A few weeks ago I headed to London to attend the Winning with Customer Experience conference. On arriving at the American Square Conference Centre the venue was impressive and I was greeted with a smile and guided to the conference, just in time for a coffee and networking, I was raring to go.
First up, was an introduction and welcome from Dr. Emma K McDonald from Cranleigh University, with opening remarks from Eileen Brown, Head of Customer Experience at Northern Gas Networks, (who managed to scoop no less than 6 awards at the 2014 Customer Experience Awards!) Eileen kicked off the day with an insight into their winning success and how they were able to revolutionise their customer experience and employee engagement to put the customer at the centre of what they do.
The day was broken up into various sessions from organisations and industry experts from Nationwide, Waitrose, LV=, Standard Life, Direct Line, Bristol and Wessex Water, who each were there to share particular projects and achievements within Customer Experience.
I headed to the Ludgate Suite, where Heather Mustafa from Nationwide, talked about their journey of customer transformation. Heather spoke about how they have implemented ‘The Nationwide way’, a blended learning and content management solution for staff to learn about Nationwide’s vision and strategy. It also provides coaching and support for all employees at the click of a button.
Next up we heard from Susie Golics, Cherise Wesson-Jubband and Martyn Hillson from Waitrose. They explained how they are creating ‘a modern Waitrose and making a personal difference to their customers. They have a customer satisfaction survey with 30-35,000 customers offering feedback each month. With regards to their employees they are sharing stories/experiences and best practice, to help inspire their colleagues to go that extra mile. But Waitrose don’t just stop there – they also have a scheme called ‘Licence to Thrill’ which is open to all employees who have the opportunity to take a City and Guilds level 2, once they have finished their training, to continue personal development and growth.
After a fantastic spread for lunch and some networking, it was time for Question Panel Time Hugh Wilson from Cranfield University lead the talks, we then heard from Simon Hunt, Customer Experience Director at Firstsource, Jason Higgs Customer Experience Director at Standard Life and Steven Walden Director – Customer Experience at Ericsson, these were then followed by an interesting Q&A session. We discussed leadership behaviours and how exposing the ‘C suite’ to the good, the bad and the ugly of customer feedback, was a good way to making it clear about what customers true needs are and a suggestion to always look over your shoulder for your competitors!
Co-creating with the customers was our next topic and the importance of constantly learning from your customers, listening to your agents and collaborating with both to improve on the overall customer experience.
Next up, we heard some great insights on ways to include employees in the growth and culture of the company from LV’s Wes Maidment and Kin Ewin-Hill. They explained how their newly developed software Innovate, enabled LV staff to suggest ideas within the company to improve the overall delivery of the customer experience. They mentioned they have 106 ideas being implemented and 221 in progress. This has huge potential for unlocking ideas and is a great way for each employee to stay connected and give ideas that are valued and they can see go on to make a difference across the organisation. They have also seen a 4% increase in extremely satisfied customers since Innovate was launched.
Other speakers at the event were Anouski Roberts, Mark Shultz and Manuela Pifani from Direct Line Group and Debbie Wood from BWBSL, all of the sessions were packed full of information, content and were very interesting.
To finish the day off we heard from professor Mauriel Pierpel from Cranleigh University, accompanied by some music Mauriel discussed the importance of moving with the times and change within your business, move fast and invest in the youth of today, were key messages, as they are our innovators and leaders of tomorrow.
Doing what I do and working as a Recruitment Consultant for Douglas Jackson, serving the Customer Experience and Customer Contact industry, the conference provided an amazing insight to how some of the Industry leaders are pushing the boundaries, with innovative ways to improve the overall customer experience. One message resounded through all the best practice sessions; these innovations only seem to get the best results when coupled with providing learning, training and personal development to each employee. Through educating their employees with the knowledge and cultural importance of what they are trying to achieve, each of these companies has been able to realise significant improvements and results.
The atmosphere was buzzing and the conference was very informative and interesting, fun and jam packed full of new and exciting ways to improve the customer experience and employee engagement. It was great to meet such influential people in this industry, I walked away having learnt a great deal and I am already looking forward to attending next year.
Hiring effective and experienced talent within Customer Experience, Customer Strategy, Customer Intelligence, Resource Planning and Customer Contact is something Douglas Jackson has been working in partnership with many leading, forward thinking businesses and brands for some time. We have an extremely strong network of Interim Executives and Permanent Senior Leaders; Exec Board, Director, Heads of Department and Managers. Contact us to see how we can help you: Tel 0345 620 9720 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.douglas-jackson.com