Q&A: John Dawes, Tealeaf’s VP of products and strategy

John Dawes, VP of products and strategy at Tealeaf, a customer experience management (CEM) company, discusses the ways your website might actually be limiting transactions.

Direct Marketing News (DMN): Can you define CEM for our readers? How does it differ from CRM?

John Dawes (Tealeaf): CEM is all about how you can actually differentiate yourself from competitors by delivering an experience that exceeds the expectations of customers. We help you understand where customers are struggling and running into difficulties, and what causes them to complain about their experience. Expedia was hearing a bunch of customers complaining while looking to rent cars because Expedia’s site told them there were no cars available when there were definitely cars available. We went in and found that people were getting told there were no cars at the pick-up location because they weren’t changing the time of pick-up, so the default time of midnight meant the place was more than likely closed, or there would be no cars left on the lot. Expedia went in and changed the default time to 10 o’clock in the morning. By doing that, cars became available. That’s a fairly simple usability issue that has a big impact on customer experience.

DMN: How can companies successfully manage customer interactions to breed loyalty?

Dawes: You’re looking to deliver a frictionless experience and how to stop customers from running into difficult experiences. Lots of times websites make it difficult for you even if they have the right products. By identifying these sources of friction, brands can improve the experience and make it frictionless and differentiated from competitors.

DMN: Tealeaf primarily helps optimize digital channels. Can you also help marketers that operate on traditional channels as well?

Dawes: If you’re going to refinance your home, you’ll do research online, call a contact center and maybe even go into a bank’s branch. Multistep transactions are multichannel by nature. Your business has to have visibility across all channels. When you call with questions into the contact center, the agent can get visibility about what you’ve done online. If they can see what customers saw on customized websites, it can better the experience across channels.

DMN: How is the mobile experience different than the online experience? What should marketers know about their mobile channels that they already don’t?

Dawes: We recently released a study that had a number of interesting stats. Clients are just learning how to leverage the mobile channel. Getting this right is difficult. Expectations are extremely high. Eighty-five percent of customers expect mobile to be better than what they get on a laptop. The ability to deliver good experiences is difficult because the expectations are so high. Forty-one percent of customers are frustrated with their experiences on mobile devices.

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