BloomReach Partners on Digital Transformation, Disruption & CX
To wrap up the wonderful time spent at BloomReach Connect in 2018, follow along and watch the remainder of our exclusive interviews where we had the chance to interview a few BloomReach integration partners. Not only did we discuss digital transformation, but digital disruption and customer experience were just a few of the topics that were discussed in our conversations below.
David Roe, Chief Executive Officer at Authentic
We had the chance to sit down with David Roe of Authentic, a digital agency helping brands create a strategy around the technologies surrounding them to help generate audience engagement.
To start, we dove into David’s expertise in interactive marketing and how the company came about. He started with explaining: “we acquired an interactive digital agency to bring in and spread out our offerings whereas before I think we were very focused on technology offering and implementations and looking at how tools work and how they were implemented we now have the ability to look at what our customers are trying to say to their customers, what the experiences need to look like, what those touch points are and then ultimately what their brands are overall and then we can relate that all back to technology. So I think of interactive marketing more as interactive experiences and how our customers are communicating with their customers and we’re trying to give them the opportunity to differentiate their products and services and have that really open authentic conversation and then have that authentic conversation with our customers.”
When helping customers with the authentic conversation and to help bring them up to speed David touches on the typical challenges they help address. “This is why we were so attracted to [BloomReach] in the beginning. You really need to bring an element of speed to an organization if they want to move down this interactive model.”
With that said, the event felt very futuristic not just as a company but the entire community as a whole. David shared his advice for businesses when they are trying to strategize to get themselves to be more like this. “The first thing I would tell a business (and I’m telling businesses quite often) is the world of what we had as an agent perspective, and I'll clarify that agent in a second, is really going away. It’s not because Amazon’s taken home market share it’s not because everybody is doing online retailing it’s really because the world is changing.”
David brings up a good point that when we talk about an interactive experience we are actually referring to customer service. “The way we interact with our customers and how they feel about us as a brand or an organization”. It’s important for companies to think about the customer when creating these experiences and really showing that you care about them and the relationships you’re building when interacting with them.
William Brown, General Manager Adaptive Commerce Digital Practice at Accenture
Accenture is a services provider helping brands in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations and is partnered with more than three-quarters of the globe's Fortune 500 companies.
We’ve all heard of the buzzword “digital disruption” so to start things off, I wanted to hear Will’s thoughts on this popular topic and how businesses can move past this pain point. “There’s so many different types of technologies that are really transforming businesses engaging with their clients so we’re seeing that in terms of moving to voice, IoT, extended reality like augmented and virtual and then it’s also changing the commercial models so it’s moving from put an item in the basket, check out to subscriptions, renewals, reserves, so there’s other types of activities and its really forcing businesses to look at their traditional processing technologies and say how do I adjust to go into these new types of channels?”
There are of course always challenges in the industry but we wanted to know from Will what some challenges for customers are in regards to digital disruption. “There’s a buzz around omni-channel and how do you tap into web and store and contact so now they’ve made these investments and they have their processes wrapped up nice around those, their governance or structures are optimized around those and now there’s all of a sudden a new channel they have to deal with there’s this new player out there and that system has a hard time pivoting through so we really help clients look across people process and technology to find avenues to pivot quickly through some proof of concept and really kind of test that market before they make massive investments and then help them kind of adjust for some of those new touchpoints in a lightweight kind of fashion.”
On that note, Will also discussed not only the important trends in the digital experience market but to also be aware of how you are using utilizing it. “Experience is what people are buying they aren’t buying product, their buying engagement. Once they have that they’ll improve their loyalty, they’ll improve their frequency, size of the basket and they’ll typically buy. So at one point CX improvement can equal ten to a hundred-billion dollars so it’s all about understanding how to use digital in a practical way to address an engagement or an experience pain point they have, it’s not just saying ‘oh it’s a new thing I have to have it’ it’s knowing its strength.”
Will also mentions how using VR combined with empathy to really immerse yourself into that experience, for example a non-profit organization looking to increase donorship, by using VR you can create empathy to engage with your customers through the use of technology to create that relationship.
Billy Fischer, Senior Director of Business Development at Dynamit
Last but not least, we had the chance to speak with Billy Fischer at Dynamit, an applications company focusing on web and mobile experiences. Some of their clients include Hilton Worldwide, NiSource, La Quinta Inns & Suites, Panda Express, Donatos Pizza and more.
Creating a really effective app especially in the age of digital experience that we’re in now is quite common so we were curious to hear Billy’s thoughts on what those challenges for companies might be. “We find it’s completely common regardless of the industry for brands to have multiple platforms that includes legacy systems, third party platforms that they’re using for everything from payments to online ordering, eCommerce, and it’s bringing all these together in a way that is seamless to the customer and doesn’t provide friction for the customer. A lot of the time we let the technology drive the experience and we’re trying to carry the flag for technology to simplify it not make it harder on the customer and sometimes we don’t actually follow through with that.”
Although Dynamit works with a lot of other different types of platforms, Billy says because BloomReach “is really morphable” they can be a perfect match for a customer looking to utilize their platform. He adds “a brand that wants some flexibility and who might want to pull in multiple API’s or what if I’m a hotel chain and I want to be able to use one platform to distribute content to my mobile app to my website and maybe the screen in the room when a customer walks in, that’s what BloomReach enables. You’re not married to just deploying a website. Websites are old news with all these devices its interactions we’re dealing with the customer on and so I don’t want to have to deal with multiple platforms to do all this and that’s where BloomReach is really nice for brands that have a lot of future and things on their roadmap and they want to have a platform that can flex to that.”
It’s no surprise that brands are experiencing challenges with customer experience so we were curious to hear Billy’s thoughts on what some of those top issues are that he’s seen with customers. “Letting the tech drive the customer experience so we see this a ton in the restaurant industry where you have the restaurant industry has seen online ordering explode now delivery. They’re all trying to figure out delivery, mobile app and loyalty.”
Billy gave a great example of how a customer experience should be simple but sometimes he sees brands that make their customer do a lot of the work for them. “A lot of times you’ll go to a restaurant and you’ll click order online and you’ll go to this separate experience driven by the platform that they’re on and to me that’s like if I walked into a restaurant and I went to order and they said no you don’t order here, you only view the menu here you need to go over there to order it, that’s ridiculous, it would never happen and sometimes brands get in this position where you’re just trying to keep up with the newest tech that you just sign up for new systems and platforms and it can create a little bit of a mess on the digital experience side.”