As always there was a really positive energy surrounding the conference, with a good mix of speakers from across the industry, as well as presentations from each of this years’ ‘innovation award’ finalists, who were there to showcase each of their stories. As always, each session was of a really high quality, with standing room only in many of the forums, which generated some excellent debate and provoked a great deal of thought amongst the delegates throughout the round tables.
The opening speeches came from our friends at the Professional Planning Forum, Steve Woosey led with “what is important is people” and introduced ‘Putting People First’, if we do, “it is amazing what we can learn and what we can deliver for the customer”.
This then moved on to, drum roll please…………
The announcement that the Planning Forum have now delivered, the world’s first Degree for the Contact Centre industry; a ‘BSC in Customer Contact and Planning Management’, in association with the University of Ulster. This is truly fantastic news for our industry! (and almost as big a revelation as Paul Smedley admitting that he used breed donkeys and make charcoal, which got the quote of the day we think……)
The PPF focused on three main points to help deliver best practice: Innovation, Learning and Community. They also listed some significant statistics and trends affecting the Customer Contact industry, including; the prediction from Gartner that ‘by 2020, Customers will manage over 80% of their interactions without contacting, or talking to a human source.’, and that ‘60% of people use more than 5 different channels to interact with a brand.’ (Now might be the time to start implementing that multi-channel strategy if it isn’t already a ‘Work In Progress’.) We also heard from Debbie May, one of the founders of IEX and General Manager Enterprise WFO at NICE Systems talk about ‘Gamification’ to help drive motivation & recognition across the Contact Centre.
It was then on to the sessions and here are some of our key takeaways and favourite quotes of the conference:
Paul Smedley: “You don’t understand customer experience until you understand the whole customer journey.”
ADT -“No one wakes up wanting to give bad service; we had to remove the constraints to allow them to deliver great service.”
EE – Who had some great innovation from their Real-Time team with ‘man marking’ of each of their senior stakeholders across the multi-site, multi-branded operation both in-house and outsourced.
Avios: who had the following gems: On having a Social Media or Multi-Channel strategy; “People will dance whether you chose to or not”
BT: “Senior management sponsorship allowed development& YOY improvements. People engagement drove development & delivery.”
Lego: who also is the largest tyre manufacturer in the world, (but they are very small obviously) who increased its NPS by getting back to service basics and with the help of a WFM ‘wizard’.
Charles Tyrwhitt: who share Customer feedback with their leadership team and colleagues every month which is key to developing continuous improvement and to drive excellent customer service.
Peter Massey from Budd and Bill Price from LimeBridge who was also Amazon.com’s first Vice President of global customer service, in the Customer Experience Endnote on ‘The Best Service is No Service’ said “Even the Best Companies make mistakes” and shared their 7 drivers to Customer Happiness: You Know Me, You Remember Me. You Give Me Choices. You Make it Easy For Me. You Value Me. You Trust Me. You Suprise Me. You Make Me Better and Do More.
The Most visited stand has to go to: Cupcakes from Sophia. Yes, we know we mentioned them last year too but from the people we spoke to throughout the two days, everyone had tried one of their cupcakes and they still remain pretty delicious, so they get a deserved second mention!
There really was so much more….in addition to visiting the Professional Planning Forum website for copies of Case Studies, Videos and Content. If you are on Twitter, you can see a great deal of thoughts, insight and comments under the hashtag #ppfconf but here are a few that we have collated (thank you to all you tweeters for giving us some great live commentary throughout the conference it really added to the event):
Last and by no means least, to the Gala Award Dinner. The Overall Innovation Award winners are…………..BT RETAIL by making life easier for customers – Congratulations to BT and also Charles Tyrwhitt,Concentrix, Experian, Motability Operations and Sensee who were individual winners!!!!!
For a full list of all the winners, heroes and finalists go here:
We will leave you with one final quote on a theme which came through quite a lot during the conference and from many of the speakers and tweeters but we heard it from Avios first: ‘Be brave, it is easier than you think’
See you next year……