The CX Goalkeeper had the great pleasure to interview Petko Tinchev from Gemseek
Petko Tinchev: CEO at GemSeek | Predicting future behaviour by fusing what customers say and do | CX impact acceleration
0.29 Petko Tinchev’s introduction
1:31 Petko’s career
3:56 Petko’s core values
6:29 Impact of Customer Experience
11:15 Three examples (tangible solutions which are awards winning): proactive, predictive analysis & digital twins)
16:06 How to convince companies on pioneering some new solutions
20:36 How to assess the impact on the solutions implemented (financial, social, sustainability)
26:07 Contact details
28:05 Book suggestion
29:50 Golden Nugget
Petko contact details:
Petko Book’s suggestion: Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore
Petko Golden Nugget: Don’t get bogged down with what the limitations are on data. Actually, let’s look at what the possibilities are!
Don’t get bogged down with what the limitations are on data. Actually, let’s look at what the possibilities are! Petko Tinchev on the CX Goalkeeper PodcastTweet
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Gregorio Uglioni 0:00
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the CX goalkeeper podcast. Your host, Gregorio Uglioni. will have a small discussions with experts, thought leaders and friends on customer experience, transformation, innovation and leadership. I hope will enjoy the next episode.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the CX goalkeeper podcast. Today, I am really thrilled to start the discussion with Petko Tinchev. He is really is really a great mind in customer experience and especially in analytics. And I am really looking forward to have a great discussion. Petko is the CEO of Gemseek. But now before I start all the introduction, the usual question and it’s the always the same Petko, could you please introduce yourself?
Petko Tinchev 0:52
Thank you, Greg, first, thank you for the opportunity to be on your podcast. It’s really great. Also love the format, the background behind you. So I’m Petko, I’m the CEO and one of the founders of Gemseek. So we’re a 10 year old company. And basically, it feels like a startup despite the fact that it’s 10 year old and the company is quite big. It feels like a startup every day. For myself. Basically, I’ve been in a consulting and analytics before before founding, the company will come off and to see us then 10 years ago. And in those 10 years, basically, we’ve been changing every year new, adding new things, developing new things. Following the market, basically, we’re very happy to say that, especially for the last two years, with Gemseek together with the same team that we found in the company, which is still here. We’re in a position of a pioneer, in this case, not as a follower, but as a pioneer. But we will talk about that a little bit later.
Gregorio Uglioni 1:52
Yes, sure. Thank you very much Petko for the introduction. And also from my side, thank you for accepting my invite. Because at the end, we’re always discussing in customer experience, how to convince the C-suite that customer experience is important. How can we prove that what we are doing in customer experience or as customer experience Professional makes sense? And now I have a CEO on my podcast to exactly discuss that, for sure. Petko iis really innovative. And we already feel his mindset. And therefore it will be an easy discussion, I don’t need to convince him that customer experience is relevant and make sense. But before we deep dive in the impact of customer experience, could you please share also 2-3 insight about your career path for our it’s possible to get to such a level of a company, an award winning company that won the customer centricity world series last year.
Petko Tinchev 2:47
So for me personally, the journey is one of actually working and studying abroad for many years. And I’m from Eastern Europe, basically, I’m from Bulgaria, where the bar operations are located. And I found something which is very unique for region, Bulgaria, Eastern European general, and for my generation, people who actually went and studied abroad and got really great business practices in the US in this case, and of course, in Western Europe, and came came back, but using that intrapreneurial corner in it which which is over in Eastern Europe, there’s a lot of a lot of people who are really hungry for entrepreneurship and growth in innovation. So I think that recipe teaming up with some great people, for me personally has helped me to to be successful. And the recipe also of the founders of Gemseek is the same you know, people who went did PhD in Oxford, for example, his statistics or worked in banking in London or in the US, you know, we all came together based on our common values, but also on our same historical journey of you know, getting getting some great western practices and applying them with the Eastern European intrapreneurial hunger.
Gregorio Uglioni 4:15
What do you weigh nice, and as you mentioned that core values it’s something that for me, it’s always really important and I often ask my guests perhaps could you please share with us which are your core values?
Petko Tinchev 4:28
Yeah, we we have also my personal values are the ones also agentic you know, this is kind of how coatings work in general you know, you cannot force values on people you just kind of share what what yours are. And, you know, you can find people who share them as well. Inquisitive is one of our most common values of the cure, or curiosity, if you wish another word for it. Because it’s not only for myself, I’m very curious to reach new heights, to try different approaches to problems. He’s helped us go from a very, let’s say, low level services provider 10 years ago to now a pioneer in the AI space in customer experience, so inquisitive human and open as well to values which are part of our also corporate culture, but my also, so in our offices, we don’t, we don’t have corner office, I don’t have an office, I sit with my people everywhere, I don’t even have a desk, you know, anybody that needs help, I’m very open to support them, irrelevant of what of our 200 people staff, what their position is, you know, they’re like family. And that’s kind of the shared values across everybody else. When when people start with GMC, or or meet me at, you know, the same in the same type of feeling of approachability, openness, and willing to willingness basically, to succeed together, no competition, and customer centricity as well. I believe that, you know, in order to, for us to help companies on their journey, we also need to exhibit it to our customers as well. So customer centricity is a very, it was one of our values as well, which is shared and proud. Actually, the the one, which is, it’s a it’s a result of efforts, it’s not a value per se. But in general, you know, there, there are things which I think you can do in terms of habits, or even actions that can make you more proud, you know, awards, sharing with families sharing to new people, you know, this is something that, you know, is a result, but also it can be enabled by things that you do. So more or less, those are the values of my personal values that are also Genesis values.
Gregorio Uglioni 6:48
And I think it’s really nice and elaborating on the first one that you mentioned curiosity, it’s also why we are discussing now, we came into court in we came into contact, we started discussion, it was a we have done some things to tell to the audience to spread. And therefore, we are real. And the topic that I would like to discuss with you today, and said this the impact of customer experience making the impact of customer experience, tangible, meaning showing the results, as usual, as we are seeing the return on in on investment. How do you proceed at Gemseek? In order to really show this this results?
Petko Tinchev 7:26
Yes, great, great question. Basically, what? Before going into impact, I just want to give you a little bit frame it, how we look at the current industry right now. And, you know, looking at them backwards, a lot companies were focused on making great products, great features on the products that’s gonna differentiate. Afterwards, there was more to Coachella, like the brand term, so not only products, but you need to have a stellar brand appealing brands, in order to have customers buy your product, and now are very happy that we’re in the car customer experience era where work companies realize its products are commoditized brands are more about budgets and design. And you know, it’s again, a very two dimensional, so they look at customer experience, because irrelevant to what you’re buying in the end and data, it’s all about experience. So all the companies can realize that, and they have started to invest it from years now into that, what we call the activation phase. So you know, you get companies being consulted, on how to design, what customer experience management means for them, implemented technologies. And this is basically, you know, on a very high exponential growth, in terms of application and adoption. However, the, what the activation doesn’t do is, you know, it doesn’t bring impact. And what we see is when we try to look at what the impact is, from our perspective, we, it’s very simple. It’s the result of your actions of your customer experience management actions, you know, that that’s the impact that when we’re trying to look at that, as a company, what, what a lot of companies are doing, we saw that, either it’s non existent in some cases, or it’s very minimal. And there are three, three main things basically that, that lead to that. Number one, despite the greatest technology or even capabilities within organizations, we see that very often, almost none. Companies don’t look back at what they’ve done successfully. I talked about those actions, you know, that are derived from all the all the sites that that data that companies are collecting.
Number two, and the biggest challenge up to now and then that we see in companies and everybody’s talking About the fact that the scope of your customer experience effort is limited to the response rate that you get this really kind of like the elephant in every room, usually when we start talking about customer experience. And number three, also is the fact that it’s still a reactive customer experience management, there’s, there’s almost none. In terms of proactive. And this has shaped basically, in the last two years, a lot of talking to clients that we have done, shaped also what our vision is. And our vision is that we believe that every company should address customer needs proactively, unlike now, and the two ways that companies do it is you get complaints, you do something about it, or you collect feedback, and based on that feedback, you still, you still do something about it. So that’s why we can actually work towards the power of artificial intelligence machine learning. The huge installed base in grid technology that technologies that company companies possess right now. And any combination of behavioral data, what customers do so coming from ERP CRM says systems and attitudal of data coming from customer experience, why people do it. So combining all this, in order to build predictive models that help companies increase the impact, I can be very specific, to give example how, you know, we’ve been able to address those three, those three individual issues that we saw with companies. So number one is look back, as I said, what he has worked through, as he said, the to the power of AI, we’ve been able to build, in a very simple term, a recommendation engine, taking all the learnings from the actions that have worked, whether it’s about maintaining customers, acquiring new customers, or reducing your cost to serve those customers. We have taken all those building our predictive model and providing the form of recommendation engine in very simple term, basically, it’s like you go on shopping, can they know, you know, what, what you bought before, and they, you know, they offer you a new and they offer you very adequate for you, for you specifically, items. Maybe in the way of football terms, let’s say what is the funnel purely is the Milan kit coach. So you know, across the funnel purely takes in his team, all the learnings from previous games, what people did wrong, what people did well, and they applied it to the learning curve. They’re in their next match in their next game. But we see companies double that. So we’ve been able to do this with that recommendation engine. Award winning, by the way, just recently, we want to award to the European customer centricity conference for that, for that application. The second part is on the response rate. So we built over the last three years we’ve been building and and successfully applied, again, the power of artificial intelligence, combining attitudinal and behavioral data, to actually be able to address the so called Silent customers, but the people who are on average anywhere between 80 and 85% of the customer base, where companies operate blind that they don’t know what what they think what their attitudes are. So we’ve been able with very high level of accuracy, to predict for people who never responded to survey, if they will do responded, what their attitude would be in the terms of whether it’s a promoter passing the tractor or a different metric, which all the sudden drove on the horizon. And the the initiatives in your customer experience program to the focus are based not only on the limited 15 to 20%, usually which response to survey, again, an award winning algorithm and predictive model that the to a we’ve been able to, to take to customers and help them increase the impact of the journey.
And again, the third piece, which is reactive versus proactive, it really combines all those things and instead of now, having influx of, of data and complaints that companies take action, now all of a sudden, they have what I give an analogy for healthcare and a digital twin. So healthcare we have huge footprint there. A lot of artificial intelligence application there is has gone after creating a digital twin and basically understanding with the lifestyle and the healthcare that this person receives, you know, what potential problems health problems they might have. And as you probably know, Are your listeners know, in the US, hospitals get credit, and they’re incentivized for reducing admission. So basically, they want to prevent people going to hospitals. So that’s why they create those digital twins using artificial intelligence and understanding the lifestyle, and the current current healthcare problems. What what will happen in future, that’s what we want as well, you know, we’re creating digital twins of our customers, and we’re trying to prevent them from from calling and complaining. Absolutely the same, the same analogy. So, so actually, you know, companies can can practically address their needs, when they come, they don’t have to come, they don’t have to rescue them. But actually, they, they build better experience for them by practically doing so. So that’s, that’s impact for us, you know, that not waiting to get to get the call and your call center, you know, not getting to get your complaint. But actually having literally a list of customers with their potential behavior, whether it be satisfied or dissatisfied, and the reason behind it, which they can they can now act on. And that’s that’s how we’ve defined our let’s say, the problems and basically what we bring bring to class,
Gregorio Uglioni 16:27
you are sharing really outstanding examples. And if it wouldn’t be possible, and it would be in person, I would argue, because of one example that you did, joke by side. And this, these were really, really good examples and what you were explaining, also introducing the concept of digital twins, it’s our future, and Gemseek, it’s really a future focused company, and pioneering artificial intelligence, the big question that I would have, and as a matter of fact that you are the CEO, how are you convincing your customer that this is the way to go? Because it’s everything super innovative, but I think it’s also linked with quite a lot of risk and challenges, because not all the companies are already there, to us and to understand such solutions.
Petko Tinchev 17:19
Great question. And indeed, we understood the hard way, that sometimes, you know, to have something early on the market is not a recipe for success. I was reading an article recently, indeed, about that. I’m not gonna mention the company, I guess, but an automotive company, one of the first to to produce electric vehicles in the UK, obviously, was first but after that, there was another major planet introduced and said, We got to go all electric, in 2010 / 2011. But then you see them now they’re actually catching up, because they saw that it was early to go at scale at that, at that time. So the same thing, actually, we introduced them, which use our predictive NPS product, the one that, that addresses the low response rate problem, or in 2018 2019, we won an award for it, we thought there was like, amazing, but the truth is, like you said, the maturity of organizations to do something with the insights of data was on there. So they found it extremely interesting, innovative, but we wouldn’t be able to immediately, you know, get it and get the most value out of it. So that’s why we took a pause, with focus a little bit more on, you know, product development, or adding a few more other use cases, basically, which which are around the same of the same business, the business case. And now, literally, in the last one year, we’re seeing that all the major top leaders in the fields of Bain McKinsey, you know, all the really, really big, big names in the customer experience phase are exactly saying that that basically, you know, the technologies will be, you know, the technologies that are in the current form will become commoditized. And really, it’s about, you know, this shift from reactive to proactive customer experience is going to take place in the next phase, which is starting now. And the way that we’ve overcome this fact that there’s data complexity, and there’s difficulty in digesting and doing something about this as we produce is the fact that we’re with every cloud now start small scale. So instead of providers saying, we’re going to do predictive NPS do not combine 500 variables from European CRM data, sales data, go plug it into your existing technology for the same workflow customer so we say okay, let’s keep it light. Let’s just take your seats data. It’s gonna take two weeks to do it. Really no hustle for you, no risk. Let’s show you what you get on a smaller scale or within Your existing workflow, so the user, but CX platform do anything else. And then if you like it, you know, let’s let’s then create the roadmap or scale up, you know, because because we want to get the maximum value out of that end. And we see that basically, there’s a huge, let’s say, openness to an approach like that, let’s start small, you know, not not take the rocket rocket to space immediately. But let’s, you know, do a couple of test flights with our customers. So that they get it them and their stakeholders won’t get get acquainted to what, what the deliverable look like, you know, what basically, the final would be, and how they can adapt it to their current workflow and absorb the insights and data that comes out of that. So that’s, that’s how we’ve, we’ve become, you know, a lot easier to work with them before.
Gregorio Uglioni 20:57
What you’re saying it we are seeing and facing in a lot of different industry. And basically, what I would like to understand better from you is the following. As you said, you start applying artificial intelligence to smaller pieces in order to create insights. And then you have quite a lot of new ideas, what you could should do to be more proactive to create more acquisition to improve the retention, is there a way of you are measuring or helping companies assessing the impact of these different ideas that that pop up? Thanks to your solutions?
Petko Tinchev 21:38
Yes, precisely. So ultimately, and that’s what we talk about impact. Ultimately, everything we do, we want to bring it back to two measures. One is uplifting customer experience, KPIs, whichever, whichever the customer chooses, and the second is financial value. And the financial value could be in two dimensions. One is, in retention, we look at customer lifetime value. So obviously, if you’ll be able to retain a customer, they’re going to be with you another two, three to five years, that’s that customer lifetime one. The second is the change in finance, in financial behavior, if you wish it okay, they spent more with us have they brought in new customers also. So basically, I’m giving you specific examples, our recommendation engine for actions works in this in this exact way. So if you if you’ve been running a Customer Experience Program, you’ve taken hundreds, if not 1000s, of actions, we take those learning from the past months or year. And we measure their impact based on customer experience, uplift and customer lifetime value, retention. And next time, let’s say you go in and you’re about to do an action, based on certain customer behavior, or book of customers, you’ll notice your recommended three to five actions which said which are ranked by their ability to customer experience, and the customer lifetime value retention, which which they bring. So the other day, or every quarter, you will be able to report to your to your stakeholders and say, this past quarter, we have 5 million euro of customer retention and 3 million euro of costs were spent in Greece, you know, that’s that’s ultimately the the volume that we’re looking at when we talk about impact. The same with the so called Silent silence summons customers, you know, cook companies understand super unhappy customers have very high chance of going elsewhere, it’s very competitive for so and the cost and the barrier to go somewhere else are now extremely low. So once we unlock and we understand what you know, from the sales customers, Don’s gonna respond to surveys, obviously, you know, there’s a huge percent there as well or could huge number that also potential moves or the or Turner’s. So by understanding them and doing something about that, we’ve been able to help companies reduce their churn rate by 30% plus as well, just focusing on those silent, super unhappy customers. So that’s the the impact which is more to financial and economic value, the one which is emerging now. And we’re also investing a lot in Is there a lot around corporate social responsibility? So it’s not everything about you know, like how much money we’re saving, how much money we’re retaining customers, how much money we’re getting from customers, but it’s also how we treat what we call the vulnerable customers. We have, we have developed again, using the power of AI analyzing texts. We have been able to provide the companies opportunity to listen to and understand What percentage of the customer base are vulnerable customers on one end, so they can, they can and drivers behind that as well. And also with the power of AI to create predictive models to understand for customers to never say they’re, they’re vulnerable, that they might be once and we see that it’s a huge it’s very important for companies to do that as well. And there’s a lot of initiatives around that area and even regulation in in countries like United Kingdom, where, especially for the financial services sector, there are regulations with regards to customer vulnerability. So one end, we want to help companies, you know, the profitable do the right decision, so they deliver great customer experience. And the impact is based on retention and financial volume. But at the other on the other side, we also want to help them be better, not only from financial perspective, but also better by understanding, you know, vulnerable customers. Also, in those crazy times, you know, there are a lot of vulnerable customers out there, that just not not not not all of them, express it and just want to make sure that, you know, they’re they’re addressed and the customer service there is adequate.
Gregorio Uglioni 26:21
Petko does this, this is mind blowing. And that’s why also I really like and enjoying doing podcasts because I learn everything this my master class. And and this is really the first time and it’s more than 50 episodes that you are speaking beyond the return on investment, we are always speaking about increasing revenues, reducing costs to serve, as you mentioned, it’s about acquisition, about retention, about improving share of wallet. But there is more than this, there is not only the return on investment for the shareholders, but being social responsible, the commercial and the social impact. And this is really outstanding. It was a great, great discussion, you shared a several examples that were really good. And I think the only question that I have on this part last one is, is really, if somebody would like to chat with you, what’s the what’s the best way to contact you or your company?
Petko Tinchev 27:20
Fully open, LinkedIn, email, telephone, very, very open to chat, and also more than happy to bounce ideas. Because also, you know, there are a lot of our actually, business cases and products and applications came can my hand with clients and curious clients who share common values? as well? You know, so being curious, you can question, you know, the question is what to do with some customers, then we come up with a solution. So, you know, one of the things that we do really well is just kind of share ideas and brainstorm together what what approaches are too difficult questions. So email, LinkedIn, telephone, we’ll be more than happy to bounce back and bounce ideas. You know, this is this is really what also excites us.
Gregorio Uglioni 28:14
Thank you very much Petko. And I hope that the audience will not be silent, but we’ll contact you because this was really a great discussion. And now in conclusion, the last two questions, it’s more about you is a book that you would like to suggest to the audience that you say, for example, it helped me during my career.
Petko Tinchev 28:36
Yeah, there’s a lot of books throughout the career, but something which I found very relevant for the space, which we already very well pointed out, I think we’re early adoption phase of some of those ai, ai, predictive models and applications. There’s a book that somebody recommended to me, I read it, it’s more with regard to why our company has been successful applying some of the learning there, it’s called Crossing the Chasm. I’m not sure if you’ve heard about it, it’s by Geoffrey Moore. And the chiasm is all around companies in technology, but not only basically we’re understand the lifecycle of their industry, and what they need to do in the different stages of that, basically, so they’re successful. And they are recommended to anybody for me to help the GFC come up, you know, because in every time we are seeing a change in the industry, in the customer experience industry, we should be very dynamic in the last 10 years. You know, we’ve been able to, to respond to the market in a good way we’ll be able to grow. But as I said, Now, you know, by understanding the chiasm it’s more distinct, you know, this book is called the chiasm. You know which stage we are at. That’s why we put forward a little bit more ambitious vision, basically. So we can actually be a pioneer not just on the market, and you know, be the, you know, providing the services and technology that the market needs now, but actually trying to build with future thinking in this in this perspective.
Gregorio Uglioni 30:11
Thank you. And it’s great. Speaking about pioneering early adopters, I am really now thrilled to listen to the answer to the last question. And this is Petco, gold, golden nugget. It’s something that we discussed or something new, that you would leave to the audience.
Petko Tinchev 30:29
A golden nugget, or what I like to leave the, your audience with, as always, in what how I’ve run the company and basically talking to curious clients, and cute curious partners and friends, as well. I think everything is possible now. Leveraging the power of data. So my recommendation audiences, don’t get bogged down on to what the limitations are on data. Actually, let’s look at what the possibilities are. Really, if that mind, shift happens, and it’s about to happen, it’s happening, then there’s a lot more things we can begin doing become from reactive to proactive in the customer experience management. So don’t think about limitations. Think about the possibilities.
Gregorio Uglioni 31:22
Thank you very much Petko. And as usual, I’m not commenting this last question because it was Petko, golden nugget. The last thing that I want to say is, thank you very much for your time. It was really great to have you on the CX goalkeeper podcast.
Petko Tinchev 31:35
Thank you, Greg. It was amazing as well. Thanks for the opportunity.
Gregorio Uglioni 31:40
And also thank you to the audience. I hope that you enjoyed the discussion because it was really a pioneering discussion about data analytics and everything, but it’s possible. And also, thank you very much to Gemseek to accepting my invite. I wish you a great day. Thank you very much steak. Stay tuned. Bye bye.
Petko Tinchev 32:00
Bye. Thank you.
Gregorio Uglioni 32:01
If you enjoyed this episode, please share the word of mouth. Subscribe it, share it until the next episode. Please don’t forget, we are not in a b2b or b2c business. We are in a human to human environment. Thank you
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