Intouch Insight Inc. (TSXV: INX)

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August 7, 2017 Issue



Cameron Watt, President and CEO of Intouch Insight Inc., Discusses How the Company's Customer Experience Management (CEM) Solutions Collect Data and Provide Meaningful Insights that Improve Business Outcomes



Cameron Watt

President & Chief Executive Officer


Intouch Insight Inc. (TSXV: INX)


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – August 7, 2017


CEOCFO: Mr. Watt, what is the vision behind Intouch Insight, Inc?

Mr. Watt: Our vision has always been pretty succinct. We have always strived for, “Perfect information. Instantly.” The way that manifests itself into our mission is that we design, build and deliver solutions that collect data for customers and provide information that improves business outcomes. It’s really all about improving business outcomes. We don’t just collect and process information; we help our clients use that information to achieve improvements in their businesses.


CEOCFO: What is your method? What is an engagement like with a client?

Mr. Watt: We have a suite of products that consists of two lines. We have an operational line of products and an event marketing and automation line of products. In the operational line, we have covert auditing capabilities, which are commonly called mystery shopping. We also have overt, location based field auditing capabilities and customer satisfaction surveys. Lastly, we have forms and checklist automation software, which allows people to automate their own internal audits and checklists while creating action plans and tracking results.


On this side of the business - which is really about customer experience management - we are able to put any tools in place that the client does not already have and work with whatever tools they already have in place, to make sure they have a 360 degree view of their business and their operations. We then bring that information together and provide them  with the tools needed to actually make changes to their business, monitor those changes and determine whether or not they are getting return on the investments, and whether or not the changes that are taking place are having an effect.


CEOCFO: What types of companies are turning to Intouch for services?

Mr. Watt: Our customers probably cover almost any industry you can think of given the broad capability of the software. The largest concentration of customers for us, are in the financial services, automotive, retail, food service, hospitality, and gas and convenience industries.


CEOCFO: What do you look for when you go on premise? Would a company typically engage Intouch if they are having problems or more proactively to see what might be done in a better way or both?

Mr. Watt: Generally speaking, companies will engage us on a proactive, ongoing basis. Our typical clients are those who are truly looking to improve their customer experience and to improve their business outcomes. They are not reacting on a short-term basis to some problem they have. That’s not to say that the impetus for a customer to reach out to us is not due to a specific problem, but the desired outcome is generally broader. It is more common that the specific problems are actually identified and dealt with as a result of the ongoing, proactive program around customer experience management.


CEOCFO: Are you often surprised at what a company has not recognized, whether it is from a survey or from an “in person” or just reviewing results?

Mr. Watt: The answer is yes, there are usually lots of areas that a company has not recognized, but it is really not a surprise to us - it is just a function of size and scale. The larger the business, the harder it is to really know how consistently standards are being adhered to on an ongoing basis. For example, let’s look at a restaurant. You own an individual restaurant. You are the full proprietor and you’re there during all of your peak revenue periods, so you generally have a pretty good handle on what’s going on in your business, but you’re not there on Monday afternoons. For all you know, service is terrible on Monday afternoon. You hope those people do a good job when you aren’t there and you think they do, because they are the same people you work with on the other days and you personally mentor and coach them. However, you are still not sure what is going on Monday afternoons and this is just in a single location.


Imagine now, that you are running a company that has hundreds or thousands of locations. How do you know whether each individual location is doing what you asked them to do or that they are protecting the brand and the brand’s standards, or that the customers are happy? Unless you have solid systems and processes in place, not only operational systems and processes, but also systems and processes around monitoring and measuring your customer experience, there is virtually no way for you to know; regardless of how good a manager you might be! 


CEOCFO: People are more likely to complain than give a compliment? How do you measure customer feedback?  How do you know whether the things you are hearing, whether it may be good or bad, are really the bulk of what is happening, or does it matter? 

Mr. Watt: I suppose there are two answers. One is that people are much more likely to complain than give a compliment and the other is that it does not matter. If you own a business and someone complains, you want to address that complaint and you want to have a way for them to complain to you directly instead of through an online review site, to their thousands of Facebook followers, or some other method. You want to deal with things quickly and swiftly and not have it go viral, so to speak. However, the broader questions you’re asking, which are how do you know what good customer service is? or how do you weigh the value of complaint against compliment? are harder to answer.


On a broader view we say that when you look at customer feedback you tend to get three core groups that will engage. Those that are upset and want to complain, those that are extremely happy with an experience or are very loyal to the brand, and those that just fill out surveys/reviews. Usually the third group is the largest and they engage due to the incentives being offered and the chance to be rewarded or recognized. The second, or “happy” group is generally the smallest in number in terms of their taking the time to engage.


If you are looking to validate what you are being told, the best way is through another program or collection method. For example, if your customer satisfaction surveys say one thing, compare it against your mystery shopping information or the social media posts about your brand by using text analytics and other tools. Of course, all information received has value, but the key to maximizing the value is in designing feedback collection or monitoring programs up front to get the best data possible - regardless of the individual’s motivation for filling out the survey. For example, don’t make a customer satisfaction survey too long because it creates survey fatigue and don’t provide an incentive that influences the respondent to feel like they must give you a good score. It’s important that you work with your vendor on up front program design to ensure you get actionable intelligence from any customer experience management program or element.


CEOCFO: Are clients turning to you because they understand the depth of knowledge at Intouch, that you know what to look for and how to look to interpret data?

Mr. Watt: Our roots go back to 1978, so we have a lot of depth. Do people know we have the depth immediately? I would have to say no, unless they come to us by referral from one of our existing clients. Most people come to us because they are doing web searches. They might find some of our content and realize that we have domain expertise, so they will inquire with us. Then they learn about our depth and abilities through the initial discussions, which are generally two-way communication of what their needs are and how we can meet them.  Essentially, they learn about us as we learn about them and that is when they learn about our depth and what we can do for them. That is typically where the relationship gets started.


CEOCFO: Do you guide a customer into potential changes they can’t? Are you able to help them to initiate programs or at least recognize the need to make change or where they need to make change or are you presenting the raw material of what you found and it is up to them?

Mr. Watt: Historically, we only presented the information and it was up to them. However, with our new product lines and technology, we are now providing them the tools and information on how to improve. That is why our vision and mission is all around improving business outcomes.


The age of just giving people information is over. Big data, when push comes to shove, is just a buzzword that means more columns or rows on a spreadsheet. The challenge is “so what”. Right now we are really focused on the “so what”; how we can provide tools to our customers that will allow them to actually improve their business outcomes and then re-measure and validate as opposed to just “here is a reporting site that you can go to.” We believe that moving forward it will be the value-added layers of assistance that will make the difference.


CEOCFO: How is business these days?

Mr. Watt: Business is great! We are happy that we grew 30 percent in 2016! We are having a good start to 2017 in terms of achieving our business goals and plans. We have launched some new product as well as a bunch of new technology. We are now on the forefront with a lot of the software that we are using, relative to other people in our space and we are having a good time doing it.


CEOCFO: What services can you provide that customers do not utilize the way they should? What do people miss or misunderstand about what Intouch can do for them?

Mr. Watt: Probably the most underutilized tooling is to effectively combine complementary programs together. I consider overt programs, covert programs and feedback to be three legs of the same stool. If you are missing a leg of a stool, it simply does not stand up the same way. 


Many of the customer experience types of things you can only measure in a covert fashion; in other words, the mystery shopper. That is because people change their behaviors if they know the boss is watching or if they are being audited or being looked at. However, many things in an operating environment can be done more accurately through an unannounced overt audit. Then there is the feedback from the customers themselves. If you only do one or two types, you are missing legs to your stool.


A good example would be a retail store. If you have a restroom in your store and your customer feedback is saying that the cleanliness is not acceptable, now you have to decide what to do with that information. How can you possibly know what to do if you do not also know if your current standards for restroom cleanliness are being followed? If your other program data says your current standards are being followed, then you would need to change your standards to match those of your customers. If, however, your standards are not being followed then you need a campaign around the execution of your current standards. It is only with the combination of multiple data streams that you get truly actionable intelligence to drive business improvements. It is the holistic view as opposed to the individual data point. 


CEOCFO: Why take notice of Intouch Insight?

Mr. Watt: Intouch Insight has been around for a long time with established clients in an established marketplace; however, we’re starting to do things very differently. We are no longer doing things the way companies like us have done them for the last 30 years. We are now doing things in a proactive way.


We are technologically advanced and are building software solutions to allow for the actual improvement and monitoring of business outcomes and return on investment calculations. We are using modern software and technology to allow us to do things that were not possible a few short years ago. When you add the future software technology and potential to the very stable client base of the company, it is a very attractive proposition with a great future.


“It is only with the combination of multiple data streams that you get truly actionable intelligence to drive business improvements. It is the holistic view as opposed to the individual data point.”- Cameron Watt


Intouch Insight Inc.



Lindsay Sykes








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