Savvy shoppers wait in anticipation, while Australian retailers are gearing up for the onslaught. Amazon’s arrival is imminent.
A new Australian-based consulting group has opened its doors to help marketers and organisations get a grip on their customer experience ambitions.
Ellipsis and Company is tapping into growing corporate demand to put customer engagement at the heart of business strategy by providing a range of customer experience management and measurement services that aim to do just that. These stretch from customer journey mapping, design and segmentation to loyalty programs management and optimisation activities, data insights and technology management.
The company is the brainchild of three managing partners, all of whom previously worked for AIMIA and have experience across customer strategy, data-driven marketing and loyalty programs. David Parsons was the former AIMIA VP of client services and business and a director of customer loyalty rewards at Carlson Marketing. Tim Tyler is Peppers and Rogers Group’s former Asian chairman and a global consultant on customer and business strategy. Adam Schaffer’s resume includes roles with Bain and Company and loyalty program outsourcer, Nectar.
The trio have adopted the term “customer science” to describe the way organisations now need to plan, manage and optimise their customer-centricity efforts. Core to this is unifying and utilising data assets, as well as creating a clear roadmap and scorecard organisations can use to plot out and run their customer-facing activities and initiatives.
In an exclusive interview, Parsons told CMO the company’s name is indicative of the gap many marketers and organisations have in their customer experience lifecycle strategy.
He pointed to a recent McKinsey and Company report, which found that many banking, retail and other sectors are still struggling to devise the perfect cross-channel experiences for their customers anytime, and anywhere. On the flip side, research shows customer experience leaders outperform their peers by 43 per cent in cumulative total return.
“Our aim is to help an organisation with that unfinished understanding they have of their customer,” Parsons said. He added that instilling a customer-first approach is not just about technology innovation; it is also a cultural change for many organisations and requires a strong roadmap to succeed.
To illustrate how the consulting group can help, Tyler claimed many marketers are implementing marketing automation platforms but don’t know how to optimise these effectively, or connect these into a wider customer engagement strategy. He said Ellipsis is a complementary strategic partner to enterprise marketing cloud providers, such as Oracle.
Core services that Ellipsis and Company is providing include customer strategy mapping and CRM diagnostics, customer segmentation, voice of the customer feedback program development, customer loyalty program design and optimisation, customer onboarding activities, engagement scoring and financial modelling.
To underpin its approach, the consulting group has struck a partnership with US software vendor, Suitecx, which provides a customer journey mapping, diagnostics and visualisation platform. Under the agreement, Ellipsis and Company has joined the vendor’s advisory board, and becomes the exclusive user and reseller of the Suitecx product across Asia-Pacific.
Parsons said the platform gives Ellipsis the technology toolkit to help organisations plot out what a customer journey and engagement strategy looks like. For example, a brand can not only see each customer touchpoint, they can also rate their capabilities and success against these interactions on a day-to-day basis.
Parsons confirmed the company has secured three new clients already across Asia-Pacific, and the team has already worked on several successful customer-facing projects with high-profile brands globally such as Air Asia and European-based loyalty program provider, Coalition Rewards.
In a statement, Coalition Rewards CEO, Gabi Kool, said the company partnered with Ellipsis to build its strategy map and a balanced scorecard. Coalition Rewards has also partnered with the consulting firm on best practices research within co-branded financial card loyalty solutions for its banking clients.
“The project was very successful and we continue using their services as part of our annual strategy workshop and the continued evolution of our business, where we repositioned from ‘start up to scale up’,” he said.
Parsons said the customer sweet spot for Ellipsis is consumer-facing organisations at the larger end of town with existing customer data silos, or those that are seeking to build out customer data assets and programs to improve their engagement strategy.
While many organisations may have customer loyalty programs in place, this is only one part of a modern customer engagement strategy, Tyler continued. He added these also often are disconnected from other digital or physical touchpoints.
“Points and prizes are not enough; a great customer experience is not enough either,” he said. “You have to get the whole mix right.
“Not having that single customer view is like someone talking to you at an event but not at the bar – every second conversation is lost. That leads to losing the trust of the customer.
“Customers need to believe your commitment to them, and that you have their best interests at heart.”
More customer experience stories from CMO
- How CMOs can orchestrate a single customer experience
- Aussie organisations not transforming enough for customer experience excellence: Forrester
- Virgin's customer chief: Customer experience comes down to your people
- Don Peppers: Why you need to create frictionless customer experiences
- Dell, Expedia share how they're striving to improve customer engagement
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