“Customers are everything. You need to be connected to them constantly. That implies big digital and knowledge-based capabilities.”

--Leslie Stretch, CEO, Medallia

Leslie Stretch knows customer experience inside and out. As CEO of Medallia, a company whose Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform helps its customers really understand and manage the experience for their customers, employees and citizens, he lives and breathes customer experience. I was excited to have Leslie as my guest on the Xaas Files podcast so he can share his wisdom and industry best practices around customer and employee experiences today.

My role heading up the Revenue Acceleration practice means I get a bird’s eye view of how many companies require help with their overall experience as they transition to an as-a-Service subscription model. Leslie’s view is that ‘getting it right’ means taking the slice out of experience by establishing a high-fidelity signal with both employees and customers.

But how does that happen? At Medallia, it happens because they help companies capture the experiences signaled from journeys in-person, on calls, through digital channels, over video, social media and other machine interactions. Then, they apply proprietary Artificial Intelligence technology to reveal personalized, predictive insights that can help to drive the best next actions for positive business results.

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The subscription model makes the customer experience - well, everything.

Leslie was quick to point out that while experience has always mattered, the subscription model gives companies nowhere to hide if it’s not good. “In a subscription model . . . if you’re not delivering what you promise, people don’t renew,” he shared. Because of this transparency, “. . . customer loyalty programs that use crude mechanisms to engender loyalty points have fallen into the gutter. They’ve gone by the wayside. Customer loyalty is completely disrupted. So how do you create the right agenda? Our conviction is it’s through delivering fabulous experiences and we have a ton of research and data to supports that idea.”

High-fidelity signals require the right technology

I don’t think any CEO would argue with that assertion - but many would question how to get there. With so many paths to choose from, it can be overwhelming even for a seasoned executive team. In my experience, a good experience hinges on having the infrastructure to deliver consistency so customers feel a brand is dependable as well as adaptable. Platforms like Medallia’s can help build that infrastructure foundation - with amazing results.

“After our customers go live, in about 35 or 40 days, we’ve seen their customer response rates go up by 4X,” Leslie explained. “They’ve moved from basic survey technology to collecting important unsolicited data - which means they’re now collecting the voice of the silent majority of their customers.”

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The key difference: the 80%, or your silent majority customers

Cloud-based digital platforms, designed correctly, can be the gateway to that high-fidelity signal with customers - and with employees (more on that in a later blog post). The primary reason is because, as Leslie shared in this episode, 80% of the data that matters is unsolicited. “Survey data, or solicited data, captures the voice of the vocal minority,” Leslie said. “It’s very important. Ignore it at your peril. But 80% of the data that matters is very much unsolicited. It comes from website navigation and bitstreams and many other places . . . and through it you can create a clear understanding of a very large customer base, very quickly.”

PayPal tests its signal in the real world

Let’s take it real world, with an example of how Medallia helped PayPal. (No, this is not a commercial for Medallia, but it IS a really great example of how this approach can generate real-world business results.)

From Medallia’s customer success stories: “Through Medallia, PayPal solicits feedback in 27 different languages from service transactions via IVR, phone, email and back-office interactions. This feedback is then delivered in real-time to the right service center team members to take the appropriate action. Now equipped with customized customer data, each of these 20+ service centers and nearly 9,000 agents have the right information to drive improvement in their experience.

What’s amazing is that a high-fidelity signal filters out all the noise. So, PayPal was able to identify 20 primary pain points on the merchant and the consumer sides of the business. PayPal’s CEO said the company has solved more than half of these top issues - and as a result, tracked 40M fewer issues than the prior year.

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Growth depends on understanding customer sentiment

And it’s not just about removing pain points. The right data insights can fuel growth, too - with numbers equally as amazing.

With technology maturity allowing for a high-fidelity connection to your customers, now is the right time to move forward. As Leslie put it: “Why wouldn’t you do it? And why would you market to customers or talk to a customer without understanding their sentiment?”

I couldn’t have put it better myself. To listen to more of my conversation with Leslie, check out this episode of the Xaas Files podcast. As always, thanks for reading, listening and always interested in your ideas or comments.

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“Customers are everything. You need to be connected to them constantly. That implies big digital and knowledge-based capabilities.”

--Leslie Stretch, CEO, Medallia

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Kevin Dobbs

Managing Director – Accenture Consulting

Kristen Stokes

Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting

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