Hi Amrutha, tell us about yourself and your background?
I am currently the Managing Director, Customer Experience and Channel Performance at Ipsos Australia; living in Sydney with my husband, our 9-year-old daughter, and a 5-month-old puppy. I started my career in Information Technology and moved into strategic advisory roles more than 10 years ago. When I am not working, I am either spending quality time with family, traveling or out walking/hiking.
Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?
Today, customers can readily choose products from any brand and order it to their doorstep. So, if brands are only aiming to deliver a ‘frictionless’ online commerce experience then they will not stand out. The only way any brand can really step up is by utilizing the data available to deeply understand customers, their emotions, behaviors and proactively design an experience that resonates with customers. The goal is to ensure the data is used to derive insights to create positive memories for customers and employees. Customer experience is about emotion, not technology.
Customer understanding underpins the key principles to successful design and delivery of great Customer Experiences – Data is the fundamental building block needed.
Amrutha’s tips for personalization
What tips do you have for companies that want to improve their personalization strategies?
Personalization for the sake of personalization will not deliver value to both customers and organizations. The key is to ensure personalization is an outcome of your effort to achieve your CX vision and becomes integral to having authentic conversations. My tip would be to focus on implementing a holistic approach – REFLECT, PRIORITISE, ACT, and BE HUMAN.
REFLECT on the current state, what’s your strategy, why do you want to change anything – always start with purpose. PRIORITISE where you would focus your efforts, understand current customer journeys, what matters to them and to the business. ACT to implement change, connect with the customers and use technology to empower change. Lastly, BE HUMAN, create authentic conversations with your customers, show you care by personalizing the interactions. See my article on Linkedin.
Do you think personalization and customer-centricity are going to become increasingly more relevant in the coming year? How so?
They are already extremely important. This year we have a few more sectors realizing the importance of customer-centricity and personalization, as they couldn’t rely on the traditional in-person channels/methods to increase brand affinity.
Many organizations have talked about Customer centricity for a long time but are still on their journey. Customer centricity is about the culture and the value of the company. It’s easier for Start-up as the only way they can survive is if they have customer at the center of their business. It gets more complicated for an organization with a long history build around their product, superior technical capabilities, etc…because it was not in their DNA and change takes a lot of time. So every organization needs to focus on customer centricity – old and the new.
Social media pages have become crucial for companies in most industries, especially in eCommerce. What’s the most common mistake you see in a company’s social media strategy?
In many cases, Social Media is mainly used as a promotion channel while customers see it as a communication channel (share feedback, contact service agents, views…). This gap could create a lot of frustration for customers and employees due to an under-invested and un-planned social media presence. Many businesses are not using social media to their full potential – to create and retain loyal customers.
What’s the most insightful book you read in 2020?
Lean in – by Sheryl Sandberg. An inspiring and insightful book that empowers women to achieve their full potential.
It looks like working from home is going to stay with us for the foreseeable future. How should Executives gear up to the changing times?
Connect with your teams and customers on a more personal level – our work and personal lives are blending in. A huge emphasis on communication will be key – both employees and customers to build connections. Checking in on a personal level, know your customers and employees as people, with opportunity for open discussion. Conveying this type of support and care for employees at Ipsos meant that they too could convey this to our customers.
The future ways of working are definitely still evolving. Working out the tasks best done remotely, versus the importance of social contact for humans, are all work in progress.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
None of the traditional CX metrics. For me it’s about the endgame – Return on your CX investment or ROCXI as we call it in IPSOS. This pushes you to first have a vision for your business before setting your mind on a survey metric.