The Evolution of Experience Ownership in the C-Suite
At Customer Contact Week, we seek to address the strategies and tactics of the holistic experience, far and beyond the contact center alone. There is no one better to address end-to-end experience strategy than Sherif Mityas, TGI Fridays Chief Experience Officer. Over his years at Fridays, Sherif transformed his role from Chief Information & Strategy Officer into Chief Experience Officer as he leverages technology and data to orchestrate all guest touch points. Customer Contact Week’s Principal Analyst & Head of Product Development, Michael DeJager, chats with Sherif about his role as well as some tips and tricks for successful digital customer engagements.
Q. Your transition from Chief Information & Strategy Officer to Chief Experience Officer in 2018 is really quite telling of the increased importance that is placed on the end-to-end experience? Tell us a little more about that transition and the evolution of your role.
A. I believe it’s a transition that will/should occur across most consumer-facing sectors and organizations. The customer doesn’t care about functions or functional siloes – they care about their overall experience with your brand. That’s the realization we quickly came to within Fridays and decided it was time to “connect the dots” internally so that we could create the right end-to-end experiences for our guests – under one leadership structure. It was an honor to assume this role and help our great teams work in a more integrated and customer-focused manner. Through their efforts, we are developing and executing truly personalized experiences now for our guests through both our digital and physical channels – creating real differentiation within the restaurant sector which we are seeing in increased traffic, sales and customer satisfaction.
Q. Effective digital customer engagement is a magical blend of data, personalization, and timing in their channel of choice. How have you and your team leveraged AI and machine learning as a catalyst to deliver meaningful digital experiences?
A. It started with understanding our guests at an individual level. We have gone well beyond targeting just Boomers or Gen Xers, we don’t even target soccer moms from Atlanta anymore. We target Mary vs Susan – understanding each guests’ unique preferences and behaviors when it comes to food and beverage to enable a more personalized and connected engagement strategy. The only way to accomplish this at scale is through the use of technology and specifically our AI tools that continue to learn the best methods, channels and content to create a positive engagement or action from our guests. That’s the true power of this new technology – creating personalization at scale – which we can clearly measure and show the impact on a daily basis.
Q. As a consumer brand, you’ve mentioned that customer loyalty and stickiness are absolutely critical. What has been the single most successful digital customer engagement campaign to date?
A. The efforts that truly create a seamless and frictionless guest experience have always shown to be the most successful. As an example, we know a lot about some of our loyalty members… we know what they like to eat, what days they like to order and even what time of day. So imagine a guest who likes to order wings every Friday at 7pm…we can send that guest (our AI tool does actually!) a targeted text message at 6:55pm letting her know that we’ve filled her basket with some wings and the dressing on the side just like she wants it and all she has to do is type back “yes” and it will be done. That’s creating a truly personalized and convenient experience. We made it easy and timely based on everything we know about this individual guest. These types of highly personalized engagement campaigns are highly effective and continue to power our growth across our digital channels.
Join us for Sherif’s Main Stage keynote, “Leverage Technology to Deliver Extraordinary, Personalized Customer Experiences,” at Customer Contact Week Las Vegas this August 26 from 5:15-5:45 PM. Mityas will explore how brands are using AI and machine learning to build, develop, and strengthen one-to-one relationships with their customers. Armed with real examples from TGI Friday’s digital transformation, he’ll analyze how organizations are deploying new technologies enabled by digital transformation to create personalization at scale and share valuable lessons he’s learned along the way.