David Jackson is one of the original founders and CEO of Clicktools, the world’s leader in the field of customer feedback integrated with CRM. His passion is customer experience and he is widely recognized as an expert in the area of customer focused organizations. Much of his time is spent with clients, working with senior managers to design and implement effective feedback measurement and management strategies to build organizations that can continually adapt to meet changing customer needs.
Clicktools provides software and expertise to enable companies to collect, centralize, and act on customer interactions, leveraging the power of CRM. The quality of its software and supporting services has helped Clicktools win the coveted Salesforce AppExchange Customer Choice award in each of the five years it has run.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share some examples of how you help companies better understand and serve their customer base?
David: Lots of companies collect feedback but only a few make it available to staff in way that shapes the everyday interactions with customers. Clicktools customers understand the power of a single view of the customer and how it can be used to personalize the customer experience, generate deeper insights and take action to address issues of concern.
For example, headset manufacturer Plantronics uses Clicktools to gather feedback on the effectiveness of its support centers around the world. Agents manage their support cases in CRM and on completion of the help ticket, each customer is surveyed to assess the quality of the service provided by the agent. The survey is automatically sent and results passed back into CRM; all in real time. Any issues raised by the customer are automatically flagged for follow up. Management reporting is all done automatically in CRM, a system they are familiar with and use everyday. Automating the administration and reporting of surveys frees managers up for the value-added work of understanding and acting on the results. And of course that data is available to anyone else dealing with that customer.
BusinessInterviews.com: What tips would you pass onto someone using Clicktools for the first time?
David: There are two parts to my answer.
First, when thinking about their feedback (or Voice of the Customer) programs, we advise our customers to consider three questions:
1. What are the key interactions on your customer journey? This shapes the spine of your customer experience program and therefore the key points where you need to collect feedback.
2. At each interaction, what matters most to the customer? This guides what your feedback should test. By the way, there is all too often a difference between what matters to customers and what companies think matters to customers! Ask them: do not make the mistake of assuming you know.
3. Who needs to know what, to do what? This is aimed at identifying reporting requirements and, more importantly, the actions they need to take based on feedback.
Only when you are clear about the answers to these three questions should you begin to build your technology solution.
Second, one of the fundamental requirements of a customer-focused company is having all knowledge of that customer in one, accessible system – CRM. Feedback is only one, albeit an important, piece of the customer picture. For that reason we look to help our customers leverage their investment in CRM.
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s your top advice when it comes to creating a winning customer experience?
David: Winners know it is an un-ending task – a bit like chopping the top off an iceberg. No sooner do you resolve a customer issue and up pops another one. And all the time, the choppy waters of changing customer needs, competition and innovation are adding to the iceberg. Feedback is a great tool for helping identify which part of the iceberg to tackle and how.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you expand on the significance or advantages of Clicktools being based in the Cloud?
David: I see the advantage more in terms of our customers than us. It allows them to focus on how they use the power of Clicktools and not worry about the technology infrastructure. They benefit from the efforts we put into building a reliable, scalable and most importantly a secure infrastructure. It also means that they always can have the latest version with the new functionality we are constantly adding.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some trends that you’re excited about or think that our readers should be paying attention to?
David: I have just written a piece for our staff entitled ‘It is our time!’ I have been championing the cause of customer experience for over twenty years and have seen a few false dawns. I genuinely feel that the importance of the customer and our ability to deliver great experiences is now here to stay for two reasons.
The naysayers and doubters are running out of places to hide and excuses for not putting customers at the heart of their strategies. Did you know that companies that top the American Customer Satisfaction Index have out-performed the S&P 500 by a factor of six in since 2000? It’s not about being nice – nice thought that is. It’s about generating value better than the competition.
Technology is also getting its act in order. CRM is now filing its promise as the system for doing what it was intended to do: supporting the whole relationship with the customer, not just sales.
These two factors make what we do at the center of what every company should be concerned about: how do we collect, centralize and act on customer feedback.
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
David: Our purpose is to help our customers better understand and serve their customers. Professionally, I am blessed with being at the head of a company that can make a marked difference to the success of our customers in an area of business that’s time has come. I know it sounds glib but I genuinely get excited about seeing our customers succeed’ knowing that we have helped them on that path.
Personally, I face a whole new world called grand children. I now have an excuse for doing all the childish things I have always loved doing and actually never stopped!
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