The switch to remote working has highlighted the value of the Medallia Insights Suite for its video asset management and crowdsourcing capabilities, but also the now-urgent need for businesses to embrace digital transformation.
Few product offerings can claim to be truly innovative or disruptive, but we’re proud that the Medallia Insights Suite is one of those few. The ability to quantify, index and extrapolate trends and insights from video content is a challenge LivingLens addresses while Crowdicity fosters innovation and contribution from employees, partners, and customers, allowing them to share, vote, and comment on product and service ideas.
But having a suite of products at the cutting edge isn’t a silver bullet for its adoption by businesses. Digital transformation is a methodical and sometimes slow process. At least it was.
In a recent interview with Medallia CEO Leslie Stretch, Hall & Partners‘ Chief Transformation Officer, Richard Owen, shared that overly cautious planning, testing and debriefing processes have, at a stroke, become a thing of the past. Agility is the new norm as businesses adapt to the distributed workforce and it is changing the landscape of the industry forever.
Hall & Partners is a brand consultancy that uses data to build relationships between businesses and their customers. That made LivingLens a good fit for their tech stack nearly five years ago as another means by which they could provide insights for their clients. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought our relationship into sharp focus, though.
“What we’re seeing now is an explosion of video communication, with people recording meetings and then analyzing that video asset,” said Richard.
We’re seeing LivingLens being used as a video asset management platform as much as a feedback platform. “Our interest, of course, is capturing all of that sentiment data, because our industry, the customer experience industry, really misses this capture of sentiment”, explains Leslie.
Richard explained that, as Chief Transformation Officer, his role is to identify and adopt technology that will make Hall & Partners better in what it does, illustrating his point with a series of questions.
“How can we use tech together, to provide new, fresh, and different angles on insight? How can we use technology—AI and other automated software—to distill that information into manageable pieces? And how do we deliver our findings and insights to clients in more interesting, innovative, digital ways?”
Forward-looking and exciting as this may be, it is delivered via a rigorous, multi-step process of research, reporting and onboarding. The aim is to ensure clients have a full understanding of their options, the best possible decision is made, and adopted technologies are as efficient as possible.
This process—and that of any business—was not designed to accommodate a near-overnight worldwide switch to remote working. Any concerns or foot-dragging about digital transformation, explained Richard, disappeared instantly.
“From a transformation perspective, this crisis has opened the floodgates. We’ve moved at a very high speed to push out any form of face-to-face methodologies in favor of digital. We’re obviously not presenting to clients in person. Instead, we’re presenting through a variety of platforms.”
“We’re sending out little stories, snippets and insights every day now so that, by the end of a week, the client’s got everything they need to know. They’ve made decisions. They’ve moved on. There’s no ‘let’s book in a debrief for two weeks’ time’. That’s all gone. That speed has been the big thing and all the digital tools we’re using now are just going to become the norm.”
What’s more, he continued, the change is likely to be permanent: “I don’t think when this is all over, that’s going to go back. I think it’s all one-way traffic now.”
For Richard, video is central to this new era. As has been reflected in the surge of video calling while people have been unable to see their friends and family, he believes video humanizes information more than any other digital alternative.
“I don’t need long, quantitative surveys to give me more numbers,” he said. “I want human voices now.”
“I always remember a few years ago we were talking to people about their shopping habits. In a face-to-face interview this lady had said to us, ‘Well, I don’t shop at that certain supermarket. You wouldn’t catch me dead there’. But she’d been recording video ethnography for us over the last few weeks and we had video of her outside that store!”
“The video of her in that moment from seven or eight days ago is the reality of her life, not the one she’s talking about now. Those human moments are really the things that will bring all the data everyone has to life. That’s still the number one thing we get pushback on: clients drowning in lots of data but missing the human side of things—especially in the world we’re living in now.”
A second example Richard provided was perhaps even more powerful in showing how video can be used to provide far more compelling insight than other data alone.
“I remember a meeting where we’d been doing some mystery shopping work for a high street retailer,” he began. “We presented quantitative data: 300 shoppers on the appearance and the tidiness of the stores. They got quite a low rating and the director of the stores said, ‘No, I’m not having it. Our stores are amazing. I don’t believe this data.'”
“We showed three videos, about 30 seconds each, of people inside the store where it was a bit untidy and he immediately said, ‘Right, we need to sort this out.’ So, 300 people in data: low impact. Three videos: he’s changing things at that store.”
Looking to the future, Richard argued that making decisions at speed and in real-time based on human insights is where we are headed. Leslie also stressed the value of idea generation. “Market research today is really about video and ideas,” he said.
Crowdicity lets clients challenge their customers. “Medallia is using Crowdicity in a lot of different ways during this current crisis, including with the NHS in the UK to collect ideas around testing. When you combine Crowdicity’s idea generation with video and the power of LivingLens, you really replace this whole focus group and survey-based market research approach, which is slow, small, ponderous, and often misses the point”, said Leslie.
COVID-19 has accelerated the need for organizations to shift their market research and consumer insights programs toward a digital-first approach. In-person focus groups and in-depth interviews are no longer possible, and asking people to comment on products and services through traditional survey methods is no longer sophisticated enough.
The “new market research” uses video, voice, messaging and ideas technology to capture feedback on a massive scale, with content being automatically analyzed for emotions and sentiment. Insights automation can not only save large amounts of time and money, but can produce better insights, quicker, and at higher volumes. Newly distributed workforces have necessitated change. It’s imperative that brands now embrace digital disruption.