Group Strategic Solutions Director
Concentrix Catalyst was recently included in Forrester’s “Now Tech: Customer Experience Strategy Consulting Practices, Q1 2022” report. Below, Doug Anderson, Catalyst’s Group Strategic Solutions Director, explains what this recognition means to him and to Catalyst as a whole.
Q: Sometimes these sorts of recognitions are the culmination of years of work. A mention in a report can have so much more significance than the face value. What does it mean to you to be featured in the Forrester CX report?
Doug Anderson: It’s not just about the years spent doing the work. During those years, we’ve brought together a huge spread of capabilities into a refined, focused set of methodologies and working practices. We used to have teams of specialists creating unique approaches for each project but bringing them together over the years got us to a point that, no matter how varied our customers’ CX challenges were, we’d always be certain to solve them. It became less of a question of, “how can we do this?” and more, “we know if we apply this approach, it’ll get done.”
The important thing for me is that we’ve developed that framework and that we have an incredible team that are passionate about creating great experiences. We have customers who come back to us again and again for this. But also, until recently, our name wasn’t synonymous with these capabilities to everyone, so it’s rewarding to see that recognition and validation of the great work we already know we can do. And now other people get to see that as well.
Q: CX, like digital transformation, has become a catchall for a lot of enterprise-wide business initiatives. When we talk about CX strategy, what exactly are we talking about?
Doug Anderson: CX, to me, is the entire holistic customer experience, all the touchpoints a customer has with an organization—everything as one. What’s changed is that having great digital services used to differentiate businesses. Doing those brilliantly used to be considered good CX but now it’s just table stakes. You can’t afford to have anything less than an excellent experience to shine through and be truly competitive. You need to offer a lot more and that’s because the touchpoints that customers experience on their journey, and the complexity of those journeys, have increased massively.
There are now so many ways that brands need to interact with their customers, which has increased in complexity from a design and technology perspective. At the same time, you need to maintain consistency, ease of use, speed, friendliness, and human-centered design. Basically, you need to make it simple from the customer’s perspective. I don’t think the overall umbrella of what CX is has changed, but what you need to do to deliver the best CX has accelerated, and getting it right is an existential consideration for businesses now. It’s not just, “we should possibly also have a CX strategy.” It’s now foundational.
Q: Can you point to some of the existential crises that clients had that you solved thanks to your CX strategy?
Doug Anderson: One thing that digital does is it knocks out the intermediary. It creates more direct relationships, and yet there are still a lot of operating models out there that have that “old school” ways of working. If those large incumbents don’t recognize that a startup will come to eat their lunch and take out the intermediary, they’ll be out of business.
I’m thinking of one of Australia’s largest trading companies for grain growers. This company went through a cumbersome, time-consuming process to connect growers to buyers. We essentially went in and looked at every touchpoint that these buyers and growers experienced and helped them to change their operating model and their platform. We helped them create a brand-new marketplace platform that cut the down the number of steps, saved time, and gave buyers and growers more control. It’s everything people expect from their consumer experiences, but now in their B2B experiences too.
Q: Forrester buckets capability segments into “CX specialists,” “CX business strategists,” and “CX business technologists.” Forrester obviously has their opinion, but where do you feel our strong suit is?
Doug Anderson: I’m happy with the segment that that Forrester put us in. First, it’s important to note that none of those segments are mutually exclusive. Companies in one will do things that companies in other segments can do, maybe to a greater or lesser extent. To me, being categorized in the business technologist category places that strong emphasis on our end-to-end capability—everything from those early stages of uncovering, prioritizing, designing, delivering the strategy, then to implementation, and being able to support organizational transformation, workforce management, and the culture changes that are necessary to roll all that transformation out.
Q: If you were advising a potential client on what their criteria should be for selecting a CX strategy partner, how would you frame Concentrix as being different from those other competitors in that same segment?
Doug Anderson: In our approach, we tend to offer incremental, actionable roadmaps that deliver value, a lot faster, more regularly, and more frequently. So, sure, you can rely on us to fulfill that complete three-year digital transformation of your business, but we really enjoy coming in and providing value fast and in discrete chunks, such as, how can we give you a win within four weeks? Then: what we can we do in two months? In six?
I always describe the way we work as having no lock-in like you often see with other vendors. Their ethos is often, “land and expand,” whereas for us it’s much more, “you’ll want to continue working with us because you continue to see the value being driven.” You need to keep delivering change along the way, because if you have a three-year digital transformation plan, chances are your objectives, context, and environment will have changed so much in those three years, the plan you started with may no longer be relevant.
So, you must take things in smaller chunks. You might have substantial high-level objectives, but CX is iterative. It’s so user-centered. Everything must be done, tested, and refined, with a focus on outcomes. The route to get to them can require quickly revising and evolving the strategy along the way. And you need a nimble partner like Concentrix to support you on that journey.
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Group Strategic Solutions Director