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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.

 


Customer Experience, News
Anjul Bhambhri

Posted on 26-03-2019


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