The frontline is where you connect EX and CX together in a very natural way – Interview with Joe Tyrell of Medallia


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Today’s interview is with Joe Tyrrell, CEO of Medallia. Joe joins me today to talk about why brands must consider EX in their journey to CX success, his view on the impact Generative AI is having on the world of experience and where he thinks it is heading, personalization and the big challenges that organizations need to tackle in order to fully realise the potential that lies in front of them.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – Forget the hype. Here’s what enterprises are actually doing with generative AI – Interview with Stefano Puntoni and Jeremy Korst – and is number 493 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders who are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Joe:

  • Employee experience is going to remain a top priority for the C-suite in 2024.
  • It really doesn’t matter if you’re trying to improve your customer, patient, guest, or any type of client experience if you’re not connecting that data with your employee engagement data and really trying to understand where the pockets of employee disengagement and dissatisfaction are, then, for some part of your business or for some percentage of those interactions with your customers, you’re never going to be able to address the root cause of why they’re dissatisfied.
  • Our data shows that there are very specific situations where the consumer’s dissatisfaction is directly related to the disengagement of the employee they interacted with.
  • EX and CX should be linked if you really want to improve the experience that you provide to either.
  • One of the other things that was really interesting in your predictions is I noticed that there was a prediction that more consumers are expected back into physical stores. I’ve heard the exact same thing from our customers.
  • That’s why a lot of the new AI we’re focusing on and that we’re rolling out is intended to really improve the capabilities of that frontline employee.
  • The frontline is where you connect EX and CX together in a very natural way.
  • When I joined Medallia, I spent a lot of time talking to the executives in our customer base to really understand the key things that they’re focusing on.
  • I was hearing the same three things from all these executives.
    • The first one was we are measuring everything. However, the problem is that they’re actually not understanding what’s the most important information and then acting on it. So a lot of these executives were saying, we’re going to cut this down to just a few critical KPIs, and we’re going to track those to see if we’re making progress. These companies are identifying what are their key drivers of engagement and are focusing on two or three initiatives, at the most, so that their employees see that they’re actually doing something about it and that they’re taking their feedback seriously.
    • The second thing was that organizations are doing a lot of consolidation of systems. They’ve realized they have a lot of data silos that exist within their company. Not only where customer feedback is getting locked up or isolated but where employee feedback is getting stuck as well. A lot of them are now saying they’re going to consolidate things so they can eliminate those data silos, bring the data all together, and then they can really understand how to improve things like customer satisfaction and employee engagement.
    • The last one was around generative AI, where everyone was saying, they have to deploy some generative AI. When asked …..what’s the use case you have in mind? What’s the problem you’re trying to solve? There weren’t a lot of answers.
  • The old saying says what gets measured gets managed. But, not if you are measuring a thousand different things, it doesn’t.
  • For all the talk of generative AI in 2023, it really showed up like Y2K. All of these companies were scrambling to be prepared, but nobody really did anything or deployed it in a meaningful way that was going to impact customer experience.
  • So I see the demand, but for many companies, the challenge is they need to know where to start with AI, and that typically involves identifying some very specific use cases where the value is high and the risk is low.
  • I’ve been using AI for over two decades now, and the impact (of gen AI) is going to be absolutely game-changing when it comes to experience and delivering a different level of personalization.
  • The days of surveys are gone. It’s now about consuming, aggregating, arranging, interpreting, and then analyzing data in order to actually predict what the next experience or the next product is that a consumer wants from you.
  • When you deploy this technology, you have to be able to do it across a spectrum where the appetites are going to be different.
  • You should always start by asking questions like: Why do you want to deploy AI?
  • Many companies haven’t really thought about it. They feel the pressure from the street or from their board and think, ‘We need to do something.’
  • What we’ve been doing is really saying, let’s first talk about what are some of the bigger challenges you have around where AI is really good. So, for example, repetitive tasks, data interpretation or data translation, speed of response, and the accuracy of interpretation.
  • You have to have this mentality that I’m going to test along the way, and I’m going to institute change management as we go. You also have to know where your data is going and what your data is being used to train.
  • You’ve got to meet customers where they’re at and help them actually design the path of being able to deploy this technology without worrying about all the risks.
  • If you want to personalize an experience, you’ve got to look at the history that you’ve had with that customer or guest or patient or whoever it is that you’re serving and not be so quick to check a box and say, “Yeah, I gave a great personalized response, or I took the appropriate action based upon this one moment in time piece of feedback that I got. You have to look at the holistic experience that you’ve created for that customer of yours over a longer period of time than just the last five minutes.”
  • The challenge with a lot of what you see when people are bringing things up to a BI level is it gets too generalized.
  • We’re introducing a concept called Ask Athena, which allows our customers to ask any question about their business and actually use their own data to get very specific answers of not only here’s the answer, but here’s what we recommend you do about it in order to improve the outcome.
  • Some of the companies that we see that are just getting it right, they’re starting with governance first. They’re thinking about what are the use cases that are high value and low risk. They’re thinking about what are the guardrails that we want to put in, and then we’ll just expand those guardrails as we go. But let’s make sure that we’re doing something that at least we internally can audit to make sure it’s having the right impact and right effect. So the next thing I’m seeing is that really having a discipline around testing,
  • I’ve been really impressed with folks like Walmart and Marriott. What’s interesting about what they’re doing is really looking at not how to leverage AI not just so I have a greater kind of corporate insight but also how am I using it to really empower the front lines, whether that’s the store manager or the property manager or the front desk manager. And how do I make sure I’m pushing data to them so that whoever walks up to that front desk, whoever’s checking in, knows more about them to be able to truly personalize that experience. They know about that kind of in-store or in-stay experience and how to actually change the outcome of it if it’s not going well before that person leaves the store or checks out of the hotel.
  • Jaguar Land Rover is doing some great things around how they think about a customer for life and getting ahead of what that customer’s next need might be, and not just from a service perspective, but that next purchase and engaging them in a different way, kind of a brand for life approach.
  • Joe’s best advice: I would say if you want to improve your customer and/or employee experience, you really need to understand the difference between data that’s in your customer or employee experience and data that’s important. There is feedback that is being given to you as a gift every day, but if you don’t really focus on what can move the needle and what your customers really want you to hear, then you’re going to continue to miss the mark. Difference between interesting and important.
  • Joe’s Punk XL brand: Bank of America and their CEO, Brian Moynihan.

About Joe

Joe TyrrellJoe Tyrrell is the CEO of Medallia. Before joining Medallia, Joe Tyrrell served as president of ICE Mortgage Technology, where he led three wholly owned subsidiaries in MERS, Simplifile and Ellie Mae. He was responsible for all facets of each business, driving record revenues and profitability while introducing new innovations in automation, artificial intelligence, and data-driven workflows. He was previously chief operating officer of Ellie Mae prior to ICE’s acquisition. As COO, he oversaw technology, product management, sales, business development, customer success, professional services, corporate development and information security. Tyrrell previously has held a number of executive-level positions in his professional career, including Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Ellie Mae and Vice President at Providian Financial. Tyrrell holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management from St. Mary’s College.

Check out Medallia, say Hi to them on X (Twitter) @medallia and connect with Joe on LinkedIn here.

Credit: Photo by Edge2Edge Media on Unsplash

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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