Hi Eric, tell us about yourself and your background.
I’m 100% Filipino. I was born here but raised in Thailand, the Philippines, and Italy. I went to college at Tufts University in the U.S. and moved back to the Philippines in 2000. I took BS Electrical Engineering at Tufts, and my first job was at Analog Devices which was then a Fortune 500 company. I preferred coding to chip design, so I was positioning myself more on the I.T. side of things.
Did my MBA locally (Ateneo Graduate School of Business) and worked for Ayala Corp (Philippine Conglomerate) and Accenture before putting up my own call center. This was during the local boom of call centers in the country, but it failed after only 3 months of operations. After that I moved into the family business (banking) and helped run 2 rural banks (the smallest classification of banks in the country) before moving back into tech. There were 2 stints in between working in the family business that I started 2 other fintechs with some friends. Both companies also didn’t go anywhere.
How did you start working in the customer experience space?
Joining Geniusto in 2019, part of the software portfolio is our omni-channel platform. This allows us to deploy a digital platform with both mobile and internet access, so CX became part of what we were pushing to our clients.
What do you think the top priority should be for a company that wants to improve its customer experience?
It’s a balance of internal design principles vs. the voice of the customer. It’s easy to say “the customer is always right” but that’s not always true. Sometimes the customer doesn’t know what they don’t know, and it’s up to the vendor or the designer of the CX to show the customer what it could be.
How can companies better listen and understand their customer base?
Having a dedicated support channel is cliché but it’s cliché for a reason. It’s something that both customers and vendors are familiar with and can go back to as a reference when something is brought up. Sometimes the tried and true methods should just be retained.
Many companies are currently undergoing digital transformation processes – what are your tips on a successful digital transformation?
As Country Head for Digital Transformation for Rural Banks I can say there are two clear needs for successful digital transformation: ownership buy-in, and budgeted funds. There are a lot of other things that are important as well, such as employee buy-in, well-documented processes, clear definition of your roadmap, focusing on bite-sized chunks of change, but without those first two things, none of the other things will fall into place.
What are some of your tips for people who want to work in the CX sphere?
CX can be broad by definition; focusing on companies that are primarily in the B2C space could be narrowing your search. Look for B2B opportunities as well because the user base of your B2B customers could be massive and CX would be critical in that regard.
So many things changed in 2020. While some things are going to return to “normal,” what are new trends and habits you think will stay with us in the long term?
Digital Financial Services, which is the focus of Geniusto, is here to stay. There were global trends in that direction even before the pandemic, but I think COVID basically pushed up the timetable drastically as everyone is scrambling to become a part of the digital economy.
eCommerce boomed in 2020, and consumers started leaving more product reviews online. How can we make the most out of this momentum?
There are some platforms that are already doing this, but essentially rewarding customers for leaving reviews I think is the way to move forward. Better, more thought-out reviews should result in better rewards.
What is your favorite CX metric? Why?
I think it would be number of active users. Some apps are designed to have long engagement time since they’re trying to generate revenue from the app (like in-app purchases in games, etc.) however, one of my personally most used apps on my phone is an e-wallet that’s ubiquitous locally. My engagement time every time I use it is around 30-60 seconds each time, but I do it multiple times a day. So again, it’s probably the simplest metric to look at, but total number of active users just shows you how many people are using what you’ve deployed.