and consider how they are related to creating and influencing customer loyalty.

What are the major challenges to the way data is leveraged for CX intelligence? Is data privacy the biggest challenges in CX Intelligence as well?

Intelligence is based on the ability to provide context to data. While data privacy is certainly a concern in the gathering CX intelligence, the right platform protects individuals’ data by collecting on sessions and sanitizing or anonymizing the data of users.

The biggest constraint to this is a lack of visibility into how different aspects of the business are influenced by the customer experience. Traditionally many organizations have been siloed in their IT practices, manifesting itself in data lockdown or misinterpretation.

While I see this beginning to change through the broader use of technology that can better share or curate information, the most common challenge is a lack of organizational readiness as it relates to cross-functional governance and collaboration.

How has the technology helped in democratizing the formation and evolution of brand reputation?

The biggest contributor to brand reputation is employee and consumer perception.  Enterprise feedback technology has aided in quantifying and qualifying those perceptions and expectations – known as Voice of the Customer (VOC) — in a way that is comfortable and easy for people to use.

Not only does the technology aid in gathering feedback from a representative cross-section of consumers, it acts as an ‘always on’ listening platform to intelligently guide brands as perceptions change over time.”

How relevant is it for B2B marketers and E-retailers to work on location data? How does it help in delivering relevant customer experiences?

A recent hot topic in CX has been personalization. It’s been common knowledge for some time that the most valuable experiences are emotional and memorable. One of the best ways to create that emotional and memorable connection is through personalized, tailored interactions.

It’s always been important for marketers and retailers to know who their customers are and what they need and care about at the local level in order to ingrain themselves in the minds and behaviors of customers at the micro level. The key for marketers is to be sure they recognize that consumer expectations have grown when it comes to personalized interactions.

This goes far beyond the days of knowing consumers names and birthdays. Personalized interactions are only seen as valuable to consumers if they are tailored to the experiences customers actually value. Marketers must take care to ensure those personal interactions provide heightened value to consumers. A “brand-heavy” style of personalization is perceived as intrusive and creepy by consumers, creating risk where there might have otherwise been a reward.

How do you see the contemporary CX intelligence platforms evolving? Would their maturity help empower mobile marketing and video marketing platforms too?

Over the next few years, technology will need to evolve to meet the various ways customers are now having conversations with retailers, whether that’s through an app, on social media or through a voice assistant.

The trajectory of this trend really depends on how major brands approach new channels and how and if consumers are willing to buy into them. Take for example Amazon’s recent forays into video reviews. While this technology has been available and used in limited ways for a while, a push from Amazon could make it mainstream.

From video reviews to social posts, the mediums where authentic, straightforward human conversations are taking place could soon make more traditional methods of offering feedback obsolete, especially with Millennials who are rejecting old-school, long-form surveys at even higher rates than their elders.

Consumers want the opportunity to give raw, candid feedback in a format that accommodates their lifestyle, and retailers that are armed with the technology to find meaning in feedback across channels will have a significant competitive edge.

How do you see AI-driven data management platforms improving the value of omnichannel Customer Experiences? How do you leverage AI/ML at InMoment?

At the end of the day, technology can never replace the human element with the retail customer experience, but it can certainly aid it. Striking a balance between human and machine is something that retailers experimented with in 2017 but will need to continue to strive for in 2018.

That being said, AI has plenty of applications in improving the CX, from automating simple customer interactions to augmenting and enriching the capabilities of your service model.

At InMoment, we’ve applied machine learning, natural language processing (NLP) algorithms, and prescriptive analytics to our cloud-based CX platform to help business decipher unstructured data from their customers. This unstructured data comes in the form of open-ended feedback from customers through social media, written comments in online surveys, emails or contact centers.

Our analytics give companies a comprehensive view of what customers are saying to or about their brand in real-time and detects red flags.  We then provide a closed-loop process to manage individual cases and prioritize current and emerging trends for improvement at the holistic, macro level. Ultimately, we help eliminate the ‘guessing game’ by providing a prescriptive ROI that ties back to the positive economics of optimizing the customer experience.”

Thanks for chatting with us, Brennan.
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