Decisioning Director at Sky talks the practicalities of digital customer experience

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Customer insights and analytics

In the wake of the Artificial Intelligence for Customer Experience Summit, CX Network’s Editor-in-Chief Chanice Henry talks to James Alexander, Decisioning Director at Sky about the top trend influencing CX practitioners – the digital customer experience.

Digital customer experience

We want to know your two tips to enhancing the digital customer experience for connected customers. 

James: “For us it all starts around the concept of identity, gluing together all the different interactions as much as possible into an actionable profile.

“First of all, it allows you to get much better visibility of what’s going on with your customers. In particular how they interact with you on your websites, your apps, your call centre and other channels across all of those silos in the organisation.  Combining this with key bits of core customer data then provides an incredibly rich asset that allows you to really understand your customers. 

“Typically as you integrate the data and marketing technologies to construct the customer profile, it also allows you to go in the other direction and execute a tailored experience at the individual account level as you recognise your customers.

“From there you are in a position to use a combination of human led business rules and analytics, potentially including machine led intelligence learning or AI, to directly action better treatments to give customers that richer experience.

“Then it gets really exciting as you unlock the potential for the business to put into action what it’s wanted to do for customers but hasn’t been possible to do.

C: I completely agree. It is so crucial to have that single-view of the customer to deliver an experience on the digital side that can delight.

James: “Exactly, increasingly referred to as a customer data platform.  We recognise the concept, but I think there’s a danger of using that term, as it implies that you have an perfect solution.  An actionable customer profile can work better as the emphasis is on getting going as soon as you have enough data for some journeys – it is unlikely to ever be finished, instead its constantly evolving as the business evolves and the ideas for how you can improve customer experiences keep on getting added and iterated or refined

C: Yes, very true. Some CX practitioners have emphasized the concept of starting small in a targeted area rather than waiting to have the perfect ecosystem or tech stack. It’s more important to embody a mindset of a continuous improvement and building as you go and strategically tweaking.

James: “I completely agree. Equally I’d stress that you keep one eye on the future so you build something that can easily scale into a reasonably enduring solution.  So, start small absolutely, but don’t start small with something that you know you’re going to have to throw away in six months’ time in exchange for an all perfected solution.  Build something that can scale and grow organically into being that perfect solution in the end.”

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C: What is the most costly mistake businesses make with digital experiences for connected customers?

James: “When combining together the various technologies quite often you’re reaching across legacy systems and new pieces of marketing kits that someone has brought in.  Putting them together isn’t particularly easy. These technologies are relatively new, and challenge of setting it up in a way which works and lives up to its potential is quite difficult and often companies don’t have a large internal resource with sufficient expertise / experience to deliver on that.

“So I think being open to getting external help, to help you set-up in the right way is a very important lesson. The difference between gluing our tech stack together in the right way versus how we were originally set up is truly transformative in terms of what we can do, and consequently to the returns from our investment in this space.

C: What lies ahead for digital experience management in 2019?

James: “For us it’s going to be about building out from the existing foundational layer and doing more, really engaging the business and helping employees to understand what is possible.

“What we’ve built creates a tremendous opportunity for the business, but it’s also a significant change and the organisation needs some time to adjust to that new ability.

“So, I think for us 2019 is maybe slightly less about building more capability and more about scaling the use of the capability across the business. Ultimately the goal is trying to get every journey personalised at least to some degree, because there’s usually something you can do that helps that experience be more appropriate for that customer using data that is just sitting there at your fingertips.

“It almost feels it’s a bit of a crime not to use it in many cases when you’ve got the data and you’ve got the capability.  It’s just a question of gluing it together in the right way.”

C: Finally, what’s been your biggest learning in your career so far?

James: “I think it’s that balance of recognising the vision but finding a practical way to get going because it’s so easy to get stuck in a loop where you understand where you going but you don’t quite know where to start. 

“So start reasonably simple with one eye on the future, building in a way which delivers business benefit rapidly. Make sure you don’t forget about the business benefit as there’s no point in building something that’s really smart but ends-up sitting in a corner of the office unused.”  

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