During the last week, we attended the Customer 360 Symposium in the Hunter Valley to focus on Customer Experience (CX) and all aspects relating to Voice of Customer. It was a great opportunity to share knowledge and hear how other organisations go about ensuring great customer experiences.

The lineup of speakers was amazing. We had Emirates, Net-A-Porter, Target, and NIB all presenting their experiences in this space. Some industry experts like Forrester also gave us some interesting insights into the value that improving customers experience can have on the bottom line.

Mike Wittenstein from Storyminers opened the conference with enthusiasm and passion for how tech can be cleverly used to improve CX. Head of Marketing from Net-A-Porter, Kei Chan, then gave us some amazing stats about its customers. Adam Novak from nib educated us on making change in an organisation, changes both big and small, and how nib have evolved their business to be completely customer focused.

We then broke out into different rooms; Gabe Ponzerelli from Sitecore presented on a topic near to my heart which was how to implement personalisation for your customers. He definitely reinforced some of the great work our Sitecore team are already doing with the likes of Captain’s Choice.

We then joined together to have some round table discussions. Our table opted to discuss, “Building a business case for CX investment”, we had representatives from Canon, Target, Qantas and nib sharing their experiences. It was great to share some of our experiences, in helping our clients drive their business cases internally, like hosting workshops and prototyping sessions to add tangible evidence to a business cases.

Steve Simpson from Keystone Management Services also talked about the role of employees in delivering great experiences. Steve discussed the “Unwritten Ground Rules” in organisations that affect employee behaviour. Where ‘safety’ behaviours are always a MUST for an airline, customer experiences often become SHOULD in the employees mind. It was a very interesting way to think of things.

On the final morning Craig Lee, who heads up Customer Experience & Brand for Emirates, presented an interesting study on user emotions. It centered around not just actions at every stage of customer journey, but consideration of how you can positively impact the customer if you understand both the action and the emotion.

Another standout for the conference was Jason Bradshaw, Head of Customer Experience from Target Australia, talking about the role of Social in CX. He was passionate, entertaining and very knowledgeable which made it great. It was particularly interesting that he showed Telstra as a great example of empowering your staff on social, for the benefit of the customer.

As amazing as the speakers were, the real highlight was the great conversations with people in the industry. It’s really affirming that they’re engaged by the same things as us. Australia has some amazing talent in the Customer Experience and Digital fields, many of our biggest corporations are already working on implementing big programs of work to better represent their customers.

As customers, it a very exciting time. We’re starting to get better experiences from our banks, utilities, telcos and everyone else we interact with. As a digital agency, we are very excited to be part of those transformations and use digital to make those experiences more seamless.

Here are my favourite four take always from the event:

  1. Transparent customer feedback is the key to both planning and improving customer experiences;
  2. Customers can be external and internal, the experience you design for both can dictate your success or failure;
  3. Personalisation and automation won’t solve anything unless coupled with understanding and context (including emotional context) and;
  4. On average, the more closely that companies align the Voice of the Customer with the business objective, the more profitable they become.

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