Welcome to 'your call'. Hi, Catriona here. A warm welcome to 'your call', the Customer Experience industry blog from Fifth Quadrant. This blog sets out to provide an interactive, entertaining and informative dialogue between the Fifth Quadrant portal and customer experience industry related people, globally, however as most of you are too shy to blog with me, instead the blog tends to be my ramblings about what’s happened in the industry over the last week with some news, research commentary and fashion advice. And it's 'your call' so you can submit comments at any time to tell me exactly what you think ..... We now have over 9000 people reading the blog weekly, so I do hope you enjoy the blog and find it useful. Catriona

Co-creation is disrupting the way companies operate and how they engage with their customers
Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Today, co-creation is gaining the attention of Australia’s CEOs as a model that emphasises mutual organisation-customer value. Its time is more than welcome and it will be a key business advantage for those organisations who deploy with a sense of urgency in an era where consumers have more power than ever over the organisations with whom they interact.

Co-created value arises in the form of personalised, unique experiences for the customer and enhanced performance such as retention, acquisition, yield and customer advocacy for the organisation.

It sits within the Vendor Relationships Management field which argues that customers and organisations should share, combine and renew each other's resources and capabilities to create value through new forms of interaction and learning.

Co-creation platforms are now being specifically designed to address four critical problems for customers and businesses:

Problem: Poor Customer Engagement

  • 65 per cent of Australian customers state they have an average to poor experience with organisations.
  • 72 cent of Australian customers state they would like to customise their own experiences.
  • Organisations currently have no mechanism to tailor the whole of the customer’s experience to a Segment of One. CRM currently can only provide mass segmentation and targeted selling.

Problem: Customer Retention

  • In the essential services sector, including banks, utilities and telcos, the current rate of customer attrition is about 23 per cent per annum.
  • Retention processes are costly and inefficient. For telcos it costs about $600 to retain a customer which is the same as what it costs to acquire a customer.

Problem: Customer Acquisition

  • Customer acquisition is costly and sales people lack effective tools to engage customers. In the essential services sector it costs on average $600 to acquire a customer.

Problem: Customer Data

  • Organisations don’t know what customers actually want, they have siloed views of customer and lack data and insights related to the whole of experience for customers.

Here’s an example of a Co-creation story…

Romeo is a disgruntled or disengaged Telco customer. The telco notes that Romeo has not renewed his plan and sends a notification to the co- creation platform which then sends a personalised email to Romeo, or triggers a phone call from a Creator (employee), Juliet. Romeo is invited to enter the Co-creation Lab where Juliet meets him. The platform has already loaded into the Co-creation Lab the existing plan Romeo is on plus a number of other options across: product; communications; processes; channels; people interaction (how Romeo wants to be treated by the staff at the Telco) and the price Romeo is willing to pay for the whole of experience he co-creates with Juliet.

Juliet is able to have an online conversation in the Co-creation Lab in real-time to make sure she supports Romeo design the best experience for him and one that the Telco can deliver. Juliet can also bring in other expert Creators from the business if needed.

An ideal co-creation platform should then equip Juliet with all the options that the Telco can actually deliver. Juliet selects them from an existing menu (without Romeo seeing this part of the system) and they become live options for Romeo.

Romeo’s experience is then confirmed and the information is then automatically passed into interfacing systems such as the CRM system, the contact centre, other databases, delivery systems and product management. Machine learning then comes into play enabling organisations to predict the whole of experience that Romeo or other people like Romeo want.

So unlike the traditional Romeo and Juliet relationship in which they both die, much like how many existing customer-organisation relationships are today, in this story, Romeo and Juliet are united…. no longer star-crossed lovers…. they are Co-creators.

Co-creation today is regarded as a disruptive business model, challenging the fundamentals of the previous military and industrial models of business where customers are passively segmented, targeted, made captive, branded and given terms and conditions. For both consumers and business alike, let’s harvest the opportunity and reap the rewards.

How customer experience is different to customer satisfaction
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
In the 1980s I had a spiral perm. Like Nicole Kidman.

At that time – along with perms, and as a legacy of the total quality management (TQM) movement – came the discovery that knowing what customers think about your business, as measured through customer satisfaction, was probably a good idea.

And it was, then.

Interestingly enough, perms went away.

So, why didn’t customer satisfaction go away? And why are there still many high-profile research companies such, as the regularly quoted Roy Morgan customer satisfaction awards, still espousing the merits of high customer satisfaction companies? Surely, in 30 years, there is something better to measure and award?

There is.

It’s called customer experience and it is a measure of the whole of experience that a customer has with an organisation, not just the customer service, which customer satisfaction is typically linked to. Indeed, customer satisfaction is a component of customer experience, but that’s all – just one component and certainly not the most important. As a single measure, it’s dated. We need to let it go.

Customer experience is made up of six categories:

1. Communications – how the organisation communicates via brand, advertising, marketing, sales and ongoing communications;

2. Product – how well suited to an individual customer the product features are;

3. Processes – how easy and useful the organisations processes are that the customer undertakes e.g. a claims process or an application process;

4. Channels – how well the organisation’s contact channels (website, phone, face-to-face, digital) suit the preferences of the customer;

5. People – how the people of the organisation treat the customer; and

6. Price – what the customer is willing to pay, and regards as good value, for the whole of the experience.

Customer experience measures take into consideration these six categories and an assessment of the customers’ engagement made up of:

1. Emotional response – how the customer felt about the experience;

2. Rational response – the cognitive or rational assessment (satisfaction) the customer made of the experience; and

3. Value for effort – customer assessment of effort compared to value.

By way of example, my company Fifth Quadrant conducts consumer research for enterprise and government and we have experience in the banking and finance sector. A large financial services company we work with can predict its likelihood of customers buying from them again, or being an advocate, through a metric which looks like this:

1. Emotional response = explains 55 per cent of variance in customers’ likelihood to repurchase:

2. Customer effort = explains 35 per cent of variance in customers’ likelihood to repurchase; and

3. Rational response (satisfaction) = explains 15 per cent of variance in customers’ likelihood to repurchase.

So why has this metric of satisfaction, which we know on its own does not strongly predict business outcomes, persist?

Perhaps it is the same reason that we still have:

• Chief executive officers – where are the troops and where is the enemy or prisoners?

• Customer acquisition plans that are targeted and executed – as in the military?

• Customers that are in pipelines, are segmented, made captive, branded and given terms and conditions – as in prisoners?

• CRM platforms – that still can only deliver mass segmentation of customers?

It is the prevalence of traditional industrial and military models of business that mean organisations have a tendency to hang on to other outdated measures, such as customer satisfaction.

So what measures are actually useful to business?

Net Promoter Score (NPS), developed by Fred Reichheld in 2003, measures how likely it is that a customer would recommend a company to a friend or colleague. Although Reichheld claimed a significant correlation between NPS and business revenue and growth, few Australian-based companies can actually claim this or indeed actually measure this correlation. Criticisms of NPS include that it is only a customer advocacy measure and does not provide deep driver analysis or any true predictive power. So NPS is currently popular, but we question its worth.

There has been a recent rise in interest in the measure of “customer effort”, which assesses how much effort you [as a customer] personally have to put forth to have your request handled? Effort is measured on a scale of 1= very low effort to 5 = very high effort. The customer effort measure has been popularised by Corporate Executive Board in the US, which claimed: “exceeding customer expectations [customer satisfaction and NPS measures] results in virtually no loyalty gains”.

So what do I think after spending 15 years as an academic and researcher in this field? The way customer measurement is done by organisations needs to be completely renovated. Customer measurement is cumbersome, expensive, is an imposition on customers and currently is of limited use to organisations.

Instead, let’s redesign the whole approach to customer measurement by asking the customer what, when and how they want to give us feedback. This is called human-centred design voice of customer. Radical? No, sensible.

And so is the GHD hair straightening iron I now use – like Jennifer Hawkins.

8 ways to get on top of data analytics
Monday, February 17, 2014

We speak to a range of marketing and big data analytics experts to understand how CMOs can improve their chances of success around data-driven customer engagement


Data analytics is being touted as the new ‘black magic’ of marketing, but there are still a range of Australian organisations struggling to get a handle on how to make data work for them.

According to a report produced by research and consultancy firm, Fifth Quadrant, last year, as many as half of all Australian organisations have admitted their attempts to utilise data to improve customer experience failed.

We speak to a range of experts on big data and data analytics to gather up their top tips for how you can build your data analytics roadmap.

1. Data hygiene is vital

Nearly three-quarters of the time Accenture’s Australian data analytics lead, Michael Pain, spends with customers is on scrubbing data and tidying up IT infrastructure, and other consultancies face similar issues identifying where data resides. “We find that when we undertake the proof of concept with clients, at least 60-70 per cent of the time we spend will be on getting legacy data organised, available and scrubbed is frankly a huge barrier,” he told CMO.

Lesson: Your data is your best tool for competitive advantage: Treat it that way.

2. Assess your existing data assets

Data analytics isn’t all about big data or massive volumes of third-party information, it’s about first utilising the data sets within your organisation. According to founder and CEO of marketing analysis consultancy Fifth Quadrant, Dr Wallace, most organisations don’t know how much valuable customer experience data they already have access to internally.

“When I ask CMOs, CIOs and CFOs interested in data analytics what data assets they currently have, particularly around customer experience, they’re not clear,” she explains. Often those responsible for certain data sets aren’t even aware they are responsible for upkeep and access, making more thinking around strategy, organisational design and ownership of processes around data vital.

Lesson: Make sure you know where you data is, who is responsible for it, and where the gaps are.

3. Find a good hypothesis

Data is about generating insights that tie to a clear business outcome. For Deloitte national leader, customer practice, Jenny Wilson, the best way to start utilising data is by first finding a specific pain point you’re looking to tackle: Is it about retaining a specific set of customers and reducing churn, for example?

“Even just using these insights to adopt more digital channels by finding synergies and savings is an area of benefit,” she says.

When big data was first spoken about, it was all about CIOs, volume-driven computing, and looking at how quickly technology could churn through information and see what it does, managing director of consultancy Infoready, Tristan Sternson, added. “That was never going to work as it’s too complex. Now it’s what I can do with the information to solve a particular problem,” he claimed. “It comes back to solving business problems, coming up with your cases and ideas, and then looking at the solution.”

Lesson: Align any data analytics job to a specific business outcome.

4. You will need to invest in solid technology platforms – eventually

While it’s agreed solid technology platforms will be required to help crunch through large volumes of data and deliver insights in a real time or even predictive way, most of the industry recommends organisations tap into third-party skills to help get started on the journey. By doing this, you can build some quick wins which help prove the ROI for more significant investment.

Brambles group vice-president for strategy, planning and innovation, Paul McGlone, said getting external advice allowed the Brambles team to access deeper technical knowledge and achieve insights quicker. “It doesn’t have to be a $1 million project either,” he said. “Start very small on one insight with a partner, then move forward from there.”

Lesson: Start small and build the business case first then make the technology investment.

5. Build and integrate the processes

Organisations are struggling to act on even the most straightforward of insights delivered through information analysis because their organisation is awash with legacy processes, systems and siloed teams.

“Operations have to change their operating model so that the analytics function is not a standalone or separate capability, but an integrated part of the processes they’re running,” Accenture’s Michael Pain explains.

Lesson: Delivering insights isn’t enough: Organisations need to transform how they operate if they want to take advantage of new-found opportunities.

6. Work with IT

Taking a data-driven approach has to involve the IT department. Analysts and consultants agree: The CMO-CIO relationship is vital to data analytics success. CMOs must spend the time on work with their CIO peers, as well as the data scientists and wider c-suite, to ensure the whole company benefits from taking a data-driven approach.

“A key here is the new three-way dialogue that has to occur between the CIO, CMO and what some organisations call their chief data scientist,” managing director of the data agenda at Deloitte, Anthony Viel, said. “The CMO-CIO dialogue and relationship needs to unfold, then you’re adding in that third component, the data scientist, to help reach a point where it’s no longer data but an insight. Even at that executive level, getting that type of thinking and collaboration going is in itself a challenge.”

Lesson: Build a better rapport between marketing, IT and data teams.

7. It’s increasingly about the future

Knowing what your customers were thinking yesterday is helpful for proving your worth after the fact, and a foundation for ROI, but reporting isn’t analytics. According to Deloitte’s Anthony Viel, up to 95 per cent of Australian organisations are simply reporting today, and only 5 per cent are using advanced analytics.

“Reporting and analytics get thrown into the one bucket and they’re two very important and different things,” he said. “Everyone wants to know what happened yesterday; particularly the market and the CFO, but advantage will come from knowing what’s going to be successful tomorrow.”

Lesson: Look increasingly towards insights that help you pre-empt what customers will do next.

8. Don’t forget about creativity and marketing

Data analytics might be thought of as the ‘new black’, but creativity in terms of content and interaction remains an essential ingredient for customer engagement. As Infoready’s Tristan Sternson points out, all the best social media campaigns of 2013 were grounded in great content and that comes from creative ideas. What data does is make those creatively led campaigns and activities more accountable and targeted.

In a research report for ADMA over why creativity actually wins out over data last year, UK marketing and advertising consultant, Peter Field, also challenged just focusing on data and short-term metrics for campaign effectiveness. “The great benefit of creativity is it drives this ‘buzz’ around your brand. Creative ads are more likely to be shared, passed on and virally moved about. That is very strong in terms of effectiveness over slightly longer periods of time,” he added.

The secrets of an exceptional customer experience
Monday, February 03, 2014

Delivering exceptional customer experience is increasingly recognised as an important means of driving competitive advantage.

Organisations with a mature customer experience strategy on average perform about 20 per cent higher on key business indicators.

In the latest Fifth Quadrant Contact Centre Key Performance Metrics Report for Australia and New Zealand, almost three quarters of Australian consumers say that a poor customer service centre experience is enough to cause them to move their business away from one organisation to another.

The impediments to good service

In Australia, one of the biggest impediments to delivering a superior customer experience relates to human resources, primarily a lack of staff to handle contact volumes.

The next most common problems are:

  • The difficulties of meeting service levels;
  • Retaining skilled and experienced staff; and
  • Providing consistent information to customers.

Among small contact centres, there’s the added burden of trying to obtain inter-departmental cooperation when your centre may account for a relatively small part of the overall business.

At the other end of the scale, large contact centres with more than 100 seats often find service is complicated by a lack of timeliness of resolution.

Measure the experience

Mature customer experience companies have a strong culture of measurement, promoting better practices and greater accountability.

Operational metrics may include attributes such:

  • completion rates;
  • first contact resolution; and
  • time to resolution or technical problems.

Direct customer feedback is likely to involve measures such as customer satisfaction, customer engagement, customer advocacy and complaints.

In Australia, call back surveys and or online surveys are the most widely used means of measuring the customer experience, although one in seven will use random samples of surveys by agents at the time of the call and one in nine has adopted call forward surveys that are conducted by interactive voice response.

What to focus on

The most commonly used measure among contact centres is customer satisfaction, followed by agent quality performance and resolution.

Interestingly, centres that take the time to measure customer experience usually find remarkably high levels of customer satisfaction. Almost half report satisfaction ratings of 81 to 90 per cent. One quarter cites even higher ratings of between 91 and 100 per cent. Maybe these high figures are a natural outcome for an organisation that cares enough about the customer to try to measure their experience.

How to improve

Our research also shows that contact centre managers have a number of strategies for improving the customer experience over the next 12 months.

One in five centres plans to improve agent training and coaching. Almost as popular are plans to improve the level of customer satisfaction. One in ten are looking to introduce customer self-service options. Other strategies involve quality-monitoring initiatives, improving agent engagement, investing in technology, better customer communication and reductions to “avoidable contact”.

Curiously, given the previously acknowledged concern about the service impact of too few staff, only one per cent of organisations say they are considering increasing the number of staff as a means of improving the customer experience.

Despite the rise in digital channels for servicing customers, still less than 20 per cent of Australian consumers will use a social media or mobile application for customer service. Over 80 per cent of consumers will still turn to the telephone channel to interact with organisations. Hence continued focus on the contact centre by senior management as one of the core channels to deliver customer experience remains critical.

Telstra Business Awards Speech
Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fifth Quadrant Takes Home Telstra NSW Business of the Year and Medium Business Awards



Telstra Awards SpeechSpeech Transcript:


Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests, Good Evening.

My name is Dr Catriona Wallace and I lead the Fifth Quadrant Group in partnership with James Organ. I very privileged to have a business partner who is a man who is happy to stand behind me and let me as a woman leader, lead.

I would first like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land here in Sydney, the Gadigal Band of the Eora people. I pay my respects to their Elders past and present. I also want to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the room tonight. I would love to see more Indigenous people acknowledged for their significant role in Australian business.

I would also like to acknowledge the other finalists, Tyro, Booktopia, Australian Careers Business College, Five D Holdings and Nature’s Care Manufacture. We are extremely honoured to be sharing this category with you and we hope we may be great friends going forward.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Fifth Quadrant is a business born to and dedicated to improving the experience customers have with organisations. We know as you know that when it comes to business there is actually only customer experience. Every other strategy comes second.

Finally, Australian business is realising this.

So my team has worked tirelessly for over 10 years to bring customer experience strategy to the Board room and Executive leadership teams. We work with organisations ranging from the NRMA to the whole of NSW Government.

And we believe that great customer experience is not only tied to great profit but more importantly to the emotional, social, physical, and economic well-being of Australians. So our team goes to work every day knowing that they are contributing beyond improving dividends for large organisations – they are fundamentally affecting people’s lives.

Our aim is to revolutionise the way organisations interact with their customers so they can provide true personalisation.

This award process has caused us to stop and think about why we have been successful – and we do believe that one of our key success factors has been based on Fifth Quadrant having strong women leaders and a culture that fosters the feminine archetype in business:

This archetype is characterised through:

  1. A strong culture of inclusion and diversity
  2. A strong focus on collaboration, networking, mentoring and connecting
  3. A deep level of caring for all people – employees, customers, suppliers, everyone
  4. A strong philanthropic culture: funding indigenous communities, women’s rights; children at risk and people who have been incarcerated or in detention
  5. Having children in the workplace
  6. An acceptance of tears, anger, heartache and laughter in the workplace
  7. No egos
  8. No power plays
  9. No politics
  10. No hierarchy
  11. A huge amount of humour

    ... and.... finally....
  12. A lot of cushions and ornaments...;)

And the future for Fifth Quadrant includes:

  1. the launch in October of a Customer Experience Marketplace called Flamingo which will allow customers to specify the whole of experience that they want with organisations

  2. an unrelenting resolve to be "Better than the Big Houses"

So look out the big 5 consulting houses – PWC, Bain, EY, Delloite, Accenture .....


And a massive thankyou from James and I goes to:

  • our clients who trust us with their customers
  • our Nannies who let we business leaders go to work and do our thing
  • our extraordinary team members who have allowed our work and our social conscience to be integrated into their lives and
  • our families who totally back us

With much love and thanks. A great honour.