These conferences are great opportunities to learn the latest strategies in customer experience, network with other industry professionals, and gain invaluable insight into the customer experience industry.
Customer experience is an essential part of any business’s success. It involves understanding customer needs and developing strategies to meet those needs. It also involves creating customer-centric strategies, setting customer goals, and measuring customer satisfaction.
Attending customer experience conferences is a great way to learn the latest strategies in customer experience, network with other industry professionals, and gain invaluable insight into the customer experience industry.
Review these 23 top-rated CX Conferences for 2023 to start your journey to become a customer experience expert!
> Most successful CX companies do these things to lift their game
> Steve Towers shares the winning strategies
> Model your own strategy based on leading CX next practices
This article is a build on terrific feedback from my recent piece ‘5 Critical Failures of 80% of Customer Experience initiatives’.
(You can see that here: https://bit.ly/CX5Results)
George Bernard Shaws observation is pertinent
“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”
So with that in mind, let’s move beyond the mistakes and uncover the winning strategies and how best we can implement those insightful approaches.
Based on our recent work and research my report from the CX front line should help you rethink your approach in our collective endeavor to get more scientific about the customer experience.
In the earlier article, we identified five major errors and causes of failure. Let’s review how winning CX companies reframe those into successful strategies.
1. Top teams understand CX success and get out of the way of their people to let them get on with it.
To achieve strategic CX success, it is necessary to understand the limitations imposed by industrial-age thinking (getting better at doing the wrong stuff faster, functional specialisms, outdated reward systems) and help the organization migrate to Outside-In thinking and practices. At Zappos, for instance, it is more important to meet the customer (see Zappos hits the road.. http://bit.ly/Zappos2017), gather insights, and provide input to reshape the organization. The top team is actually out there “We want to shake the customers hands, give them really big high fives and meet their friends — delivering happiness and memorable experiences along the way,” said Kristin Richmer, Senior Brand Marketing Manager, Zappos.
The task then is not overlaying the new insights onto an industrial age siloed world. It is actually to reshape the organization, its people, the reward systems, processes and systems to better deliver successful customer outcomes. Tony Hsieh reinforces this feed-forward approach “we actually want to talk with customers more as 70% of our business are repeat buys. Hiding our contact details and making it difficult to talk is not our way” http://bit.ly/TonyHseih
2. Customer needs are understood and developed to create the organizational alignment towards successful customer outcomes.
Leading CX Companies have developed an a-b-c strategy when boiled down includes
(a) stop asking customers what they want
(b) get your head around current customer expectations, and
(c) articulate customer needs even when the customer doesn’t know what they are.
This effort is not a ‘one and done’, it is about continual learning and then the development of services and products that anticipate customer needs rather than following the outdated mantra of those organizations seeking more and more (often meaningless) feedback.
And Disney provides a demonstration of this a-b-c approach.
Disney World Orlando, is about 43 square miles, about twice the size of Manhattan. 30 million guests per year enjoy 4 theme parks: the Magic Kingdom, the Hollywood Studios, Epcot and the Animal Kingdom.
You can navigate to these parks by car, bus, monorail, boats and a ferry depending on your hotel – and that in itself includes over 20 themed for your delight. Coupled with Disneys new wearable “Magic Bands” (see http://bit.ly/MagicBand) you receive a smooth personalized experience where ever you are.
This collection of entertainment is a dynamic living system focused on successful customer outcomes. With digital real-time feedback, Disney offers an integrated experience built around a co-ordinated set of business and customer outcomes, from the time you think of a trip, to the time you are back home with the kids.
3. Being customer-centric isn’t about projects – it is a state of mind.
A great mistake of many is approaching customer experience as an initiative, something with a clearly defined start and end point. Appreciating CX is a state of mind for the whole company is a major differentiator and allows successful organizations to continually tweak and evolve, rather than live in a permanent state of project stop-start crisis. The guiding principle is, at the heart of CX, change is desirable, welcomed and systematic. It impacts everyone and everything all the time.
4. Successful CX transcends measures and implements a rigorous feedback/feed forward framework.
A recent analysis in the banking industry suggested that more than 85% of the total key performance indicators measured outputs – things that get produced from activities.
Successful CX companies however have a very different profile and focus, their attention is on measuring outcomes – the result of what is produced. To these companies this is not a semantic distinction, it underpins the total CX strategy. As a result, the measurement systems are simplified, and the focus on results rather than activity moves the dial towards customer centricity so much more quickly. Programs such as Disneys True North set a direction with supporting metrics, and rather than measure everything that moves they focus on the results and outcomes that need to be delivered to achieve successful customer outcomes. In this context, more than 75% of measures are ‘Outcomes’ with less than 25% outputs.
Test this for yourself in the call center. What are your top ten measurements, are they output-oriented or outcome-based? The former would be things like average handle time, abandon rates, downtime and so on. The latter would be the delivery of customer need, queries completely resolved (not the piece mean partial interim ‘first call resolution’ type things measured with a functional bias).
In summary, CX leaders have fewer measures and the majority are now Outcome-based.
5. CX is both the strategy and the operational objective to overcome needless complexity.
A recent Forrester survey says 81% of CX professionals are mapping experiences from the customer’s perspective, but only 21% are mapping the ecosystem (processes, people, technology). In this context there are two opportunities that successful CX companies exploit:
i. CX can only be successful if you build a complete CX ecosystem map (we call that a CXecomap) which includes cause and effect and connects the people who deliver the customer experience with those people and systems who provide the means for it.
ii. CX Current state crisis. Successful CX companies can clearly articulate the what and how the organization should be doing to deliver great experiences. They do not become mired in the exercise of mapping all the current external and internal processes and systems (which can take years to complete and provides little in the way of direction for what should exist.)
These companies understand the reality that the current structure and systems were never created with excellent CX in mind but were in fact designed around an industrial age, production system based model. Accordingly, next practice is to utilize design principles that envision what should be, and then progressively mature and migrate the organization to that vision.
To conclude CX success doesn’t come from wishful thinking. It is a deliberate and sustained effort to understand and articulate the ever changing customer. To build a new trust with them that goes beyond the platitudes of the past. In the near term it is about becoming more scientific about the customer experience. In the longer term it is a guarantee of business success.
We have codified these CX next practice approaches into the CEMMethod (now version10). You can access that as a resource with others below.
The earlier article can be viewed here: ‘5 Critical Failures of 80% of Customer Experience initiatives’. http://bit.ly/CX2017
An internationally recognized program with proven track record delivered by been there and done it coaches more than 180 times, in 64 cities with delegates from 118 countries.
The program, now in its eleventh year, utilizes the BP Groups approaches and framework to help you and your organization win the triple crown – simultaneously reduce costs, grow revenues and enhance service. Producing Immediate and sustainable business results across any industry and sector.
Of course, you are asking for customer feedback. Yes?
Opps, sorry, that is one of the dumbest things you can do. Don’t take my word for it – watch this amusing video with James Dodkins keynoting at the recent Lean Six Sigma conference in Iceland. ‘The Customer Feedback Conspiracy”
An internationally recognized program with proven track record delivered by been there and done it coaches more than 270 times, in 119 cities with delegates from 132 countries. The program, now in its sixteenth year, utilizes the BP Groups approaches and framework to help you and your organization win the triple crown – simultaneously reduce costs, grow revenues and enhance service. Producing Immediate and sustainable business results across any industry and sector.
I will be in the room for you every step of the way. Whether you signup for the one or two day option there is a preliminary video and optional signup Zoom meeting. Post-session we schedule an online meet to review progress and answer questions.
How learning by doing with real case studies is central to the Masterclass
With genuine case studies you will apply your own challenges in the session to actually take away not just the HOW but the WHAT you do.
Do you want to embrace advanced Customer-Centric thinking and become Outside-In?
Who started #customerexperience ? Well, there has always been a customer experience, however, it is only in the last 20 years that companies have realized the need to get scientific about shaping and innovating #CX. Who was the pioneer that did that first? And in doing so shifted the emphasis from Industrial Age thinking to Outside-In practice. Let’s jump into the time machine and rediscover Steve Jobs back in 1997.
Moving from Product to Customer-Centric
Back then it wasn’t understood that designing Customer Experiences and delivering Successful Customer Outcomes went way beyond being product-centric. Steve Jobs anticipated this shift towards customer-centricity, and evolved Apples approach to rapidly shift to Outside-In strategy and operations.
Many of the concepts we accept, such as defining the customer experience from the customers perspective, and not the organizations, were developed in the cauldrons of Apple mountain. In fact, one of the key techniques within the CEMMethod™ was initially referred to as the ‘Apple Innovation Approach’.
Why so many still get it wrong
Here’s a great mini video explaining the difference in viewpoint Inside-Out v. Outside-In.
We saw that at work in Outside-In design of products like the original iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Now taken for granted the last century was a mish mesh of competing chunks of technology (think the early MP3 players) that often required an MSc to understand the menu system and driver updates.
It isn’t what they want, it is what they NEED
Nowadays the major consumer product companies understand the requirement to articulates the needs of customers, and only then design products that meet those needs. That is Outside-In in action.
You would be right in saying he was the pioneer of Outside-In.
If you would like to dig deeper I talked about the difference in approaches of Industrial Age v. Customer Age/Outside-In in this article.
This item has caused quite a stir over at LinkedIn, you can join that discussion here.
Other Outside-In resources to Explore
Do you want to embrace advanced Customer-Centric thinking and become Outside-In?
It is good to have a guide in life. Many of us share political creeds, religious beliefs and codes of honor to guide our decision making. Wouldn’t it be crazy good to have the same for the doctrine of Customer Experience? When I co-authored the best selling book “CEM Success without Exception” back in 2006 Customer Experience Management was in its infancy.
Now thirteen years later we have the accumulated wisdom of the giants of Customer Experience Management, proof that focus on Successful Customer Outcomes, Outside-In and working backwards are fundamental to becoming a winning organization.
It is with these thoughts in mind and the worthy experience of many that I set pen to paper to craft these tenets as guidelines for all of us seeking to maximise our deployment of Customer Experience Management.
1. Customers are first, front and center for everything.
Understanding that all the work an organization undertakes ultimately stems from a customer interaction is key. Work to engineer every experience to the optimum.
2. Listen to the questions customers ask you.
Resist the subjective ‘voice of customer’ surveys (they are biased and unrepresentative) and focus on understanding and articulating needs – the Needs of the Customer.
3. Stop selling and let people buy.
Customers are now prosumers and most know what they want and how to get it. You will not win them if you force sell; in fact, you will make enemies of them.
4. Map the Complete Experience.
This is both the stuff the customer sees (the customer journey and the brand promise) and the work that takes place across the rest of the organization to support all interactions. Combine those the Employee Experience and the Customer Experience you are nearing the Complete Experience; these are not separate things but should be viewed through the same lens.
The CEMMethod.com can help you in seeing the Complete Experience.
Customers develop trust when you say what’ll you do, and then do what you say. Conversely, do not project yourself as something you are not.
6. Be consistent and truthful across all your channels.
Customers will interact in ways and times that suit them, so ensure you keep a coherent message across all experiences.
7. Act on People liking people.
Do not hide behind automation, whether that is voice systems, web interactions or even text messaging. The most intimate relationships are formed with people, not computers.
Keep in front of the song.
8. Creating memorable experiences requires anticipation and coordination.
Fix problems before they happen, and when problems do arise (they will) pull out the stops to put things right.
9. Design every customer experience for the category of customer.
You should never ever treat all customers in the same way. Personalization and direct communication are proven winners in an era of standardization.
10. Employees are your first customers.
If they ain’t happy your paying customers won’t be either. Treat your people well and let them know they are the most critical part of the brand and the complete customer experience.
”Let’s not beat around the bush… Customer experience is the new battleground. At The Experience Manager, BP Group, and Rockstar.cx we know the art of this new war. We have the tools, the technology and the strategies to remorselessly create victories for our clients as we build a more customer-centric world, one experience and one enterprise at a time”.
Join us for Complete Experience Management with coaching, training, consultancy and Certification at www.bpgroup.org
If you are looking for Innovative leadership then this will inspire you onwards and upwards. Shared by one of South Africa’s most progressive business leaders, Roland Naidoo:
Having just left the football field with my 5 year old son I was finally motivated to write this blog. Why? Trying to teach him to kick the football in the correct way, it dawned on me in that moment I was doing to him what every organised structure is designed to do.
As I caught myself I paused, looked at him and said, “My boy, you figure it out, play, have fun, and find new ways to kick a football.”
Be the doctrine of the how and the why.
Be the standard of the where and the when.
Be the one and only way.
Have the right answers!
The dawning of that realisation underpins why innovation is so important to me. Innovation should by definition not be defined Ior it will simply succumb to every other conformity we know. It should live in every one of us.
This is the need to ask ourselves ‘why?’. Why am I doing this in this way? Is there a better way? Is there a different way? Is there even a need for this at all?
A spirit of innovation is not technology or wonderfully bombastic ideas, but the courage to question our education, rules, bonafide truths and all so-called absolutes in between. Know that your bravery will be rewarded with knowledge; am I. Know you were courageous enough to acknowledge you were wrong and move forward.
In the future when you find yourself saying or even thinking thoughts like this is how it’s always been; this is the way we do things; there is no other way; this is impossible; these are the rules; some things can’t be questioned, stop, take a breath, and find a new way to kick a football.
Footnote (from Steve)
So go find that ball and a new way to score for your team!
I was keynoting a conference in Europe recently, and senior executives in the room were getting the rationale behind moving Outside-In. However, there seemed to be two perplexed groups in the place.
One was what a refer to as the ‘traditional process guys’, and the other ‘the customer is first people’, and interestingly they both asked the same question “Where do we start?”
My honest and most direct answer is “You do not have a choice. You have got to start where you are and go from there!” OK, I get what you’re thinking, how could they take that away and begin to transform their organizations?
So, I walked them through TWO distinctly different ways to navigate to Outside-In working and practice, depending on your mindset, enterprise history and maturity. For the two categories of customer in the room, the NEEDS are the same, just the way they navigate to achieving them is different.
What are the Results?
From a results perspective, both approaches focus on winning the triple crown, that is Improving Service, Growing Revenues and Reducing Complexity (and hence lowering costs).
Process is the starting point
Starts with Customer Needs
Reengineering the Processes
Aligning everything to Customer Needs
Build out from Process to Department to Division to Enterprise
Articulate Successful Customer Outcomes and Remove the complexity of things that do not contribute to it
Local wins building to business-wide transformation
Immediate delivery against Triple Crown benefits
Slow burn, however when they see the benefits and ‘get it’ the support is significant
Starts at the strategic level so influences everything the organization does
If your remit is just ‘improving processes’ this approach will get you their steadily, however, the challenges facing traditional business are seismic so is there time? So, make immediate gains but push hard for more quickly.
By demonstrating the value of ‘customer first’ in terms of the triple crown the enterprise can align quickly and effectively. Importantly avoid the ‘soft and fluffy’ sentiments expressed by many in the customer experience world.
How can I Implement?
Back in 2006 the BPG launched the CEMMethod™ and built out an approach, using the 50+ techniques based on global next practice from companies like Virgin, Zara, BMW, Zappos, Apple and Emirates. Since then more than 3,000 companies in 116 countries have become accredited and certified to transform their processes and organizations.
Now in version 11, the choice you make in deployment is based on your ambition and remit within the enterprise. If you are a leader needing to embrace the digital customer ‘Customer First’ leaps out as the main option. Alternatively, if you are in a traditional process-based business (lean, six sigma, BPM etc.) the more conservative ‘process engineering’ approach may be preferred.
You can access the following resources that will help you make an informed choice: