“You have to change organizationally as well,” says Brittany Schaefer, vice president at Medallia, a software company that allows businesses to measure the customer experience.
To do that, she says, you need insight into what matters to your customers, your employees and your community as a whole.
Brittany is joining us on stage during the “How Technology is Driving Inclusion” panel at Energy in the Age of Inclusion, a Pink Petro experience taking place May 1 both in person and online. (Register for tickets here!) The focus of the event is on the ways innovation, disruption and inclusion intersect and support one another — something Brittany has seen firsthand over the course of her career.
She started out in IT recruiting around the time of Y2K, when chaos built around the fear that the year 2000 would wreak havoc on our global technological infrastructure. Back then, Brittany was fascinated by the critical role technology played in organizations of all sizes.
Over the years, she has transitioned into software sales for Symantec, Salesforce and now Medallia. In that time, the role of technology has increased exponentially, she explains, and technology is now much more up front than back office — and much more consumer-driven.
“We are all consumers of data. We are all consumers of mobile apps. We expect everything to be immediate, and we expect that in our work lives, as well,” Brittany says.
While consumer-facing businesses have been quick to embrace a customer-centric approach — and the technological resources that enable it — B2B businesses have been slower to adopt, Brittany explains.
“That’s not a bad thing; it’s just the way they’ve always done things. They haven’t had to say let’s go into the cloud or do things a little differently,” Brittany explains. “Now there are things, like the downturn, driving them to make change.”
For one, it’s the fact that customer relationships in the B2B world — particularly in the energy space — are hugely valuable. If Apple loses an iPhone customer to Samsung, it’s a $1,000 loss. If Schlumberger loses Exxon Mobil, you’re talking tens of millions of dollars, Brittany says.
So energy companies are starting to embrace the use of technology to engage their customers and drive their businesses forward, she says. That technology is also allowing companies to embrace inclusion, which is not just about diversity of gender or ethnicity but about diversity of perspective. It’s about including your customers and community in everything you do.
“It’s about getting real feedback, versus what you think the the customer perspective is,” Brittany says. “That’s something that I pride myself on working for Medallia: We take the real feedback of what our customers need to understand and hear from their customers so they can take action.”
Energy is up against a lot these days. Recovery from the downturn has been slow. There’s fierce competition for top talent across industries, and we expect everything in energy — like everything in our lives — to be immediate.
If technology and inclusion stand to give energy an edge, the industry has got to embrace it, she says.