Microsoft Ignite: Creating Personalized Customer Experiences with Behavioral Science and Data-Driven Insights
Corey Scobie, Symend’s Chief Technology Officer, joins Microsoft Ignite to discuss how relationship-based engagements drive better business results and improve the lives of customers.
Microsoft Ignite is for IT pros, decision makers, implementors, architects, developers and data professionals to explore the latest tools, receive deep technical training and get questions answered by Microsoft experts. On March 2, 2021, Corey Scobie, CTO at Symend, joined Asrar Khan, Sr. Business Development and Sales Manager at Microsoft, to discuss the science of engagement. Corey revealed how Symend’s digital engagement platform uses science and data-driven insights to keep enterprises attuned to the changing needs of their customers so they can better engage and empower customers who have fallen behind on their bills. Symend serves global enterprises in telecommunications, financial services, utilities and media and is currently expanding its product portfolio to help enterprises retain and acquire customers.
Corey is a software design and development expert with 25+ years of experience with top enterprise technologies and Fortune 500 companies. Prior to joining Symend, Corey spent the past 18 years in the San Francisco Bay Area developing leading high growth, remote technology teams at Chef Software, Akamai Technologies and IBM.
Corey and Asrar discussed a wide range of topics including how Symend leverages Microsoft Azure, how startups should approach selecting their tech stack and how software can be used to empathetically engage customers.
How does Symend’s platform architecture leverage Microsoft Azure?
Symend is a heavy user of Azure Public Cloud Services and a wide array of other services available on the Azure platform. We chose Azure because, as a hyper-scale company, we are looking for the reliability and growth potential that comes with being a Microsoft customer. We have a huge data ingest service which is largely built on Azure Data Factory. Our platform takes in massive amounts of customer data to identify unique characteristics of behavior. This allows us to automate outreaches through digital channels like SMS and email and set up personalized landing page calls-to-action using Azure Web Apps. We are also grateful to be able to tap into Microsoft Partners, like Snowflake, to link data and analytics.
What advice would you give to other startups that are selecting technology for their unique solutions?
Build for the scale that you envision the business will be in the future and don’t take shortcuts in the short term. The different phases of building a company can happen quite quickly, which is why it’s important to build for the next phase of growth. You start with an idea that you need to validate, which requires you to create software and see if you get traction. Once you begin to see traction and move into the growth phase, you will need to make some very seminal decisions about the platform technology you use. The most important thing to consider is its reliability, including how it will scale over time. Be pragmatic but think big. If you get the right formula and end up being a hyper-growth company, there is no time to go back and fix the foundation of what you’ve built because you’ll always be moving forward.
What are some of the key benefits Microsoft has been able to provide?
As we think about the evolution of the platform, there are so many potential roadblocks. As a company that brokers massive amounts of customer information from major service providers daily, security and scalability are top of mind. Our technology team engages with Microsoft’s technology team on a regular basis to check our assumptions as we go. Through our relationship with Microsoft, we have tapped into many great resources that help us understand best practices and implementation. Whenever we have an issue and are unable to identify the root cause, we always call on our Microsoft partners.
How does software development help you empathetically engage customers?
We discovered that customers are most engaged when they have options. Our goal is to help customers feel empowered to make decisions and take positive action. Personalization is at the heart of this, which is why we are always building more modularity into the system. This allows our clients to expand the number of paths the customer can take so they can closely match the unique needs and preferences of each customer. Using Natural Language Processing (NLP) within our artificial intelligence and machine learning model, we can gauge sentiment to fine tune the customer experience. With empathy as our anchor, we use computer science to create more customized experiences that empower customers and increase brand loyalty.