Knowledge - Insights: Chair Reports

Yet again, I was delighted to have chaired this year’s Customer Engagement Summit – over 700 professionals in the room looking to learn, network and be inspired.

And I suspect a few were just a little blown away with the innovations and ideas being presented, not least by the BBC’s Spencer Kelly and his ‘tech futures’ view on the service landscape, automation, drones and artificial intelligence. Fascinating stuff.
It was stimulating, interesting and not a little unsettling to be close to the views and experiences of the speakers. Great content was the norm. The themes I noted as the day progressed included the following – some not necessarily rocket (or robot!) science, but often useful reminders for us practitioners in the industry:
1. Engaged employees perform better, and drive better outcomes for the organisation (3.4 times more than disengaged ones apparently) – and although this was a consistent powerful theme for the day, Mars and Travelodge were standout case studies for me. Travelodge were also strong in their belief that all change had to be customer driven; though when I challenged whether this might stifle latent opportunities and innovations that the customer wasn’t perhaps aware of, they conceded that the idea was more about how you get the Board on board.
2. Engagement needn’t be expensive – just see what the NHS did with only £13,000. (I won’t mention the other £115 billion that they spend) to change staff perceptions in one of their underperforming Trusts to turn it around.
3. In working with customers and staff, powerful emotional and subconscious factors come into play and can work for or against you – knowing how people feel about your business can prove to be particularly useful when trying to get the Board to support your investment requirements.
4. Big, stable corporates are now threatened by agile, disruptive businesses – we see it with Uber in taxis, with Dollar Shave Club in shaving products – in fact, we see it everywhere. An interesting question raised was who the future prospective employee would rather work for? How do the big corporates  compete for staff – assuming that it is not just robots that will be hired!

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Chair Report – Customer Engagement Summit 2015 – Mike Havard

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