The CEO Interview: Mark Bishof at Clarabridge
Mark Bishof introduces us to Clarabridge, before discussing how contact centres can best make use of the data they collect to improve the customer experience.
Tell us about your history with the company
“Founded in 2006, Clarabridge has been the leader in big data text analytics for the customer experience market. I joined the company in 2016 with a focus on getting the company to growth, profitabililty and the next level of execution and performance.”
“Our strategy has been to focus on the contact centre as an entry point to assist our customers in analyzing millions of digital conversations by using our world-class, AI-based text analytics engine and speech analytics solution.”
“Specifically, the contact centre is a treasure trove of information with digital conversations happening via calls, chats, private business messages and emails. Not only does our technology have the power to integrate this volume of data with feedback from other sources such as social media, surveys, and ratings and reviews, but it also can analyze this data to provide operational insights for each business line and organisational department to improve strategy, processes, and systems.”
What do you attribute your success to?
“My goal when I joined to our team to focus on a single strategy, align our processes and empower our employees to execute on that strategy. We have the best minds in the business working at Clarabridge, and since the inception of the company, we have focused on being forward-thinking and first to solve the hard problems. Our services and implementation teams have been recognized for their commitment to making our customers successful. It’s not a coincedence that Forrester Research calls Clarabridge ‘The Brain of Customer Experience.’ ”
How has the contact centre industry changed since you became CEO?
“The contact centre is rapidly becoming the Customer Experience hub. Millions of hours of voice calls– quite literally the “voice of the customer”– have been recorded; however, no one was really listening until recently. With highly accurate and rapid transcription engines, we’ve unleashed our award-winning text and speech analytics solutions on these millions of hours of customer calls to gain a much better understanding of customer effort, sentiment, emotion and intent. This information is incredibly valuable to design better products and services, make systemic changes, and respond to the customer more effectively and efficiently.”
What do you predict will be the biggest change that will happen in the industry in the next five years?
“In the next five years, I believe most contact centers will become customer experience hubs by integrating and analyzing data from all sources and providing insights to every operational department. This transformation will require advanced technology like ours to make that a reality.”
“Taking customer experience data and integrating it with operational, structured data will be a key goal. By doing that, organisations can better personalise their service and better identify where improvements can be made across key functions of the organization.”
“We will also see a rise of predictive analytics in the customer experience space, which will be key in helping businesses becoming more proactive.”
What product developments will your company be making over the next five years?
“While voice is still the preferred channel for most contact centers, other channels including private messaging (WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, etc.), live chat and self-service/bots are rising. Digital Conversation Analytics represents the Rosetta Stone for customer experience programs. We’ve grown in this key area of our business by over 800% during the last 2 years and are making sure we invest to grow our leadership in this critically important area.”
“The other key investment is building very focused solutions that are pre-packaged with key KPIs, source, and insights that provide fast time to value.”
“We think the customer experience market is causing significant disruption. Established players in CRM/Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud , Services Cloud and Communications Cloud are all looking for growth and are seeing their offerings come together into the next multibillion dollar market: The Customer Experience Cloud. Clarabridge is one of the companies leading that disruption.”
What do your customers tell you are their greatest challenges?
“Some challenges such as diverting customers to a more cost-effective channel, lowering call handle times and solving for channel switching are specific to the call centre while others are siloed to customer experience.”
“We believe that a lot of these challenges are interrelated. Sharing customer feedback is not restricted to only some departments, and it has a big impact on a lot of key functions. Customers are reaching out for a reason: they are unhappy about a service, concerned about a product or have trouble logging into your website. This unsolicited information is captured in the contact centre. We’re committed to bridging the gap between the analytics staff and the operational line. This is a full enterprise play, and contact centre is the CX hub”
What is the most gratifying part of your job?
“It is absolutely wonderful to see our customers start off small but then quickly realize the value of our solution and expand its scope. In the last few months, I’ve noticed how we have evolved from serving just the centralized analytics teams to now having a wider impact on the organization. We have moved away from being in certain isolated departments to having more of an enterprise view. Fulfilling the promise of our technology at a customer site is incredibly satisfying.”
“As a matter of fact, we have one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings within the industry and are a Leader in categories of AI-fueled text analytics, a Leader in customer feedback management and a Strong Performer in AI-fueled speech analytics according to Forrester Research. In addition to winning a lot of AI awards, that is awesome.”
“Lastly, building a strong culture and a high-performance team has been one of the highlights of my tenure here. We’ve been promoting and mentoring from within Clarabridge, and we now see these employees growing into world-class technologists and problem solvers. We are empowering and unleashing our team to solve the toughest problems out there.”
What has been the best company/contact centre that you have recently visited?
“The organisations that tend to have the best customer experience are those that have a broad scope of their customer experience program. They believe in listening to every customer interaction and feedback channel. They want their teams to start understanding its value, and they want to take the entire customer journey into account to find holistic solutions.”
“One of our large insurance customers organised each of its departments around this idea of the customer experience, and in a recent meeting to discuss the value of our contact centre, we saw representatives from marketing/digital, sales, product development attend that meeting. These representatives wanted to know how they could use contact centre data to break down their organisational siloes and make the customer journey as frictionless as possible. Their focus on the collective goal instead of individual goals was great to see.”
If there was one piece of advice that you could offer our readers what would it be?
“Listen to your customers across all the channels through which they’re communicating; broaden the scope of your CX program to include the full customer journey; look to build relationships with other parts of the organisation; and finally operationalize key insights to help all your constituents including sales, marketing, operations, product, and compliance.”
“By solving the broader problem, you will provide a world class customer experience that leads to happy and loyal customers who will be invested in your success.”
Thanks to Mark Bishof for sharing these insights.
To find out more about Clarabridge visit: www.clarabridge.com