Chief Digital Officer Forum – Round-up.

My Overview of the Chief Digital Officer Forum – #DigiLeaders

Okay, I will begin this blog by pointing out that I visited this event from a ‘Digital Experience’ and ‘Customer Experience’ perspective…

My overall impression from day 1, was that it seemed to be very marketing focussed, which may be a tell-tale sign of where we are with ‘digital transformation’ as a whole, across the customer contact industry – very much in still in its infancy…

Chief Digital Officer Forum London 2015

This is good news for specialists in the Digital and Customer Experience space, such as myself, however, may this not be good news for the consumer, who is demanding more and more digital interaction as time goes by… Anyway, back to the event itself…

Patrick Jubb, Marketing Director, at Crystal Palace, was the first to highlight the importance of ‘effective and transparent’ stakeholder management, when driving a digital transformation programme.

Robert Wint, Digital Content & Publishing Director, at Barclays, was next up, and many interesting points were raised here. Keeping things simple, which is always a favourite of mine, came up in the guise of simplifying website content. Simple but effective, to provide an easy to read and easy to use website, will invariably improve customer experience, and promote overall use of digital services. ‘Putting the customer at the heart of all we do’, and the importance of retail, voice and digital working together in order to provide an excellent customer experience.

Douglas Jackson Effective Digital Customer Experience

Barclays, in particular, are an interesting brand from a Digital Customer Experience perspective – they are achieving great things right now for the customer, and have achieved success at many industry specific Awards over the last couple for years. I personally found this part of the event very interesting.

Ana Serrano, Chief Digital Officer, at the Canadian Film Centre, gave an interesting talk too, focussing on stakeholder buy in, and approaching things from a logical point of view: ‘Be a dog and find more dogs!’ was a phrase that I will never forget, meaning that it is important to establish an identity online, and remain loyal to that identity, and to your target market.

The Group Head of Digital at Warner Bros, Martin Trickey, gave an inspiring talk, and certainly exceeded expectations. The main focus of Martin’s session was telling memorable and engaging stories – ‘it is a basic human need to hear and tell stories’ after all. Martin advised that, ‘We tell stories socially, and we always have!’, we looked back from the Roman tablet as a way of communicating, to social media today. ‘Technology has a big part to play in how we tell stories’, Martin went on to say.

Kerensa Samanidis, Head of Digital Products, at the British Film Institute, talked us through their recent product launch, and very interestingly observed that approximately 90% of train travellers that morning, were engaged in a digital device! I know that I am also guilty of spending too much time on my Smart Phone…

Amanda Neylon, Head of Digital at Macmillan Cancer Support, really drove the importance of both web content and social communication, within their social community. Social engagement is paramount in providing an effective support network for cancer sufferers, and the families and friends affected by cancer. Heart wrenching stuff really, and Amanda and her team’s work here was really to be commended.

Now then, who is passionate about Coca Cola? One of the biggest brands in the world really demonstrated how they use social not only to delight customers, but to increase revenues. This is business after all, right? Mark Elkins, Vice President, Digital Sales & Marketing, gave us some insight into the Coca Cola business – the brand has more than 90 million Facebook ‘likes’. Coca Cola have an ‘app’ which has very cleverly attracted consumers into stores during World Cup football matches, and other crucial times of large-scale ‘celebration’.

We then had the opportunity to embark upon a discussion with the ‘Digital Leaders Panel’, where interesting topics such as;  ‘The next big thing’ and ‘The Chief Digital Officer – where do they sit within an organisation’… (this is always a topic of interest to me!), were debated. Again, stakeholder management and gaining buy in from the board was discussed, as well as digital transformation was not about one person, but about an entire organisation.

David Parkinson, Head of Digital for Africa, Middle East & India at Nissan Corporation made it clear that social is not just Twitter and Facebook, but ALL online communication. David didn’t focus on social reach, and increasing this, but on keeping the current social community happy and involved. Keeping communication ‘real to the brand’ was key for David.

Sebastien Schwiening, Project Manager for Digital Media, gave a slick session for BMW. BMW really do utilise social to drive even further, brand loyalty, and improve the ‘all important’ BMW customer experience.

And last on, was Ahmed Hasan, Chief Digital Officer from GE Healthcare. Ahmed raised a few very valid points. ‘There is nothing worse than spamming your customer base!’ Personalisation and making communications relevant was key in Ahmed’s digital transformation. Users were given the option of personalising their own interactions with the brand. ‘Thinning down what you focus on will give you a better result’, again, demonstrating that simple is effective.

I had the pleasure of talking to one or two of the speakers, and various other delegates at the event, and the overall impression was that we are very much at the beginning of digital transformation. Stakeholder buy in, at board level and beyond, was crucial in driving a successful digital programme. Keeping content simple, and user-friendly, was also high on the agenda. Clear, relevant, and effective communication principles underpinned many of the speaker’s presentations… and let’s face it, we are nothing, if we cannot communicate effectively. Whether this be via digital, or any other means…

I hope that you enjoyed my round-up of the event, if you have any thoughts, or you too were there, please do let me know by commenting here.

Hannah-Louise Cox is a Senior Recruitment Consultant at Douglas Jackson specialising in recruiting executive level and senior management appointments across Customer Contact, Digital and Customer Experience.

About Douglas Jackson Executive Search and Recruitment Consultants

Douglas Jackson are an Executive Search and Independent Recruitment Consultancy offering professional executive recruitment and managerial appointments on a permanent and fixed term contract basis. We work with customer and experience focussed organisations, who want to develop, or, improve their operation, sales, strategy, service, experience, or success. We recruit for Chief Customer Officer, Director, Head of Department, Manager and skilled strategists for; Customer Service, Customer Experience, Customer Contact, Resource Planning, Operations, Strategy, Insight, Analytics, Sales, Success, CRM, Data, Programmes, Transformation, Continuous Improvement, and Contact Centre. We work in partnership with our customers across the UK and internationally, many of whom are FTSE 100, blue-chip brands but also challenger, fintech and start-up organisations, to design, develop, deliver and manage your Customer strategy. Revolutionise your Recruitment and Retention of New Hires. Douglas Jackson Search takes the guesswork out of your hiring. Sourcing Exceptional Talent….Define your Customer Strategy. Lead your Operations. Design your Customer Experience. Direct your Digital and Customer Contact. Transform your functions. Develop your Customer Insight. Manage your Data/CRM, Deliver your Sales and Customer Success. Differentiate your business and brand.
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