Last week I was fortunate to attend the “Future of Customer Experience” conference with one of my colleagues Mark, hosted by one of our great technology partners, Zendesk.
The day was filled with informative topics, wonderful keynote speakers and great insights into current & future trends in the world of Customer experience (CX). This is an area I feel personally connected to so thought I’d share some of my key take outs from the day and what we’re doing at Travelport Locomote to improve our own customer experience.
The day was made up of 3 major themes:
- Raise to the new customer expectation
Mikkel (CEO & co-founder of Zendesk) set the tone of the day early and talked about 3 key lessons they’ve learnt over time that helps drive customer experience. The 3 “lessons” were simple in their message, but so many organisations struggle to nail them at scale.
Do what you say you’ll do – this one that I am personally really passionate about. I was taught from an early age that your measure of personal integrity is intrinsically linked to following through on your promises. Yet everyone has a story of dealing with a company that hasn’t done this. It leads to frustration and an eroding of all trust that you’ve earned instantly. My experience has told me that empowering your agents to make the right call, not worrying about the effect it has on a metric we’ve put in front of them; and providing transparency leads to better customer outcomes.
Don’t lose the thread – Is there anything more frustrating as a customer than having to provide an organisation the same information multiple times when trying to solve a problem? It is incumbent on us as leaders to provide our people with the right tools – that provides the information at their fingertips that they need to make experiences as seamless as it can be.
Get ahead of your customers – I have been in this industry for 18 years now and for the vast majority of that time we have been stuck in the reactionary world where we wait for customers to let us know something has gone wrong (or worse, we don’t hear from them and we lose them without the chance to remedy). As digital transformation takes over the world, we have never before had more data available to us and we are taking steps to work on two key things. Firstly, we need to become more proactive in our servicing – anticipate potential causes of pain and reach out to your clients before (or whilst) they experience it. Secondly, understand what the root cause of that pain point is and work on ensuring that pain isn’t a systematic issue. Loved this quote – “The future will be about getting ahead of our customers”
- Human-centred Design
Multiple speakers spoke about human-centre design and in particular Rob Glennon (Group Director Customer Experience, MyRepublic) really stood out to me. Having “grown up” in the telco industry myself I couldn’t help but sit there with a wry grin as he talked about the challenges that telco’s experience that drives what invariably are poor customer experiences. What I loved though was the way that they approach the path’s off “main street” – anticipate what could go wrong and plan on how to manage it before it happens – all by using design workflows to manage the path internally and externally. I loved the following quote – “If you’re not designing workflows, you’re doing it wrong.”
- Engaging your employees is the key to engaging your customers
We heard from the Steven Marks (CEO & Founder Guzman Y Gomez) and to say that he was inspiring would be an understatement. The passion Steven has for his customers and his people came through loud & clear and it was easy to see why GYG has been so successful. I loved that he talked about brutal honesty and transparency being the pillars of engaging his people.
We ended the day with a great panel discussion from 3 inspiring companies – Lucas Smith from Slack, Betsy Walcott from Xinja and Rob Glennon from MyRepublic. Amongst other topics there was a common thread that came through about a genuine care for their people and not compromising on their company values/culture. Injecting fun into the environment, giving people real empowerment and rewarding people for doing the right things all leads to a highly engaged workforce who are all uncompromising in providing excellent experiences for their customers. Inspiring!
All up it was a long but extremely fulfilling day. Thank you to Zendesk for putting on such an amazing day. We loved meeting other CX leaders from across other industries who are all trying to make a positive change. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think is next for CX – please reach out on Linkedin. Let’s start a movement!
Ps. I'm on the left and my colleague Mark is on the right.