- By Clint Wheelock
- December 20, 2022
Rick Rosso is Executive Vice President, Global Sales & Account Management for Concentrix, a global provider of CX solutions and technology headquartered in Fremont, California. Concentrix works with more than 750 clients in 40+ countries around the world and maintains a strong client base in the technology, banking, and social media sectors, among others. The company bolstered its position in the CX market when it acquired PK Global, a global CX digital design and engineering firm, for $1.6 billion in late 2021, marking the first acquisition for Concentrix since it became a publicly traded company in December 2020.
Rosso joined Concentrix when the company acquired IBM’s CX and business process outsourcing (BPO) business in 2013. He has since led sales and account management, and the frontline thinking on CX innovation. Through his global role he works with clients all over the world, across all industries, with a team spanning 17 countries, supporting brands in over 40 languages. “When we run CX operations for a client we use customer insights to recommend the strategic direction on technology, innovation, and consulting, to fit with the client’s business goals,” says Rosso, noting that a customer-centric focus permeates the company culture at Concentrix.
Most Significant CX Challenges
Rosso states that one of the most significant challenges for brands today is that “they are expected to drive higher value experiences for their customers, to be more consistent, and to do so more intelligently and contextually – what the customer really wants.” The bar continues to rise, everyone is at an historic level of customer service based on existing technologies, and many organizations would spend time focusing on driving cost efficiencies, says Rosso. But modern customers can easily point to “what good looks like, and “here’s what I expect.” He adds, brands are switching focus to make changes that are recognized as a better experience” and several key questions are top of mind for many CX practitioners: “How do I make it easy? How do I make it more personalized? How do I do this more securely? How do I make it more relevant to what just happened?”
“I always ask, is it fast, and is it complete?” explains Rosso – that is where the hard work of redesigning experiences with the right mix of humans and technology come in. He explains, “That is what good CX brands are trying to get better at, but some of them are just focused on digital transformation.” And “there has been a lot of hype about creating true omnichannel experiences, but most brands have really struggled to make this work.” Adding that most brands are behind their goals for digital transformation simply because the new experiences weren’t designed to the point that the customer says, “I like this better.” He adds that programs that drive revenue are becoming much more valuable to brands, and that there has been a shift over the years from a primary focus on cost savings to a greater emphasis on revenue generation, and how to build customer loyalty at every step within a customer journey.
In terms of leading industries in the CX movement, Rosso calls out four key sectors that are consistently demonstrating pace-setting innovation:
- Telecommunications, especially for digital engagements, and using customer information to create better journeys, driven by the large volume of transactions and touchpoints per account.
- Banking, which has been much slower in some aspects of digital transformation, but which also incorporates key elements of personalization and a strong openness to learning from customer analytics.
- Retail, the industry sector that has been the most open to thinking about digital transformation, experimenting with automation like bots, and using insights to address specific customer challenges.
- Healthcare, which contends with similar considerations seen in the banking sector in terms of IT control within the organization, as well as competing budgetary pressures. This is one of the sectors proactively exploring best practices from outside their industry.
Rosso adds that privacy and security concerns are becoming a much larger element of CX initiatives. “If you talk to a CISO about CX, they would say that they have never been more worried,” he says. Concentrix invests significant time and resources to understand the environments in which their clients operate and what needs to be done to protect those environments.
From a regional perspective, Rosso states that North America remains at the leading edge, along with India, and Concentrix clients in those markets are among the most supportive of changing business processes. At the other end of the spectrum are markets such as Japan, which have traditionally been resistant to major change. There is a growing willingness to do things differently in China, he observes. Europe is a mixed bag, says Rosso – he is starting to see a lot more momentum, but it can be a tougher market environment due to the need for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance although buyers have been more willing to make changes due to the COVID-19 experience.
CX Success Stories
Rosso points to three key industries where Concentrix has observed some of the best success stories among its clients, and notes that some best practices and innovations are being increasingly leveraged across industry sectors.
In Retail, the company has had multiple engagements where they have “opened up the wall around the contact center.” For one client, Concentrix took over responsibility for the entire CX operation and set about driving three key goals: (1) embark on a significant shift into digital, (2) drive a much better containment strategy for customer service, and (3) improve customer satisfaction, all while driving reductions in the cost to serve. Working with the client, they were able to improve the containment rate (a key metric of customer issues resolution) from less than 10% to 45% after just 18 months, using various forms of automation. They also doubled the shift to digital, away from a voice-centric model to a more messaging and chat model. During the first year, they moved more than 4 million transactions from voice to digital as part of a very comprehensive program that included journey design, interactive voice response (IVR) system design, bot design, and other key technologies and tools.
In Consumer Electronics, Concentrix was hired by one client to develop more detailed and insightful analytics on what consumers were doing on the website. The goal of the initiative was to improve experience, increase sales conversion, and yield a higher return on digital spend. Through sophisticated analytics, Concentrix helped the client to really understand consumer behaviors – to better influence them to stay on the website, to buy, and buy the right things. Within a year, the client increased revenue for this part of their business by 13%, with average order value growing by 22%. Rosso added that driving customer lifetime value is one of the key outcomes that Concentrix delivers through its specialist Loyalty team.
In Government, Rosso explains that Concentrix worked on an opportunity in Asia Pacific to take over a program (technology, design, build, and operate) that was serving a particular citizen constituency base. The company designed and built an app to improve customer engagement and self-serve a significant portion of interactions that would have previously been handled by the contact center. By implementing a new mobile application and an omnichannel technology platform, the project delivered a 30% reduction in volume and a significant improvement in customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores, while simultaneously providing a much more modern experience.
“The thing that everyone faces in this industry is gaining internal alignment around driving the CX objectives,” states Rosso. Key functional groups such as marketing, customer support, IT, and finance all need to be rallied around a more customer-centric view of their operations, which can be tricky since very few brands have a truly empowered Chief Customer Officer or other CX leader. “There’s often a big challenge getting stakeholder alignment around priorities and ensuring a consistent view of what an end-to-end approach needs to look like, as opposed to the silos we naturally see,” says Rosso. He continues, “and sometimes CX decisions demand multi-regional input, across geographies and central functions to ensure policy, technology, and practice associated with the global strategy.”
Rosso adds that some of the other hurdles his clients face are the “legacy” of technology choices and decisions about the support structure and the ability to drive change. “People have long memories and can be reluctant to implement new approaches,” he says, adding that “most successful brands have a single point of ownership to drive CX transformation – often the CEO, or a strong sponsor, ensuring that good ideas don’t get diluted or lost, and key decisions don’t get delayed.”
“From our perspective, technology is just a tool,” says Rosso, and the essence of a successful CX program lies more in philosophy and approach. With that said, the two key technology areas for Rosso are Insights and Automation, adding that there has been a lot of evolution over the past few years about how to effectively use data to make CX better. Concentrix helps clients devise data strategies to better understand customer journeys, make recommendations, and test to see if they deliver the desired outcomes. Meanwhile, automation is a broader field of focus because it includes so many different options for technology implementation – robotic process automation (RPA), bots, and simple automation through an IVR, to name a few. Instead of waiting for a “master program” for automation, says Rosso, Concentrix has focused on distributing and decentralizing automation and getting it to the front lines.
Looking forward in terms of technology priorities and investment, Rosso lists five key focus areas for Concentrix over the next few years:
- Insights – Continuing focus.
- Automation – Continuing focus.
- Design – Concentration on personalization, and the ways in which self-service starts with good design of apps, websites, and interaction design. “The modernization of UX and CX in an omnichannel way is huge,” says Rosso.
- Personalization – According to Rosso, a more agile approach to personalization can create a lot of value in terms of brand loyalty, net promoter score (NPS), and ease of doing business.
- Augmented reality, the metaverse, and digital humans – Some brands are ready for these new frontiers, says Rosso, but most are not, although many brands should now be thinking about what role these new technologies will play in their customer experiences. Rosso cautions that brands must stop looking for a platform and just focus on finding the right use cases. He adds that well-designed use cases can be deployed in 4 weeks (for relatively simple applications) or 8-12 weeks (for more complex applications).
Predictions for CX Market Development
Rosso anticipates that the market will move away from the bifurcation of “contact center versus everything else” to a more unified view that brings “design, build, and run” into the same operational space. Clients may not buy everything all at once from Concentrix, he says, but maintaining a wide range of capabilities is important. This approach will inform the company’s acquisition strategy over the next few years, says Rosso.
He adds that cloud migration is a critical factor in market development now that AI implementation has become much less expensive due to the cloud. This data architecture gives clients the ability to scale up or scale down more quickly, and to deploy change more quickly. “It enables a different way of looking at what’s possible,” says Rosso, adding that it also prevents long-term technology lock-in. Also, a more decentralized approach based on an open application programming interface (API) strategy will speed up time-to-production versus a few years ago.
In addition, Rosso states that customer service agent wellness will become more of a priority over the next few years. With routine tasks being stripped from agents’ workloads using automation, their customer interactions are becoming more complex and more demanding, and the bar will continue to be raised. He anticipates that we will see more interventional AI that will monitor the wellness and quality of interactions on an ongoing basis.
On a broad level, Rosso asserts that the key CX market battlefield is related to the effective use of data for personalization, context, and so forth. “There is so much data out there that is not being used,” he says, and those brands who make the most progress on their data strategies will be able to drive customer lifetime value and customer success. To better benchmark this progress, Concentrix has developed a methodology for assessing CX maturity stage and best practices. In the end, says Rosso, the winning brands will be those who understand their customer journeys in depth and have the ability to bring practical, agile approaches to CX design.
About the CX Innovator Series
The CX Innovator Series is an actionable and educational industry initiative that showcases the best practices that leading end-user executives are using within their organizations to shape their community’s experience. The series is a collaborative effort between Dash Network, Sleeping Giant Labs, and Team Wakabayashi. Using expertly curated executive interviews combined with quantitative research from consumer surveys, the CX Innovator Series provides tangible insights and a deeper understanding of how successful companies are utilizing CX programs resulting in positive business outcomes.
The CX Innovator Series is made possible by support from our lead sponsors: Concentrix, eGain, Tealium, and QuestionPro. If you would be interested in participating in the CX Innovator initiative, either as part of an end-user interview or as a supporting sponsor, please contact us.
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