theCUBE is the world’s leading live interview show covering enterprise tech, innovation and the people who imagine, create and implement the technologies that are changing our world. This year, they joined IFS in Miami for IFS Unleashed 2022. Below is the transcription of an interview with Cathie Hall, the SVP of experience at IFS. Enjoy!
theCube: Hey guys, welcome back to the Cube’s coverage of IFS Unleashed in Miami. I’m Lisa Martin. Been here half a day so far, having great conversations. It is so great to be back on the show floor and I’m getting that sentiment from the IFS execs, their customers, their partners, and the ecosystem. I’m pleased to welcome Cathie Hall as my next guest, the SVP of experience at IFS. Cathie, welcome to the program.
Cathie Hall: Thank you.
theCube: Love talking about the customer experience. Talk to me, but the employee experience is equally important because they’re like this but talk to me about your role as the SVP of experience and what that entails.
Cathie Hall: Yeah, so I’m really, really fortunate at IFS to be SVP across experience. So, I do a lot of work with the R&D team, but I also have a role that spans sales, consulting, support, so I can really get involved in any part of the organization to enable us to deliver moments of service. So, I’m really, really fortunate. I’ve got such a broad remit and really work on everything, from the user experience and what the product looks like, feels like, how it interacts, how it moves, how we put our partner, the technologies in there, everything to the customer experience, so how people find it, if they have to engage with support or what it’s like in pre-sales. And we’re really trying to wrap that up into a total experience so that we bring all of those parts together and really productize our experience so that every customer gets a fantastic experience and the best moments of service. So yeah, it’s like a short job title and it’s a really kind of big role. It’s fantastic.
theCube: It is. It’s very encompassing. You have so much visibility across the entire organization that impacts the customer in many different ways. I can only imagine that having that visibility in that role really helps to create, not only a great customer experience, but a great experience for the employees. And those two things I always think of them as like this, like inextricably linked.
Cathie Hall: Yeah, exactly. And we’ve done a lot over the last couple of years of really trying to make sure we’ve got the data, so we understand both from a product point of view and a service point of view, what our users and our customers think about that moment of service. Where the friction points are, you know what’s really good and, and we can use that to coach our employees to celebrate success to give people kudos for the fantastic work they do. And that really enables us to create a hype around the customer within IFS. And just last week we were celebrating CX day, and we did a whole week and had our own sort of internal hashtag of CX Day is every day. And that was fantastic to really galvanize that spirit of those IFS-ers, you know, Team Purple really being at the forefront of how we deliver that customer experience. And it’s fantastic for our customers but it’s also brilliant for our people because it’s motivating and, and it empowers people to be able to do a great job which is what we all want to do.
theCube: Absolutely. Employees need to be empowered because if that’s not there, then the customer experience inextricably linked will suffer. Talk to me a little bit about the evolution of the role. Has it been something that’s been the focus of IFS? Cause you guys have so many unique differentiators for a company that isn’t widely known. But talk to me about how that came about. You know we need to be able to take to really look at the customer experience through many different lenses, take their feedback and really deliver a product experience that is seamless so that they can deliver those moments of service.
Cathie Hall: Yeah, exactly. And I think, you know, when when Darren took over a CEO, we’ve been on this really kind of passionate journey to bring service to our customers, bring value to our customers, you know we really, value is at the heart of everything for our customers. And so, it’s our ethos too. And so, we’ve sort of woven this value into everything that we do with that focus on the customer. So, my role started off sort of more in there, come in and then try and understand it from a very product point of view. But in today’s kind of world, products and service lines emerging things need to be unified. You know, if you go back 20 years a product was built, and it got shipped out and somebody picks it up and they implemented it and then there was a support and there was sort of these walls in between but now of course it is a cloud company, and those walls don’t exist anymore.
Product features are coming out regularly. The code sort of flows through the system out to customers. The way that we service has to be different. And so, we’re thinking all the time how do we get that to be a seamless process? And how do we enable for example, data within a customer system to identify opportunities to create more value for that customer using technology like AI for example and then being able to highlight that value back. But then maybe you say to the pre-salesperson, okay this is the precise demonstration and capability that the customer needs to see, because this is what the system’s telling us is the business case. And that then flows through to the scope, and it enables us to deliver that value. So, it’s really changing the way that we think about these things and unifying together that product and that service into this kind of bigger total experience and this end-to-end experience.
So, we’re really looking at what are all the friction points along our journeys with the customers? How does it stop them getting value? How do we prioritize that value? And therefore, how do we reimagine an end-to-end experience? So as that thinking’s evolved, my role’s also evolved from being quite product centric to being very much across the organization. And I’m lucky I come from a commercial and operational background, so I’ve got a vast amount of experience in delivering these types of solutions. So that’s really helped as well because I’m able to see that full end to end and I’ve got a, brilliant team of people and it comes back to the point we said before the people at IFS are so engaged to want to deliver value to want to deliver the moments of service that it’s kind of easy, you know just got to kind of focus people in the right way and, and the rest comes together.
theCube: That’s nice to hear. And that’s actually the vibe and the sentiment that we’re getting from this. You know, talking about the end-to-end experience. It’s so critical because people used to tolerate fragmented experiences. We don’t anymore.
Cathie Hall: No, we don’t.
theCube: One of the things that went away, I think or is in massively short supply during COVID and may not come back is patience and tolerance (Cathie laughs)
theCube: Right? So being able to deliver that end-to-end experience to your customers through what you’re doing internally is critical for differentiation, for competitive advantage and of course for your customers to be successful with their customers.
Cathie Hall: Yeah, and there’s so many parts of that that you could unpick. We could spend hours talking about it and as consumers our expectations are huge, and we carry those expectations into the workplace. And in the same way at IFS, we want our team to be motivated and proud and excited about the moments of service they’re delivering. Our customers want the same thing from their teams and that also means they want a system where it’s easy to train, easy to use, you can pick up it looks great, you know, it gives, users love IFS and it kind of gives them a tool that helps them get the job done, doesn’t stand in their way. So, you know, all the kind of things we think about internally and how we’re measuring customer experience also translates and resonates with our customers. Everything we think about how, you know, our people need to be empowered to deliver a customer experience. That’s the same messages that, you know we hear back time and time again from our customers. So, there’s so many parallels and we’re really able to work with our customers to kind of do both at the same time, which is fantastic.
theCube: Talk about measurement. What are some of the key indicators of success? Success from an experienced lens internally and with your customers?
Cathie Hall: Yeah, so I mean there’s all the obvious ones about, MPS and CSAT and customer effort score. We also put a lot of value into the qualitative feedback. So, we use Customerville which is an IFS product to collect data on our own moments of service. And you know, the numbers are great, and they tell a story, but I also get really sucked into reading the comments back from the customers and there’s kind of text analytics and sentiment analytics and for me that’s becoming the more powerful kind of piece of data to look at because a story conveys much more than a simple number and it’s also something that goes global as well. You know, different countries score in different ways. There’s different kind of, you know, there’s a lot of gaming that can go on with a score. It can be quite difficult to really interpret but a story and understanding the sentiment behind that customer, that’s gold. And if you can put those together and have a way of on scale being able to interpret that analysis which we can do, you know that becomes something quite special. So, for me it’s about a shift to understanding more of those stories as well as keeping, you know the kind of traditional measures across the the learning- across the journey points.
theCube: Right. The value, I always think the value of the voice of the customer is probably invaluable to organizations because it’s honest.
Cathie Hall: It absolutely, it’s honest. And I think once you’ve got those stories and you’ve got those metrics and then you’re looking at your operational metrics, so what does that mean then in terms of, you know, recurrable revenue and what does that mean in terms of margins and the costs? And being able to put those three things together so that you can understand the levers that you’ve got and the results of those levers that becomes really powerful. And that’s really what’s driving our customers for them to deliver in their moments of service as well which ties back into when we’re working with customers and engaging with customers and looking at that value story doing the value assessments, we’re able to use the evidence from industry and previous customers and the data sources available to help them also project an operational efficiency here will have this CX benefit but actually also has this value benefit.
theCube: Oh, a value back to the business.
Cathie Hall: Yeah.
theCube: I mean, a good experience is transformative.
Cathie Hall: Yeah, really powerful.
theCube: To any industry.
Cathie Hall: Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s so powerful. And you know that really resonates with our customers and that’s what they’re trying to achieve all the time. And so, when they’re looking at IFS cloud in particular, they’re looking at how, you know, the software can help them achieve those moments of service and perfect those moments of service and all the technology that comes into play that can enable people to improve those moments of service at the same time as getting those operational benefits. And that enables organizations to then invest more in the customer experience. More advocacy and really, you know, fuels growth. There’s no denying that now, you have to have that experience and at your point before the expectation from as other consumers we won’t tolerate a bad experience anymore. Which is a good thing.
theCube: It is. We, we’ve all had met plenty of those throughout the last two and a half years. Last question for you, what are some of the things that are next for experience at IFS? I know you mentioned before we went live that you started during the pandemic, so you go get to meet your team finally. But what are some of the things that excite you about the momentum that you guys are carrying through the rest of the second half?
Cathie Hall: Yeah, so our focus now is really bringing the component parts together. So, we have several tools across our whole experience that leverage from our IFS cloud platform in order to deliver those moments of service to our customers. But those tools have grown up in different areas of the business because there’s been a specific need in that area of the business. So, tools at the pre-sale stage, tools that enable us to deliver scope more frictionlessly. Tools that enable us to identify and capture value. The next stage is bringing those altogether. So, this week I announced our vision for experience in the Experience Hub and that really being a place where you get that thread of value throughout the whole experience where everything is tied into one place, and it makes it really frictionless for our customers to get the value from IFS.
theCube: And that’s critical. You guys have north of 10,000 customers, it’s only growing. Kathy, thank you so much for joining me on the program, talking about the end-to-end experience that IFS delivers internally and externally to its customers. We appreciate your insights.
Cathie Hall: Thank you for having me.
theCube: My pleasure. For Cathie Hall, I’m Lisa Martin. You’re watching The Cube live on the show floor of IFS Unleashed from Miami. Stick around. My next guest joins me in just a minute. (Upbeat music)
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