This week, I attended PegaWorld 2019 in Las Vegas, where Merkle participated as a sponsor, exhibitor, and thought leader. Our colleagues and clients were among 5000 business leaders from more than 700 brands across 50 countries. What attracted us to the conference was the pursuit of intelligent automation and customer engagement excellence, with a focus on innovation, leadership, and collaboration.
In the first customer keynote of the event, VodafoneZiggo’s Nicole Verburg talked about the concept of meaningful customer dialogue. Her brand sees success coming from putting the customer first; delivering next-level marketing that goes beyond the big idea, with a sole focus on insight that leads to business transformation. VodafoneZiggo achieved this by driving and accelerating convergence across its customer base with hero propositions that create happy customers. This is delivered by a central decisioning capability with adaptive learning with a feedback loop of essential real-time interaction history. The company’s success factors include strong internal branding, having clear ownership and governance, and getting real executive sponsorship — right up to CEO and COO level.
Themes from the Conference
A common topic of conversation at PegaWorld was centered on the pitfalls and mistakes peers make on their journey to enhancing customer engagement – albeit with the best intentions. These pitfalls can be summed up as:
1. Arranging engagement around the channels and not being organized around the customer, or the customer journey. The pitfalls of this are that systems become brittle.
2. Focusing on tasks not outcomes. This is a blinkered approach that can be to the detriment of the customer experience and commercial rewards.
3. The presence of operational silos and not an end-to-end, common perspective business-wide. This is where empathy has an all-important role to play.
The way to avoid the above drawbacks is to drop intelligence into every channel with a single decisioning brain that can bridge across channels and has the capability to unify and mediate. Brands including VodafoneZiggo, RBS, BT/EE, and Verizon exemplify how to do it successfully.
Another theme of discussion at PegaWorld was effective delivery. The common success factors were identified as the ability to achieve benefits in an iterative and agile manner. On this, Pega’s founder and CEO, Alan Trefler called out an evolution in the way businesses should focus on enhancing customer engagement: One micro journey at a time. Trefler extends that a successful “microjourney” architecture ensures that once you’ve engaged, you can execute. He says that takes heart, confidence, and most importantly, empathy.
PegaWorld 2019 was one for the books and certainly explored the increasing importance of intelligent automation and customer engagement excellence.