We’re excited to announce that Cody Sanford, former EVP, CIO and Chief Product Officer at T-Mobile, has joined the newly formed Advisory Board at Sweepr.
The Sweepr Platform is designed with the needs of our clients at the forefront. With that in mind we want to ensure that we continuously challenge our thinking, engaging with our market and improving our proposition.
The role of the Advisory Board is to offer guidance to the Sweepr management team around market challenges, positioning and product strategy. Members of the board represent a wide spectrum of skills and experience from cross-industry leadership that can feed into the company and help us to grow Sweepr’s products and services.
“Cody has spent many years in leadership positions at T-Mobile, as well as spending time consulting and as a company founder,” said Alan Coleman, CEO of Sweepr, “His experience and insight, gained at the forefront of these companies, will help the management team here at Sweepr to focus our product direction on the needs of the market.”
We sat down with Cody to gain some insight why he’s chosen to join the Sweepr Advisory Board and what he thinks is next in the pursuit of the hyperpersonalised digital customer experience.
Why did you decide to join the advisory board?
I decided to join the advisory board of Sweepr because I’ve had a long relationship and history with Alan, and have immense confidence in him and his leadership team. I also believe this is a vital product for a space that is in desperate need of solutions for consumers grappling with how to make their home work – and for companies trying to provide them services in their homes.
Why do you think an advisory board is important to a scaling startup?
A scaling startup is at one of its most critical junctures in the company’s growth phase and having a rich perspective from lots of different individuals is critical to help it through that phase of its journey. Having individuals in the advisory board with different experiences in different industries – with experience in hiring, experience in operations, experience potentially with the customers themselves – is vital to helping the company make the best possible decisions during that phase of its growth.
How have you seen digitally-automated care evolve in the last 5-10 years?
Digitally automated care really saw its birth in the last five to ten years, meaningfully, but I think the most important evolution that digital care – and digital service – has undergone in the past decade is its attempt to become more “human”.
Up until very recently, most people would prefer to be supported by another person, to have someone who understands them at a very human level – understands their problems can connect with them emotionally – and it’s very hard to replicate that experience digitally. However, we are getting better at it, and the evolution has been how to make that information, those experiences contextual – meaning timely – for that individual, and personal.
So what pattern recognition do you have of my relationship with you, that you can make this a rich and satisfying experience, without me engaging with another human?
We aren’t there yet in any industry, really, but it’s the pursuit of that that has really undergone the most change in the last 10 years. I think the closer you can get to replicating that experience, and providing the benefits that a digital experience can provide, which is instant, 24×7, whenever I need it, and at my fingertips – no matter what digital medium I’m using – I think that’s really what Sweepr is poised to help ISPs, CSPs, and MSPs do for their customers.
What will customer care look like in the next decade?
I think this is something that every company is wrestling with right now – especially those who have more complex services that require more frequent interaction. I think some combination of human and digital service will always be critical for successful companies that are providing services – especially connected services that are complex by their very nature. However, what we’re going to see is companies get better at anticipating the needs of their customers through their products, then solving the customers’ issues through the experience in an anticipatory way, as opposed to in a reactive way – which is what almost all care is today. That’s when you reach out through digital mediums to solve a problem, and then they respond to that problem – as opposed to “I know that you’re experiencing a problem,” or, even better, “I know you’re about to experience a problem. Let me reach out to you and help you through that moment.”
The same goes for purchase opportunities: “This is a perfect moment. I know this product is going to suit your needs based on my experience with you, and I’m going to offer this in a graceful way that doesn’t feel like a high pressure sales situation,” and then do that through digital medium.
I still believe that there is a vital role for humans in that space – especially for customers that prefer to interact. There are ways to build the same type of information for customer service agents that are helping live customers – if you can provide them all the same information, and do it in a way that they can provide contextually-aware, pattern-aware, and specific information for that customer. I think that’s kind of the best of both worlds.
What do consumers expect from their provider?
I think consumers expect from their provider what almost any consumer expects from a company that they have a relationship with, which is “Sell me a product that meets my needs, is easy to use, and provide me opportunities to get service and support whenever I want it, wherever I want it, and do it in a way that’s unique to me as a person.” Easy to say – very hard to do.
I think that is an increasing expectation of consumers that the more digital the world gets, the more customers expect that information can be used not only to make money for companies, but to help them enjoy the products they’re purchasing better.
Why do ISPs need to better educate customers about the products and services they have bought?
ISPs sit at the nexus of a very different type of connected world than almost all consumers are used to engaging in. The connected world has been around for a long time, both in the home and in the mobile space, but the number of products that hang off of those connections and are interrelated with one another are growing at an exponential rate.
Whether you’re looking at content, or purchasing goods and services, or connected devices, or appliances, or home automation, or home security – these are all becoming more and more interdependent with the ISPs, with the MSPs, with the CSPs. So the ISP needs to ensure that, as a nexus for that connection, they’re able to help customers understand how the service they’re getting from the ISP is making all of these work or not work. Also, they need to do it in a way that it’s easy for customers to understand, and easy for them to troubleshoot when it’s not working the way they expect it to.
What are the biggest challenges facing the industry today and how do you see Sweepr assist in overcoming those challenges?
One of the greatest challenges of the Industry – with the capital “I” – is that every company that provides connectivity, and then all of the companies that provide products and services that leverage that connectivity to enrich the lives of consumers in the home and in the mobile space is the Industry. It’s hard to think about those independent of one another because of how connected all the experiences are today. The challenge is that the environment today is far more complex than it was yesterday, with “yesterday” being anytime in recent history. With the proliferation of connected devices in the home and in the mobile space it’s going to be even more complex in the future.
So if you think about what customers need to manage in their lives today, with their home broadband and all of the automation and home security and home solutions, plus all the solutions that move in and out of the home that are mobile in nature, customers want that experience to be seamless. They want it to be frictionless. They want it to work out of the box, just like it was promised in the ad that inspired them to buy it in the first place. The industry needs to provide that experience for consumers if they want them to continue to expand their relationships with them, and that is remarkably difficult to do.
What Sweepr offers consumers, and companies that serve those consumers, is the ability to understand what’s happening in that environment in real time – and historically – and then use that information to personalize that experience for that consumer, based on their own relationship and usage patterns with the products and services and connections.
What is wrong with the current mode of selling new products and services to customers and how would Sweepr improve/change this?
I think the hardest challenge for companies selling new products and services to customers today is that they are mostly unaware of how customers are using the current products and services they already have.
This means the customer may have overlapping products and services and they have to move back and forth between the services and the applications they’re using to manage them. Oftentimes consumers are paying for services that they don’t need or they have a gap, meaning that they have something that’s making the experience less than optimal. They don’t understand how the connection service and the product relate to one another.
Overall, I think customers are not getting the most out of the products they’re purchasing, so to understand that fundamental question, which is What should they be buying that makes their lives better, both in the home and their mobile space?, companies need to be able to understand how customers are using the products they already have, and then layer on products and services that will make their experience richer. Ultimately, if they can’t answer that question, the consumers are going to shed products and services, they’re going to get frustrated and it’s going to be very difficult to win their trust back.
I think earning trust to sell new products and services is grounded in understanding who the consumer is, how they’re using products that they’ve already purchased and how they’re getting the most out of them.
To find out more about the Sweepr platform and how it offers the solution for next gen hyperpersonalised digital customer experience, feel free to book a tour with one of our friendly experts.