Michael Borts, Senior Vice President, Client Services, Warner Music Group, and Anna Elwood, Vice President of Operations, Zocdoc, examined some of the key customer experience opportunities and challenges for today's business leaders in their keynote presentation to Argyle's CX membership at the 2016 Customer Experience Leadership Forum: Fall Event in New York on Nov. 2. In their presentation, Borts and Elwood explored several key CX topics and how business leaders can prepare for CX opportunities and challenges in the future.
According to Borts, technology represents both an opportunity and a challenge, particularly when it comes to CX.
At Warner, technology empowers the company to deliver personalized support to its customers. The Warner team remains dedicated to learning about the business' customers and understanding their needs – something that has helped the company improve its customer and employee engagement levels over the past few years.
"You have to be personally equipped to take care of your customers, you have to have technical skills to understand technology … and you have to be culturally attuned to the company and its products," Borts stated.
Furthermore, technology alone won't solve a business' CX issues. If a company invests in technology to support its CX efforts, the business also must employ workers who are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to leverage this technology and use it to drive improved customer interactions.
"It doesn't matter how good your technology is … you need to have that quality [customer support] individual," Elwood said. "And that's a difficult find."
Elwood noted Zocdoc is committed to finding superior customer support professionals and ensuring they are fully engaged. By doing so, the company is better equipped to keep both its customers and employees happy.
"We really want to optimize for finding the best people and keeping them there as long as possible," Elwood said. "We try to prioritize the employee experience to ultimately improve the other end of the experience as well."
Although a broad range of technology is available for businesses, new tools may transform the way that companies and consumers interact with one another.
"It doesn't matter how good your technology is … you need to have that quality [customer support] individual."
Thus, companies will need to stay up to date on technologies and ensure they can leverage state-of-the-art tools to drive ongoing CX improvements.
"The complexity of our world is the technology itself," Borts said. "As the technology gets more complicated, the service we provide gets very complicated."
In many instances, smaller companies serve as CX innovators as well.
Borts pointed out that Warner is willing to invest in CX technologies but may wait to see how it benefits other companies before doing so. This provides his business with the opportunity to find out how a particular technology may benefit his company and ensure the technology can deliver long-lasting benefits.
"People push the limits [of technology] all the time. And that affects bigger companies that will follow," Borts noted.
Determining whether to buy a customer relationship management (CRM) solution or develop a custom solution remains a key challenge for many businesses.
Purchasing a CRM solution may prove to be a cost-effective choice for businesses. In addition, the solution can be simple to deploy and may support a business' needs for an extended period of time.
"We try to prioritize the employee experience to ultimately improve the other end of the experience as well."
On the other hand, a custom CRM solution ensures a company may be better equipped to tailor its customer interactions and provide personalized support to customers.
"[A custom solution] meant that we could match the customer and the relationship with our technology versus the opposite where we had to adopt the workflow of a particular out-of-the-box solution," Elwood said. "We could build [a solution] for what we wanted."
Moreover, how a business develops its customer support strategy may dictate its immediate and long-term success.
The global marketplace is constantly evolving, and a company must remain flexible as it creates a customer support strategy. This plan should serve the needs of a business and its customers both now and in the future.
"How we sell our product has changed drastically, and it's been important that we build tiering of customer support," Elwood stated.
To deploy a successful CX strategy, a company must consider its short- and long-term goals and the tools it will need to achieve these aspirations. This will enable a business to learn about its industry and its customers and develop a plan designed to drive revenue growth and long-lasting customer partnerships.
Maintaining a proactive approach to CX could prove to be a key differentiator for a business, regardless of industry. If a company devotes the necessary time and resources to drive CX enhancements, this business may be able to stand out from the competition consistently.
Michael is the Senior Vice President of Client Services at Warner Music. In this role, he is leading the transformation of the global technology operations and end-to-end service delivery. Michael overseas WMG’s global operations, technology services, infrastructure and security. He has over 15 years of executive management experience, specializing in software strategy development, client relationship management and global operations management.
Michael most recently left Citco Group as their Director of Client Services, where he was global head of a client facing IT organization spanning all divisions of the company. He lead software development and operations at the New York Stock Exchange in their Regulatory Technology and Trading Technology divisions. Michael started his career as a software engineer at such companies such as Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns, where he transitioned into the support and client services realm.
Michael currently resides in New Jersey with his wife and son. He enjoys outdoors, art, and listening to vinyl records.
Anna Elwood is the Vice President of Operations at Zocdoc, where she oversees our service delivery teams across three office locations. With a passion for people, Anna spends her time at Zocdoc maintaining an award-winning customer service team that she built from the ground up.
Her teams focus on creating a seamless healthcare experience for Zocdoc’s patients and doctors, maintaining Zocdoc’s high customer satisfaction scores and resetting expectations for healthcare service. She values strong hiring and training, fast and thorough execution, close collaboration across departments, and creative problem solving.
Anna was one of Zocdoc’s earliest employees, joining the company after working for Apple, where she focused on customer service and training in technology. Anna also has a background in the arts, education and non-profit sectors. She received a Master’s in Fine Arts from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts, with a double major in Literature, from Adelphi University.
Originally from the Berkshires in Massachusetts, Anna enjoys the outdoors, brewing beer and spending time with her wife and son.