Today we hear from Jacqui Mueller—Senior VP, Client Insights—and learn what changes she’s seen in the experience management (XM) space in the last decade, what goes into building a trusting partnership, and what makes SMG’s software with a service (SwaS) approach so effective.
What is your role at SMG?
My role is to help our clients succeed! I oversee our Client Success function that consults with potential partners and helps onboard new clients. Our goal is to realize value as quickly as possible leveraging SMG’s deep expertise in knowing what works to move the needle with customer experience and achieve business goals.
It’s rewarding to work with a portfolio of great brands and help them optimize SMG’s tech + insights to create better experiences for their customers and employees.
In your almost nine years with SMG, how has XM evolved?
There’s now a big emphasis on creating an enterprise-level solution, evolving from simple survey programs owned by operations or marketing to multiple stakeholders and involvement across the organization.
There’s also been impressive advancement with the tech in XM programs, from predictive analytics and AI-powered text analytics to smart modeling that helps brands establish financial linkage and prove ROI. Programs are now multi-dimensional, reaching across all touchpoints of the customer journey and integrating that data into one cohesive, holistic view.
Do you have a favorite client success story? What happened?
My favorite client success story is from a national convenience store chain that forged a new payment partnership deal with Walmart. The process turned out to be a double-edged sword—it increased their business but also created a huge spike in problem occurrence, leading to a decline in repeat business.
The brand used text analytics to reveal customers were experiencing problems paying with a credit card at the pump. This insight led them to take targeted action with on-site associate training, resulting in a 60% reduction in time to resolve issues and a $3 million annual savings in maintenance fees.
What do you love most about your work—what’s most rewarding?
What I love most is when clients are proud of the work they’ve done using our tools and solutions—when they can see the difference they are making.
I also love bringing insight and context to experience data to tell a story about what’s really happening. It’s all about helping clients innovate by leveraging new technologies to achieve their XM goals and objectives. We help them think bigger about what’s possible.
SMG is known for developing long-standing client relationships. When you think about building those relationships, what's that journey look like?
It starts with building trust by putting action behind your words and being responsive by following through quickly and effectively. Strong relationships are built on listening and accountability. We don’t just say we’re going to do something—we do it.
We build this trust by truly understanding our clients’ goals and objectives and learning as much as we can about what really matters to the people and organization. This guides their program design so we can align those goals and connect that deeper purpose and mission with the work being done.
And then it’s that follow-through. Creating actionable insights from the data and providing the relevant and timely “ah ha” moments that build progress and move the needle. This is all part of SMG’s software with a service (SwaS) approach—uniquely combining platform technology with hands-on professional services.
In short, our goal is always to be a trusted advisor. We want clients to bounce ideas off us, get our buy-in on big strategic changes, and really use our 30 years of experience in the XM space.
What are a few customer experience initiatives brands are focusing on this year?
With the pandemic, we launched a lot of new work and rapid innovation in 2020. Now we need to refine and optimize these processes. We’ll do this by strengthening alternative channels, beyond the box. It’s now all about everything delivery and how to build relationships outside the traditional brick-and-mortar location.
Brands have to improve the digital customer experience, accelerate product + service innovation, and continue to deepen that 1:1 customer connection. It’s about investing in loyalty and existing customers and unlocking more opportunities for customers to connect with the brand.As for us, there’s now an opportunity for our teams to be more agile in our service approach to align with changes in how data and insights are being consumed. This shift towards agile has broken up traditional communication paths and accelerated data-sharing like never before.