Hi Linda, describe your career journey that led you to Cyara.
I graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in chemical engineering. This landed me my first job with General Electric, where I designed parts for nuclear power plants. I took advantage of leadership training courses and then business school, which ignited my fascination with marketing.
It was at Proctor & Gamble that I was able to apply my analytical skills to develop an understanding of customer behavior.
Eager to be a part of the California dot-com boom, I landed a job with Intuit to work on Quicken and QuickBooks, just as they made the move to the Cloud.
These work experiences made me realize that there are three crucial ingredients for job happiness:
1) a corporate mission for helping people;
2) a great culture with high integrity; and
3) a scalable business model.
I’m lucky that my work at Cyara contains all three ingredients.
Someone once said: “Cyara wants to break your contact center.” How did the company get started?
Our CEO and founder, Alok Kulkarni, designed and implemented large contact centers.
After one system that he worked on failed when put into production, he imagined a cloud-based platform that could automate testing and monitoring of contact centers from a customer’s perspective — and Cyara was born. Cyara has since evolved its capabilities to help brands find the problems and defects across all their customer-engagement channels—so that CX leaders can focus on what they do best: deliver engaging and useful customer experiences.
CX testing, cloud contact centers, and omnichannel CX
What are some tell-tale signs that a company might have CX problem with its channels?
Many businesses have been experiencing a dramatic uptick in inbound customer inquiries due to COVID-19. There are numerous problems that cause CX struggles for customers. For example, one company we work with was consistently dropping every third caller; we figured out why. It was another group in the company that had implemented a change that caused the problem.
Another business was routinely experiencing dropped calls at the same time each afternoon. Other issues we detect and resolve are slow connection times, bad voice quality, SMS texts that contain bad URLs, and more. Identifying and quickly fixing these is important because 92% of consumers say they will leave a brand they love after just two or three bad experiences.
Where should responsibility for optimizing CX be centered: in marketing or in engineering?
As I’m sure most of your readers will agree, successful customer engagement requires a blend of marketing expertise and technical development. When the marketing team makes brand promises to customers, they look to the IT team to develop and implement the systems that deliver on those: be they special web landing pages, an SMS follow-up, or a new option in an IVR menu. Conceiving, designing, developing, testing and deploying these customer interactions—and then ensuring they work—is complex.
Our customers that have perfected excellent CX have mastered a process that translates CX design into system implementations through a close collaboration of marketing (often, specifically, the digital group) with their counterparts in IT. It’s a continuous process because CX systems are always being tweaked and improved.
What trends are driving the migration of contact centers to the cloud?
To maximize flexibility and agility, most IT leaders have concluded that moving contact center systems to the cloud is the best long-term strategy. Beyond cost and reliability, there are external factors that shape the decision: access to new functionality, faster time to market with new features, a future-proof platform, and the ability to create new, personalized customer journeys. Successfully migrating an on-prem contact center to the cloud is one of the services we offer.
Customer journeys increasingly span several channels. Is it possible to measure and ensure flawless CX for these customers?
It is. Some customer journeys will traverse multiple channels and require different systems to work together flawlessly.
For example, a customer service agent may need to trigger an SMS for secure transactions that require two-factor authentication. Or a customer on the website may engage with a chatbot before being handed off to a chat session. Recent advances in automated testing enable digital experience and CX technology professionals to test journeys that span and hop channels like this to assure excellent CX for all customers.
How will tech improve our brand experiences?
Here in the Silicon Valley, we take our connected, allows-on life for granted. But recently I’ve noticed some push-back from consumers who want less tech in their lives.
Despite all the historical predictions of people getting all their problems fixed via their phone, there is still an important role for human interaction — which is why many people prefer to speak to a live agent than use the chat feature on a website. But I think the advance of chatbots or virtual assistants is inevitable, and AI will rapidly evolve their capabilities to better infer our intent and mood.
What emerging technologies in your industry interested you?
We’ve seen a lot of consolidation in the marketing tech sector as big enterprise companies have integrated specialized technologies into their stack. For the technologies that power customer journeys, marketers are looking for ways to break down the silos that exist between the website, the contact center, the chatbot, and the IVR.
If we can do that, we can better understand customers’ experience both pre-sales and post-sales, and thereby ensure that we better solve a specific customer’s unique issues.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read.
I would be fascinated to hear the insights of Lorena Chiu, who manages contact center operations at Oracle. When COVID-19 hit, they had to move 100K+ agents from their contact-center offices to work-from-home.
Thank you, Linda! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Linda brings 20 years of marketing and leadership experience across a variety of top-tier multinational branded companies and B2B enterprise SaaS companies. She is the CMO at Cyara, the leading Customer Experience (CX) Assurance provider, and leads all aspects of marketing.
Cyara is the world’s leading Automated CX Assurance Platform provider, helping leading brands deliver better CX with less effort, cost, time, and risk. Cyara supports the entire CX software development lifecycle, from design to functional and regression testing, load testing, and production monitoring – ensuring enterprises can build flawless customer journeys across voice and digital channels while reducing the risk of customer-facing defects. Every day, the most recognizable brands across the globe trust Cyara to deliver customer smiles at scale.