Creating extraordinary experiences means acting in real-time
Remember what a cell phone looked like in 2001? Medallia was founded just after the Nokia 3310 came out. Email was the norm for digital communication, text messaging was painful,...
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I sat down with Krish Mantripragada, Chief Product Officer, to discuss some of the Medallia products highlighted in The Forrester Wave™ Customer Feedback Management Platforms, Q4 2018, and how these play into Medallia’s product vision.
Priya: It was exciting to see Forrester highlight both VoC Anywhere and Conversations in the latest Wave. Can you tell us more about these products?
Krish: I couldn’t agree more. Customers are interacting with businesses in new ways, and more places and channels than ever before – online, in-store, call center, social, in-app… the list goes on. Our vision is to enable companies to reach 100% of their customer base and be everywhere they are, which is why we launched two new products earlier this year to expand our engagement capabilities:
Medallia Conversations – Messaging is exploding with over 6B accounts worldwide, and provides companies with a whole new paradigm to engage with customers. Medallia Conversations enables companies to have real-time dialogue with their customers using popular platforms like SMS and Facebook Messenger. This is powerful because it captures customers in channels where they are already engaging, and allows them to share top-of-mind feedback in the moment.
Medallia VOC Anywhere – In addition to messaging, there is an explosion of connected devices all around us that present businesses with interesting opportunities to engage with their customers – we’re talking connected speakers, ATMs, kiosks, set top boxes – the possibilities are endless. VoC Anywhere enables organizations to engage with customers natively in any internet-connected device or platform, and capture feedback. The product includes a robust toolkit and APIs that developers of connected device platforms can use to natively embed feedback capture into their platforms.
With these new products, Medallia enables the capture of signals from every human, digital, and IoT interaction, providing companies with the most comprehensive VoC capture available in the market.
Priya: It seems like these products in particular give organizations the ability to engage with their customers in the moment – why is this so important?
Krish: Real-time engagement with customers is more critical than ever. Today’s consumers are attached to their devices – 93% use messaging apps and text to communicate, and 68% have smartphones. As a result, they’re accustomed to the instantaneous nature of messaging and the online services they subscribe to. With Conversations we shift from a one-way request for feedback to two-way customer dialogue – companies collect feedback alongside service recovery and additional dialogue that adds value directly to the customer.
Beyond guaranteeing timely feedback that is more useful and accurate, Conversations enables organizations to transform a poor experience into a positive one, taking a proactive approach to customer experience. Imagine checking into a hotel. You wait a while at check-in, only to get up to your room and find that it’s right next to a noisy elevator and has two double beds instead of the king you’d requested. You’re annoyed, but you also don’t want to wait in that long line again so you decide to tough it out; as a result you leave your stay feeling frustrated and underwhelmed. Now imagine the hotel was using Medallia Conversations to follow-up with guests after their check-in experience. You receive a text minutes after getting to your room, respond immediately noting the mixup, and before you know it the front desk has called with a new room. Not only are you no longer annoyed, you’re so blown away with how quickly that was resolved that you post a great review on Facebook. Engaging with customers in real-time gives organizations an opportunity to personalize experiences as they are happening.
Priya: Being able to engage with the right customer, in the right place, at the right time, is really powerful. Where else do we see this in Medallia?
Krish: Our digital product comes to mind right away. Whether it’s about purchasing an item, filing an insurance claim or making a reservation, customers are increasingly wanting to complete the entire interaction digitally – online or using their mobile app. You want that entire digital experience to be perfect so customers keep coming back and build loyalty.
Our Medallia for Digital product enables capturing contextual feedback and experience data in real-time on web, mobile, and in-app to drive timely action. Businesses can target specific customers based on specific behaviors or actions taken, enabling digital enterprises to understand the “why” behind “positive” and “negative” experiences and help continuously improve them. Similarly, our Mobile In-App software developer kit (SDK) enables businesses to target customers from within their mobile apps using push notifications, and intercepts at the right time such as when they just left a store, or completed a reservation.
Priya: From Conversations to Digital, it sounds like everything you have mentioned will dramatically increase the number of touchpoints companies have with their customers and the amount of data they will be collecting. How is Medallia helping its customers organize and make sense of the feedback they’re getting?
Krish: A key challenge with exploding channels and interactions is to avoid siloed engagement. Customer loyalty is based on the sum total of emotions over multiple interactions along a journey. Organizations need to understand and model who the customer is, what they have gone through, actions they have taken across channels, and experiences they have been provided with (human and system). We call this the digital footprint of a journey, and to create it you need a “system of record” that can capture every experience of every customer.
Through Medallia Experience Data Platform (XDP), companies will be able to catalogue this experience data and combine it with operational data. Companies will be able to construct an experience profile for every customer to get a 360-degree view of their timeline of interactions, preferences, feedback, and sentiment across multiple channels.
And to help make sense of it all, Medallia’s artificial intelligence engine, Athena, will continue to amplify human learning across our platform by applying AI and machine-learning algorithms on this data. One example is predictive analytics – the ability to predict behavior, satisfaction, and customer risk. Another example is Suggested Actions, whereby Athena sifts through hundreds of millions of comments to automatically suggest next best actions that will give the biggest bang for their buck.
Take an example customer, Christy, who just provided feedback about a poor experience with a support agent. With XDP, an employee can pull up Christy’s full profile, showing that she tried speaking to four agents before, tried resolving the issue herself online, is a long standing high LTV (Lifetime Value) customer and has been a Promoter. Athena is already predicting a higher propensity to churn and has suggested waiving the annual fee for the customer. Armed with this intelligence, an employee’s engagement with Christy can become more personalized and relevant – something that today’s consumers have come to expect as the norm.
Priya: Thanks for chatting with me, Krish. it’s clear why our current product offering and strategy made such an impact on Forrester.
Learn more about the Medallia Experience Cloud and industry trends in our upcoming webinar with Medallia’s Elena Hutchison, and Faith Adams, lead author of The Forrester Wave™ Customer Feedback Management Platforms, Q4 2018.