Posted by Joanne Morrison
What’s the difference between a customer experience leader and a customer experience practitioner? According to Glen Drummond, Chief Innovation Officer at Quarry and Customer Experience Strategies Summit Conference Chair, the difference isn’t determined by your title but in whether you think you’re laying bricks or building a cathedral. In other words, are you focused on day-to-day activities or are you working toward a grand vision?
The Customer Experience Strategies Summit held March 25-26 in Toronto, Canada was all about the grand vision for customer experience.
Drummond kicked things off by taking the audience through the five conversations customer experience leaders need to initiate.
- Disruption – when customers leave for an experience they prefer
- Loyalty -- a maturation we attribute to customers – until they bail for an experience they prefer
- Data – an indirect source of knowledge and a poor substitute for customer insight
- Brand – the feelings customers associate with you based on the experience you create
- Innovation – differentiating though the customer experience
Voice of the customer, analytics, and the multitude of metrics we concern ourselves with in the contact center environment are left-brain ways of thinking. Bruce Temkin of the Temkin Group, described how the right brain, home to feelings of purpose, empathy, and memories have a place in the customer service organization. Temkin highlighted the four intrinsic rewards that motivate people in their jobs far beyond money:
- Sense of meaningfulness
- Sense of choice
- Sense of competence
- Sense of progress
Ensuring that your customer service staff have opportunities to reap these intrinsic rewards is the only way to move your organization forward and ensure they strive to fully deliver exceptional customer experiences.
HGS’s own Chris Lord delivered a power-packed presentation titled “Customer Channel 2.0 – Pushing the Boundaries of High-Impact Digital Engagement” where he described the reality checks associated with the new customer experience landscape and shared more than a few insightful statistics (90% of children aged 6-9 use the Internet!). He cautioned against a one-size-fits-all approach citing a recent IDC survey that found different demographic groups values different aspects of the service experience. For example, the survey found that higher income respondents with higher education levels valued speed and ease of use in their service interactions with brands, while younger and middle income earners valued a friendly, personal interaction. He followed up with a real-time video-chat interaction with an HGS agent in London, UK that balanced both speed and friendliness.
Renee Racine-Kinnear, Vice President, Digital Customer Experience at Indigo.ca described how Indigo treats customers as co-creators in the success of its brand. Indigo.ca’s Ideagora allows customers to provide ideas that very frequently turn into real solutions resulting in a brand that evolves along with its customers. Re-framing the way brands view complaints, taking them from annoying interruptions to valuable, free-of-charge critique, is a progressive and positive way to view the relationship between brand and consumer.
The public sector panel tackled the unique challenges of delivering excellent customer experience in government. City of Toronto Clerk, Ulli Watkiss proposed that the monopoly of the public sector is a myth. To illustrate this point, she told the story of a group of residents in downtown Toronto’s Liberty Village neighborhood who, when dissatisfied with the available public transportation options in their area, crowd sourced to fund their own public transportation. Watkiss asserted that active listening, asking questions and finding out what people really want is the antidote to poor customer experiences.
The main takeaway from the conference for me was around the need to marry big picture thinking with day-to-day tactics. So the next time you’re wading through service level reports describing average handle time, abandon rate, and net promoter scores, remind yourself what you’re really doing -- building a cathedral.