Adobe has an unwavering charter to deliver the best customer experiences to drive business results. Like most companies though, Adobe struggled to get the holistic view of customers that would allow them to create those compelling experiences. Customer data was fragmented across different lines of business.
This problem — all too common for many companies — is particularly noticeable in customer support. In the eyes of many people, a company’s customer support is a company’s brand, and it can dramatically affect the bottom line.
Some 78 percent of customers have bailed on a purchase because of poor customer service. On the flip side, 70 percent of consumers are willing to pay more to companies that provide better service.
For us at Adobe, customer centricity is crucial. We have even developed a rigorous data-driven operating model (we call it “DDOM”) that allows us to understand our customers and make decisions based on data gathered throughout the customer journey. Customer support is a critical part of that journey, and so we need the best data around the behavior driving support calls to make the best customer experience.
Data in customer support
When a customer contacts the Creative Cloud Support Team, the representative should know what products the customer has downloaded, and determine from their product usage what they’re trying to do and what they’re struggling with.
This heightened, up-to-the-minute awareness is fundamental to providing advice that allows the customer to be productive immediately after interacting with customer support. For example, knowing the tutorials a customer has viewed significantly affects the way a support rep approaches the issue.
That sounds simple enough but, still, it wasn’t happening to the degree needed. To get here, Adobe needed to revisit its data approach — and implement meaningful change.
CRM wasn’t enough
The DDOM mandate for the Adobe support teams was hindered by their reliance on CRM systems. These systems are designed to store historical transactional data, but not the more immediate data, like online behaviour, that provides insights about the customer at a particular moment.
Adobe, like many companies, was filled with information silos that used inconsistent versions of the data. The systems and formats made it impossible to access this information in real time. As a result, Adobe reps couldn’t quickly gather basic data that told them which solutions a customer owned or used, when their renewal date was, or if their credit card was expired. This was hardly an optimal situation.
To get a better view of the data they needed to up their game, the support team turned to Adobe Experience Platform. Using cutting-edge intelligence with the AI-infused power of Adobe Sensei, the platform synthesizes all customer data in one place.
From there, customer information from Adobe Experience Cloud, CRM, ERP, commerce, sales, product usage, and more was centralised and consolidated. Unlike CRM systems, Adobe Experience Platform can stitch, process, and represent data in real time.
As a result, customer support reps can respond much quicker since they now have comprehensive, real-time data available in one-tenth of a second. Now, reps can immediately understand a customer’s past behaviours, areas of interest, and their history of touchpoints. They also have modeled key scores like probabilities of who might cancel their subscription.
This insight allows support reps to know what steps to take to keep customers satisfied and onboard, as well as how to cross-sell and upsell products that will provide customers with a genuine advantage.
During this Adobe Experience Platform implementation, one of the key discoveries was that a compelling customer experience is not simply about latency and speed of data. A bad experience can also be delivered fast. The magical formula is time plus relevancy, which requires adding ever-more data from new sources to enrich the customer’s profile.
Customer findings supported this. When customers have an issue, 53 percent said the speed of the resolution was “very important,” according to a recent survey. However, one thing was even more important — personalisation, which 59 percent said was very important.
And doing well for the customers does well for the company too. For Adobe, the enriched view — a real-time profile of the customer — created by Adobe Experience Platform fosters experience-led businesses that see better ROI, increased net present value (NPV), and an increase in conversion rates.
Putting up customer journey guardrails
As critical as Adobe Experience Platform was in bolstering customer support, its benefits did not end there. The initiative had important ramifications across the enterprise. The single source of data Experience Platform provided is useful for multiple enterprise applications.
Perhaps the most important development is the cultural shift at Adobe. By adopting Adobe Experience Platform for their own internal needs, the IT team that provides support for Creative Cloud solutions now has a single source of data that can help fulfill internal requests for many other uses across the organisation.
This means IT is no longer just cleaning and maintaining siloed data sets for one-off data “projects.” Instead, they’ve established guardrails of customer journey steps and KPIs. The vocabulary that is used around data has changed at Adobe.
Now, meetings revolve around improving the digital journey steps for customers in specific areas, like discovering products, using products, and renewing subscriptions. That granular awareness allows Adobe to provide the most compelling experience at each stage of the customer journey. And that is what good customer support — and a compelling customer experience — is all about.
To learn more, check out this video on Adobe’s customer support project, Real-Time (Unified) Customer Profile: Adobe as Customer Zero.
Special thanks to Mark Picone for his contributions to this article.