Knowledge - Insights: Chair Reports

The Irony of a Technological Future

I was again delighted to be chairing the annual Customer Engagement Summit this year -undoubtedly one of the most important events in the calendar for customer (and employee) engagement professionals and leaders, with close to 1000 people gathering in Westminster, London to network, share, learn and seek inspiration.
This year’s theme was Technology – the Great Enabler’ and it was a timely focus on innovation and tech in the world of customer management. In my own business, Ember, we have spent the year helping many of our clients understand and implement a whole range of innovations and technology solutions to remove cost and improve the service experience for their customers and so I know the
relevance and timeliness of this theme. But here is the irony. It wasn’t until early afternoon at the event that specific technologies in any detail were discussed from the platform. The focus was very much on the human as the key piece in the service delivery model. And in particular on the human characteristics that our customers and organisations value and that which technology is there to support or better unable, not replace. Characteristics like compassion, empathy, astuteness, sense, flexibility and empowerment.
This is an important notion – about how to keep technology in its place and ensure we are making the right overall investments for long term value, not short term reactionary gains. This I know is easier said than done. Especially in today’s costdriven, rapidly evolving work landscape. But the power of hearing from organisations who have taken a longer term view of customer value, and clearly focusing the role of enabling tech on enhancing the personal service experience, was timely. We heard from Timpson’s, M&S, Domino’s Pizza and many others where this idea shone through and their service reputation continues to excel. Jo Moran at M&S was unequivocal -‘Make Every Moment Special’ she said – though recognised that they might often fall short of their own high standards, the sentiment was well received in the room.

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Chair Report – Customer Engagement Summit 2016 – Mike Havard

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