Hi Parry, tell us about yourself and your background.
I have long had a passion to create something that combined the power of language with technology. I think this interest may have been inspired by my parents – my mother was a language teacher, and my father was a physicist-turned-inventor who took an AI product to market in the 1990s. I think this interest ultimately drove me to create Phrasee. After working for 20 years in the brand and email marketing space, I realized that there was a way to use optimal, personalized and data-driven language to create effective email campaigns that resonate with customers. And that is how Phrasee came to be.
Outside of digital and brand marketing, I also have a background in computer science, statistics, and commercializing artificial intelligence.
How did you start working in the customer experience space?
I’ve worked in the brand and marketing space for over two decades and these business areas have always been customer-focused. The marketing industry has always been centered around how to improve the connection with customers, even before ‘CX’ became an industry term. So, I would say I’ve been working in the customer experience space since I began working in brand/email marketing over 20 years ago. Since that time, I’ve seen the evolution of CX and how technology and AI are playing larger roles in enhancing the customer journey.
Can you tell us a bit about your current role?
My role is CEO of Phrasee. I was one of its original founders. My objective as the CEO is to ensure Phrasee as a company continues to be a global leader and disrupter in the brand language space and that we empower our customers to create and implement effective customer experience campaigns through optimized, data-driven brand language.
Also, as the CEO, it’s important that I ensure our company meets these objectives while also continuing to uphold and remain committed to our AI Ethics policy, which entails always being open about what our AI does.
What is your top tip for companies that want to improve their CX strategy?
My top tip for companies is to truly embrace and promote their unique brand voice. Customers are drawn to authentic and approachable brands, so it’s important to understand what your unique differentiators are and amplify them across the CX.
That’s easier said than done. Discovering, finetuning, and scaling a unique brand voice while staying true to your company’s vision is a delicate balancing act. You can’t bottle it up and preserve it in a single slogan. Your brand voice needs to live, breathe, learn, iterate, evolve – and it can’t do that without a good deal of ongoing data-driven experimentation.
What is one common mistake that you see companies make when it comes to CX?
Common mistakes I see with brands are a lack of consistent testing and a hesitance to experiment with one’s brand language to see what sort of language will resonate. It’s so important to always be testing because language can change so quickly – what works today might not resonate tomorrow. Creating an optimal CX requires a company to truly define their brand voice, and then experiment and test within those parameters.
Can you tell us about a time that you had a really good experience with a company as a customer?
Drawing conclusions from my own personal experience is based upon my own gut feeling and is therefore antithetical to Phrasee’s entire premise. We use data and AI to remove human bias from a domain in which human bias holds us back. So, whether I had a good or bad experience with a given brand is immaterial!
What are some CX solutions or tools that you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
My head is always turned by retailers that are providing in-store experiences that pair neatly with the digital world. If you can translate digital marketing and ecommerce tactics into footfall and real-world sales, you’re onto a winner. There are some really innovative advanced in-store attribution techniques retailers can use to determine the effects of online marketing on physical sales. Party City collaborated with us for this very reason – to boost in-store sales by optimizing its brand language – and achieved a 4% in-store sales increase through email marketing. This meeting of the digital and real-world is how retailers need to be thinking.
What are your thoughts on AI-powered chatbots to handle customer support?
I do not have a strong opinion either way. This is a well-capitalized, competitive space. The technology is not terribly exciting and does not focus on optimizing brand language. It focuses on reducing support center costs. Now – what would be super cool would be to not only focus on getting the support ticket handled… but handling it with optimized brand language. This is an area that is exciting and is one that my R&D unit is actively researching.
What is your favorite CX metric?
I’m going to be contrarian and say that it isn’t any one score that I favor the most. When it comes to email marketing in particular, the industry has a dirty secret: that no existing individual KPI is perfect. For instance, clicks and opens are often clouded by bots, click fraud and accidental or random opens. So rather than relying on these isolated metrics, the best metric of all is one that aggregates multiple data points, producing one score that more accurately and reliably represents the overall impact. This is why we created Phrasee Score – an AI-powered metric that combines data from multiple sources (opens, clicks, conversions, unsubscribes) to create a single metric that can be used to optimize your email campaigns. It’s the first in the world of its kind!
Any predictions for 2022 in the CX space?
I think in 2022, you’ll see more industry awareness and emphasis around needing to unify and create a cohesive customer journey – from beginning to end. This is now a necessity, as marketers are increasingly realizing that silos and resource struggles are fracturing the CX across their channels. So, the scene is set for marketers to combine their unique brand voice with technology that scales an authentic CX and helps form an adhesive bond between brand and consumer.