The pandemic has acted as a powerful catalyst for market dynamics already in play, most notably the switch from in-person to digital banking channels. Apps collect vast amounts of unstructured customer feedback in the form of the Batum comments that accompany app ratings.
Discover Dynamic Customer Solutions with Rob Windle
Our guest this episode is Rob Windle, CEO and founder of Dynamic Customer Solutions The core of his business revolves around implementation and supporting businesses to lower the cost of call centre operations while improving the quality of outcomes &, supporting learning and improvements through data-driven metrics using state of the art feedback analytics software to fast track improvements.
02:11 - Glenn: So I know you've you've got an incredible and varied background everything from investments to Barclays to financial security and now DCS give us the lowdown give us the rundown of how did you get to where you are today.
Rob: Yeah I've always been connected in some way to the customer and it's been a lot about creating a more efficient journey for the customer and providing what the customer really needs or wants and those two things aren't always the same but I started off in the asset management business and looking at some new products and services for them and lots of new innovation in the industry at that time and building that house and I then moved on to barclays to do a big communications role around the new tax change which affected all of their clients and customers but that change across the bank you really saw the impact of technology on customers and it's a real challenge to get transformation that's going to affect every single customer right and it's so important to get it right.
I then move on to to work with a brilliant consultancy that does financial crime prevention it's important to put the prevention in there and they works with both very big wholesale banks and but also some of the new challenger banks that have become household names now and very much very similar problems for very different reasons and but it's it's dealing with huge amounts of customer data and requirements as efficiently as possible but also making it a good experience for customers and that change in particular in financial services that we've seen over the last few years with the emergence of these new digital banks and has really shaken things up for the customer in a really good way and but it has also changed it for the traditional banks as well and some of them have come back fighting hard.
I set up DCS to try and help with that, that customer engagement and improving the customer experience to make sure that companies are focusing in the right area and to embrace the sort of innovative new technology and opportunities that are now available such as as the services offered by touchpoint and in order to engage with their customers like they've never been able to do before and to really use that data to make the experience better for the customer and for the organization itself so I've seen it done well and I've seen it done badly.
05:41 - Glenn: I bet you have and let's jump to DCS in a minute but I’m sure it is something that is absolutely fascinating for a lot of people when it comes to financial crime prevention so like your time with official frontiers international going through that there is it's well documented there is just the internet is rife with scams, money laundering, all sorts of different things. How does technology now play a part in that? because I suppose it's like emails. There are more emails sent every day than you know the internet can almost bloom and cope with and the vast majority of those spam and scam and then we move up to the more sophisticated level which I'm sure that you guys are involved in. What was the deal there? And because it's something that plays such a massive impact on the end consumer knowing that what they are doing is being protected.
Rob: Yeah I think there's two sides to it. There's the very rudimentary financial crime that's carried out by just mass attacks of people trying their luck on one side and technology has become very good at some both. They've used technology for that and to push these scams you know hiding through the emails from and so on and but technology has also been developed to address that as well and there's fantastic technology but it's a constant battle of trying to stay one step ahead of financial criminals in order to do that and then the other side is the incredibly sophisticated and you know sadly these are not very ethical but very very bright people that are around using tremendous resources to abuse the financial system.
It's up to the banks to have these processes and policies and procedures in place and try and make those operators as efficiently as possible because we don't have the resources to fight that without adopting technology solutions and operation efficiency
08:21 - Glenn: For sure! And how much does compliance come into play these days with data and banks?
Rob: I mean all banks are regulated industries DCS focuses on regulated industries such as financial services and utilities because that provides a framework to look after the customer and certainly from our perspective, this is not just a nice to have if you get this wrong then you know and we've seen banks with billions of pounds of fines because they haven't been finding the processes correctly and there's a huge job to put those right. And on the other side of that there's a huge job to make sure that you're looking after the your bonafide customer appropriately while trying to close the door on the nefarious elements.
09:32 - Glenn: So I imagine it's quite a balancing act for those in the finance industry between time energy and resource and how to do it efficiently with all that all consuming need for compliance but also knowing that unless they have more of a customer-centric approach to looking after their customers they'll end up with churn.
Rob: Yeah and there's always that balance between all the comparison that you have with compliance on one side and the business teams on the other that are desperate to try and push the deals through and so on and compliance in a really customer friendly way to make it smooth and efficient for them and compliance who are putting all of these checks and blocks in in place for regulatory reasons and you know to keep their customers safe, but trying to keep customers safe and trying to keep the customer journey as smooth as possible are two things that do not go hand in hand.
10:52 - Glenn: No we know that very well! and look, you and I we were both at the forefront of this when it comes to what sort of technology banks can choose to utilize to capture, understand and enhance the the user journey. But all of those investment decisions need to be backed up with data because they're millions of dollars in certain circumstances to get that better understanding of the customer so, How is it that you decided to choose to work in this area and around? Because it does fascinate me is the visualization of data, because all the data in the world is not going to help you if you can't tell a simple story.
Rob: Yeah and that's it exactly I mean you know? Nowadays no company can really say that they don't have the data available, and to them there is more data than most companies can analyze and you know we've spoken to companies, large organizations that have teams of 50 people to analyze this data for them. It's my belief that is not a very efficient way of doing this and that is where technology can come in to really make a difference. It's about pushing people further up the value curve and no analyst adds any value to the process by
preparing the data they add the real value when they're analyzing that data they've got it into
the format that they want it and then they say what is this data telling me?
The more efficiently and to the greater depth that they can do that means that they can they can create a more complete picture and if you're hamstrung by not having enough time or resource to analyze all of your data sources or your potential data sources and so you just focus on a select few and then you can miss key pieces of insight that would recommend the direction that you should be taking or your investment in you know should you be investing in a new functionality for your for your app and if you're going to, then which have all the possibilities that you've got which one should you be focusing on now finding out real data to back up that decision makes that much less of a gamble but in order for companies to be able to do that effectively they want to be able to to analyze all of the data and all the data that's available to them.
13:55 - Glenn: And there's more often than not there are tens of hundreds or millions of thousands of millions of lines of data that can be analyzed to do that and it's not necessarily the most efficient way of manual and how that data is then visualized coming back to a point you just made two. I think it's really critically important within what you said there and around the best use of that analyst's time is not to go through the screens of data, it's to look at the some of the analyses that's coming through to turn that into valuable insights but I think just as importantly those people that they're doing the analysis for they don't necessarily just want the insight, do they? Want you to give us the three things that we need to do and tell me what it is.
Rob: That's what it boils down to this and once you've got that data and you've analyzed that data you've also got to visualize that for your stakeholders and your stakeholders will have you know that there will be different uses for that data and you need to work with your stakeholders to ensure that you're presenting that data in the most effective way possible because that's when you will get the message that the data is trying to tell you across is yeah and this comes down to individuals as well you know everyone's individual and some people love tables and they like you know cons of numbers because that's how their brain works other people like shapes and colors and now if you can manipulate that some the visualization of that data more easily and then you can provide the rights and view of that data at the right level of granularity to the specific stakeholder that it's designed for yeah
16:08 - Glenn: Would you say to those people that are worried that AI and software are trying to take the place of analysts?
Rob: I think you know that's a bit like saying that you know, that's like saying here's a great tool that this is taking the place of the workman it's making that work more effective and I don't think that the interpretation of the data and there isn't AI software out there that is sophisticated enough to tell you what three things you should be doing because there are so many different variables to that you know? What's possible in the organization? What the cost of of doing these would be? What the regulatory framework is? I mean take banking for example, you go through the customer feedback that you collect for banks and lots of it talks about having accounts frozen and you know not telling your customers and why you've frozen their accounts. Those are anti-mother laundering regulations you know you you're not allowed to tell them that's classes tipping off so you can't tell them why you've frozen their account incredibly frustrating for the customer, but the bank can't turn around say “oh that's fine” but we'll just tell them why we've done you know? Unfortunately this suspicion on their account and it's not the case, that's not always the case there may be a technical issue why it's the accounts being frozen but there are issues like that an AI piece of software would say well you know just fix this and you know that's a problem that can't be fixed, you know?
18:03 - Glenn: Absolutely! so you're really what you're saying is all of these tools are really just moving the analyst up in the value chain because they can do more faster and give better insights and better recommendations.
Rob: Yeah, I mean if you're looking at some customer feedback and you've got a hundred thousand reviews and that you want to analyze and to see why whether a customer likes your mobile app or not and where you sit compared to your competitors. Now you can have an analyst go through that and try and work out everything that you might want to find and then analyze that data to pull out that insight or you can have a tool and that automatically filters that data for you and allows you to slice and dice the views of that data, you know? With a couple of clicks of the button that means that your analysts can sit there thinking you know “Okay so I want to have a look at security let's have a look at everything that's to do with security” “okay there seems to be an issue here with biometrics let me drill down into that, I wonder how many how many of our customers have been talking about biometrics let's have a look at the frequency of that”
“Okay well now let's have a look at the frequency of that over you know. Over the last six months has it changed at all?” That's something that would take an analyst using spreadsheets and you know with just giving this data and you know it would take weeks to do and using a tool like epiphany you know that's automatically set up and you can just run through those analyses yeah you can you can have a look and say “ah this isn't quite right how can i change this can i shift this view to see you know what impact is this having” and that means that they can spend all their time actually analyzing the data not spending their time preparing their data to then analyze it.
20:15 - Glenn: Yeah and we've definitely seen that here at Touchpoint especially since you know the last five years of working on epiphany with that time for analysis has gone from in some cases months down to weeks down to days for most companies it's days to weeks now I think? that we're seeing even with some voice of customer platforms that they've got access to it's great at collating the data not necessarily analyzing and interpreting the data and then overlaying something like epiphany is taking it from days to in some cases minutes which is just crazy to think then the impact that can have on an organization when they are proactively utilizing these tools moving forward and the changes that they can make and how they can then monitor the impact of the changes that they're having rather than a quarterly review.
Rob: There's always a trade-off between the amount of time you spend preparing the data to get it just right for doing the analysis and then the amount of analysis you do. You want to get that data into the best format possible. Now one of the one of the big things with
customer feedback is that the more detail you ask them for the fewer people will respond
to that request for feedback so you know in an ideal world you want to ask them a questionnaire
with a hundred different questions in it. If you send that out to customers, the only customers and or the sample that you get back is only going to be customers that are prepared
to sit there and answer a 100 question questionnaire. What you want to do is ask as broad a possible audience and then have some way of categorizing that down into the 100 different
things that your categories that you're looking for and automatically.
22:22 - Glenn: So do you see that as a real benefit in regards to analyzing publicly available data like the reviews and in the app stores and trust pilots and things like that where people aren't necessarily prompted based on a specific part of their journey it's at that point they've of their journey they have decided to give some feedback innovating and because there are so many people doing that it is unstructured so it must be harder to analyze you haven't necessarily got the framework I suppose that's not where the AI side of things can come in and around semantics and understanding and then categorize.
Rob: Yeah it's that pattern recognition and it's giving you the ability to go down into a granular level of detail now if you're sitting in a workshop and you're going through something and right I want to look at every review that has talked about this very small specific idea you might have a hundred thousand reviews and only 600 of them have mentioned this or only 60 of them have mentioned this and but if you've got the ability through AI to pull out those 60 automatically and those you know there may be 20 different ways of talking about the same thing within those 60 but if you can pull all that out then instead of spending your time trying to look for those 60 reviews you can actually go through and you can look at all of them and you can spend your time really analyzing the 60 reviews that are talking about the topic or the category that you're really interested in and you know AI is always going to do that better than than a human because it would take a human you know weeks to go through that and you would have to do it manually to try and put the topics which means that you need to think around that topic of every way that could be talked about and that creating that ontology and is something that you know takes years and that's not something that you want to do for every new idea that you want to explore
24:48 - Glenn: Is more data always better?
Rob: I think no, I think that with especially with customer feedback data and you can have that balance between so if you take something like trusted pilot data then you've just got raw data there and at a school but if you're carrying out the research yourself and then you can ask two or three you know “Hey what did we do really well and what didn't we do so well” and “What did you like about this part of the process now that doesn't need to be a sort of a hundred question questionnaire” but it will help guide you to be able to look at things that and perhaps you've already identified through the raw data this is something we need to look at then gives you more data in order to make the decisions about how to progress that and where you can really make an impact
25:52 - Glenn: Sure thing so if you being the the incredible consultant that you are had any advice for no not just in banking but in any any organization that was looking at implementing customer feedback analytics in their business and customer feedback analytics is let's face it it's a fairly we'll say new concept it's been around for a while but it's really only just starting to hit that that adoption curve now where more and more businesses are taking notice and trying to implement these programs what are some of the fundamental things that you think businesses should take into consideration? And maybe one or two of the traps that you have seen people fall into because there's lots of voice of customer programs out there that are great at capturing and like anything when it's new and shiny there is I believe there's been a whole lot of over promise under deliver in the market in general these expectations where this is gonna save my business we're gonna smash the world and then there's the reality of the complexity of what do you do with that once you've got it so yeah what are the things that we should consider, and what are some of the pitfalls we should avoid?
Rob: Yeah I think any sort of voice customer program and so much emphasis is put on collecting the data and that you know you might congratulate yourself that you've collected all of this data but that's just the first stage of it and that's when the hard work starts and the you've got to be very careful how you collect that data to ensure that both you're getting as broad a possible view you've got the best sort of sample of data and that you can cut out the noise in that data and once you've got that and you've analyzed the data the the biggest pitfall is not producing actionable insights so insights are either too broad and that you can't actually do anything with it or they are they're not tailored to the stakeholders they're going to use them and you're not giving you're not talking to them in their language and you're not giving them something that they can say yeah I understand that you understand the limitations of what we can do you've taken that into account and you're suggesting useful ways to move forward that we can actually implement and the biggest problem is just having a whole great big massive data and doing some very clever analysis on it without involving the business or the stakeholders that actually need to use that that piece of data.
29:07 - Glenn: You know what I loved about that is you went right back to the whole 101 of having a customer-centric approach and we're talking about internal customers really isn't it is for you to be able to get engagement cut through an action from your customers you need to be thinking about presenting anything to them in a format that they resonate with.
Rob: Yeah and look at look at the difference that having a customer-centric approach makes to organizations I mean financial services is a prime example of this and with going right back to metro bank being the first new bank for over 130 years you know they started opening branches and you know at the weekends and in evenings because that's when people wanted them whereas the traditional banks like well you know we opened nine to five and we trust on bank holidays and we certainly don't open the weekends because we close at weekend.
30:08 - Glenn: And we’ve got a twelve till two lunch break at the pub
Rob: Yeah exactly and because we're you had the emergence of the digital banks which embrace technology this system is broken you know this is not looking after the customer as it should and so there was a sea change in the industry but you had these great big oil tankers of of organizations of the big traditional banks and then you have these little speed boats of the that very maneuverable to come in and shake things up for the customer and it you know it's taken time for these these large oil tankers to change direction and but you can't argue that they haven't come back fighting with this and you look at the reviews and so on that the digital offerings for some of the banks have received now and they are consistently scoring among the highest even beating the digital banks and you have a very different this you take a small digital bank it has one platform and transformation can be done over a weekend so the possibilities for what they can do with with customer insight much much faster taking one of the old traditional banks you know they're not just one bank they've been around for 200 years and there's been mergers and acquisitions and you know it's like a whole bunch of small banks that have been put together and you know hundreds of legacy systems and so on so making any changes there isn't something that can happen overnight the idea of taking customer insight and saying right okay working within these parameters what is it that we can do to to really improve things for the customer you know the traditional banks want to look after the customer and certainly nowadays and they do it very well but the way they can really excel at that is by being able to take that customer data and analyze what it is that's really making an impact for the customer
32:21 - Glenn: Great one final question for you and I'm going to put you on the spot a
little bit here where do you see the future of banking when it comes to customers and customer centricity?
Rob: It's a great question, I think that there's a real change in the industry that started with the emergence of the new digital banks and I think that I expect to see banking becoming a small part of them of everything and the I mean you you see new entrance to the market by google and amazon and so on you see revolut which was now you know in the process of getting its uk banking license and they are providing a much broader offering and which has to put the customer at the heart of and I would say that for banks to succeed over the next five years they need to be listening to the to the customer because it's too easy to change and there's there's too many hungry and you know incredibly talented people in organizations that are coming after them if they take their off the ball but the traditional banks may have taken
some time some of them are doing it much better than others and but but they're fighting back hard and they've got the resources and they've got the data available to change things up for the customer
Where to find Rob:
If you want to understand your customer feedback better, talk to the team at Touchpoint Group
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