On Episode 69 we’re talking marketers as customer advocates with Riccardo Osti. In the second part of our discussion, we delve into how marketers can be customer advocates, the trends Riccardo is seeing, and we learn more about Wonderflow.

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Riccardo: It sounds straight forward and quite obvious, but it's very, very complicated because, let's say, it is not normal today for managers to incorporate consumer data, consumer learnings into their day to day and strategic. Even if, I mean especially if you look at the frequency where they try to make it consumer driven decisions, which usually happens maybe once per quarter or once every six months or maybe once a year when they have a strategy meeting and that's already, you already get a sensation that there is something not working just right now because customers write everyday about their experiences. So we should, it would be impossible to use that type of learnings on a daily basis, but it's also unrealistic that we managers usually every six months or once a year.

Mark: Yeah, yeah.

Riccardo: There would be, and also, I would say the type of data that we have today, the ease at which they are produced, gives us the opportunity to have much more frequent looks with customers now and more frequent interactions, more frequent steering on the decisions that we made.

Riccardo: So the important thing is to start. But the goal, the real goal is to make it very, very frequent.

Mark: Yeah, and we could talk-

Riccardo: And make it normal.

Mark: Yeah, and when you talk about the customer journey, right, and it's really a journey for the company as well. It's not just for the customer, it's a journey without an end, right?

Riccardo: Yeah, absolutely. I mean the, the whole concept behind consumer centric companies, is that they don't invest in today, they invest in a lifetime value. So the real goal shouldn't even be how much we can charge or how much we can make out of these customer today, but how much can we make in the next five to 10 years? So it's not even related to one single product, but it's related to a relationship now. In fact, we may initially at the beginning of our conversation, I mentioned car manufacturers. For that type of companies, which are often product centric, I mean, their goal of course is to maximize shareholders' value now as also for consumer centric companies. But they do it through, let's say standard practices now trying to decrease the fixate costs, trying to sell more units, trying to expand to new geographies while, so their advantage is in the product expertise now, while for consumer centric companies it is in the relationship expertise. So, it's actually the customer experience, the journey. The learnings that you make are the real advantage that can help brands to beat their competitors.

Mark: Yeah. It's interesting to see a lot of B2B companies, I have trouble with that term, but B2B companies adopting B2C tactics because they are selling to human beings. They're not selling to a business. And it's kind of interesting to see that transformation that's happened over the last several years.

Riccardo: Yeah. Yeah, well that's a very good point. And I mean, what surprises me more, I mean I'm not surprised anymore because I see this happening almost every day now. But what I believe it's a bit odd is that we, brands in general always expect customers to do the extra mile to imagine what they could do, what they could change, what they would do if they end up in a situation. So for example, the Net Promoter Score, which is now one of the, probably the most popular indicator that is used today. And I mean just in a couple of words, it should measure the willingness of customers to recommend your product or service to someone else. And that's 100% B2C, because, I mean, that's where it started. It's very, it's relevant when it's based on a vast amount of, let's say, large data set. But it's, I've seen it many times using these type of indicators for B2B.

Riccardo: So it kind of feels like the B2B companies do not have enough touch points, enough data sources to do other types of analysis and therefore you're absolutely right. They end up using more like B2C approach to gain insights from their clients, while they could just do much easier things.

Mark: So can you tell me about your company, Wonderflow, what you guys are up to there?

Riccardo: We analyze any kind of feedback from customers using natural language processing and we translate these, let's say, these big data into more actionable data, meaning that we transform a lot of texts, a lot of information, into simple, actionable things that brands can do to improve their products and services based on what customers want. We work with both B2C and B2B companies and we really encourage our customers to use what's already available. So we encouraged them to break the loop and stop asking questions and doing the things that they've been doing for the last 30 years, and just find what's already available on the Internet or in their internal databases. We analyze those texts and we try to instill a very much consumer centric culture within their organizations.

Mark: So the answers are kind of staring them in the face. They're there in front of them. They're not buried somewhere.

Riccardo: Yeah. The point is ... We mentioned reviews and reviews are a crazy good example because a lot of brands today still waste money in doing surveys, questionnaires, interviews, while they could just analyze what customers say in reviews. And those are free text, voluntarily generated, incredibly insightful and they drive sales. And they are just out there. It is not easy to analyze them and which is what we do. But if you manage to analyze them correctly and those are, this is for sure the best source of insights that you can get. [crosstalk 00:08:03]

Mark: Yeah. Do you pour those into a tool that you've designed that analyzes the language and kind of creates a sentiment analysis? Is that how it works?

Riccardo: Yeah, that's correct. So we find where, for example, reviews are, but we support more than 200 different data sources, private and public data sources like call center data and [inaudible 00:08:26] open text, free text in general, emails, messages and of course reviews. So we find where they are, we download them, we clean them from the noise, we process them with text analysis technology and we visualize the results in a very easy to use dashboard called the Wonderboard, which is usually shared with as many people as possible within the organization.

Riccardo: There's something that you've mentioned earlier in our conversation, but it's very important that everyone in the company has access to customer feedback and to the learnings that you can make from it because that's the only way to really become consumer centric as a whole.

Mark: Yeah, so it's a dashboard that everyone can access.

Riccardo: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. It's a dashboard. It's an online dashboard.

Mark: Well, this has been a fascinating discussion, Riccardo. I really appreciate you joining me. It's been really interesting and insightful.

Riccardo: Oh, thank you so much. I mean, I think the questions that you asked me were very much to the point and we could be here talking for one year.

Mark: Definitely. Well, let's have you back and we can see how things are later this year.

Riccardo: Sounds like a plan. Thanks again for having me and I'm looking forward to hear again our podcast recorded.