Main reason for existence of Authenticx
Authenticx was created to assist businesses in better understanding their consumers by utilizing data they already possess, as opposed to depending on faulty techniques for gathering customer insights and feedback.
How can businesses use data from customer feedback to increase customer satisfaction?
Organizations can raise customer satisfaction by using call recordings' detailed context and conversation to comprehend the factors influencing customer feedback scores.
How can customer satisfaction data help firms make more informed decisions and take appropriate action?
By reviewing recorded consumer talks from contact centers, a more representative and trustworthy data source, and by being conscious of any biases that might be present while listening to client discussions.
What is the market value of the customer feedback sector?
The US consumer feedback market is about 32 billion dollars. Speech analytics, market analysis, and brand reputation/customer feedback management are all included.
Marcus Cauchi: Hello, and welcome back to the Inquisitor Podcast. Today, I'm genuinely delighted to have Amy Brown as my guest, she's founder and CEO of Authenticx, a market research company that specializes in humanizing data and understanding human beings.
Would you mind giving 90 seconds on your background please?
Marcus Cauchi: So, Amy, would you mind giving 90 seconds on your background please?
Amy Brown: Sure. So my name is Amy Brown and I am from the Midwest in the US I've spent about 20 years with a
Amy Brown: fabulous experience working in corporate America, specifically in the healthcare system of, of healthcare system of America. And so, you know, I've had a lot of experience studying customer interactions, particularly those of patients talking to big companies, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, and hospital systems.
Amy Brown: And as a leader, I became really interested in how, how we respond as organizations to humans who are calling us or texting us every day with a problem. And when I reached 40 years old, four kids, I said, you know, what is this my life, what my life is about in corporate America? Or do I need to go try to solve this problem and decided in late 2018 with the support of my, my spouse, That we were gonna go all in and I launched Authenticx at that time.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent.
Why does Authenticx exist?
Marcus Cauchi: So tell me this. Why does Authenticx exist?
Amy Brown: Our mission is to help humans understand humans and
Marcus Cauchi: Good luck
Amy Brown: More specifically, more specifically as if that challenges it in enough, help humans in corporate America or, or globally, corporations understand the customers they serve. There has been a tremendous industry, that's built up over the last 10 to 15 years around customer insights, customer feedback, customer experience. And we think that it is fundamentally flawed and that leaders are investing millions or billions of dollars soliciting feedback when they already own a data source, that's telling them everything they need to know.
Why is it corporations fundamentally flawed?
Marcus Cauchi: So let's elaborate on that. Why is it fundamentally flawed?
Amy Brown: So imagine that you've called your, your healthcare provider about a bill and when you call, you hear that this call is being recorded for quality and monitoring purposes. During the course of the conversation, with the person who's taking your call, you realize they made a mistake or they failed to send you something or they, they miscoded a charge and there's an exchange of information. And you explained to this representative. That you're frustrated that you've called three times, that this problem still isn't resolved, that you're starting to get bill collectors after you when this isn't even your fault. And this conversation takes about 10 minutes of your day. And imagine that at the end of the conversation, the representative says now, could you stay on the line to answer our survey about how we did?
Marcus Cauchi: Mm.
Amy Brown: That is what is happening today.
Marcus Cauchi: Right.
Those call recordings are being stored by organizations within their operations that are not leveraged
Amy Brown: It and that data source of, okay, so you go to a survey and they ask you to on a scale of one to five, hit the keypad. How you would rate your experience?
Amy Brown: Now they're getting a numeric value, a three or a two, but they don't know why , they don't know what led to your score.
Amy Brown: And all of that content exists in the call recording, but those call recordings are being stored by organizations within their operations. You know, their call center operations, but marketers and sales folks and strategists and compliance leaders, they're not leveraging that data set to figure out why their customer satisfaction score is what it.
Amy Brown: And so all that context, all of that, that richness of dialogue that helps inform how a customer really feels is lost. Meanwhile, the customer, the burden is on them. Like, hey, I just gave you my money, you're frustrating me to death. I've called you three times, and now you're asking for more of my time to tell you how you just did.
Amy Brown: You know.
Why take the survey data and give late feedback or no feedback at all?
Marcus Cauchi: What interests me now, I mean that, that, that is not just limited to the US health sector. I think, that's across the board in many corporations especially where they're operating call centers and it's all about volume, uh, speed of turnaround and harvesting your data. But what happens after you've taken the survey? And you don't get any feedback ,or if you do, it happens weeks or months later.
Marcus Cauchi: So it's not turned around quickly enough, so you're not using that information. That's small data from that one conversation in order to enhance the experience of the customer, that to me, smacks of incompetence as much as anything else, uh, and the best you can say, ignorance. Why is it that companies, uh, allow that to happen?
Marcus Cauchi: When it's so plainly obvious and all of us said, you know, the, the, the people in strategy and in marketing and in leadership must have experienced that kind of terrible experience themselves. So it's not alien, cuz it's pretty much universal. So why is it they allow that to continue?
Amy Brown: The first is, I don't think they have enough context as to why a numeric value or a score and a survey does not tell them enough to be able to take action. It's not actionable. Even if someone posts a review online, you know, on social media or on Google or whatever, and says, this was a terrible experience, there's not enough root cause analysis from that one line of text to really know well, what was the underlying cause of that?
The contact center bidirectional recorded data set is a much richer, much more reliable data source
Amy Brown: The fact is is that when you're studying conversations and this giant data source of recorded contact center conversations, you can get much more insight about what the context was around that customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction, and it becomes a lot more actionable. And that's what I mean, that's what Authenticx does is we've as a former executive in large industry, I was not satisfied by the customer survey data because I, it, it was not contextual enough or actionable enough to know why something was, why scores were what, what they were and what to do about it. Additionally, how many people actually respond to surveys there? This, these days, many there's so much fatigue , there's so much, uh, frustration with survey data and big corporations are, are relying on a fractional return rate of their customer satisfaction surveys to base their entire strategy around. And the data set is skewed because typically people are usually very, very happy or very unhappy to even put the effort forth of responding to a survey. So the data set just isn't good enough, survey data is not good enough to base your strategy around. You have to listen more comprehensively. You have to listen with more representative sample of your customer population that you're doing business with, you have to ask yourself what biases you have when listening to customer conversations. And that's why we feel that the contact center bidirectional recorded data set is a much richer, much more reliable data source to really understand the truth. And it's hard. I will tell you that sometimes we are not popular with our clients because I, I describe our work as holding up a mirror.
Marcus Cauchi: An ugly mirror.
Amy Brown: A lot of times, yes. And you know, if, imagine that I'm, I I'm presenting in a room where you've got the CFO and the CEO and the head of sales and marketing and the head of operations. It's very easy in a culture where there's not psychological safety in the room. To when you, when you hold up the truth of a, a painful trend in your customer experience, it's very tempting for human beings in that table to look around the room and figure out who to blame.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, this, this is really interesting. I interviewed Karen Mangia, who is at Salesforce, that in their customer experience team, and what was really fascinating, she had a story of a lady who reached out to her and they've done the CX piece and they've done research because they were thinking of launching a product and all of the customer feedback was don't do it , we don't see you in this space. We're not gonna buy it. And she was reaching out in frustration because the CEO, after having been presented with the evidence said, you know, I'm gonna make a captain's call on this. We're gonna launch it anyway. And it was a total disaster and I think part of this is down to the psychology of human beings, where once we've made up our minds, it's very difficult to change them in spite of the evidence. And the, the problem is when the evidence is out there, but the results are not, executives using their emotion in order to make strategically critical decisions that then affect thousands or tens of thousands of customer. Probably thousands of employees because of the knock on effect of poor performance dissatisfaction.
Marcus Cauchi: Meanwhile, they're buying their own Kool-Aid when it comes to having their NPS score. They're that promoter score. So one of the four most common questions that you get asked about rich contextual customer data and understanding the true voice of the customer.
When you're asking someone to complete a survey, bias is already built in
Amy Brown: We often get asked, well, how do you know that this is a reflection of the truth? And so, what our response is is a couple things it's unsolicited. So when you're, when you're asking someone to complete a survey, you're writing the question, you are defining the perspective of the question. Bias is already built in, right in your paradigm, you have written a question that you're asking a diverse customer population to answer. When you're studying unsolicited feedback, what you're getting is what's top of mind for that customer in their own words. In an unsolicited dialogue, where someone is contacting a company, to discuss their frustration, they're not responding to a question you've asked they're, they're telling you what they want you to hear and it removes the question design bias.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. That that's a fabulous response. Sorry. I interrupted.
Amy Brown: No, it's okay. The other, the other reason why we feel like it's a more honest data set to study actual customer conversations, is the fact is we work with health insurers, pharma and hospital systems within the US. There are, are 1 billion recorded voice conversations just within those tiny subsets of the market every year. That data set, you can tap into a hundred percent of it, utilizing technology and analysis. Whereas, with the survey data set, you're relying upon whoever decides to respond. So our point is, is that it's a more representative sample because you have access to the totality of it, the totality of, of customers who are choosing to interact with you. And you're not just, you've got happy customers, you've got angry customers and then you have all these customers in between. So you're able to see along the continuum of satisfaction what that customer experience looks like and try to draw correlations between customer satisfaction and what was going on in the experience.
Amy Brown: Oftentimes, we find that key drivers of dissatisfaction are related to the online experience. So someone's trying to do something online and they can't figure it out. So they have to make a call or something is confusing about doing business with that company. So the customer has to reach out. And another major driver of, of customer dissatisfaction that we found in studying the data set is the level of empathy and authenticity on the person taking the interaction.
Amy Brown: Those are the three key drivers from our study, and it's, it's just a more honest data set because you have access to the whole continuum of the customers you serve.
Marcus Cauchi: Fabulous. So that's critical. First of all, instead of dealing with a fraction of a percent of either very happy or very upset customers will take the time to respond to survey.
Marcus Cauchi: You have access to the full data set without any bias built in through the question that you've asked, and you can start to see with that volume of information, the patterns, and, uh, the pinch points, the triggers. And, uh, the places at which you as a business get between the customer and then being satisfied with their experience.
Amy Brown: That's right.
What's the second question people ask you commonly?
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay. So what's the second question people ask you commonly?
Amy Brown: When we present data and insights, we often show a data visualization like a pie chart or a graph that says, you know, 50% of your customers are calling with this problem, 30% are calling with this problem, but in order to really get leaders in the room to get from their head to their heart, we always provide an illustrative example of what that sounds like. So our users get a multisensory. So what we do, is our, is our platform, tags and clips, audio segments that speak to that theme in the data and we compile them so that in a let's say, a five minute audio compilation, we call them audio montages, they can hear 10 different customers over and over again saying your online portal didn't work, your online portal stinks.
Amy Brown: You, I can't figure out how to get to this, this part of your, of your system. I don't know how to do this, just back to back to back. And it is so impactful that I have seen CFOs brought to tears when listening to this. And, and oftentimes the question is, yeah, but are, but is that just the, the anomaly? Is that just the for kind of sexiness are you pulling out just the worst case scenario? And our platform is designed to truly reflect the truth. And so we, we often get asked to kind of justify, is it really that bad and it's again, it's that resistance to, to facing the truth. It's very hard and it's not, it's a scary thing. And it's a, it it's, it makes people feel vulnerable. And frankly, as a leader doing this business, I've really had to learn how to assess the receptivity of the room. How much of the truth do they want it? Are, are they prepared to receive? And oftentimes, I've made some mistakes. Like sometimes I've just bam for, you know, and, and I've learned that over time, some audiences need to be gently brought to the truth of what's going on in their interaction data set.
Marcus Cauchi: How often do you find denial creeps?
It is important that we demonstrate statistical significance
Amy Brown: Skepticism always creeps in. That's why it's really important. Then in our work that we demonstrate statistical significance that we have, you know, quantitative data to back up the qualitative data, because it's just very easy given the themes that come out of this data set. The themes that are generated from unhappy customers is very easy to wanna deny that that's really true.
And are you pulling data from happy customers as well? Or is it just the unhappy?
Marcus Cauchi: And are you pulling data from happy customers as well? Or is it just the unhappy?
Amy Brown: No, we, we always start with a client with what we call a representative sample. So we want a sample set that represents the truth because here's the good news, and this is the good news that marketers should be really excited about.
Amy Brown: We've been spending a lot of this conversation talking about the negative. But in fact, there are always in every client data set we've studied, there are always positives. There are always stories of how a service or a product has impacted someone's life. There are always examples of individual human beings at the company who do an outstanding job, serving your customer.
Amy Brown: We've had marketers. Marketer's job is to figure out you know, what your, your brand promises and, and to market your brand promises. And that's all theoretical, right? Based on internal dialogue and, and maybe some survey data and that kind of thing. We've had marketers say to us wow, we didn't realize that customers really valued this thing about our product or service. But after studying the data set and seeing that 20% of, of customers are, are without being asked, saying how much they really value this thing about our product or this aspect of our communications or this part of our, our service. We need to market that, we need to like shine a light on that.
You don't define your brand, your customers do
Marcus Cauchi: Well, Steve, Steve jobs said, you know, a brand is trust and it's what the customers trust you to do. You don't define your brand, your customers do.
Amy Brown: That's right.
Marcus Cauchi: So again, why is it so many marketers spend their time trying to force Steve, their brand values to their customers instead of actually listening to?
Amy Brown: I think a lot of marketers work with executives that, you know, have aspirational goals and think they know what they are. And it's so important to, to reality taste, test that with the data set, coming from the customers. And, and we've seen many examples of happy surprises where either yeah, your brand value or your brand promise is being appreciated. Oh, and also there's this other thing that they really, really value about you that you didn't even know, or you weren't even, you know, paying attention to. And one of the coolest parts about what we do is we feed testimonials from the literal voice of your customer without being asked. Customers are saying, oh my gosh, thank you so much. You've helped me today. Wow, that's so cool. I love that about your product. Oh, that's really cool. The website is great. That comes through all day, everyday. These customer interactions and it's not being mind from a marketer's perspective. It's it's just being stored and ignored. So there are organically generated testimonials in that data set that can come from a renewable resource.
Amy Brown: It's your customer contacts.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, again, really important to understand that if you're not genuinely listening to your customers, then you are missing out on the critical message that will tell you because they will teach you how they want to buy. And if you are not paying attention to that, then you are missing out on a huge amount of opportunity. And what's the point. You're also leaving the door open for a competitor to steal your lunch. So, I mean, when you, when you pick up on this data, typically, I, I, I know you may not have, uh, the exact numbers, but sort of gut feel how much money are these companies leaving on the table because of this inability to listen, or their, you know, their customer death.
Amy Brown: Each company has an incredible marketing budget typically, especially in the enterprise world. And they're investing millions and millions of dollars in solicited feedback. Means asking for reviews, asking for surveys.
Amy Brown: Meanwhile, they have tens of thousands of customer interactions coming into their call center on a given week that they're leaving to the cost center side of the enterprise to handle and manage and aren't leveraging at all.
Amy Brown: So if you think about what, what marketers spend on brand strategy, on customer feedback and customer insights so that they can inform their strategy, they're wasting a tremendous amount of money in an unreliable data source.
How much is the customer feedback industry worth?
Marcus Cauchi: How much is the industry worth?
Amy Brown: So the customer feedback industry is 32 billion.
Marcus Cauchi: Is that what part or just US?
Amy Brown: That's US.
Marcus Cauchi: Wow. Okay. That's a lot of money.
Amy Brown: And that includes, when I think about customer experience management, it includes kind of three things. The first is speech analytics, the second is market research, kind of traditional means of market research and the third is brand reputation or customer feedback, which, you know, you can think about online review platforms and that kind of thing.
Marcus Cauchi: So G2, those kind of things. This is fascinating. When you think about the amount of money that is spent on corporate marketing, that is totally ignored. Whether it's paper click that's 265 billion a year just on, uh, Facebook and Google ads that get one or zero clicks. When you think about the amount of spam and, uh, corporate email that is being generated to try and drive customers. And they're working on response rates of half the 1% and that's considered good.
What kind of uplifts are companies experiencing in sales, in retention, in repeat business, in referrals, in your experience?
Marcus Cauchi: If you take this customer generated spontaneous data and you put that into practice and you, you apply that to your campaigns, to your strategy. What kind of uplifts are companies experiencing in sales, in retention, in repeat business, in referrals, in your experience?
Amy Brown: Yeah. I mean, the truth is we're doing, and the use case of the data that we're trying to solve is, is very new, right? We're a new company. And I don't know of any other companies that are using this data source for the same reason. So we are still studying the uplift potential. What I can say is that marketers have used the data set that we, or the, the insights that we've been able to produce in the last 18 months for them to be much more in tune and aligned with what their customers are actually telling them. And we've been able to see customer satisfaction scores go up on average by 10 points within about six months.
Amy Brown: We've been able to give marketers feedback around their campaign. So if they launch a new television ad or they launch a new digital marketing ad, customers are immediately talking about that when they call in. And so, they're using that data in real time to enhance and update their marketing campaigns to do better.
Amy Brown: I'll give you one case study that I think may speak to your question a little more specifically, but again, it's, it's a single case study. We had a client, a, a global insurance travel insurance company who had a sales contact center. The whole purpose of the contact center was to thrive sales. Someone would call say they wanted to buy something and, and so these were licensed sales people. Within two months of studying the data, we could see that 40% of the interactions coming in were simply help desk calls. They were customers who were trying to make their purchase online. And the online experience wasn't user friendly enough that they had to call the phone number and say, well, I'm trying to do this. I don't know what to do. And so these, these licensed sales people were actually helping them figure out how to navigate the website. So what we did with that data is we provided both kind of visualizations, but also those call montages I referred to earlier and gave them to the UX and UI team and the IT team that, that developed the whole website and they made the changes. And within two months after they made the changes to their website, their help desk call volume went from 40% to 8% and their click to pay rate on their website went up 20%.
Marcus Cauchi: Wow.
Amy Brown: So we knew that we had actually identified a root cause problem. They had used that data to solve it and that it had a revenue impact.
Marcus Cauchi: Fantastic. Okay. I recognize it's just one example, but again, it doesn't surprise me because when you go onto websites, they're often difficult to navigate or you get stuck. And so you drop the basket and you know, there, there must be good indicators that already exist that there must be frustrated by but they are symptom. They're not the cause.
What are the symptoms you look for that indicates they need to pay attention to nonsolid contextual data from the customer?
Marcus Cauchi: So, when you are going in to meet, uh, a prospect, what are the symptoms that you are typically looking for that will give you a good indication that actually they need to be paying greater attention to the, uh, nonsolid contextual data from the customer?
Amy Brown: They'll say things like, I don't know why people are calling us. Why are we taking a million calls a month when we have this fabulous digital experience. People can self serve and do everything online. Why are they calling us? We provided them all the things they need and marketed the hell out of it so that they can use it for not using.
Marcus Cauchi: My friend Amy Woodall is a specialist in customer service and, uh, she has a lovely line, which is the customer's not always right, but when they're wrong, it's often our fault. Unless you start by looking in the mirror, uh, you're gonna find yourself deeply disappointing to your customers on a regular basis. And you'll be blaming the wrong people because very often you find sales people and marketing people blaming the customer for something they've failed to do, or, or they have done that's created the condition.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. What's the third question you often get asked?
Amy Brown: From a customer experience perspective, why do our customers leave us?
Marcus Cauchi: In this market, there is probably not a more important question to be able to address if you're not hanging onto your customers in the current downturn, then you are in deep trouble. Cause somewhere, depending on what industry you're in, between 6 and 21 times more to acquire a customer than to keep them and sell them again.
Brand attractors and detractors
Marcus Cauchi: So what are you seeing in terms of insight? Uh, around retention?
Amy Brown: Yeah, so there's a high degree of frustration that customers have that they express in these interactions. We measure as a part of our work brand detractors and underneath the category of brand detractors, you know, depending on the industry, there's
Marcus Cauchi: Sorry, is that attractors or detractors?
Amy Brown: We actually measure both.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay.
Amy Brown: We look for both. So we look for brand attractors and brand detractors. And the number one brand detractor is confusion. Not understanding how to utilize your product or service or not getting the information needed to solve a problem. There is a lot of feedback and keep in mind, you know, the industries we specialize in is healthcare. So, and in the US, unfortunately, we're the most complex and ridiculous healthcare system in the world. So we've, the level of frustration that customers feel about navigating healthcare in the US is off the charts and it is absolutely the number one brand detractor. And, it leaves to people feeling hopeless, frustrated, expressing I'm leaving, I'm going to find somewhere else. So that would be the number one reason people leave is they're just frustrated and they don't feel like it's easy for them to get their problem solved.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay. And the fourth question?
Amy Brown: What do I do about it?
Marcus Cauchi: What do I do about what?
Amy Brown: Well, you've held up the truth, what am I supposed to do?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. And once you've told them what to do, no doubt there's denial and, uh, pushback.
Marcus Cauchi: So who is typically asking that question within the corporate, within the enterprise?
Scalable customer immersion experience
Amy Brown: Well, we serve a few different personas within corporate. We serve a compliance persona, who's looking to, to figure out what are the compliance, events or triggers that are happening in these conversations. We have the folks who run the call center, who now have insight about their people and how effective or ineffective they are at delivering customer experience. And then we have marketers who wanna figure out how to, to grow revenue, um, as quickly as possible. What we recommend doing and, and what we design is a corporate listening program. Where utilizing our platform this is not a one and done project. This is a ongoing listening platform that brings together opportunities for operations, compliance, marketing, to sit in the same room if they want and listen together. Because what we've done is created a scalable customer immersion experience. Customer immersions, uh, are kind of a, a, a thing that, um, patient experience or customer experience leaders create. And what they do is they usually make a day of it, where they invite customers in, and there's face to face conversations and there's interviews and in a post COVID world, that's really not possible. It's expensive and it's it's labor intensive. And what we're saying is, look, you've got a data set where from a, without leaving your corporate walls, you can listen all day in a scalable way. Like you don't part of our, our, the goal of our product is to tune our tune, the insights to the ears that need to hear those insights. And so, you know, a marketer just having access to a telephony platform to hunt and peck and try to find, you know, calls that are meaningful is just a, a colossal waste of time. And so our platform is designed to serve up a curated sample of interactions that make the listening exercise much more valuable and much more efficient.
So how do you make sure that the curated data is unbiased?
Marcus Cauchi: So how do you make sure that the curated data is unbiased?
Amy Brown: It's a great question. It's something that I am super passionate about and something that I'm concerned about in the sexy world of AI and natural language processing. I think our competitors sell a silver bullet solution that's really false.
Amy Brown: The fact is, is that humans communicate differently depending on their, a variety of social and cultural factors. My education is in social work.
Marcus Cauchi: Right.
Amy Brown: And then I spent a career in business and it is incredibly important to me as I build this business we're in to try to tackle the inherent bias that goes into algorithm building.
Amy Brown: And the way we do it is rather than coming into an organization and saying, hey, here's our algorithms. Here are the words we're looking for, turn it on and let it reply. We actually have a team of social scientists that study the data set with our own human ears rapidly and early and often in the data set. So well, our. Our platform will apply some assumptive content that we're looking for. So based on our, based on our industry experience, we're looking, we know that generally there are themes of these things for frustration or these things for value, but then we tune the model by applying social scientists from a diverse background and skillset to make sure that we're, we are, not, um, excluding customer voices that need to be included. And we're not perfect at it by any means, but if it, but if, as an industry, as a, as an industry in the world of natural language processing and AI, I think it's much more important that we approach solving problems with an honest, you know, uh, acceptance of bias and our best effort to try to avoid bias. And that's how we
Marcus Cauchi: I, I have to say that is incredible. I've never heard anybody take such a responsible perspective in order to eliminate the, uh, the bias so you to be congratulated that that's fabulous.
Amy Brown: I appreciate that. And yet it is really tough to sell to corporates who know the buzz words and want to believe the competitors who are promising, you know, the silver bullet solution. And it's just, it's, it's false. And what we find success with when, when we successfully make a sale, it's usually to seasoned corporates who have already been burned by this promise of AI, solving all their world's problems from a listening perspective.
What are the potential buyer's questions?
Marcus Cauchi: Tell me this, you must meet potential buyers and there are probably some burning questions that they should ask, but they don't.
Marcus Cauchi: What are those questions?
Amy Brown: I think potential buyers are always looking for immediacy, a, a return on investment as quickly as possible. And so they, they often wanna know, well, how quick do I get to the good stuff? How quick do I get to the insights? And the fact is is that while we feel very good, that there are insights from day one, listening for understanding is a journey and a process and investment. And the unpopular truth is, is that this work needs to be ongoing. It needs to be baked into your, how you do business, corporate listening is not a project, it's not an annual initiative, it's not an annual survey. It needs to be baked into how you make business decisions all day, every day. And so I wish that I would get asked what can we expect in month one, in month six, in year one? More of a recognition that this is there are no easy one and done answers. This is an investment in being in tune with your customers. So that would be one question.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. That that's a, a very valid question cause if you're gonna do this, it can't be the soup du jour of the next, um, you know, shiny object.
Amy Brown: I mean, if you're really serious about basing your marketing strategy or your business strategy based on custom, the voice of the customer, which is such a popular phrase, the voice of the customer, what they really mean is survey voices.
Marcus Cauchi: The problem with the voice of the customer is everyone is doing it and they're all doing it badly. So everybody sounds just like everyone else. And unless you'd approaching it with the kind of scientific long term compassionate approach that you are, I can't see how it will help you to differentiate. The research on this is very clear, 60% of buying cycles end up in the status quo. And that's because sellers fail to understand how to communicate what the cost of inaction is. Um, and the, the nobody talks about that.
Marcus Cauchi: They're all about ROI, not COI. The second thing is that they're so fixated on the transaction, they're not looking at the lifetime customer and the value that they can bring because, you know, healthcare is something that's visceral, it's near and dear to, you know, everybody's heart, whether you're on a public system, uh, or you're paying privately and, uh, it can be life or death. So in an industry like. If you're not being compassionate towards the customer, then they will march with their feet and they'll take their money elsewhere if they're able to, and they'll get incredibly frustrated. But also in this day and age, they'll also be incredibly vocal. Now in terms of other data, not only the call centers, but also the unsolicited user generated content, I'm really curious to find out well, first of all, do you tap into that data? And if you don't, who does and what's it teaching us?
Amy Brown: Yeah, there are social listening platforms out there that are, you know, pulling content from Facebook, from online public sources. Authenticx at this time does not incorporate that data into our platform. It's in our roadmap for a later time. But the reason why we've started, where, where we have with this bidirectional conversation, it's definitely the hardest choice. My mom always said, Amy, you always, you always pick the hardest thing to do. Why don't you ever pick an easy thing to do? But the reason why we have started with bidirectional is because there's more context and there's it, it's a richer data source.
Amy Brown: Even with social listening, `there is a skewed, biased people who, who have something to talk about or vent about are, are doing that online. And you're seeing a, a line of co uh, text, right? You're not really getting the full story or the two way conversation. There's just so much more insight that comes to a, a bidirectional conversation.
Amy Brown: Whether it's an email or voice we do take in email chat conversations as well. But they're bidirectional and that's why we, we just think it's, it's the harder data set, but it's a, a richer one.
Are you able to observe and extrapolate from tonality, emotion and so forth as part of your offering?
Marcus Cauchi: And are you able to observe and extrapolate from tonality, emotion and so forth as part of your offering?
Amy Brown: Yeah, so we, we look for indicators of emotion and sentiment, we look for expressions that we've come to realize are filled with emotion. When one example that isn't intuitive is post COVID. In studying the data set, we saw a lot of the phrase with what's going on right now. And that phrase was used over and over again. Now, when you look at those, those words on a piece of paper, you don't necessarily attach emotion to it, but given the global context in COVID and when you listen to the context around that phrase, you heard stress, overwhelming trauma concern, worry. So we learned that in a post COVID world, looking for the phrase with what's going on right now was a key indicator of customer sentiment.
The real value is in the small data
Marcus Cauchi: Very interesting. And that's yes another example of how the real value is in the small data. It's buried somewhere in the big data, but it's the small data. I think Martin Lindstrom has written a book called small data, which is very good and really worth a read. And the other one is The Context Marketing Revolution by Mathew Sweezey. Because I, I think marketing is in dire need of a massive overhaul and the whole customer experience, the whole sales enablement piece, sales, I think we're all due for a really, uh, big blood letting as we start to become more human in our approach to the customer. And those that don't will be left dying in the dust.
What, what is it that you are struggling with? What are you resting with at the moment?
Marcus Cauchi: Um, Amy, this has been incredibly insightful and I would love to have you back. But before, uh, we wrap up, let me ask you this. What, what is it that you are struggling with? What are you resting with at the moment?
Amy Brown: How much time do we have? I think I'll name two things. The first is, when I'm talking with marketers or CIO's, that you used the phrase drink in the Kool-Aid earlier, that, that believe in the current popular methodologies for understanding customer voice or customer experience, you know, how do, how does someone truly disrupt that? Particularly in an environment you know, I talk a lot about fear based behavior and in corporate worlds, unfortunately, a lot of what you do to survive that and I used, used to work there is, you take on a very competitive persona and you don't wanna be vulnerable and you wanna do the popular thing and not necessarily the right thing to, to it's it's cut-throat right? So,to help prospects feel safe in doing something different. That's a challenge for me in talking with marketers and CIO's is, is convincing them or helping them see that it's okay to take the risk at trying an alternative approach of getting voice of the customer data. I've had some prospects that really, yeah, I really like what you're doing, but we've, you know, we've spent so much of our budget on NPS or we've spent so much of our, you know, we've, we've spent three years perfecting our survey methodology that it would be wildly unpopular for us to say, wait, there's a different way. So that's a challenge, right? Is, is trying to disrupt the status quo in an environment where that can be scary corporates to do that.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, what you're up against there is, well, first of all, Forester, uh, did some research. Tail end of 2019. And the outcome of that was only 7% of companies were using their data well, so 93% are not. Second thing is that, companies that tend to win new business are the ones that can disrupt the existing preferences. So identifying how or staying stuck will cost them or harm them, are able to create enough difference between this status quo and the competitive offerings and themselves, so that they've created that wide space, because part of the problem is when they can't differentiate, they'll default to the status quo. And the fourth piece is, uh, being able to create a hero's journey story, which puts the customer at the center of it in order to eliminate and neutralize anticipated blame and regret. Now, in order to do that, it's really important to take the prospect through a process of self discovery using their data, their information, and have them tell their story.
Marcus Cauchi: And what I found very powerful is when you ask those insightful questions, your average salesperson will ask questions in order to gather information. And what passes for average in sales is pretty atrocious. Then the slightly better sales people will ask questions to gain understanding, but the real true masters, the a players will ask questions that deliver insight.
Marcus Cauchi: Now in all probability, there will not be a great deal of variance between the kind of pains and problems any of your prospects or customers are suffering from. And all of that can be planned for, but it's really important to be clear in your mind what it is that your prospects want to have, what they want to know, what they want to achieve and what they want to be known for.
Marcus Cauchi: Otherwise, your struggle to get your message across.
When you're asking about what they want to know, achieve and so on, what are you discovering?
Marcus Cauchi: So in the course of your conversations, when you're asking about what they want to know, achieve and so on, what are you discovering?
Amy Brown: In terms of what they want to know and what they want to discover.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Amy Brown: They, I mean, they want to know what customers really think and they want to know how to use that information to drive market share, competitive advantage, customer retention.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. But why do they want to know that to drive those outputs or those outcomes?
Amy Brown: So that they can compete and so that they can drive top line revenue into their organizations?
Marcus Cauchi: Really?
Amy Brown: What do you think?
Marcus Cauchi: Well, tell me this. When you were in corporate America, how often did you do things for your reasons rather than the seller's reasons?
Amy Brown: A lot.
So how do you personalize those questions in order that they tell you their story and you uncover their personal, emotional motivation?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. So how do you personalize those questions in order that they tell you their story and you uncover their personal, emotional motivation?
Amy Brown: Well, I usually first make it safe to be vulnerable by saying, you know, I talk to a lot of people who are in your shoes and I used to be one. I used to be in your shoes. And here's what I struggled with, I struggled to know, am I really using the right data set to understand what the truth is? How do I figure out how to drive a brand strategy that really is tied to what our customers think of us. How do I listen better? And, you know, I always had to face what was popular, the shiny bell and whistle and, and that kind of thing.
Amy Brown: So I usually take them through what I'm hearing from others and what I have gone through to make it safe for them to say, oh yeah, we've got that problem too. If I just start out with interrogation so what are you struggling with? I found that not to be an effective way to get to the, the personalization piece.
When you were in their shoes, what were you afraid of? What were you concerned about? Who was scrutinizing you?
Marcus Cauchi: That side absolutely brilliant. Love it. My next question is this, when you were in their shoes, what were you afraid of? What were you concerned about? Who was scrutinizing you? What were you being measured on that you have, uh, felt that you were coming up short?
Amy Brown: Yeah, so again, in corporate America, there's a lot of fear based behavior, there's a lot of expectations of immediacy of result. I most often would come up against the CFO who was wondering, who, who didn't see a correlation between customer experience, voice of the customer research and bottom line. That it didn't, it didn't make sense to them why we would invest in listening, does that really, you know, does that really drive revenue?
Amy Brown: And so I often felt like it was squishy to try to convince someone that it was a worthwhile cause, but the tools that I had were imperfect tools, they were, you know, surveys and I, and that's part of the reason why we launched Authenticx was to use a more reliable data source that CFOs, say oh, okay that makes sense. It's a, we're leveraging something we already own and b, it's more representative.
If you had a golden ticket and you could go back and whisper in the idiot ears of Amy aged 23,what advice would you give her?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. We could talk about this for hours and I'd love to, at some point, if you're open to it, maybe offline, but I'm conscious we're coming to time now.Tell me if you had a golden ticket and you could go back and whisper in the idiot ears, uh, of Amy aged 23,what advice would you give her?
Amy Brown: I would tell her that I was so self critical, everything I did and said, I would have an internal talk track of that wasn't good enough that wasn't, you know, smart enough. And I would tell her that being real and tuned in and present is way more valuable than trying to be right.
What are you being influenced by at the moment, what are you reading, watching, listening to that you think is really good?
Marcus Cauchi: That's advice. I wish I'd taken. Okay. So last question then, what, what are you being influenced by at the moment, what are you reading, watching, listening to that you think is really good?
Amy Brown: I'm currently reading a book called Winners Take All by Anand and I'm probably gonna get his last name wrong. Giridharadas. And it's all about the sh the, kind of the charade of elitist in tech trying to change the world, but all the while that they're changing the world, they're protecting their own elite status in the world. And that's really near and dear to my heart because here I am a venture backed tech company, uh, receiving money from wealthy individuals, corporate VCs, and, um, yet I really do have missional purpose to what, to what I we're doing.
Amy Brown: So this book is really fascinating. It's provocative. It's it's, it's one of those examples of holding up the truth and you don't really wanna hear it.
Marcus Cauchi: Have you come across Brotopia by Emily Chang?
Amy Brown: I haven't read that one yet.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. Well, you, you are one of the 3% of, um, women invested businesses, um, uh, last year.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah. Last 2019 was the peak of VC and private equity investment in women owned businesses in black owned businesses and Latino owned businesses. So women hit the absolute peak of 3% of all funds. Latino business is one and a half and black owned business is 1%. So obviously these in these investors are massively changing their team. Uh, you know, you must be overwhelmed by this sort of tsunami of love. So on a future conversation, I'd love to talk to you about the challenges of being the owner of a woman led business. Um, What it was like in corporate America? I, I suspect that might have been a catalyst for hours of conversation.
Marcus Cauchi: Would you be willing to come back?
Amy Brown: Absolutely. I would love to talk about that. I've got some stories.
Marcus Cauchi: I imagine you do. Amy Brown. Thank you so much. This has been incredibly insightful and I, I love your philosophy around. Um, the, uh, diversity in making sure the AI data is as clean as possible. Uh, I love your mission to humanize, uh, the whole piece so that people aren't human beings understand human beings.
Marcus Cauchi: And I think the work that you're doing is genuinely meaningful and important, and I wish you every success.
Amy Brown: Thank you so much, Marcus. It's been fun.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. So this is Marcus Cauchi signing off once again from The Inquisitor Podcast. If you've enjoyed this conversation, then please do get in touch.
How can people get hold of you?
Marcus Cauchi: Amy, how can people get hold of you?
Amy Brown: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcus Cauchi: And that's authentic with an X. Excellent. And you can get ahold of me at email@example.com or via linkedin. And if you think you'd be a good guest or, you know, someone who would be, then please get in touch and please like comment and share and subscribe to this podcast and give feedback to me and Amy. We, we love hearing from you and it'd be wonderful to get your thoughts. In the meantime, stay safe and happy selling. Bye bye.