The Art of Survival in the Age of the Customer

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Recent interview by ClickFox with Rob Strickland, telecommunications industry and IT management expert, on the art of survival in the age of the customer in 2015

Interview with Rob Strickland

The Art of Survival in the Age of the Customer

“The journey to get to your customer journeys has to be easy and fast,” says Rob Strickland, co-founder of Digital Nexus and industry thought leader.

New technologies hold the promise of a seamless customer experience that will, in turn, drive higher expectations about how companies interact with their customers. To meet rising expectations while ensuring their investment leads to positive business outcomes requires that companies act quickly, innovate and remain nimble. All this is necessary while they continually maximize return on investment. As part of our ongoing Thought Leadership Series, ClickFox interviewed Rob Strickland, co-founder of Digital Nexus and technology executive who has led business transformations at T-Mobile, Dish Network, Landmark Communications and Cricket, to hear his thoughts on how companies will survive and thrive in 2015 and beyond. He suggests that to be successful in the age of the customer requires putting the necessary tools in place and giving your business users direct access to all their data so that the business can continually set and reset the knowledge base about its customers. Access to data in real- or near real-time—hot data—allows the business to align its strategy and maneuver tactically to keep pace with its customers.

“Businesses need access to all their data with its layers of complexity,” says Strickland. “The data needs to be presented in a digestible way so that they can focus on what they are good at: insights and getting results.”

For Communication Service Providers—carriers, cable, satellite, broadband—there’s a quest across the industry to eliminate the stove-piping of data.

“It’s been done in pockets, but not comprehensively so that each company now has its data reservoir. This must drive superior customer relations and contacts. We haven’t achieved that as an industry yet,” Strickland admits, “but we’re aiming for it.”

Clearly, tools like the ClickFox platform help companies increase the accuracy of their aim. Companies are investing in establishing access to their data as part of tangible business goals. The significance of this, according to Strickland, is that big data initiatives are ‘fundable’ and now part of company budgets whereas in years prior, these initiatives were only supported in pockets of the company.

Today, data initiatives are designed to impact the entire enterprise. People at all levels of the company are conversant about Big Data, including at the c-level. Strickland points out that when many big data initiatives individually make it onto the proposed budget, c-levels look at these and ask why separate big data initiatives are being proposed by different teams. They immediately see the need for one big data initiative across the enterprise because it makes sense.

Cutting-edge Customer Experience

There are inklings of innovative approaches beginning to surface where companies refine customer experience and solve real customer problems. Some of those are where retail, IVR and mobile data converge as customers are transacting. These successful companies connect their customer data and other meaningful data like their cost structure and revenue apparatus.

“Companies are finding out how they can sell more, help their customers more,” Strickland explains. “Often they’re attempting to do that on Hadoop platforms, but they need to connect their data lakes to tools like ClickFox to gain the insights. They need a reusable mechanism to constantly draw value out of their data.”

What companies do for their customers must resonate with them and that has to be quantified. Consumers have a lot of additional influences on their product and service choices. The external influences by peers and social media have always been there, but not so immediately and not so extensively. One blog may be seen by millions of consumers in a very short time period, and the question becomes: what is the impact on the company bottom-line?

“It’s about building the analytics apparatus that you can reuse,” Strickland answers. “Hot data can turn cold overnight and vice versa so you have to have a way to maneuver around that. All these different data types and sources need to be stored in one place so the business can have all the readouts that they want and they won’t know what they have until they find it.”

Corporate Culture around Data

Oftentimes, there is a corporate culture issue. One team may gain important insights, but not have the budget or influence to make sweeping changes. Strickland says it doesn’t end there: “Once you have a budget to make some changes, the outcome is that there is still more work to do. Part of what stops companies is that they go through all the work to get the data into a centralized repository. They find all the rich data and get this amazing reporting out, and then they’ve got to do x, y and z, but there’s no money to do x, y and z. They then have to wait get going on these insights. Suddenly all these insights become precursors to a much bigger project that turns some people a little bit sideways.”

Unifying the data store across the enterprise remains companies’ greatest challenge.

“Companies are often in awe of the results they get when their data is all in one place. They can’t believe they get it into their hands without too much time, labor intensity or cost. The journey to get to your customer journeys has to be easy and fast,” says Strickland.

Opportunities to Survive-and-Thrive

For a company to survive and thrive in the new age of the customer, it has to look at customer identity, preferences and project from there.

“Take the Tesla as an example,” Strickland says. “The car knows about its driver, about the latitude and longitude where it should automatically open the gate to the driver’s house. The next step might be pushing promotions to the car while it’s being driven if the driver grocery shops or visits the bank at a certain time.”

It’s all about the data—every type of data from, to and across every type of device.

“Time, location, space and customer information are all very important to accurately anticipating customers’ needs and delighting them—taking care of them,” Strickland concludes, “Customers want more than just a guess; they expect companies to get it right.”

For more insights on interesting topics, go to the ClickFox website.

ClickFox offers a one of a kind big data platform and a suite of solutions that enable enterprises to get the most value out of each customer interaction across all channels. With its unique data infrastructure and proprietary algorithms, the ClickFox Experience Analytics (CEA) Platform connects all customer touch point data across enterprise systems to create transparency on the end-to-end Customer Journeys.

Press Contacts:
Rebecca Rowe
303-951-3490 x4043

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