disrupting cx

Building Value and Disrupting CX: Ross Wainwright, CEO of Alida

Ross Wainwright, the recently appointed CEO of Alida, talks about what it takes to disrupt CX – particularly in a space that is as crowded as it is.

If you’re broadcasting the idea that you intend to lead your company to disrupt the CX space – you’d better be prepared to back that up in ways that go beyond simple rhetoric.  In my recent conversation with Ross Wainwright, the recently appointed CEO of Alida, we talked about what it takes to defend those kinds of statements – particularly in a space that is as crowded as CX is.

Along the way we discussed Ross’ strategy for growing Alida’s already impressive client roster, some of their technological advantages, and the thinking behind their new brand.

(Below is a full transcript of our conversation.)



I’m Mike Giambattista and I’m the publisher of TheCustomer. And today I have the honor of conversing with Ross Wainwright, who is recently appointed CEO of Alida. I’ll let Ross do his better version of introduction, but Ross, first of all, thanks for joining me.

Ross Wainwright

Yeah. Thanks for the opportunity.Great to see you, Mike, and, uh, you know, appreciate the opportunity to, uh, talk about Alida today.


So I noticed in some of the background notes that, VisionCritical had spun off its consulting practices sometime in the recent past to focus more on, on your core technologies and driving those. And I think that that’s really interesting because, at least from my perspective, there’s an explosion of consultancies out there.

Maybe that’s why you split it off. I’m not sure, but, it also begs the question. Why? What were the driving factors in deciding to focus on your software as a service business?


20 year old company that grew up in the market research space? Uh, providing market research consulting services on the back, have a platform called Sparq, um, which is our core technology and, and Sparq has grown significantly.

It’s very well known. We have about 750 enterprise clients, beautiful brands around the world that use our product. So we determined that, uh, to your question, Mike, that in order to be a true SAAS company, we really needed to divest the business. That was more pure services versus really relying on our partnership with our customers on the back of our software platform.

So today 750 clients, uh, we are a 91% of our revenue is all SaaS based. So we’re, we’re definitely a pure SAS software company. And we’re really building upon that foundation to drive innovation and to drive both growth and really to disrupt customer experience and, and disrupt the industry to really focus on customer experience management as our, as our next growth opportunity.


So I’m really fascinated by that statement. We deal with, and I get to interact with a fair number of people in the CX space and, I mean, this with all due respect, is that a lot of people are out there saying we’re going to disrupt the CX industry. Um, you know, they have a new idea or, uh, to be frank some, some very cool bell or whistle, but you’re a platform that’s been around for quite some time with a pretty big roster of enterprise clients.

So, with that, can you talk a little bit about your vision as CEO of this company? For how you would like to see Alida disrupt a pretty packed space.


What customers are looking for today is they’re looking for a more prescriptive approach to help them understand how to run their business, to serve their customers.

And I don’t think that there’s been a lot of strong focus on being a value based CXM provider. What I mean by that is especially in the world we’re in today with COVID and all of the challenges. Companies are looking for a return on investment. They’re looking for a business outcome. They’re not looking just to deploy surveys.

They want a prescriptive direction from their partner to help them understand how to better serve their customers through their products and their services. So, this concept of, of a value based CXM experience is something that we’re very, very focused on. So, we, we have a very, very high 9.2 customer side score, but more, more importantly, Our technology and how we play an insight and CXM, we think we’re very well positioned to create a different type of value based experience for our customers.


So, Ross talk a little bit. If you would, about your recent name change, it was a whole new rebrand from something that you were with an awful lot of brand equity built into it to something now that you are, you’re talking about a little bit.


Yeah. Thanks for asking Mike. We’re. We’re really proud of our launch of Alida. So it’s a full branding strategy. We also have Alida, and sparkq was the foundation of our treatment of our previous company, VisionCritical. So we’re very much celebrating that core technology, but Alida is a Latin word and it’s actually the name of a heroine.

And it means actuality or a Verity or truth. And our tagline is a business is, is truth and action. We spent 20 years harvesting truth for our customers. Now our next 20 years, we’ll be really focusing on, on accelerating and putting it into action and Alita is intended to stand out. Um, we want to be known as a company with empathy. With character. We want to be a different type of technology company because customer experience is all about human emotion and reaction. And we think that Alida is modern, exciting, uh, new, uh, new brand, we think that it really sets us up very, very well for the future.


So those are certainly some big cultural and brand differentiators. Can you talk a little bit about the technological differentiators? That you, um, is that your, your platforms have, and maybe where you think that’ll go in the future, I’ll give you an example.


So in the net promoter score space, often you’re looking for a quantitative return on an, on an experience.

If you bought a car bike, you bought a new Mercedes, you want to know what your net promoter score was. If you’re part of a survey response, it’s static, right? You score an eight out of 10. I enjoyed, I enjoyed my new car. It was a good experience. If you’re a part of a community. The community may give you the opportunity to understand that I’ve actually bought three Mercedes.

Right? And I, I use Mercedes for my service. Um, I’ve I used to be a millennial. Obviously, I’ve grown up with Mercedes as I’ve grown my career. So I have a very different perspective as an insight professional, as an advocate for Mercedes to provide a different type of message and different type of profiled feedback That can be shared with the CX (team).


Is it that it contextualizes it?


Is it it’s no longer just a numerical score precisely because the score is less relevant. What’s more relevant is why do you feel that way? And what could we do to improve and what, you know, what, what were the highlights and how would you stack rank your criteria of why you bought that car?

And how have your needs changed as, as your career has progressed and your needs have changed with your family and how has Mercedes helped to support that? And we call that a progressive profile for a constituent or an idea advocate in the, uh, in an insight community. And when you tie that, so the power of a net promoter score, there’s no one that can do that, not on the planet, other than Alida, when you tie the power of those CXM and an insight community together.


So just curious, the data that you’re accumulating for those progressive profiles, does that all come from within your platforms or are you triangulating from other sources to get that?


It is all aggregated within our platform. So, we have, uh, an artificial intent intelligence machine learning. We have a number of algorithms, obviously this is all GDPR and consent approved. So we all, we get all the appropriate approvals. Um, but that, that outer rhythm that quantifies the data and aggregates the data we believe and what our customers are telling us that it’s such, it’s such a rich, it’s a much richer experience where we can share that data with the CX professional that then can be, that can be tied together and actually rolled up to a C suite or executive team to really shape how our customers should best serve their customers as businesses change in these difficult times.


Ross Wainwright, who is CEO of Alita Ross. Um, we’re looking forward to keeping track and keeping tabs on where you and your company are going. Cause it’s fascinating stuff. Thanks again. Thanks for your time.


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