CustVox: Act upon the voice of your customer - Federico Cesconi, Switzerland

Given today's competitive business climate, customer experience management (CEM) is a significant area of interest for corporates. After all, healthy profit margins are dependent on a satisfied consumer base.

Not to be confused with customer relationship management (CRM), which predominantly takes an inside-out view of products and processes, CEM pertains to the methodology and discipline employed by companies to manage and optimise customer experience and interaction. This is done with the intention of inspiring loyalty to the respective enterprise, product or brand, bearing in mind that with advancements in social media, competition is often only the click of a mouse away.

Consequently, businesses aiming to stay ahead of the curve are on the look-out for seamless strategies that allow them to analyse, engage and support the customer's lifecycle. This incorporates a cross-channel approach across a number of touch points, from Facebook and Twitter to company websites and contact centres.

Founded in Switzerland in 2006, CustVox provides end-to-end CEM solutions to a number of multinational companies. Its management technologies swiftly and easily integrate into existing business support systems to deliver actionable insights into the customer experience, with the goal of adding significant value to the business.

Given the diverse cross-channels associated with CEM, a flexible approach is essential, as CEO Federico Cesconi explains:

"We support the process by always listening to the customer," he says. "It is important to remember that there is no single solution that covers every aspect of CEM. Companies also need to have a deeper understanding of customer feedback. Then they can measure if they are delivering the best experience or not. And, if the latter, they need to ask themselves why."

The VOC Hub

CustVox's CEM value proposition is based on five steps: capture, analyse, integrate, improve and measure. Developed by its award-winning R&D team, the company offers scalable, cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) products such as the aptly-named Voice of the Customer (VOC) Hub, which is able to support organisations irrespective of location and language.

Comprising highly robust analytical capabilities, VOC Hub allows companies to track and collate customer feedback across a number of channels, as opposed to time-consuming and isolated stovepiping procedures that require enterprises to retrieve information via unconnected databases.

"Through VOC Hub, we are able to capture the voice of customers across different channels such as phone, SMS, email, and interaction on Facebook and Twitter," says Cesconi. "It also operates in real time, with all information stored in a central repository. We have the necessary state-of-the-art Big Data technology to support huge amounts of information."

After the data is logged into the system, the next challenge is to analyse results. Accordingly, CustVox has developed CustVox Word Miner. Another SaaS tool, which operates in real time, it comprises over 20 algorithms that are able to mine unstructured data from the aforementioned feedback.

"Through VOC Hub, we are able to capture the voice of customers across different channels such as phone, SMS, email, and interaction on Facebook and Twitter."

"For us, successful analytics is the ability to extract actionable insight from this wealth of information," says Cesconi. "You have to find valuable information, but on the other hand it is essential that this information can be acted upon. For this, we have a set of different analytical solutions such as text and voice mining, and sentiment analysis. We offer complete capture and analysis and support companies in deciding how to best apply the generated insights."

Tailor-made solutions

CustVox's notable clients include France Telecom Orange and Emirates as well as UPC Cablecom, Switzerland's largest cable network provider, and WeBank, an Italian provider of banking services. How does the company differentiate its approach in supporting enterprises found across such diverse industries?

"There are many different ways in which we can help companies," says Hekanaho. "It is always a question of what is relevant for that particular business. For example, with UPC Cablecom, which recently underwent a takeover, we have worked with them in adapting a new multichannel CEM - already they have seen a turnaround in terms of return on investment. Regarding WeBank, we are using a special programme that uses hyper-promoters to create positive word of mouth."

Undeniably, high-end technology is a substantial part of CustVox's value offering. However, it is not a stand-alone service - successful CEM is also dependent on a deeper understanding of the needs of the customer. To facilitate this, the company makes use of a team of experienced executive consultants armed with vast entrepreneurial acumen, which provide best-fit solutions and in-depth advice to companies.

In providing end-to-end solutions, CustVox also has the scope to integrate both internal and external processes, enabling the evaluation of business models from the customer's point of view.

"We have always offered this because CEM is such a complex issue," says Hekanaho. "Besides the technical tools, we believe it is essential to support companies in fully assessing their situation in terms of what customers think. Having the right CEM strategy and developing a solid roadmap for CEM is central for success.

"As well as having internal process systems in place for delivering customer experience, we use external innovation as a means of looking at the business from their point of view. These are some of the different ways in which we
can assist companies."

The complete picture

While social media may be vaunted as the contemporary be-all and end-all for companies seeking to ramp up CEM - especially as a platform conducive to word of mouth, both positive and negative - Cesconi believes it is unwise to place too much emphasis on the likes of Facebook at the expense of other traditional channels such as customer service requests and call centres.

"There's definitely a big hype surrounding social media at the moment," he says. "While we see it as an important channel of communication between organisations and customers, it is also important to include it with other channels. Otherwise, you are at risk of having just a portion of the insight. It's naive to think of everything solely in terms of social media."

Incontrovertibly, the CEM market is expanding fast. Deploying the services and solutions of a customer intelligence powerhouse such as CustVox is a positive step toward giving businesses a lasting competitive advantage in years to come.


CustVox CEO Federico Cesconi.
Jukka Hekanaho, chief customer officer.
An in-depth knowledge of the consumer mindset is a requisite for any successful business.