In association with

Executive roundtable: Aligning your front office and back office for better CX


In this roundtable hosted by Paul Greenberg and Brent Leary - The CRM Playaz - executives from Zoho, Pegasystems, ServiceNow, Hubspot and Verint discuss the important but often overlooked role that the back office plays in customer experience, and how businesses must break down silos between front office and back office.

7th Jul 2021
In association with


Hosted by Paul Greenberg and Brent Leary, this executive roundtable examines the important role that the back office plays in customer experience, how it's role is often overlooked, and how businesses must break down silos between front office and back office if they are to truly transform customer engagement. 

Featuring on this panel are: 

  • Celia Fleischaker, CMO for Verint.
  • Lou Orfanos, GM & VP of Product for HubSpot.
  • Don Schuerman, CTO & VP of Product Strategy and Marketing for Pegasystems.
  • Vijay Sundaram, Chief Strategy Officer for Zoho Corporation.
  • Nick Tzitzon, Chief Strategy Officer for ServiceNow.


Brent Leary: Can you talk about the importance of knocking down silos - how this pandemic has changed the relationship between the back office and front office?

Don Schuerman: We spent lots of time working with our clients around the fact that the processes in your back office are how you fulfill the promises you make in the front office. And I think the pandemic more than anything has just kind of rubbed raw the view into those processes. And if those processes aren't good, you feel it. You especially feel it when you don't have a whole bunch of contact centre agents in one room trying to solve problems, when they’re distributed, or you're trying to make all these experiences self-service for your clients, because the volumes are just increasing so much.

You've got to have automation in those processes to connect front to back, if you actually want to be able to get the things done that your clients want to get done.

Nick Tzitzon: If you're a company that employs a hundred people or a thousand people, why would you willingly suggest that 700, 600, 500 people weren't directly related to serving your paying customers?

It just doesn't make any sense. So, to me, it's about the work that inherently connects people to serving customers, focusing on giving them ways to build that work into a seamless collaboration, and then letting them be effective. Doing other kinds of work that you can't claim is differentiating for your company doesn't actually help anybody, it doesn't serve a customer.

Vijay Sunduram: They’re in business to conduct business. And that means managing their books. That means serving their customers. That means working with employees, all of that, right? So they see that whole thing as a unified whole. And it's the technology that's put that into buckets because I don't think a business person really thinks about it that way; they're running their business. So the first fix on this has been, at least the first generation of fixes has been to integrate and bring this information together. I can see my invoice when I'm sitting in my CRM, et cetera, et cetera, bringing the stuff contextually when you need it. When you're solving that job, that itself is a big ask -  companies like us and others have done a pretty good job of that. I think the next step is perhaps what Don was talking about here too. That is orchestrating everything around the work itself. Define the work process, what people get done in their work, and then the applications fit right in whether they are front office or back office to execute that overall plan. And that's, I think where a lot of this technology will go.

Lou Orfanos: The silo between the front office and back office is the next phase. It seems like we spent a lot of time with the marketing and sales thing over the last 20 years and then sales and service, and then maybe some service and marketing connection, but the front office to back office, as I've been talking to customers, that's where the biggest Franken system exists right now. It's combinations of consultants and custom code and multiple platforms. And so I think it's going to be really interesting to bring that together, the best place to think about that is the buying experience for a buyer. How can you pull a lot of that forward? And again, think about the work as a few of you mentioned. If you think about the ideal sale, should you have to go through the back office hoops or should the customer be exposed to that? Probably not. So it feels like a pretty big frontier to be focused on. I think a lot of us are probably speaking in that same way.

Don Schuerman: If your transformation is entirely focused on the front office and you don't fix your back office, you actually don't transform anything. The only thing to do is connect your customers to crappy experiences faster. So they, they have to go hand in hand and the clients we've worked with they have been really smart about this. And I think about organisations like Lloyd's Bank, they have realised that they actually have to fix their internal processes that follow on from that onboarding experience or that servicing experience before they even think about the digital front end, because they need a good process to wrap a digital front end around, not the other way.

Celia Fleischaker: It’s the whole company that has to change in order to really make customer engagement work. It's no longer a marketing or whatever problem. It's across the board.

Nick Tzitzon: In the glory days of Ritz-Carlton, they had a provision that any person who worked in a Ritz-Carlton hotel, it didn't matter what job you have, could authorise a certain amount in order to improve a customer's experience. So you could write off someone's room service meal, you could comp somebody a night. If you found that they were unsatisfied. And to me, that's like perfection, right? When everybody feels empowered and have a role to play in making the customer experience great. And how can businesses think in terms of cultural transformation, where everybody's going to have equal ownership in what paying customers feel.



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