Everyone can create a ‘Genius Bar’ customer experience – Interview with Gary Ambrosino of Timetrade

Genius Bar

Today’s interview is with Gary Ambrosino, President and COO of Timetrade. Gary joins me today to talk about the the work that they are doing helping a number of top banks in the USA transform their in-branch customer experience, how every retailer can now deliver a ‘Genius Bar’ experience and what retailers can do to reduce the affects of ‘showrooming‘.

This interview follows on from my recent interview: Scaling up excellence is not a footprint problem but a mindset problem – Interview with Huggy Rao – and is number ninety-nine in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, helping businesses innovate, become more social and deliver better service.

Here are the highlights of my interview with Gary:

  • Timetrade is focused on changing the way that people shop and is working with a number of top US banks to help transform their retail in-branch banking experience.
  • The in-branch banking experience, particularly if you try to go to the bank at lunchtime, can often be chaotic.
  • However, many banks now want to personalise the experience.
  • The challenge is is that it is often a struggle to get to speak to the right person who has the right knowledge at any given time.
  • Therefore, Timetrade has created a piece of software that allows banks, and other retailers, to simulate the Apple ‘Genius Bar’ experience, where customers can make an appointment to see a specialist at a specific time.
  • This allows banks and retailers to align resources with customers needs so that customers are guaranteed to see the right person depending on their issue.
  • Timetrade’s research shows that seeing the right person with the right expertise is as important to the customer experience as being able to set an appointment to get individual attention.
  • 4 of the top 20 banks in the USA have implemented this approach and they are seeing a 60-70% conversion from general interest to purchase of a product. This is a much higher conversion rate than they would normally see.
  • They are also finding that this personalised approach to service is allowing them to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
  • Further, their research also shows that between 70 and 80% of the purchase process, in the mind of the customer, takes place out of sight of the brand, or the retailer, and before they enter a place of business.
  • Gary believes this trend will continue and we will see the death of the ‘shopper’ in the next few years and the rise of the ‘buyer’.
  • This approach will also allow many consumer businesses to combat ’showrooming’.
  • 84% of people that enter a retail environment, whether for product retail, banking or healthcare, if they don’t get the help they need pretty quickly they will leave without buying anything.
  • Around 80% of people that do get the help they need also show a tendency to buy more than they would have otherwise if the comparable product was available online. This also reduces the risk of ‘showrooming’.
  • Finally, their technology also has applications in queuing management and reducing the aforementioned ‘retail chaos’.

About Gary (taken from his Timetrade bio)

Gary AmbrosinoGary has over 25 years of professional management experience in software, systems and early stage companies. He is responsible for leading the company’s marketing strategy, sales programs, and setting product strategy and direction. He has an established track record of conceiving, creating and leading innovation in early stage companies that result in accelerated sales and valuation growth. Before TimeTrade, Gary was CEO of Cognio (acquired by Cisco) where he pioneered the field of intelligent spectrum management and led development of an Intelligent Spectrum Management plaform now used in all Cisco WiFi products. Prior to that, Gary was VP of marketing and business development at Xionics (acquired by Zoran) where he identified the market, then developed and launched the digital document processing software used in most copiers and laser printers in the world. Earlier Gary was co-founder of SecureMedia (acquired by Google), one of the first DRM systems for online content. Gary started his career in Hewlett-Packard’s software business in Silicon Valley. Gary holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Check out Timetrade’s website and say hi to them @timetrade and Gary @garyambrosino on Twitter.

Photo Credit: OndraSoukup via Compfight cc

Comments

  1. Interesting stat Adrian:

    Around 80% of people that do get the help they need also show a tendency to buy more than they would have otherwise

    Today I wandered into an oriental rug shop on the off-chance. I got talking to the store owner about what made a quality rug. He went out the back and came back with 3 rugs. One at £6,000, one at £8,000 and one at £10,000

    He spent 20 minutes explaining to me how they were made, the history of the designs, the materials used…

    They were beautiful

    Now, I am not in the market for £10k worth of rug (even if it flies) but the next time I do want a rug I know exactly where I will go.

    James

    • adrianswinscoe says:

      James,
      Thanks for sharing your story that supports that stat. Intuitively it feels about right.

      Let’s hope people take notice.

      Adrian

  2. Hello Adrian,

    What I find interesting and disappointing is that what shows up for me as common sense, and lived experience, needs to be justified on the basis of research. Honestly, do we need research to know that:

    - 84% of people that enter a retail environment, whether for product retail, banking or healthcare, if they don’t get the help they need pretty quickly they will leave without buying anything.

    - Around 80% of people that do get the help they need also show a tendency to buy more than they would have otherwise if the comparable product was available online

    For any significant purchase we want to minimise our loss/regret so we are open to being helped (out of our vulnerability) by someone who is both competent and friendly. And when we are in a conversation with such a person, we feel safe, and we feel grateful. Being in a state of safety and feeling gratitude we want to reciprocate and find ourselves buying more stuff than we intended. Think restaurant, think tipping. What kind of a tip do you leave for a great waiter/waitress – the standard or something extra?

    All the best
    maz

    • adrianswinscoe says:

      I agree, Maz, that it’s an indictment of the world that we live in where we need to acquire data to support common sense.

      Is it that we are frightened of our common sense understanding of the world or is it that we are just scared of making decisions, I wonder?

      Adrian

  3. This Genius Bar concept is an interesting one, and one I think we will start to see more of. BMW has undertaken a similar approach, and I spoke to another company recently that is on the same bandwagon. It’s not a bad model to follow, for sure.

    Annette :-)

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