Behind the scenes with SAS customer YouSee

I want to share highlights from a different kind of day I recently had at SAS that was spent with a customer, YouSee, and thought leader James Taylor, CEO of Decision Management Solutions. We all shared a "Deep Dive Day" at SAS Headquarters here in Cary, North Carolina. Read on to see what fun that entails!

The three individuals from YouSee, a Danish cable TV and broadband services provider, were Ib Konrad Jensen, Director Press and Media, Jan Hjorth-Mosegaard, Head of Business Process Management, Innovation & IT and Martin Jonassen, Advanced Analytics Consultant. They visited the SAS headquarters in Cary, NC to talk about their experience and success with embedding analytics through automated scripts in their call center to improve customer experience. Taylor joined the visit to hear their story for a case study he’s developing for the International Institute of Analytics (IIA). There were many desired outcomes from the day – success stories for SAS, an in-depth case study for IIA and even thought leadership articles for the Business Analytics Knowledge Exchange. Never did I imagine how much more the visit would offer.

Getting down and dirty right awayAttaching microphones to YouSee, preparing

Five minutes after everyone met for the first time, the group encountered a challenge. The morning schedule was filled with multiple interviews – between Taylor and YouSee, SAS and YouSee and SAS and Taylor – in the video building on the SAS campus. As you can imagine, many questions were sent via email back and forth in preparation for the interviews and various iterations were made. So when we handed copies of the “final” list of questions to YouSee and Taylor, the question order differed, maybe even specific phrasing varied than what some had expected. The entire group immediately rolled up their sleeves and sat around a table outside of the video studio to sort it out. Talk about an icebreaker.

Mind you there was a slight language barrier. While Konrad Jensen, Hjorth-Mosegaard and Jonassen all spoke wonderful English, it’s not their mother tongue of Danish. So some offline translating took place while we all agreed on the question order and intent. Lesson No. 1 for a day like this: allot time for mental preparation and perhaps a “getting to know you” session before diving in.

Control room above news setAnd we’re off

The first interview began with Taylor interviewing YouSee on a mock news set. I, Malene Haxholdt, SAS Global Product Marketing Manager for Analytics, and Konrad Jensen watched the “show” from the control room above the studio. When these professionals are positioned in front of a few cameras and start attaching microphones to their jackets, it’s amazing to feel the nerves grow. But once the camera started to roll and they began talking about what they know best – business and analytics – it was as if they were just having a conversation.

After the “news set” interview, multiple activities took place. All three from YouSee and Taylor had time in front a camera with a “green screen” backdrop for some Q&A. When they weren’t doing their “green screens” as we called them, I helped guide them into a room where they were photographed for headshots.

Conference table where everyone prepared for next activity

People were going in and out of the photo room and video studios, coming back to the table in the middle to prepare answers, review questions, etc.

During all of this action, quirky exchanges started happening that allowed us to get to know YouSee on another level. For example, during a transition from a “green screen” to a photoshoot, Haxholdt accidentally asked me a question in Danish. She realized it after receiving my blank stare. Konrad Jensen got a kick out of that.

I came to understand a bit more about the YouSee brand after Hjorth-Mosegaard’s photo shoot. Just beforehand, the photographer asked Hjorth-Mosegaard if he wanted a necktie, handing him a box of ties he had on-hand for those who need one. Hjorth-Mosegaard looked at them quickly and then said, “I’m really more comfortable without a tie. It’s part of YouSee’s culture – very relaxed and open.” Good to know!

Shows green screen in video studioThe real magic

After all the video work in the morning and an exquisite lunch served in an executive room of the new Executive Briefing Center, we gathered in a conference room for YouSee to present their complete story: how they are using and operationalizing analytics for sales and marketing. This is where the real magic happened. It wasn’t your typical presentation where one yammers on about a stiff Power Point and it ends with the obligatory few questions. This was a true dynamic discussion that went on for 2-3 hours.

We discussed YouSee’s business model, how its main priority is the customer – and how that will set it apart from competition. When Jonassen dissected exactly how analytics backed each customer-facing decision, those from SAS (several others from SAS joined us for the afternoon) exuberantly shared ideas and opinions on new ways to harness YouSee’s data for a better customer experience. Every person at the table took copious notes from the spewing of thoughts that were expanded on (think lots of “and then we coulds!…”), likely surprised at the kinetic energy in the room. Before our eyes a monologue presentation turned into an interactive, creative brainstorm session … a happy accident no doubt for all parties.

Let’s do it again

And so the day concludes with fresh ideas galore to take back to our respective jobs. What a unique experience this was for me, and I’m sure others involved as well. A big thanks to YouSee and Taylor.   By the way, if you would like to take part in a day like this - a “Deep Dive Day” - let me know. Leave a comment here or send a note describing your business challenges and how you use SAS to address them, and I’ll be in touch.

tags: analytics, call center, customer, sas customer, yousee

2 Comments

  1. Renee Nocker Renee Nocker
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I got to witness the last part of this incredible event - one could almost touch and taste and smell the energy and passion in the room. The YouSee presentation became less of a story of where they had been and more about the overall journey - seeing the path forward and the interesting twists and turns that could lead to more exciting results. The dynamic people, the powerful coordination by Anna and Malene, the open and candid communication, and the great innovative minds that came together made this an exceptional event - but one that has great opportunity for repeating with other customers and concepts. I am sorry I missed Malene's question to Anna in Danish - I would have loved to see the expressions on both their faces when that happened - it demonstrates how focused, candid and open they were - Malene to resort to her native language without even realizing it - and Anna trying to respond! Great teamwork with great customers, a magnificent thought leader in James Taylor, and SAS drive to innovate! Can't wait for the next one!

  2. Posted October 23, 2011 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    The highlight is so amazing and your post is so cool! Please update more as soon as possible , Keep posting!

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