Q&A with Steve Jones - An Inside Look at How Avtex Helped Chipotle Strengthen Customer Relationships and Drive Loyalty
For more than 40 years, Avtex has been helping leading retail, healthcare, financial services, and federal government organizations create exceptional experiences from the ground up – informed by thoughtful planning, and powered by the most innovative technology.
Even the most successful organizations are challenged with delivering a brand experience that consistently drives loyalty and sales. For food industry trailblazer and pioneer, Chipotle, empowering a more meaningful and personalized experience began by capturing and analyzing comprehensive customer information and insights.
Through expert consultation and implementation of Microsoft Customer Insights, Avtex helped Chipotle build systems and processes that would help them translate their customer data into actionable insights.
We sat down with Steve Jones, Account Executive at Avtex, and liaison between the teams at Chipotle and Avtex, to get the inside scoop about how Avtex helped Chipotle strengthen customer relationships and drive loyalty. Here’s what we heard:
As an Account Executive at Avtex, Steve is passionate about helping customers solve complex problems with emerging technology. Steve has more than 15 years of experience helping people navigate and implement technology, and more than 8 years helping companies implement and support customer experience applications. After graduating with a Bachelor's Degree from California State University - Fullerton, Steve began his career in technology as a user interface designer and developer for a web application development firm, before moving into sales. Steve also holds a Master's Degree from Biola University.
Q: Steve, you’ve been involved in Chipotle’s CX transformation journey with Avtex since the beginning. What did Chipotle first approach Avtex to help solve?
Steve: Chipotle was looking for a partner to help them better understand what was possible with their data. They knew they had access to powerful customer data from a variety of sources, but they were looking for a partner who could help them get a more holistic view of that data and put it to better use in their organization.
Q: How did Avtex partner with Chipotle to help drive business value?
Steve: Avtex worked with Microsoft to implement a set of technology that allowed Chipotle to bring their customer data together. Our consulting team took the extra step to deeply understand Chipotle’s data and work with them to bring the data together. Technology is one thing, but it can only go so far, so our consulting team was able to drive the added business value.
Q: Sounds like the consulting team played a key role in Chipotle’s transformation. How is the Avtex consulting team differentiated from other consulting firms?
Steve: Avtex doesn’t just understand technology, we also understand customer experience – it’s been in our DNA for more than 40 years. On the technology side of the coin, we can work with a large variety of systems ranging from those created for marketers, sales, customer service, and other departments.
Q: What was Chipotle’s world like before partnering with Avtex and what is it like now, following the Avtex engagement?
Steve: Chipotle has always been a trailblazer in the food industry. Today, Chipotle can personalize engagement with their customers across purchasing channels. They are now able to confidently understand how customers are interacting with them to purchase burritos, bowls, quesadillas, and other menu items. They have a deeper understanding of customers’ channel preferences and personal information, so they can engage them in more personalized ways.
Q: Hyper-personalization is a foundational CX element that many companies work toward, but few deliver. What does personalized engagement look like for Chipotle?
Steve: When you’re interacting with a restaurant, you want them to understand who you are. Let’s say you live in Los Angeles and you’re a vegan. If you’re vegan, you probably don’t want to get an email or a communication about chicken or steak. You want to instead, get an email that feels personalized to you and your preferences. That’s the kind of personalization Chipotle can do with their data optimization. They are making their customers feel known, helped, and valued.
Q: What key factors made this engagement so successful?
Steve: First, our partnership with Microsoft was critical to the success of this project. Avtex understands the inner workings of Microsoft technology and was able to help Chipotle get more out of it. Second, our consulting team is extraordinary. They have deep Microsoft expertise and have a clear understanding of our customers’ goals.
Q: Chipotle is a beloved brand name. How did it feel to work on a project with such a well-known leader in the food industry?
Steve: It was a lot of fun. It was so interesting to learn about Chipotle’s internal processes, accomplishments, and their willingness to not only listen and learn about customer experience, but also take immediate action.
Q: What makes you most proud of the work Avtex did with Chipotle?
Steve: I’m most proud of the sheer amount of time and effort that our team put into partnering with Chipotle. We didn’t just implement technology and call the project complete. We’ve continuously added more value to help Chipotle realize the potential of their program. We’re focused on helping Chipotle achieve their goals for today, while also working toward their goals for tomorrow.
Q: What lessons learned will the Avtex team take forward into other client engagements?
Steve: The lesson I’ll take with me going forward is that every organization has room for improvement, regardless of your size, industry, or maturity. Even a leader like Chipotle, who has always been on the forefront of digital transformation, can take their customer experience to the next level. Complacency isn’t an option for Chipotle, they are always looking for ways to innovate and up their game. No matter where a company is along their customer experience transformation journey, there’s always room to grow – and Avtex can help organizations at any stage of CX maturity.
Today more than ever, customers expect a hyper-personalized experience. You can count on Avtex to help you meet this critical business imperative. We can help you not only understand your customer data from an omni-channel perspective, but also bring that data together to create a golden record - a full 360 degree view of the customer.