Today’s interview is with Evan Carroll who is a marketing technologist, author and speaker. Evan joins me today to talk about his new book: Blue Goldfish: Using Technology, Data, and Analytics to Drive Both Profits and Prophets that he co-authored with Stan Phelps of 9 Inch Marketing.
Back in 2013, I spoke to Stan about a previous book in the series – What’s Your Green Goldfish? – which was number 57 in this interview series: Employee engagement is a commitment not a campaign. This time around I’m talking to Evan about what leading and smart firms are doing to leverage data and analytics in their businesses and how it is helping them drive improved performance and engagement.
This interview follows on from my recent interview – Transforming agent attrition in the contact centre through social physics – Interview with Ron Davis of Tenacity – and is number 168 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to their customers.
Note: Please be aware that there is a slight echo, repeat, delay in the recording….technology!! It’s not too much of a bother, I believe. So, please persevere with it.
Highlights of my interview with Evan:
- Blue Goldfish is the fourth book in The Goldfish series, originated by Stan Phelps.
- The book is not a technology book or a book just for technologists but rather focuses on helping business people understand what they can do with technology, data and analytics to help them improve their bottom line as well as experience and engagement.
- The book is a series of case studies, like the other Goldfish books. This time they have collected over 300 examples of firms doing interesting and innovative things with data and analytics and then whittled these down to the best of the best examples.
- The choice of the colour blue is inspired by a 10th century Danish King who is also the name behind ‘Bluetooth’.
- The book and the case studies are organised into a series of ‘R’ themes:
- The first is Relationship – which deals with companies that use technology to better understand their customers, deepen relationships with them and personalise the service that they deliver to them;
- The second is Responsiveness – which deals with companies that use data and technology to do things like reduce wait times, resolve issues more quickly and even eliminate issues in the first place as a way of improving the service and experience they deliver;
- The third is Readiness – which deals with how companies can use data and technology to be better prepared to deliver the best experience possible for their customer at the point of demand; and
- A Bonus fourth ‘R’ is robots, which is not spelled out here but is explained in the book. It’s also a little bit extra (lagniappe).
- A great example of all of this in action comes from Westpac, the fourth largest bank in Australia and their ‘No Me’ programme.
- What’s special about them is that they have not just done the big data and analytics work but have also done the operational and cultural work required to embed all the insights and accompanying actions into their organisation.
- One example of the work that they have done in action can be seen in their retail operations. Through their analytical work they were able to understand that there were groups of customers who had similar profiles. One group that was identified had adopted the same three accounts/products in the same order and for the same reasons. However, if one of those customers only had two of those products that there was a 90% chance that they would adopt the same third product when the time was right. So, they helped their tellers in their branches understand this and modified their systems to alert them to offer the 3rd product as a ‘next best option’ to those customers that only had two products. Doing so, the tellers were able to achieve a 40+% conversion rate on the offering of the 3rd account/product.
- Another example Evan shares comes from Amazon and their introduction of their Mayday button on their HDX tablets, where you can connect via video link to an Amazon customer service rep.
- You can see them and they can see and ‘draw’ on or manipulate your screen on your device to help you figure out your problem but they can’t see you.
- Because it was released on March 31st, market reaction was initially skeptical and many thought it was an April Fool.
- Particularly because their goal was to connect you with a customer service rep within 15 secs.
- However, the average response time presently is 9 secs!
- Evan’s top two tips:
- 1. Focus on the data and what it tells you/how it affects the person/customer in question. Don’t get caught up or lost in the technology or the possibilities of the data. Stay focused on the customer and the human element; and
- 2. Pick one project that you think offers the biggest RoI and the quickest win and focus all of your energy on that. This is for a number of reasons:
- Too many companies spread their resources to thin by trying to operationalise too many things at once;
- By focusing all of your efforts on just one thing you are more likely to deliver the RoI, success and support you need to keep going and to take on/add the next initiative; and
- Having a single project focus/mission is much more likely to align and energise the project team.
- Evan would like to encourage everyone that has their own Blue Goldfish in their company to share that story with them (Ways to connect and get in touch are below).
- Finally, Evan said that Stan and he are rolling out a new set of workshops to promote Blue Goldfish thinking and if you think you would benefit from that or want to hear either of them speak about Blue Goldfish then you can get in touch here or here.
About Evan Carroll (taken and adapted and from the bio on his website)
Evan operates at the intersection of people and technology to make online and offline customer experiences more personal, more emotive and more effective. He uses his agency and in-house user experience design, product management and marketing background to help companies improve their customer experience.
Evan is co-author of the book, Blue Goldfish, which highlights businesses leveraging technology, data and analytics to do a “little something extra” to improve the experience for their customers.
A frequent speaker on all things digital, Evan has presented to audiences at SXSW Interactive, the Library of Congress, the Internet Archive, DIG South, the American Marketing Association and the Direct Marketing Association.
Evan holds MS and BS degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science. He currently serves as Past President for the Triangle American Marketing Association and sits on the advisory board for the Triangle User Experience Professionals Association.
You can find out more about Evan at www.evancarroll.net and connect with him on Twitter @evancarroll and LinkedIn here. But, also don’t just connect……grab a copy of Evan and Stan’s new book: The Blue Goldfish too.