Earlier this month, Customer Experience management firm Medallia held their Experience Europe ’17 event in London, at which hundreds of guests discussed the current state of the CX industry and the challenges it faces.

Hosted at the historic Tobacco Dock in the city’s East End, the gathering brought together customers and CX professionals from over 25 countries for an event packed full of keynote speeches, presentations, and debates, which “inspired and motivated” attendees with the theme ‘you have more power than you think’, said Medallia’s Sean Farrington.

He added:

By bringing together companies such as Generali and EDP and specialists from Medallia, attendees were able to hear first-hand what the power of good CX means for an organisation. Attendees left the event inspired and motivated to make changes to their existing programmes for the benefit of their teams and their customers.”

Highlights included Brian Solis, futurist and principal analyst at Altimeter Group, who encouraged attendees to “learn to unlearn” what they knew about CX.

Today’s customers are connected and empowered, and as such, the playing field has changed. Brands aren’t just competing with their competitors, but with every great experience out there. He said:

Experiences become memories, whether they are good or bad. And it is those experiences which define your brand.”

With figures from a CEI report demonstrating that 86 percent of buyers will pay more for a better Customer Experience, he closed his session by telling attendees:

Fix what people dislike, learn what they love and give them something they didn’t know they wanted and now can’t live without.”

Isabelle Conner, Group Chief Marketing and Customer Officer at Generali Group, took to the stage to demonstrate the huge transformation this 186-year-old company has undergone to place customers at the heart of its operations.

She summed up her experience with the CX programme and guided attendees through the five key principles around which Generali’s strategy was built to deliver success. First, the CEO of the local business unit is key – Generali ensured from the outset that its CEO’s were visible and engaged.

Without them the programme would have failed. Secondly, the implementation was designed to be cross-functional. Generali brought together IT, operations, legal, sales, marketing, and HR around the same table to ensure everyone was working towards a common goal. Thirdly, Generali ensured its programme was firmly embedded in operations.

Fourthly, the company created a policy to ensure all detractors must be called back within 48 hours – in a bid to learn from their experience and try to convert them, which worked with great success. And finally, engagement with the NPS community was critical for Generali.

For the business units this meant developing a community of NPS champions and reaching out to them, alongside touch point owners and the CEOs of its customers periodically. Overall, over 300 structural improvement actions were delivered across Generali throughout its transformation programme – driving cultural change throughout the organisation and ultimately delivering substantial benefits to its customers.

Meanwhile, Jose Ferrari-Careto, CMO at leading energy company EDP, spoke about how the company worked with Medallia to deliver the multi-award winning CX programme The Voice of the Customer within Spain and Portugal.

Its CX programme has optimised operations and improved customer service, with the team learning valuable lessons along the way. These are: first, have a common approach and vision for your customers. Secondly, avoid the temptation to use custom and in-house developments – always use the experts in the field.

Thirdly, integration with legacy systems can be demanding, so be prepared for that. Fourthly, avoid the ‘set and forget’ mentality – whilst any programme making positive changes will initially be met with enthusiasm, this will decrease over time, so keep programmes invigorated.

Finally, organisation engagement is mandatory – it is not enough to have one tier, like management, involved – all must be, or the programme will fall apart.

Talks from Medallia representatives also delivered valuable insights into a variety of different topics and trends, with key highlights including sessions on employee engagement.

Julia Markish, Director, Employee Practice at Medallia, spoke about why a focus on customers and employees fuels business health. Highlighting the importance of this, she told attendees that achieving high customer satisfaction but having low employee engagement, is only half as effective as balancing the two. Additionally, Medallia’s own research found that companies that ask for and act on employee feedback see close to 50percent better engagement.

Medallia’s Tim Queenan and Mike Mohageg guided participants through the new age of Generation Z, for whom experiences are more important than stuff. This is the generation that doesn’t know a world without Amazon, Google, social media, multi-connected devices, and apps.

But this is a generation worth influencing, as by 2020 they will account for over a third of the adult population. This super-tech-savvy generation spends around 7.6 hours per day socialising, often online, preferring to communicate in short-bursts of bite-sized content. The guidance to attendees looking to target this demographic was to embrace their responsiveness and desire for feedback and to make sure that all experiences are relevant and in the moment.

Sean Farrington added:

“The day promised to ‘power up’ attendees and it did that in spades. By bringing together this community of CX professionals, we have listened, learnt and, more importantly, been inspired to do more when it comes to CX.”

Medallia’s Experience will return in May 2018 in California, USA.

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