Customer 360 Symposium 2014: 8 Things You Need To Know

by Salmat
22 April 2014

What happens when more than 100 marketing, customer experience, data and business leaders come together to discuss all things ‘customer’? We sent some of our best customer experience experts along to find out more.

If this year’s Customer 360 Symposium is any indicator, customer experience and customer engagement are hot topics. Nestled in the Hunter Valley for two days, the most influential minds in the industry discussed amongst other things how to:

  • Reach and engage with customers.
  • Put the customer at the centre of your organisation
  • Get up close to your customers.
  • Measure customer interaction.
  • Measure the impact of customer experience on your business

We listened to leading companies like Expedia, Best Western Hotels, Dell, Bankwest and Qantas, as well as cultural anthropologists, research companies, design thinkers and magicians. Yes, magicians. Two of our own experts also took to the stage – but more on that later.

Here, we look back on the event and reveal the things you need to know:

1. Use customer experience to get a jump on your competitors:

For some businesses, this isn’t ground breaking news. But others are only now realising the competitive advantage in the ‘power of customer experience’. Recognise and act upon opportunities to deliver added levels of service.

2. Align the company:

“Embrace the tribal nature within,” said corporate anthropologist Michael Henderson. In one of the most surprising and insightful presentations, Henderson discussed the value of embracing the tribal nature sitting at the core of all business cultures. His belief is that sharing your purpose across the organisation while aligning with company culture, will greatly influence the customer experience. (We agree)

3. Just get out of the way:

That is, remove the barriers between you and your customers. This was the advice given in no uncertain terms by Salmat’s General Manager of Business Consulting, Scott McMillan:

“Your focus should be on designing a customer experience that not only leapfrogs the competition, but reduces the cost to serve your customers. This is only possible when you intimately understand the customer’s need and the way in which your organisation artificially creates barriers. Giving your customers choice, consistency and a contextual experience requires outside thinking in order to design a communication eco-system around how customers want to contact you, and not how you want customers to contact you.”

4. Inside out or outside in?

The barrier holding many businesses back from getting closer to their customers is that they are inward facing. They are so bogged down in the internal processes, profits, results, reporting and such, that they suffer from tunnel vision. The answer? Step back, and look at your business from the outside in – in other words, as your customers would view it. This perspective will help you to understand and empathise with your customers. Then, by hearing the customer voice, the organisation can prioritise change and support those touch points perceived to be the most valuable by your customers, not you.

5. Get real (time) feedback:

Acting on feedback from a month ago is too slow. You’ll lose the customer. Feedback systems need to be in real time. That is, they need to be actioned immediately, as you receive them. Which leads us to…

6. Tackle your data fear:

Businesses are overwhelmed by the amount of data generated by today’s customers. They don’t know how to pull actionable insights from them (hint: we can help!). Customer experience and data insights are intrinsically connected and must form part of everyday business procedures.

7. Net promoter score – hot or not?:

Something that became clear over the two days is that, while every business is different, they share the same challenges in demonstrating the value of their efforts in the customer experience space to the powers that be. With the spotlight well and truly on measurement, what was touted as the most effective method? Net Promoter Score (NPS) was the frontrunner as a core metric for understanding customer experience for brands. But not everyone agreed that it was the most adequate measurement for understanding customers. Expedia’s Director of Customer Experience, Justin Lee, summed it up neatly when he expressed the importance of making sense of the NPS in day-to-day engagements your organisation is having with customers.

8. For loyalty, look to experience:

We live in a world where points mean prizes, but they don’t necessarily mean loyalty. Instead, the focus of loyalty programs should be providing experiences.

Looking back, one thing is crystal clear: there’s a renewed sense of urgency driving businesses to get their customer experience into gear. It’s a fascinating time.

Want to know more about how you can enhance your customer experience? See Listen, the comprehensive, real-time Voice of Customer program that will change your perspective on business.

Call us on 1300 725 628 to find out more about Voice of Customer.

Image sourced from Ashton Media - Scott McMillan, Salmat, and Andrew McInnes, Allegiance, presenting at Customer 360 Symposium.

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