Episode #157: How to Unlock the Benefits of Unified-CXM

Grad Conn

September 8, 202111 min read

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Increasingly, customers are holding us to a higher standard. That’s why unified is better than integrated. Unified-CXM breaks down silos and provides a single view of your customers, enabling you to identify customer issues, and take appropriate action.

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All right. It’s the Unified CXM Experience. And as always, I’m Grad Conn, your host, also Chief Experience Officer at Sprinklr, CXO. This new mic is a Shure mic. It’s really quite an awesome mic. Quite love it. I can do all sorts of fun things with it like a talk really close, like this, like I’m whispering. I can make funny sounds like I could be a foghorn. Oh, man, I could do this all day. Hey, it’s all about the experience. I think I like the foghorn. Again. Stick with that. What do you think, Randy? Do you like the foghorn?

Foghorn’s good. I like the foghorn.

We’re just going to do foghorn sounds for the next twenty minutes.

That’s perfect.

Wow, when you find a groove, go with it. That’s what I always say. Okay, so I want to talk today about unified CXM. And this show is actually called the Unified CXM Experience so that it wouldn’t be way off course to talk about unified CXO a little bit.

Sometimes I get the question, and I talk to customers every day, I talk to all of our amazing account executives and success team members and other members of the organization, especially people who are newer at the company. And they’ll say, “I get that we’re all about unified. And I also get that we’re here to combat point solution chaos. Sounds great. But how do I express the benefits of unified?” There’s a couple of ways of looking at it, there’s a set of IT benefits. And we’re going to talk about those … maybe in tomorrow’s podcast. And there’s also a set of business benefits. And we’re going to talk about those today.

And just as a quick preview, the IT benefits of unified are actually pretty obvious. You’ve got a much more elegant upgrade system, because in an integrated stack, typically, when you change or upgrade one application there, that breaks the API connections to everything else. So that’s why we call it point solution chaos. It’s also a fairly large attackable surface for phishing and other kinds of miscreant behavior, we tend to like to lock it down more. And one of the simple things that I’ve been told by a lot of IT people is just provisioning. When you’re working in a system, the average marketing department has ninety-one point solutions. So when you’re working in a system like that, a new employee has to be provisioned to ninety-one systems. And then when they leave or are asked to leave or have their desks set on fire and thrown out the elevator, then you know ninety-one point solutions have to be de-provisioned. And, you know, often that doesn’t happen. So vulnerabilities get created in the organization. When you have a single platform, it’s much easier to log people into it and log people out of it. Much more secure, much easier to do. And like I said, we’ll talk about this a little bit more in tomorrow’s show, go into a bit more extensively.

But one of the business benefits – so you get the IT benefits – CIOs, CTOs, to a certain extent, VP of sysadmin, that kind of stuff love Sprinklr, love what we do. But why do businesspeople love what we do so much? And there’s a great analogy that a colleague of mine named Paul Herman, who’s a wonderful colleague, compatriot fellow traveler, he and I were both early Sprinklr customers, he was at Nike, and I was at Microsoft. He had a great comment, which he talks about the chair swivel. And the chair swivel, it’s figurative. But the idea that as you move between different applications, you’re essentially swiveling from one to the other. If you look at anyone’s screen, having a pile of windows open all at the same time, makes it confusing and distracting. And there’s a lot of research that shows that switching between applications every time you make a cognitive switch, it causes a productivity lurch or gain. Actually, excuse me, it causes a productivity, not lurch or gain, a productivity decrease, because you’ve got to relearn a new interface and you know, the interfaces may be good, and they may be simple, they’re different. And so every time I’m switching interfaces, I’m re-sorting my brain and re- understanding where everything belongs.

And so that’s a bit of an issue from an employee productivity, but it goes a lot deeper than that. I think one of the issues where I see unification being really important is the unification of the teams that are getting insights about customers and the teams that are actually taking action on customers. And it’s amazing in some ways that these are separate functions in an organization. And classically, the people that are getting the insights, the market research department, are sampling, doing studies and doing all sorts of different ways of gaining insight on how the company is performing in its core tasks around its customers. It could be B2B or B2C, but they’re trying to understand – do people like what we’re doing, do people understand what we’re doing, do people remember, do people see it, etc. But it’s reported as more like, “hey, things are going great, or things aren’t going great, or people are happier, people are sad”, but it’s always a reported function. And in a world where mass one to one is becoming the common motion for marketing, just knowing that I’m sad, I don’t think is sufficient anymore. You know, knowing that I’m sad is interesting but it’s more important to act on it, to find out that I’m sad, and then to take action to solve it, to fix my sadness. That is very important. And there’s something that not everyone fully understands because to a certain extent, we’ve got this marketing research mindset. That’s a bunch of reports that come out, then we have this marketing mindset, which is just a bunch of outbound stuff we do, and they’re kind of separated issues. But in a true unified system, you’re unifying the output of the marketing department, to the mood of the person you’re talking to. So if I’m someone who’s delighted with the brand, and excited and just loving everything, I’m going to amplify, and I’m going to engage with that person in a different way, than if I’m hopping mad. As I am right now, with one of the unnamed carriers in this country, I still haven’t named them, still super angry about what they did to my mom, right? And so, but right now, marketing communications from that company are not really, really resonating really well with me.

They’re really not. If they were truly integrated, they’re not a Sprinklr customer, if they were truly integrated and if they were actually seeing what I was saying, and seeing how upset I was, there’s no way they would talk to me like, “hey, time to go to the UK”, that just wouldn’t be the conversation, it would be bizarre. It’d be like having a fight with your best friend and heading over the next day and saying, “Want to go to a movie?” “What? How about sorry? How about we start with sorry, and then we’ll talk about movies much later”.

So this idea of unifying the insight and the action, we call issue to action unification, is really important. And it applies to lots of different things. It’s not just customer care, but it can be even my own mood. I just had a death in the family. Maybe I don’t want to see an ad for a new dress right now. Or I just graduated. Well, why don’t you show me something about graduation? What I find amazing. I mean, maybe even mind blowing actually right now, is that recently, not recently, it’s about, wow, it’s almost a year ago, I got engaged almost a year ago. How does that happen? And so I was engaged almost a year ago. And in the ensuing year, I have received exactly zero pieces of advertising, saying, “hey, you’re engaged, would you like to buy a blank, blank, blank”, like there’s a lot of things that get purchased as a result of engagements and a lot of things that start to happen. Not a single vacation destination has said Greece is the perfect place for honeymoon. Nothing from wedding venues, or tuxedo makers – like nothing. Not only did I announce it pretty broadly in social, it’s my profile photo, my profile photo is myself and my fiancée with a giant, “we’re engaged”. Just like, what is wrong with marketers?

Anyway, so that’s a good example of where clearly there’s no unification, someone may have noted this, but no one decided to act on it. And so there’s a long way to go in this sort of issue of insight, and issue identification and action that’s appropriate to the stage or life stage that the person is at. The second thing, which I also find interesting is advertising integration. So if you think about advertising and customer care, there’s a lot to be said for not advertising to people who are in the middle of a customer care crisis, for a couple reasons. One is that we tend to over advertise to people who have a customer care issue, because typically they’ll go to the website, look up the item that they didn’t get or that’s broken. And then they’ll find the phone number or the email address or the WhatsApp address, whatever the contact for customer care is and then they’ll reach out to the company. By doing that they get cookied on the website. And then they start getting ads blasted at them for the item, literally, that they’re complaining about. It’s obviously a huge waste of money for the company, because, you know, they’re not going to buy that product, because they’re complaining about it right now. And secondly, it’s extremely irritating to the customer, because they’re complaining about a product that’s now being relentlessly advertised to them programmatically across multiple sites. And that just tends to drive the nail into the coffin of, “I will never buy from these people again”. So turn it off, right.

And that’s a beautiful thing with Sprinklr. You know, someone starts to complain, you can turn off ads to that person, and don’t turn it back on again, until the thing is resolved. And the person has registered, that they’re satisfied or happy or ready to go back, again, maybe even give it a little bit of a break after that. And so these are the kinds of things that just are really impossible to do when you got a bunch of different or separate systems. Some of these things are almost so obvious that it’s a real question mark on why we haven’t done them or why we don’t do them as an industry? And the answer is pretty simple. The answer is that we don’t have the ability to know what the right hand and left hand are doing. And this inability to connect two handedness of our organizations is, you know, making it tough. And I would say that, increasingly, customers are holding us to a higher standard. They know that we have this information about them. They know we know. They’re like, “Hey, dude, you know, stop it. Okay, you’re better than this. You should know this”. And there are enough companies now that are beginning to behave this way, because they do have their data in a central customer data profile or CDP. And because they are big, Sprinklr users, because they’re able to create a unified customer experience. As soon as a company starts to do it, all companies are held to that standard no matter which category they’re in.

So I’m going to talk about this a bit more tomorrow. We’re going to talk about unified CXM from a CTO/ CIO standpoint and how it changes things from that standpoint. I will kind of hit some of these business issues as well. Feel free to throw me some comments, tell me what you think also would be an advantage, other things you think might work, things you would like us to try, etc. And we’ll keep going down this path for the next couple of weeks. Anyway, for the Unified CXM Experience, I’m Grad Conn, CXO at Sprinklr, and I’ll see you … next time.

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