CRM Evolved

Pega recently introduced the concept of “CRM Evolved”, and started a marketing campaign around that concept. A broad marketing campaign is a first for Pega, and even moving to an all-encompassing story is somewhat of a breach with its narrative in the past. This is a good thing, because when you know the platform, you always feel a kind of disconnect. On the one hand you have this magnificent toolbox, that gives you a lot of power to build great applications, and on the other hand you have a hard time explaining what Pega actually is, because it is so much. Now, with this one story, you have an umbrella, under which all the technologies find their logical place.

We go back to PegaWorld 2015, Pega’s world-wide conference, because that it is the best way to illustrate what Pega means by CRM Evolved and why it is important. And before diving in, let’s avoid any confusion on the use of the term “customers”. When Pega speaks about “their customers” they mean the organizations that use Pega. But in “customer relationship” it is about the customers of these organizations. For clarity’s sake, we will stick to these three tiers: Pega – Organizations – Customers. So “customers” are customers to organizations that use Pega.

And that is also where the whole story starts: with customers. When Alan Trefler, Pega’s founder and CEO, speaks about “digital disruption”, it is all about how customers interact with companies using digital means.

Brian Solis, Principal Analyst, Altimeter Group, futurist and self-proclaimed “digital anthropologist”, gave a strong image for this in his presentation:

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Brian Solis talking about the Digital Customer

He added: “…for the younger folks in the audience, it is actually done out of love. And I’m sure they are indeed telling each other that this is the best party ever.”

This illustrates a generation that makes decisions based on peers in their social network, not based on a nice folder. This is why customer experience has become so important. One bad experience is immediately shared among a large group of people. But a great experience even so!

A great example of how a company deals with this new reality is RBS.

Christian Nelissen, “The Data Guy” at RBS, sketched a picture of a bank representative from the 1970’s, who would know you personally. This representative would provide a quick solution if something went wrong. For example, when you would be late with one loan payment after an impeccable payment history, he could make sure that you would not be charged heavily but instead given some time.

He then described how many organizations have grown into impersonal Moloch’s, who would for example send out a letter about an ending fixed interest rate on a mortgage, and after one reminder would give you a high default interest rate if you failed to return the paper form with your choice.

Now they are turning into that personal bank again, but this time using technology that helps to make every interaction between bank and customer a positive and consistent experience, be it by phone, email, social media or otherwise. In the case of the ending fixed interest rate, they would make it very easy for you to choose the best option and submit your choice. And they would make sure you would not forget.

The whole organization must be aligned towards this positive, personal experience. RBS calls this philosophy “Personology”. And they are leveraging Pega to bring it into practice.

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Pega can help to give customers a consistent, personal experience; illustration from RBS’ Christian Nelissen’s presentation

Reinventing insurance
Another example is AIG Japan, one of the largest general insurers in Japan. Robert Noddin, president and CEO, explained that insurance has all kinds of negative connotations to customers. “Purchasing an insurance is like going to the dentist: you have to do it, but it’s not really fun to do.” In addition, you usually only talk to your insurance company when something goes wrong.

They wanted to give insurance a more positive face, but they do not have direct contact with their customers. They operate via independent agents. And these agents are doing business for other insurance companies as well, so they are competing for desk space.

So, in order to improve the customer experience, and win their agents’ mindshare, they had to improve the tools they were providing. They used Pega Sales Automation to build “AIG Connect”, a system with an intuitive interface that the agents could use without training, but that also connected seamlessly with the back office. This way the agents are able to give each customer the best solution in their specific situation, and can be sure that the solution is fulfilled satisfactorily. Their claims service capability has been rated number 1 in Japan for 6 years in a row.

But… they went beyond this, in an interesting way. They understood that an insurance company can only replace physical things, if something goes wrong. They cannot replace history, like wedding photos, and they cannot repair emotions, like what you feel for antique objects that were in the family for a long time. So they gave the agents ways to help educate people in how to avoid risk, prevent accidents from happening. They have hundreds of thousands of data points, and with clever analysis, they can give customers relevant suggestions at the right moment. For example, “If you change your route to work, you may add 5 minutes, but you reduce the chance of accidents with 25%”. Or to a 70 year old: “if you have a dog, care for that dog and take it out for regular walks, that will reduce the likelihood that you slip and fall in your house by 30%.”

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Robert Noddin explaining AIG Connect

These examples illustrate what Pega wants to achieve with CRM Evolved. Now, what is it all about? To paraphrase Alan Trefler in his keynote, it is about connecting the power of a whole organization to customers. It means that a customer can have a consistent and positive experience when engaging with the organization over any available channel. And it means that any promise made at the front-end, can be fulfilled at the back-end: “connecting customers to outcomes”.

To help organizations achieve this, Pega combines all its traditional strengths.

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Alan Trefler showing Pega’s traditional strengths, all contributing to CRM Evolved

After showing the above slide, Trefler downplayed it a little bit by adding:  “What makes us happier than these good analyst ratings is, of course, our customer successes.”, thus emphasizing that it is the organizations that use Pega who are creating the success.

In future parts (part 2) of “Pega at an architect’s angle” we will zoom in into this slide.

– Marc Hartogs

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