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Ep24: Leslie Stretch, President and CEO at Medallia

"Feedback makes us better."

Episode Summary

Nobody understands the customer quite like Leslie. In episode 24 of our Datavana Podcast, Leslie Stretch (President and CEO at Medallia) talks all things customer feedback and how these invaluable insights fuel improvement. "It's about putting together the insights that tell you why people buy or why they leave you."

Gathering feedback and opted-in data about the customer experience from a range of channels, Leslie and his company ensures that no stone is left unturned. “My view of data is how do we uncover the voice of the silent majority in every context.” Acting upon insights given directly by the customer allows you to better understand them. This understanding unlocks the potential to shape and render a better experience for customers, improving their journey and the business as a result.

Leslie and host Jaimie Muirhead also chat about personalization, intent data, CDPs, and Medallia’s developments in cross brand journeys. "Journeys are where the world is moving in terms of trying to understand the value of feedback."

Ep24: Leslie Stretch, President and CEO at Medallia
Name: Leslie Stretch
What he does: President and CEO
Company: Medallia
Noteworthy: Leslie served as President and CEO of CallidusCloud for over 10 years
Where to find Leslie: LinkedIn

Episode Highlights

Medallia’s Global Data Sets.

"That's how we look at this data world that we live in. We see the voice of the silent majority is embodied in all of this 'digital exhaust'. But the power of this data set, this massive global data set is multifaceted. There's a benchmarking capability. So we can tell a luxury brand what an automotive brand is doing in terms of moments that matter in their customer journeys. We can tell them how to ask a question. When to ask a question. We can get priority information. The other value piece is, you shouldn't pick up the phone, send an email, run a marketing campaign, make a sales call without understanding the customer's context, their sentiment, their history. There's this movement around a CDP (Customer Data Platform) right now, what we're interested in is a customer aware data platform that makes all other systems customer aware. The contact that our customers want and that we seek to provide is much, much richer than the traditional marketing approach."

The Value of Customer Feedback.

"Those customers that have bought from you before, you should know everything if you've done the right data acquisition. You’ll know how they feel about you because you’ll have asked them about your feedback. You’ll have made a record of that. I use an app called Voices every day. I can click on the customer name that's left the feedback and I can see the last eight quarters of feedback and sentiment, or their promoter score. Tonnes of data at a glance. That's a customer aware platform. You should know so much about your known transacted customers that you know exactly how and when to target them. And then you have all of a sudden this massive pool of prospects where you have gathered this digital exhaust and you begin to see how they might behave. If you could market to all of those people that showed some interest and gradually qualify that lead pool, that massive ROI."

The Future of CDP.

The launch that we're doing in our experience conference is a customer aware data platform, which is really quite different. We will use the backbone of a Salesforce Customer 360, which is very valuable to us, then integrate with that. That could be a data source. There are so many data sources. And the other dimension here that's interesting is that in the B2C world, conventional CRM has not had the target, right? Because the customer transaction relationship, customer transaction provider retail, or relationship is sometimes hard to pin down. And so in the feedback world you can actually pin that relationship and identify who the customer is, so they can be better served. Those are the twin goals of our customer aware data platform. Solve for B2C, but talk about the dimensions of where the customer has been, where they're going and what their intentions are. Not just a perfect view of who they are. To me that's just basic table stakes. You know, that's the difference.

Cross Brand Journeys.

"Taking that network gathering of feedback into this higher level, which is cross brand journeys, is something that I think we're leading the field, thought and research areas in. But we won't be seeing the network effect of feedback and existing businesses. I mean, think about insurance agents. They need to understand the agent and the relationship with the agent broker dealer and the customer. All these relationships. And when you think about the conventional framework of CDP, it hasn't taken account of these network effects, which is really interesting to us. And so that's where our customer aware data platform focuses on. The network effects and on the organic data. This growing feedback that really fleshes out and colors in the profile of the customer."

The Next Step of Understanding Data.

"In Medallia's world, the real thing is focusing on these missing data sets around unsolicited feedback. The voice of the silent majority, as I call it. We all know the social implications of just listening to the vocal minority. And all too often we find major $50-$60 billion revenue companies who depend on old school survey technology who get four or 5% response rates. I think it's absolutely shocking. I don't think you should be in business if all you can get is a 4 or 5% response rate. My industry is separated and it's us with this full spectrum data capture capability, video, voice ideas and so on. That's the kind of mission we are; get across the possibilities of this live and living dataset of feedback. Which is so powerful. That's our real focus. So Medallia, we see companies are just completely missing that opportunity of customer context. Feedback makes us better. It's proven time and time and time and time again."

Key Insights

  • Gathering Prospect Data. Leslie explains the future of intent data and how we now have the opportunity to target those people simply ‘browsing’. Leslie likens it with the analogy of people who visit an art gallery but don’t purchase anything and leave no data trail behind. "If you've ever bought a piece of art from a gallery, they'd save your name and address and very quickly that art gallery is going to follow up with you to show you something else. They go to you first, their patrons and people who have bought from them. Because they’d have no clue about all the people that looked into the gallery window and left. Not a clue. But with data today, many of those people are now qualified buyers. They haven't bought anything but are people who've browsed, who searched. There's a ton of data about that."
  • Information Architecture. Leslie describes Medallia’s system of sorting customer feedback data to make it more readable and with richer context. They apply an organic, biological approach, building upon layers of analyzed feedback which is evaluated for themes, then structured into an easily accessible and understandable manner. "You can color code the feedback like a traffic light. Red for warning, red for issues. This customer is never coming back. Right. And we gather that over time so there's a time series of feedback. Journeys is where the world is moving in terms of trying to understand the value of feedback, but also the context of feedback; where the customer's been, where they've transacted, what their sentiment tells you about where they may go is the breakthrough. That’s organic biological growing data."
  • Cross Brand Journeys. According to Leslie, the holy grail of his industry lies in the possibility of tracking customer’s feedback-data and journeys across different products and brands. Providing a single piece of constructive feedback meant for a number of different apps in a matter of seconds is the next breakthrough headed for the market. "Here's my constructive feedback for today. And I expect big machines to process that. Marry me out with cohorts of other customers that did the same transactions to surface insights. Instead, each one of those brands has to do it for themselves. For B2C that's a big Nirvana. And if you think about the travel and hospitality world, they have these partnerships of hotels, airlines, partnerships, and rental car partnerships, where the cross-brand journey should be accessible to all of them."

Top Quotes

[05:30] "We're about soliciting feedback for our customers about their products, services and experiences. And getting unsolicited feedback through their digital footprint, that digital exhaust we all emit."

[06:50] "Customers build the best products and employees build the best companies"

[15:39] "Today marketing is still in the dark ages. It's just about clean data to sell to start more campaigns. That to me is too primitive for the 21st century."

[23:43] "We're much more, almost organic or biological in nature, because what we're building up is this layer or analyzed feedback, right. Which is analyzed for themes. You can color code the feedback, you know, in a traffic light or red for warning, red for issues. This customer is never coming back."

[39:51] "Feedback makes us better. It's proven time and time and time and time again."