There’s a special feeling when the barista or bartender asks; “the usual?” Suddenly you’re a member of a community, you’re remembered, and your preferences are important.
It’s a special feeling that is hard to scale in the physical world; but it’s possible to leverage technology to create special service, establishing a bond between company and consumer, corporate and client.
And for corporates which ensure customer centricity is reflected in strategy, the rewards can be significant as those customers transform into advocates.
Sydney based Resonate Solutions is focused on helping large enterprise place their customers at the centre of everything. The company develops and delivers highly strategic customer experience management solutions that capture and analyse the voice of the customer and then turn that into actionable insights.
Its multi-channel approach sees customer feedback and commentary collected via SMS, online surveys, social media and other innovative listening channels- with the resulting insight used to empower the frontline to drive change, to improve the customer experience and create advocacy.
It might be as simple as advising a store manager to fix a broken light globe in a changing room, or to refine the store layout. It could prompt enterprise supply chains to optimise their processes in order to enhance the quality of fresh produce. It could suggest a tweak in strategy to meet an emerging customer need or expectation.
And, because the platform is cloud based it can scale in lockstep with the company’s growth trajectory.
Mita Bedi, Resonate’s Director of Products and Channels, explains just how scalable the solution is.
“We’ve been working with Walmart China for three years. They operate on a huge scale with millions of customer interactions,” she says. The insights that Resonate delivers means that individual store managers can take action directly or Walmart China can leverage the information at a strategic level to drive customer advocacy and sales.
Retailers have been early adopters of the solution, but as Bedi says; “This is as useful for large retailers as it is for industries involved in B2B – ultimately everyone has a customer.”
The company has developed a blue chip client list which besides Walmart China includes Optus, Expedia, Rebel Sport, Virgin Mobile and many more. It also provides services to some of Australia’s leading financial, and retail institutions and sees a growing role in government services.
Resonate has a team of skilled business specialists, many of whom have significant customer strategy and transformation project experience. This team works with enterprises to identify how customer insight could be leveraged, the roles that could be supported and empowered with better customer insights, and the operational rhythms associated with that role.
This approach allows a solution to be crafted using their Resonate Pulse platform that puts organisational insight into the hands of people at the right time, allowing them to take action in a timely fashion.
Customer insights and action alerts can be provided to senior management, line management, frontline staff – all tailored to their needs so that they can take informed action appropriate to their role. A drill down facility allows users to get a deeper understanding of consumer commentary.
While there is some system integration required to ensure that the Resonate CX platform has access to data from internal transactional platforms and other systems, such as social media, once that has been achieved there is minimal impact on enterprise IT, with ownership of the Resonate cloud solution held by the business.
Despite the integration required Bedi says that in most cases – even for the largest enterprises – a comprehensive and effective solution using the Resonate Pulse CX Platform can be rolled out in 4-6 weeks.
Conceived as a cloud based solution, Resonate’s chief technology officer, Joris Dries, explains that the company first began using Microsoft’s Azure service when it was still in beta.
It proved a smart decision and has allowed Resonate and its customers to scale easily; “One thing was important – we didn’t want to be impeded by the amount of data or the amount of users.
“We were always able to say ‘yes we will be able to manage that and scale that for you’,” says Dries.
And that’s proven critical. A large Australian telco for example has over 20 voice-of-customer programs, while Walmart China’s solution can deal with 10 million pieces of customer feedback each year.
When Resonate began operations in 2009 it initially offered clients the service by leveraging Microsoft’s Singapore based data centres, but latterly has also had the option of the locally hosted instance of Azure.
Bedi says that timing of Microsoft’s local Azure offering was ideal. While Walmart China continues to be well served by the Singapore instance of Azure – with good response times and little latency, the opportunity to offer a locally hosted version of the Resonate solution has allowed it to meet the needs of banks and other organisations where data sovereignty remains an issue.
According to Dries, Microsoft’s decision to host an instance of Azure in Australia has also boosted the national conversation about cloud computing, and helped to make Software as a Service solutions more acceptable to corporate Australia.
“When the local version of Azure was launched it opened doors for us in certain companies in certain industries,” he says, adding that at a technical level there are performance improvements for local users. “Every millisecond we can shave off is really important.”
Demand for the Resonate Pulse Platform is strong, with most sales triggered through referrals. Selling directly and with partners, Bedi says Resonate is enjoying growth in the high double digits. “The competitive landscape is very healthy. It’s a good time to grow the market and educate customers about the customer experience capability.”
The company also has ambitions to expand its footprint in Asia, and again Microsoft Azure will be an important ally.
Bedi says that many companies are starting to see organic growth plateau in Asia prompting them to invest in the voice of customer programs “We will be supported by Azure in that expansion.
“The key challenge is the functional siloed view of the customer through, say, sales or operationals or marketing. You need to challenge that to take a more customer-centric view.
“You need to get everyone involved to look at the customer and not at the silos.”
Successful enterprises of the future she says are those where the voice of customer is used to shape every function of the organization and its future strategy.