Does the word “customer” figure on your business card?

Santeri Everi
Customer Experience Solution Expert

Having attended quite a few conferences and events focused on customer experience (CX) in the past, I was looking forward to seeing how the industry has developed from those 20ish people get-togethers of like-minded individuals held in small classrooms.

Just four years ago, it was hard to find people to present at such events, much less industry professionals that have the word “Customer” on their business card. Having followed the industry closely, and being in the vanguard of change in the business in Finland, I had the gut feeling that London might have a lot to offer.

This year, the main focus of the Customer Experience World (CEW) conference was to explore what companies need to do to deliver the service that customers expect to increase sales and employee morale. 

Typically, I’ve found a lot of these events to be mostly about product promotion by a few sponsor companies followed by rather a few case studies that are all quite alike. To my pleasant surprise, the case studies were astonishingly diverse, from the Chief Constable of the Durham Police and the NHS to e.on, with very different perspectives to customer experience, yet pleasantly similar rhetorics to each other. They also reflected the ideas that I like to foster and present.

Durham police has been designated as the best police department in the UK, and apparently with good reason. Their entire force is dedicated to helping their customers – be they reporters or perpetrators of a crime, or normal community members with mundane problems. Since adopting a service-oriented mindset, they have managed to reduce crime significantly in their area, all with a change in methodology, not budget.

The NHS had a similar story. Being a governmental organization, it’s not always easy to convince your budget-makers that service matters. However, they’ve seized opportunity from the mandatory “Friends and Family”-initiative, and adopted a customer-oriented culture in their organization, amounting to better healthcare.

The vendor presentations were also engaging, with the data science presentation about finding patterns in customer insight by Adam Edmunds of MaritzCX standing out as particularly interesting to me as a fellow data enthusiast. MaritzCX has the solution to increasing sales from customer feedback data, digging out trends and hot leads from survey data. Analyzing and setting up the solution will require an analyst, to be sure, but the results seem too good to ignore.

Reflecting on the event, I feel that the concept that customers tend to bring in most of the revenue (who knew!?), and that both technological and cultural changes are required in organizations to keep them in a rapidly changing environment, is imperative to remaining competitive in the marketplace.

A few years back, this was seen as something that organizations might do to get a competitive advantage. Today, if an organization wishes to remain relevant, they must engage in structured CX development, or accept the risk to losing customers to their more responsive competitors.

Customer Experience World (CEW) was held at the London Heathrow Sofitel in the end of May.

Santeri Everi is a CX solution designer at Experq, a provider of turnkey solutions for total CX management.

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