Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Key Take-Aways from Customer Contact West, 2015:
A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange

By Patricia Stamas-Jacoby
Publications Editor, Events
Frost & Sullivan

At the 11th Annual Customer Contact 2015, West: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange, we brought together top executives from the customer experience field to discuss strategies and solutions for “Next Generation Customer Care: Driving Real Change,” this year’s event theme. Here, we present the key ideas and change drivers presented by the session leaders and discussed by participants. Leverage these insights to plan for the year ahead and prepare for the many changes technology is bringing to the customer experience landscape.

Find the right channel
Three key themes that emerged at the event all revolved around channel management. The first was the importance of meeting the customer in their channel of choice -- a huge customer service driver. Another recurring observation: an increasingly impatient customer is demanding easy and more direct channels. The last channel take-away: consistent and seamless customer experience is key across all channels.

Leverage technology wisely
It was has been widely observed that technology is now more intimate and pervasive than ever, and this is as true for the customer experience industry as any other. Participants and session leaders alike consistently discussed ways to leverage customer contact technology effectively and wisely. Surveys, analytics, and CSAT emerged as some of the best tools available to evaluate self-service performance and to utilize technology for insights. Utilizing technology such as video chats and online conferences was also recommended to keep remote customer service agents connected and engaged.

Rewards and culture really count
If there was one overall key theme that emerged from the event and the post-event discussion, it was the importance of company culture. All agreed that a well-defined culture with a clear ongoing mission statement and clear values was critical to organizational success…and to the customer experience.  In short, you have to make the agent experience enjoyable, as that will transfer to your customers. It’s also a good idea to incentivize behaviors that you want to encourage. Ideally, your company culture supports the ongoing technology changes organizations are experiencing today.

Know your future customer
Yes, we are going to mention Millennials. This (mobile) technology loving, adventure- seeking, super social generation is your clear customer of the future. In fact, by 2015 Millennials will comprise about 75% of the workforce. So, prepare for this future customer and their values, expectations and needs. The last take-away from the 11th Annual Customer Contact 2015, West: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange? The customer of the future will be highly defined and will demand customized solutions. Is your organization ready for this customer?

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