Customer Strategy & Planning 2016 – All The World’s a Stage

This year, Customer Strategy and Planning headed to Stratford-upon-Avon on the weekend of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, so the conference was full of inspiration and quotes from one of our greatest ever writers.

This year’s conference ‘Breakthrough Performance’ focussed on the fact we can go; ‘Further, Faster, Together’.

What makes you stand out as a professional – ‘An eagerness to learn and continually develop’ said Paul Smedley.  This was certainly true of everyone at the conference, who were keen to share and learn from best practice and see some exceptional results from the Innovation Award Finalists.

Customer Strategy and Planning 2016 All the world's a stage

With Shakespeare still firmly in our mind and taking inspiration from ‘All The World’s a Stage’ the guest session and speaker on Monday, was Mark Doyle of ‘The Method’– Mark helps business and leaders, develop their communication, presentation skills and behaviours, using a process similar to ‘method acting’, to help measurably improve performance and results.

In the opening session Mark had everyone up on their feet, improving their personal interactions with a 1,2,3 exercise, (who ever thought it was so hard to count to 3!).

The Method Customer Strategy & Planning 2016

For those of us who attended the sessions later in the day, as well as embodying the physicality and mannerisms of a stroppy teenager, we all saw a remarkable improvement in our own ability to interact and portray behaviours, which allowed us to be perceived as more; enthusiastic, confident, authoritative and personable, regardless of how nervous and self-conscious we were actually feeling during the exercises. A thoroughly enjoyable, if somewhat uncomfortable (at times), session.

The two days were packed full of award finalist presentations, as well as innovation and best practice master classes.  Unfortunately, we were unable to attend them all but these are some highlights from our time:

There was a lot to be taken from the conference around simplicity and getting back to basics: Direct Line Group focussed on getting the basics right and were able to deliver 52 weeks of green, what an amazing performance.  Geoban planned for processes that made life easy and EE were also committed to ‘make it easy’ with their customer service and colleague transformation programme.

How to tell a story with numbers was a another good and enlightening session, with something for everyone, Analyst or not.

Using the Journey of a Hero illustrated through Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, from Joseph Campbell, we were shown the power of story-telling and how to use this when preparing and presenting reports.

A hero's Journey from Joseph Campbell Star Wars Customer Strategy and Planning

‘The role of an Analyst is to be clever, not look clever.’

Simplicity ran throughout this session, with Marie Montoya from RSA making us question whether we will ever produce a pie chart again, as the human brain cannot decipher the angles within a pie chart.

‘If you can’t explain it simply enough, you don’t know your subject well enough’!

The rise of the robots, or ‘V Bots’ featured in one of the innovation sessions from Creative Virtual, expanding on previous winners Motability and ‘Ask Mo’ success.  Knowledge management and intelligent virtual assistants, help break down information and bring content all together in one place; customer, employee and technology working seamlessly to provide a great customer experience.

Another highlight session which received a fair amount of Twitter coverage was Emma Botfield, Head of Customer Service Europe at RS Components.  The session started with a jar of Marmite and saw a ‘first’ for the Customer Strategy and Planning Conference, with a room of dancing planners and analysts.  You can see the short video taken from Select Planner here, but here is a screen shot to give you an idea.

Emma Botfield RS Components Sesssion at Customer Strategy and Planning

Emma and her team put the customer at the heart of its business to improve business performance with the Voice of the Customer programme, which gave an up-to-the-minute reflection of how customers feel.

Dimension Data Customer Experience 2020: ‘Looking ahead and planning a route’, suggested that by 2017 digital interactions are set to overtake voice interactions if the level of increase in digital continues at it’s current rate.  Interestingly, they do not predict a reduction in voice but more customer interactions overall.

Monday night we enjoyed networking, a casino night and a highly contested putting competition with a large and competitive crowd, the winner being Simon Butler from the Forum (FIX!)

Overall another great two days with interesting, engaging content and an opportunity to mix and meet with many from across the Customer Strategy and Planning community.

On to the Gala Dinner and Innovation Award Winners: 

The overall Innovation of the year Award was EE for transforming customer experience. They were also presented with the Innovation Award for Transformation.

The Innovation Award for Global Customer Focus was awarded to RS Components, for their Voice of the Customer programme.

The Innovation Award for Planning Strategy was won by Co-operative Banking Group, who extended the reach of planning.

The Innovation Award for Extraordinary Delivery & Care was gained by North East Ambulance Service, who were literally saving lives through their innovation.

The Innovation Award for Insight & Improvement went to RSA, where an end-to-end improvement of process & policy saved millions of pounds.

Red Funnel swept away the Innovation Award for Living the Brand. Their focus on customer, colleagues and community saw significant business growth.

There were also 5 new Planning Hero Awards which went too: 

Richard Aldous, Planning General Manager, Severn Trent Water

Emma Botfield, Head of CS Northern Hub, RS Components

Sven Hill, Head of Planning & Insight, Belron Autoglass

Jenny Ryatt, Head of Command Centre, Geoban UK Ltd

Rob Tuck, Director of Optimisation, InterCall


Be Great in Act as You Are in Thought!







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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