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 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.