Brands need to do more than just listen to what their customers are saying about them. They need to be able to absorb the messages and respond in an engaging and meaningful way, says Caitlin Green, new CEO of KINSHIP digital.
“It is important to understand the relationship you have with your customers from something much more than a high-level helicopter view, she says. “Brands need to actually understand all the interactions they have with customers across all the key touch-points in order to build trust.”
That is especially so in a market like Australia, where customers are culturally skeptical that their needs will be put first.
In the past, says Green, that skepticism was well-founded. However, companies now understand that “customer-first” needs to be more than debating point. It needs to be an organising principle for the way business works.
Of course, no-one gets out of bed and rushes to the office so they can make their customers’ lives harder. Unfortunately, despite the best intentions, the legacy of the way companies have worked — and the silos they have built — tend to get in the way.
“Silos are an ever-present problem. Marketing might be seeing one set of data but customer care teams are seeing different information, and each does so in an absence of any understanding of what the other is up to. That is a recipe for poor experiences and unhappy customers,” she says.
LaToya Nicole Benson, Senior Manager for Client Engagement at JeffreyM Consulting, a KINSHIP business partner, agrees. “Getting different groups inside a business to talk to each other not only identifies efficiencies by eliminating duplication but it also highlights synergies that can be achieved by pooling. That then creates much better engagement for the consumer with the brand.”
Green joined KINSHIP as its CEO at roughly the same time as the company announced a partnership with JeffreyM Consulting, a US-based consultancy that provides many of the same consulting and managed services that KINSHIP offers locally.
Under that arrangement, KINSHIP and JeffreyM Consulting will jointly offer services to companies implementing and utilising the Sprinklr customer experience platform. Sprinklr is a common partner to both operations.
This will allow Green’s Australian team to service local clients with an international footprint better, by engaging with JeffreyM Consulting internationally. And it will enable JeffreyM to do the same in return.
“Identifying the silos and getting everyone talking is an important part of the work that KINSHIP and JeffreyM do for clients. They need to be all on the same page to be able to utilise a product like Sprinklr,” says Benson.
The two companies announced their partnership with Sprinklr earlier this year.
Sprinklr is a leading customer experience platform that help brands manage customer experience across all digital touch-points and, importantly, offers brands a single unified front end.
According to Laura Fu, Senior Director, Global Product & International Operations at Sprinklr, “In the past, before digital emerged, customer interaction was pretty much one-way and it was often offline. Now, with digital, we see all sorts of digital channels and all sorts of new functions within the organisation that touch the customer.”
Brands use Sprinklr to unify all these touch-points and engagements across the company, she said.
While Sprinklr includes marketing functionality, Fu said the company does not consider itself a marketing technology platform. Instead, the focus is very much on customer experience.
“For instance, social for us is the underlying channel which brought on the revolution of customer engagement. Suddenly, not only were people talking back to brands — more importantly, they were talking to each other and in real time.”
Sprinklr provides a unified customer experience solution across five areas — marketing, advertising, research, customer care, and commerce. It is also designed in a way that allows for API integrations into other enterprise applications — for instance, CRM.
“The platform allows the brand to perform all these functions in one simple suite. But of course, recognising the reality of how businesses work, it is highly extensible and can be integrated into other solutions.”
The relationship between KINSHIP, JeffreyM Consulting and Sprinklr provides capacity to service global clients in a cost-consistent way, says KINSHIP’s Green.
“One of the key outcomes we need to deliver is to provide a single way of working.”
Benson says to do this it is important to focus on the transformation of the business as a whole. “Consulting starts with understanding the corporate objectives and the business strategy. That is important to the C-suite. Digital is a tool that will help them meet those objectives, so it is important not to focus just at the level of technology.”
Deploying an integrated platform like Sprinklr across the enterprise and plugging it into legacy customer-facing systems requires specific skills. When technologies like marketing automation, CRM, eCommerce and digital asset repositories are involved, there is often a short supply of the unique combination of skills required for a specific engagement, says Green.
“The partnership brings together deep technical and business skills, along with proven business operational and support skills to ensure customer success.”
About the author
Andrew Birmingham is the director of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit of which KINSHIP digital is a member. Members provide their insights and expertise for the benefits of our readers. Membership fees apply.