Adobe launches a new customer experience management strategy and Adobe senior vice president Rob Tarkoff talks to eWEEK about it.
On June 20,
Adobe announced a new Digital Enterprise Platform for Customer Experience
Management, delivering on a new directional push for Adobe. eWEEK
senior editor Darryl K. Taft
recently connected with Rob Tarkoff, senior vice president and general manager
of Digital Enterprise Solutions at Adobe, to get his perspective on the CEM
challenges that companies face in a multi-screen, multi-channel world.
eWEEK: What mistakes do companies tend to make when engaging
with customers digitally?
force customers to work too hard to get what they want. Customers no longer
make a distinction between their online personal and business lives. They want
to engage with a retailer, bank or tax service, for example, with the same ease
and agility as their social networks. Traditional enterprise systems have
largely failed when it comes to helping businesses live up to these kinds of
eWEEK: Do customers expect too much?
don't think so, but if they do, what does it matter, because you aren't going
to tell them to temper their expectations, are you? Customers today are
accustomed to dealing with their providers digitally, but they still want to be
treated like real people who have relationships with their banks, wireless
carriers, etc. Customers expect these experiences to be as friendly and
intuitive as Facebook, but they often want it outside of the Facebook paradigm.
As I said,
customers don't want to work hard to complete a transaction or get information
about rate plans or insurance benefits. Unfortunately, achieving customer
experience nirvana often requires a complex, multifaceted business process
behind the scenes, because so much of these capabilities are locked in old
transactional systems that are inaccessible to most human beings.
At Adobe, our
mission is to reduce the complexity of delivering great customer experiences so
our customers can unlock the value they have for their customers before they
eWEEK: Does customer experience management mean customers
want their experiences to feel less transactional and more like a
Definitely. This has never been truer than it is today, and it's why we make
design thinking the center of our customer experience strategy. When we talk
about design thinking, it's not only about visual design or "look and feel."
It's about looking at a problem from the customer's point of view, armed with
everything you already know about them. When you get this part of it
right, it gives you more license to engage with customers in an ongoing dialog-which
is critical for business in the digital age.
eWEEK: What companies are role models when it comes to
managing experiences well across multiple channels?
that comes to mind is D&B, the leading source of commercial information and
insight on businesses. D&B reinvented its approach to customer experiences
when it revamped its research tools for business professionals who use their
service to accurately gauge credit ratings. D&B has more than 195 million
business records in its global database. They wanted to enhance their ability
to provide customers with a consistent, engaging experience as they access this
vast information from diverse devices. A new, interactive application enables
D&B customers to easily search the company's extensive database and receive
real-time data that outline a company's current financial information, which in
turn helps them make better business decisions faster.
T-Mobile. T-Mobile implemented a new universal user interface that could sit
across all systems and channels, giving company representatives an easy-to-use,
intuitive application to quickly access, review, and update customer
information and process service requests. T-Mobile increased the potential
of its workforce and empowered customers through a consistent, great customer
experience that builds confidence and loyalty. From a numbers perspective,
T-Mobile has been able to achieve an 8- to 10-second reduction in the time it
takes its agents to resolve a customer call. And when you consider its agents handle
220 million calls a year, that's pretty amazing.
eWEEK: How can IT bridge the gap between customer
expectations and managing the bottom line?
Design thinking plays a key role here, I think. Once you incorporate design
thinking into the overall enterprise plan, technology innovation becomes part
of the complete approach to delivering solutions that are easier to use, more
effective and more apt to please the customer. It takes into account business
processes, transactions, user interface, personalization, recommendations,
measurement, as well as the relevant touch points that today's customers
actively use-tablets, smart phones, computers, TVs and so on. What you get
is a well-orchestrated series of customer interactions that covers the customer
lifecycle, from acquiring and servicing them, to retaining and motivating them
to be advocates for your brand and your business-all of which help manage, and
improve, the bottom line.
eWEEK: How does CEM differ from CRM?
is essentially about managing internal data that you have about your customers.
CEM is about creating great digital experiences that keep the customer
coming back. CEM leverages your historical investments in CRM but takes it to
the next level. It's about pre-empting problems in "relating" to
customers by designing experiences with customer needs in mind from the very
beginning. Customers don't care about enterprise software; they care about a
eWEEK: In a nutshell, what is the new Adobe Digital
Enterprise Platform that you just launched? Why is it important?
Adobe Digital Enterprise Platform, or ADEP, really represents the culmination
of an incredible amount of work and innovation at Adobe to bring together a new
set of technologies that's going to help our customers meet their own
customers' demands for a new level of digital experiences. ADEP combines the
capabilities in Web content management, digital asset management and social
collaboration technologies from our acquisition of Day Software with our core
Adobe LiveCycle solutions. It also provides out-of-the-box integration with our
new online marketing suite from our acquisition of Omniture. ADEP will
help enterprises drive the digital experiences their customers' demand in ways
that make them more competitive and keep them at the front of the pack in their
sectors as they face this incredible wave of digital transformation happening