How do you put the Customer at the Heart of what you do?

This and other pithy questions have been at the heart of a number of customer forums and conferences Arise have attended over the last few weeks – the most notable two being the IQPC’s “ Customer Contact exchange” where senior customer experience and contact centre executives exchanged experiences for 3 days around:

–          Customer Experience Management (CEM)
–          Multi-channel Customer Service
–          The role of Self Service
–          The role outsourcing / Home shoring
–          Agent management & training
–          Social Media

And the Planning Forums” Customer Contact Planning” event held at Birmingham’s Metropole Hotel, where The Planning Forum tried to help the great and the good in the contact centre environment around so many topics affecting planning that it made our head spin…

BUT surprisingly enough – despite these 2 conferences coming to the customer experience from quite separate places there were some key themes that stole the show for both of them – At the heart of all of it were 2 key statements:

  •  Put your customers into the heart of your organisation – if ‘Customer is king’ – why is the customer not better represented at board level by senior executives talking about customer experience in board meetings?   – If the CEO wants to build a customer centric organisation then the voice of the customer must be heard in the boardroom – CEO’s please take note – no wait there was another point here – DO CEO’s read blogs?? – There was an acknowledgement that whilst there is a lot of hype around social media, and whilst we know that in actual fact only 10% of customers currently use Social media (albeit a very important and vocal 10%) that if the average age of a CEO is 50 and the average age of a Customer experience director is 39 then for Social Media elements to your “customer experience” perhaps it is worth thinking about how you engage your staff who are of the “facebook” generation to ask them about how they would engage to  interact with the customer…

and

  • Engage your staff if you want to change your results – Those companies who held staff engagement forums (M&S’s Jo Moran said they took all staff off-site over a 3 month rotating period and Victoria Sherston said that they offer their agents the chance to taste the wines they are selling. (Sounds good to us!)) At British Gas, Julie Evans said they were looking at staff’s lifestyles and endeavoring to map their shift patterns directly to their needs. In all cases where staff were engaged change was embraced as they clearly understood why the changes were needed and in many cases they actually wanted the changes to happen themselves.

There are more themes that bubbled along in these forums so pop back tomorrow to hear about:

 What does a futurologist think about the future?