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Home Interviews CXBuzz Interview With Clayton Costa, Global VP of Customer Success at Drishti

CXBuzz Interview With Clayton Costa, Global VP of Customer Success at Drishti

Hi Clayton, tell us about yourself, your background?

I am originally from Brazil, and I work here in Silicon Valley for 10 years now. My 25 years career was built around enterprise software companies like IBM, Oracle, SAP, Infor, and others, serving mostly manufacturing and supply chain customers.

I’ve always been in customer-facing positions, and eight years ago, I made the transition into the Customer Experience Management field. My focus is on enterprise customers, usually high-touch, low volume, and high-value engagements, where managing the customer experience spans over several different personas and requires deliberate and carefully orchestrated interactions throughout the customer journey.

Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?  

The larger volume of customer reviews is a unique opportunity for brands to identify opportunities among their customers – and actually listen to them. Today, there are great solutions to dive deep into the data and find patterns that would rather be hard to see, including sophisticated AI-based sentiment analysis. Identifying patterns among customers can drive meaningful and impactful changes in the customer journeys and product enhancements that can improve brands’ loyalty and profitability margins.

What is one element that must always be considered when working on a CXM (customer experience management) strategy?

You will always have only one chance to make a good first impression. Any CXM strategy should obsess about that first customer experience and make it as good as it possibly can be. When working with enterprise customers, one of the most important aspects of the customer journey is the onboarding process: you want to make it short, frictionless, and maximize value delivery as soon as possible. These goals can easily be extended across all types of businesses, beyond specific segments (e.g., enterprise vs. SMB) and even engagement models (e.g., B2B, B2C, DTC, etc.).
Do you think personalization and customer-centricity are going to become increasingly more relevant in the coming year? How so?

Yes, for customer-centricity, I would say that personalization is more of an open question, highly dependent on the product and services offered. While on one side, there has never been so much data available about consumer behavior and usage of products and services, on the other side, consumers are getting more aware of privacy issues. With new regulations for consumer privacy in California and an open war between Google, Apple, and Facebook, people are very aware of privacy. I like to think that customer-centricity is about empathy with your customers, and brands should consider customers’ privacy concerns while using all the data available to make sensible decisions about customer segmentation.

What are some of the ways companies can strive to eliminate the CX Gap?

Invest in CX, and make it a first-class citizen in your organization. There are too many companies out there that only think about CX as a risk mitigation practice, a cost center. A proper CX framework (processes, tools, metrics) can be both a trigger and accelerator for customer centricity, which helps to build an authentic life-long relationship with customers. CX can – and should – be a transformative force for every organization.

What’s the most insightful book you read in 2020?

Not a business book: The Rosie Project, from Graeme Simsion. A fiction novel with a first-person narrative from an autistic character. A fascinating read, very engaging, and definitely gave me a better perspective on diversity and compassion. The relationship with CX? Customers are people: we all should strive to understand people to perform our jobs better. Also, understanding diversity is good for your customers and building stronger company cultures.

Clayton’s view on the future of CX

What are your predictions for trends in customer experience in the coming year?

I am starting to see a pervasive use of AI on CX at different stages of the customer journey as use cases for AI applications proliferate, so the number of companies and tools out there can be daunting for customers to manage the complexity that comes from a fragmented CX solutions landscape. That means we might see some consolidation coming up, with an impact on customer projects. As a risk mitigation measure – and just good business practice – I would strongly advise customers to focus on the quickest possible ROI. While this might sound obvious, ROI typically doesn’t come from the simple installation of a new tool but rather from designing a new process enabled by that tool. Successful projects will create actual value for customers – and this can only be achieved with tight collaboration between customers and solution providers.
From a “CX philosophy” standpoint, I see more companies embracing customer-centricity as a design principle from the very beginning, which is both refreshing and encouraging – as a practitioner, but also as a consumer. As a result of this, I believe one of the hot trends for 2021 is the rise of customer empathy, which will help to build companies that are more “human-friendly.” I look forward to a brighter future, enabled and empowered by such companies.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?  
Easy! Value delivery – or “Impact” for B2C companies. It might be as complex as the amount of time and materials you save for a B2B customer once your product/service is first deployed, or as simple as the joy that comes out of a delightful experience of unpacking a new product after a predictable and uneventful delivery process. While it’s harder to measure “joy,” it’s certainly not impossible. Customers will tell you if you ask.

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