Journey analytics and orchestration is helping brands stop doing stupid stuff – Interview with Mark Smith of Kitewheel

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Today’s interview is with Mark Smith, President of Kitewheel, whose platform is powering real-time customer journeys for the world’s most customer-centric brands. Mark joins me today to talk about leading edge customer experience, Voice of the Customer (VoC) and Voice of the Process (VoP) data, why VoC data is often partial and potentially misleading, journey analytics and customer journey orchestration as well as what lessons service and experience leaders need to be learning.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – It’s the deviants that make the difference – Interview with Gary David and Adam Gamwell — and is number 379 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Here’s the highlights of my chat with Mark:

  • My first podcast with Mark called “Delivering a great customer experience is not really a technology challenge any more” was from back in 2017.
  • The whole pandemic, in a weird way, has been good for us because it’s really focused businesses on their digital experience and helping customers.
  • Kitewheel is all about turning customer journey insights into real engagement that happens across a number of channels.
  • They describe themselves as a cloud software platform for customer journey orchestration.
  • Journey orchestration is all about the automating and managing (incl analytics and decisioning) of the customer experience through a journey that’s defined in a piece of software.
  • You don’t always know form the data what to do next. That’s where the best thing to do is run some experiments and learn.
  • VoC data can be potentially misleading.
  • David Ogilvy “The trouble with market research is people. They don’t think what they feel, they don’t say what they think, and they don’t do what they say”.
  • Journey analytics which combines VoC and VoP is much more useful as it looks at what a customer is actually doing in a channel, but also what they do over time and across channels.
  • Client example:
    • One of the largest power companies in the US. They are an amalgamation of six different power companies. They were able to use journey analytics to identify that one particular region had a system and process failure and that was hindering their on-boarding of new customers. Following that insight they were able to fix the problem in a couple of weeks and they were able to clear up 85% of the failed onboardings. That helped them achieve a 20 point increase in their NPS score that quarter.
  • Client example:
    • One of the largest insurance companies in the US who had a self inflicted problem. They were sending emails and information to their customers around claims and payments but the language they were using was dense and confusing and, as a result, was driving huge numbers of customers to their website looking for clarity. When they didn’t find what they were looking for they ended up calling their contact center and causing a spike in call volumes. They had been doing this for years but hadn’t been able to join the dots. By bringing all of the information together they were able to see the impact of their communications and what happens in one channel or another. This helped them make some big changes to how they communicate with their customers and what resources they provide them with.
  • Gerry McGovern – A significant part of customer experience about sweeping and cleaning.
  • One of our golden rules that we use all the time when we get started with customers is help them stop doing stupid things. And, often they don’t know they are doing stupid things.
  • We are just seeing the first big organizations really getting into Journey Analytics and Journey Orchestration.
  • Mark’s best advice: Don’t be scared or intimidated by the amount of data that you have and thoughts this is going to be difficult.
  • Mark’s Punk CX word(s): Radical and Loud.
  • Mark’s Punk CX brands: Hotel: The Standard, East Village and Detroit based furniture maker: Floyd.

About Mark

Mark Smith Headshot copyWith over 20 years of global experience in Marketing Applications and Analytical CRM, Mark Smith is a leader in building, growing and managing successful companies. Currently in “innovation mode” as the President of Kitewheel, Mark is focused on helping marketing agencies deliver better consumer engagement through solutions that unify the “logic” layer of today’s customer-facing technology for their large brand clients.

Mark’s journey into customer behavior and experience started early in his career. Shortly after achieving his Ph.D. in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Edinburgh, Mark founded Quadstone – the first data mining company to focus explicitly on the analytics of customer behavior. In the years that followed, Mark moved to Boston to build the US business and oversaw revolutionary analytic progress at clients including T-Mobile, Dell, Merrill Lynch and Fidelity. His leadership role expanded to global sales, marketing and product teams that lead to a series of three successful M&A transactions over the last 10 years.

Find out more about Kitewheel here, say Hi to the folks at Kitewheel and Mark on Twitter @Kitewheel and @MapSmith13 and connect with Mark on LinkedIn here.

Image by Ron Pacheco from Pixabay

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