We caught up with SapientNitro at the Adobe Experience Delivers tour in London earlier in the year to discuss their work and how they are approaching Customer Experience Management (CEM).
Director of technology, Piyush Patel, talked to us about how SapientNitro is pushing the boundaries of CEM by championing outstanding digital experiences. The changing environment and the process that marketers go through to reach consumers led the conversation, with Piyush giving advice to companies on the direction they need to take to create compelling, personalised experiences that get brands to the front and centre of consumers’ minds.
Below is a short video where Piyush chats about how:
Consumers are driving the change in the way they engage with brands
The creation of experiences across new channels means that consumers are now reached in ’moments’ and how brands need to unite different channels to create a timeline of ‘moments’
The importance of giving a full experience to the customer, making sure they are given the whole customer experience cycle
Piyush provides some great insight into how companies can work towards a full experience for the customer, and we’d love to know what you think.
Here in the UK, the minds of everyone in government and public sector have been duly focused on the Comprehensive Spending Review, as well as ongoing budget cuts and the undoubted effect that it will have on how services are delivered to UK citizens. It is sometimes difficult to look beyond ‘this Sceptred Isle’ and easy to feel that the issues which we have to overcome are unique. The reality is that local authorities and government bodies across Europe face the same issues and pressures as we do in the UK.
We recently hosted a very insightful seminar with colleagues, partners and customers from the Nordics. The topic for discussion was customer experience, customer engagement and the role that technology plays in redefining the experiences users have. You can view the whole webinar via the video below and a short summary of the topics covered is below.
A problem shared…
Just like in the UK, central and local government departments across the Nordics have to economise – searching for cost savings and efficiencies across their operations. New technology processes which incorporate tools such as rich internet applications, content management and electronic document management are being investigated as a means with which to not only reduce costs, but to increase the quality and efficiency of the way services are delivered.
Niels Tapdrup, citizen service manager, Municipality of Skanderborg in Denmark is heading a project which will streamline the ways in which citizens contact the council more efficiently, collating postal mail, email, online and telephone enquiries. Tapdrup explains how efficiency and cost saving are essential. The challenge they faced was how to change their channel strategy, and move expensive traditional channels of communication, to cheaper online methods whilst at the same time improve services for citizens.
The citizens changing demands
The customer, or citizen, is king and their needs must be met. Johan Salenstedt managing director, Adobe Nordics explains how the demand on how we use and access information has changed dramatically – people are familiar with just ‘using’ applications, rather than being trained on how to access them. Facebook is a perfect example of this – no one has ever been trained to use Facebook, yet implicitly millions of people use it every day. The same now applies to business or public service applications.
Barriers to implementation
In the discussion familiar barriers to change were identified, which concentrated on the internal operation of a department or authority:
How do you tackle the initial business process?
How do you manage the inevitable cultural shift within the organisation caused by doing things differently?
And finally, overcoming the elephants in the room – those things which have always been seen as too expensive or difficult to change.
How to succeed
Rule number one for a successful IT implementation is to plan with the customer in mind. The needs of the end user must drive the new system. For example, any new technology or process which is delivering information and services must be delivered in exactly the way that the end users wish to receive it. Salenstedt confirms that public sector services must replicate consumer applications – they need to be easy and intuitive to use, whilst available 24×7 on mobile and PC and must be personalised to the individual users needs.
Secondly, developers need to involve all stakeholders in a collaborative consultation process. It is vital that they ‘show’, rather than ‘tell’ how new functions and solutions will operate. Taking a brand new approach to processes which have been set in stone for years is not easy – overcoming cultural barriers could make or break the project. For example, if the users don’t see the benefit in electronic documents, then they’ll always revert back to paper documents. Involving stakeholders at the outset will help to address these cultural issues.
Authorities can reap the benefits
The benefits are clear as at Skanderborg they reduced the cost of a single ‘traditional’ citizen contact point from 145DKK (£16.50) to just 10DKK (£1.15) by using an online interaction point – this is a huge saving.
Taking a business minded, commercial attitude to public sector reform is perhaps the best approach to managing this difficult process of business transformation. Local authorities can fundamentally change the dynamic within an organisation and the way it interacts with its customers. This can be an un-nerving process but is often essential – a new way of working in which customer experience and customer centricity are embedded in the organisation.
Last month saw Adobe host MAX 2010, the biggest event in the Adobe calendar. Amongst the thousands of attendees, lucky delegates saw Martha Stewart discussing the future of digital publishing, US indie rock band The Bravery performing at the closing party and even an appearance from star of the big screen William Shater, who added an extra dimension of Hollywood class to the proceedings.
But amidst the glitz and glamour there was serious business to be done. MAX brings together designers, developers and business leaders from across the world – it’s a chance to talk a bit about what Adobe is doing and showcase some of our solutions and new technology but importantly it provides a forum for delegates to discuss what they are creating and how their work is shaping the future of digital content and services.
Proceedings were kicked-off on the first day with a keynote presentation from Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch. Kevin set the seen for what was certainly a key theme through-out the conference – delivering multiscreen experiences. This is an incredibly important topic at the moment and an area in which Adobe has a long history of solving cross-platform challenges. Adobe is now helping to clear a path through the platform and standards fragmentation of the multiscreen world, enabling organisations to deliver content, applications and services across desktops, smart phones, tablets and TVs.
You can watch the full key note from Kevin via the video below. This also includes a behind the scenes look at MAX and some very cool simultaneous live DJ’ing and coding.
Enterprise technology certainly played a major part at MAX this year, not least with the launch of Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Suite 2.5 . This latest version of Adobe’s enterprise solution chimed appropriately with the wider theme of multiscreen technology and will go some way to improving customer experiences across multiple screens.
Adobe LiveCycle Mobile ES2 extends process management, data capture, and content services to mobile devices, providing true enterprise mobility. It easily integrates with back-end systems and enables intuitive mobile experiences for Android, Blackberry, iPhone and Windows Mobile devices.
Alongside this, a series of ‘Solution Accelerators’ are designed to enable organisations to more quickly develop new customer-facing applications and services. We’ve also made it easier for organisations to embed real-time interaction – chat, voice, video, screen and application sharing – into these services.
A core element of LiveCycle is the ability to extend existing business processes to the point of customer interaction via the ubiquitous Adobe® Flash® Platform, including the Flash Player and standalone AIR runtime, and Adobe® Reader®.
With Adobe AIR, developers are able to use familiar tools including Adobe Flash® Professional CS5, Adobe Flash Builder™ and Flex to build rich standalone applications. Thanks to the launch last week of Adobe AIR 2.5, AIR now supports smartphones and tablets based on BlackBerry® Tablet OS, Android™, iOS, and desktops including Windows®, Macintosh and Linux® operating systems. This means that the 3 million Flash developers worldwide can now build a single application and easily deploy it across multiple application stores and devices.
In other MAX enterprise news, it was also very pleasing to see that today Adobe’s hard work within business process management (BPM) was recognised. In the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Process Management Suites Adobe received a significant positioning placed in the “Leaders” category. Adobe’s focus on delivering intuitive processes across Web and mobile touch points is helping to transform the quality of customer experience and is something we are very proud of..
Commenting on the report vice president and general manager of LiveCycle, Adobe Kumar Vora said: “Our user-centric approach to BPM enables organizations to improve service by automating and increasing visibility into customer-facing processes, achieving significant ROI.”
For more on MAX 2010 visit the official web pages and also check all the photos on flickr. And finally for the eager amongst register now for MAX 2011.
Thanks to my colleagues over in the US for flagging this very insightful piece of research from American Express. The American Express Global Customer Service Barometer explores attitudes and preferences toward customer service in the US and beyond.
Headline finding appears to be that in tough economic times customers want even more for their money – 61% said that customer service is more important to them in today’s economic environment. Further proof (as if it were needed) that even when internal budgets are being reviewed and in some cases slashed, the customer experience should not be ignored – if anything investment should be increased.
Some other interesting stats from the report:
27% feel businesses have not changed their attitude toward customer service
28% say that companies are now paying less attention to good service
Half of consumers (52%) expect something in return after a poor customer experience, beyond resolving the problem
Most consumers (70%) want an apology or some form of reimbursement if they receive a poor customer experience
The three most influential factors when deciding which companies they do business with include personal experience (98%), a company’s reputation or brand (92%), and recommendations from friends and family (88%)
Finally, for no other reason than it’s summer, and we’re feeling nostalgic, here’s a wonderfully retro 80s advert on YouTube for American Express.
Last week we announced that Adobe entered into a definitive agreement to launch a public tender offer to acquire Day Software. Rob Tarkoff, SVP and GM of our Digital Enterprise Solutions business, and Day CEO Erik Hansen offer more perspective on this announcement, what it means, why we are doing this, in the below video.
Earlier this month Alan Banks, managing director for Adobe UK, got together with a number of top players from three of the Governments ‘super-sites’ to discuss the role that online government will play in helping to address the public spending budget cuts.
The group explored the implications of the Government’s review of its website domain and whether online citizen and business self service can help the public sector continue to deliver high quality services in the face of unprecedented budget cuts.
It was streamed live through LGITU Live with viewers encouraged to vote on a series of questions posed throughout the debate. The poll showed that viewers unanimously agreed that online services can maintain public sector service quality whilst at the same time reducing costs. Although, the role of an online brand as an essential element in delivering cost effective online services or as a way to encourage a sense of place and community was more divisive. More details of the poll can be found here.
A summary of the discussion can be viewed below, and we’d love to hear what you think.
The report leads with a headline stat there are 10 million people in the UK who do not have access to the internet. This huge chunk of British society is thereby excluded from the benefits that being online brings, such as access to 24-hour public services, accessibility to a wider and more price-competitive range of goods and services, new communication tools like email and Skype, online social networks and so much more.
The objective laid out in the report is that these 10 million people should be brought online by the end of this Parliament (2012) – this should be our “Olympic legacy”.
This renewed focus on bringing all of British society online is good news for public and private sector alike.
At Adobe we’ve seen first hand how organisations within the public sector have made exceptional progress in extending the reach of online services. Adobe customer Southwark Council is one very good example where citizen engagement has improved dramatically – by moving more public services online – but at the same time the cost of delivering these services has been reduced.
Similarly, in the private sector organisations welcome the opportunity to engage with more customers through online channels, servicing them more efficiently.
There is a lot to be done to achieve what is set out in the Manifesto. And, a Networked Nation will succeed if both public bodies and private organisations strive to be as innovative and creative as possible in not only getting the 10 million online, but by creating content that is easily accessible, engaging and relevant to the lives of the British population.
According to stats from the recent Gartner Customer 360 conference there are about 400 people in the world with the job title head/director/VP of Customer Experience. And the number keeps on growing, in fact you can make that 401 with the announcement in late June that global car giant Vauxhall is to appoint a customer experience director.
Any organisation will tell you that customer experience is important, but how many are able to give an accurate and concise definition of what this entails? Is it how well your website performs? How quickly your company reps answer the phone? How long a customer remains a customer?
With so many possible definitions, it was refreshing to hear Gartner’s VP and distinguished analyst, Ed Thompson, provide some clarity on customer experience, defined as: “The customer’s perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and cumulative effects of interactions with a supplier’s employees, systems, channels or products.”
So how does that translate into the realities of the job for the 401 customer experience tsars across the globe? For Andy Gilson (the new man at Vauxhall) the role, “will focus on driving (no pun intended, their words not ours) Vauxhall customer satisfaction and developing new strategies for the company.”
Providing a good customer experience is now becoming a point of differentiation for organisations making them more competitive. But, it must also deliver tangible results with a clear financial return.