The importance of CX: Q&A With Sharon Melamed, MatchBoard

Is it important to have a CCO in the modern CX economy?

The job title CCO has been around just 23 years and is still in its infancy in Australia. However, Chief Customer Officers are in strong demand, as recognition of their impact grows across mid to large enterprise. Customer-centric rather than product-centric businesses are more likely to appoint a CCO. Appointing a CCO typically reflects the belief – at CEO and Director level – that evolving a business around the needs of customers will ultimately translate into bigger profits. This is backed up by research by leading analysts, pointing to customer experience being a more powerful competitive differentiator than product or price in today’s economy. If a company genuinely wants to build a customer-led culture, then it needs to provide a seat at the boardroom table for a customer champion, and that’s the CCO.


How do you adapt to ensure your customers are receiving great CX? And what does this mean to you?

Great CX means happy customers.  And the way we ensure our customers are happy and getting what they want from our platform is by engaging with them – through an email customer satisfaction survey, as well as unstructured conversations by phone and face-to-face.  We also strive to continuously improve our “conversion” rate (defined as matching a buyer with a supplier and a contract being signed). The quality of our matching correlates closely with customer satisfaction.


What is the most interesting thing you find people are looking for?

Personalised videos – which I think of as mail merge on steroids – are one of the most fascinating approaches to customer engagement. Essentially you can take feeds from all sorts of customer databases to instantly create a video unique to each customer – from one baseline video. The ROI plays out in more revenues, better customer retention, increased cross-selling and reduced cost through deflection of service calls. In 2017 as much as 2016, I’d say it’s the most underutilised CX solution which still offers the advantage of differentiation.


What technology are people interested in using over the past 12 months?

Two “A” words – analytics and automation – have skyrocketed in demand in 2017. The surge in analytics stems from a deep-seated desire to understand what customers are thinking and feeling, so problems can be spotted and fixed, sowing the seeds of innovative new approaches. Matchboard sees both speech analytics, which uses technology to “mass analyse” customer conversations, and text analytics, which automates coding of customer verbatims in surveys, for example, as critical to deriving actionable insights at scale. Also important is the data analytics behind when, how, and how often to contact customers to achieve optimal sales performance and operational efficiency.


In automation, the number 1 technology we see in customer-facing operations is chatbots, also known as virtual agents. It’s no wonder, as a study just last year showed 69% of consumers would choose to interact with a chatbot before a human because they want instant answers.


How do you approach CX at Matchboard?

As Matchboard is an online marketplace specialising in CX solutions, it’s no surprise we are hyper-focused on customer experience. From Day 1, our philosophy has been to provide a faster, friendlier, more targeted experience than search engines when people are looking for a new product or service.  Let’s take an example: a business is looking to outsource a contact centre to manage 50,000 calls and web chats a month; they are open to onshore or offshore delivery, but critical is experience in the financial services sector. On Matchboard, we guide customers through an online wizard where they can specify requirements around service type, volumes, locations and industry experience. In around 60 seconds, they can enter all this, and within hours they will be matched with a shortlist of perfect match suppliers. Compare this with days of trawling through hundreds of thousands of search results – and there is no comparison.  We further differentiate by offering value-added advice, calling the customer and walking them through things like the pros and cons of different countries offshore. I’d summarise our approach as “high tech, but high touch” CX.


For further information on CX and the CCO, join is at the upcoming Chief Customer Officer Sydney, taking place on the 1-2 November.


By Sharon Melamed, Managing Director, Matchboard:   
Sharon Melamed is a digital entrepreneur with 25 years’ experience in contact centres and customer experience.  In 2012, she launched Matchboard, a free platform where companies can enter their needs and find “right-fit” vendors of solutions to match. In 2017, Westpac named Matchboard as one of Australia’s top “200 Businesses of Tomorrow”.  In 2013, Sharon was awarded LinkedIn’s PowerProfile status for having one of the 50 most visited profiles in Australia. She holds a double honours degree from the University of Sydney, and speaks five languages.  Contact Sharon on LinkedInTwitterEmail

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