Build Great Tribes and Customer Experiences with Analytics and a Common View of the Customer
In this Q&A, we continue our conversation with Don Fotsch on the customer experience, analytics, and transparency. Read our first interview here: A Conversation With Don Fotsch on Continuous Product Design as a Core Business Process. Don is co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Greyscale AI, which is bringing inspection-as-a-service, including cloud-based capabilities, to the food inspection industry. Don recently joined Quantum Metric’s advisory board, drawing from decades of building great teams and products at Apple, PayPal, and Express Scripts.
On Customer Experience vs. Digital Experience
Christine: In our industry, we often talk about the digital experience. You don’t like that term. What’s wrong with “digital experience?”
Don: That’s not how experiences work with humans. There are no digital experiences and non-digital experiences. There are just experiences. It’s like saying e-commerce online retail versus physical retail. That’s not how regular people think of it. If you tune into people’s brains and hearts, they don’t parse it like that. They think: “I want to buy something.” Or they want to go shopping. They’re not thinking in the context of experiences — digital versus not.
I say that because the experience of Apple or Amazon comes to mind. It’s about appreciating the ease with which one can instrument the digital experience. Just because it’s harder to instrument the non-digital experiences doesn’t mean that it isn’t really important to figure out.
On tribes and unifying teams with a common view of the customer
Christine: What are the best teams doing to build the best customer experiences?
Don: Have you ever been with an organization where they didn’t want you to feel like you were part of a team? One of the founding beliefs at AOL was that human beings are tribal. There’s some energy and implication there. One of the things you want to have whenever you’re in any kind of organization is: How do we get them to play as a team?
Let me use an orchestra metaphor: Everyone is looking at the same score of the same music. But that alone isn’t going to make it sound like a phenomenal orchestra. They all have the same music, but they don’t individually go off and practice. They do some of that, but they have to do a lot of practice together. So where’s the organization’s opportunity to practice together? We have to get teams the same sheet of music and common view of the customer data, whether that’s with customer experience analytics, digital analytics, or voice of customer.
The common thread is finding the best way to get everybody to go to the next level of understanding and operating as a team. To that, you need that common sheet of music, which in our world, is the right data and analytics—focused on the customer.
Christine: How are organizations doing when it comes to giving teams the right visibility into the customer experience, or as you say, that “common sheet of music”?
Don: It’s a little less of a problem, but fundamentally it’s still wrong. Companies struggle to get work done, like not releasing software fast enough. And then you start digging … is that experience instrumented? What data do you have coming in to tell you how things are doing? Where in the process are people having a tough time? Do you have the data to know that?
The old way of creating transparency was something like this: A user research group is doing a study. They’ll talk to customers and convene focus groups. Then after a month, there’s a presentation in the form of a PowerPoint deck. That’s silly. If the goal in an organization is to keep people informed about customers, why are we waiting months and months for one group to research and then deliver a PowerPoint?
For me, the goal is to make it really easy for people throughout the organization to know what’s going on with the customer. So if you can instrument that through Quantum Metric, or another customer experience analytics tool, you have to do that.
That’s where we get our passion from. That’s where we get our energy from. That’s where we get our next level of understanding—operating as a team based on a common understanding of the customer.
Don, we love your perspective and know that you’re drawing from decades of experience in building great teams and products and learning from customers. Readers, if you missed Part 1 of our interview please read it here: Continuous Product Design as a Core Business Process.