Podcast: How Michael O’Reilly, VP Global Customer Experience, Solved CX Issues at Eventbrite

August 3, 2020

The CX Podcast by Plantt is where we talk to leaders and experts from the CX and CS industry about their challenges, solutions and experiences as part of their job.

This week, we spoke with Michael O’Reilly, VP Global Customer Experience at Eventbrite, who told us about:

  • His passion around the customer's experience and journey
  • Why adding automation is not enough
  • What's the key to solving customer experience issues

You can listen to it right here:

Here are some of the highlights we spoke about:

What does it mean to be a VP of Customer Success?

The nutshell of my career has always been the passion around the customer. As time goes by, you can see that the tools and ways to track and service the customer keep evolving, but at the end of the day, it is all about the customer and understanding what his/her needs are.

How can companies align the customer’s needs with the company goals?

When I think about the customer experience at Eventbrite, the best way to solve an issue is by not having it arise in the first place.

As part of my job, I was responsible for driving Eventbrite’s NPS (Net Promoter Score) by 10 points a year, and one of the significant drivers is understanding the big needle movers and the major pain points for your customers.

We had a number of methods at Eventbrite to understand what those points are, and once we’ve identified them, we work with both product and engineering teams on the solutions needed, making sure to align it with the company’s roadmap.

In addition to that, we have 8-10 frontline agents trained in our go-to-market process, which includes spending time with agents who are in direct contact with the customers. That way, we can bring their voice into the product development process, which helps explain the customer needs and how we can manifest it.

How does automation, AI and chatbots fit into the customer experience?

We introduced chatbots into Eventbrite, and we had a few false starts with it. While we had the technology, we weren’t able to apply it in an efficient method, and we weren’t able to give the customer the experience that we wanted.

When Covid-19 struck, we saw a 10x increase in contacts that overwhelmed the resources we had available. We mapped out the top 3 topics related to Covid-19 that users are asking about, added the flows into the existing chatbot technology we had, and we were able to direct users to relevant content that can provide answers to their questions. This led to users leaving with a high level of satisfaction.

Essentially, in terms of chatbots or automation in general, the process of designing or identifying the issue is very significant to its success. It’s not about whether you should or shouldn’t use automation, the question is what are you trying to solve and how can the chatbot fit into the solution set. You first need to understand the user’s journey and what problem you’re trying to solve - only then you’ll be able to think about how you can apply to technology appropriately.

Covid-19 is pushing a lot of industries and companies to focus on the critical employees, as well as focusing on the product and the technology. I think that in the course of that focus we’re about to see an efficiency push where the product and the technology get better, allowing AI, automation and chatbots to be more integrated into the processes.

What do companies need in order to get the best out of automation?

The most important thing is mapping and understanding the problem you’re trying to solve.

At Eventbrite we had a lot of conversations around how to leverage AI, and I always focused on this question - “what problem are we trying to solve”. As you start mapping out the customer journey you can realize which opportunities are out there, and understand where it makes sense to add automation.

It’s also important to remember that you can’t have a single solution for everybody, and it’s about the personalization of the conversation. You need to address the needs of the user and figure out where to invest in order to provide a good AI bot experience that is unique to the specific needs.

What's your advice to companies who are struggling with CX issues?

In the end, it’s all about the disintermediation of the customer. Everybody wants to own the customer, they want to be the person who understands the customer and his/her needs, and companies are applying AI and business models to address it.

But you need to remember that you’re fighting for a relationship with the customer. You want to be able to talk to your customer with your voice and your experience. You have to think about the relationship and realize that every touchpoint matters - human or non-human - and can impact the lifetime value of the customer in your relationship.

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