Conversational Ai, Broad industry panel discussions and the customer experience value of a Bunnings sausage sizzle? The 2022 VIC CX Summit truly had it all.
Held in person for the second time since the pandemic, The summit was a fantastic opportunity for leaders in customer experience. It was a chance to exchange ideas, explore trends and reflect on the insights brought forth by two challenging years of the pandemic.
The overall takeaway? Forget about everything you knew about CX pre pandemic. The way in which users interact with brands has changed for good.
Nice to see you again, CX Summit.
A strong crowd of attendees from across industry both domestically and internationally were greeted by The Collingwood AFL team preparing for their semi-final just outside the venue.
Regardless of the outcome of the game outside, the attendees were the real winners as they were treated to panels of experienced CX professionals.
Enhancing Engagement – Digital Customer Experience
The first panel discussion tackled digital customer experience. Moderated by Simon Khalagi of Tealium the panel featured guests from a wide range of Australian industries.
A core topic of discussion was the impact which the Covid-19 Pandemic had upon the customer landscape for each brand. The speakers discussed the incredible growth they experienced in the online space during two years of lockdowns and stay at home mandates.
As always growth can bring growing pains.
“We absolutely blew past our projected 5-year growth which we outlined in 2019.” Travis Brown explained. “Traffic has come down since the height of the pandemic but we are still higher than we could have ever predicted pre-pandemic.”
Travis and Kirsty were both in agreement that for their retail reliant businesses customers are returning to brick and mortar but with a hybrid twist.
“Customers are researching online but shopping in-store” Kirsty said.
This has made the online store just as an important part of the customer experience as their in-store experience.
On the service side of CX Design, Andrea Bernard revealed the lengths which Simply Energy went to look after customers doing it tough during the pandemic.
“We spent millions of dollars each year just helping customers to pay their bills.”
The CX value of a Bunnings Sausage Sizzle.
Giving back to the community in a period which saw record profits for Australian business while wages stagnated for many, was a common theme amongst speakers at the summit.
A particularly popular speaker was Steve Hoffman, Customer Experience Lead at Bunnings who was inundated with questions during his panel event.
Steve outlined the ways in which Bunnings went above and beyond to be socially responsible during the pandemic.
From providing jobs to the grounded members of the aviation industry to setting up a call service just for isolated members of the community.
“It didn’t have any goals or KPI’s. It was just there for people to talk if they needed to. For some people that would be the only social interaction they’d be getting all day. We even once helped an elderly lady to place a shopping order at Woolworths.”
Steve said that the key to good customer experience came from the recruitment of “good genuine people”. Customer satisfaction remained high throughout the pandemic even despite the loss of the Bunnings sausage sizzle.
“We still donated to each of those community organisations which missed out on having their sausage sizzle.”
In the case of Bunnings, being a genuine and empathetic organisation was the best customer experience strategy. Who would’ve guessed that?
But it is telling that during a time where the customer is increasingly cynical and genuinely fed up with large corporations and their impact on the world, that behaving like a human being can be enough to win them back.
UP Bank – It’s okay to be cute
Speaking of the personification of brands, a standout keynote of the day was from the Head of CX at Up Bank, Nektarea Cameron-Smith.
The online-only bank stands out in the financial industry with it’s unique and highly personable approach to CX.
Their team are encouraged to have fun with their work. Nekatrea admitted that Mario Kart is a daily ritual at the bank’s headquarters. The team are also encouraged to extend the fun to their customers.
This CX approach has yielded fantastic results. Customer referrals are one of their highest drivers for new customers. In addition they have retained 100% of their Customer Service team since they started.
It’s an approach which is very much targeted at a young demographic. But it also demonstrates that speaking to the customer in their own voice is a beneficial way to manage customer relations.
Away from the speaker hall at CX Summit VIC.
The day was punctuated with plenty of opportunities for networking and mingling. The 150 attendees were able to peruse the various sponsor stands. These largely comprised of tech companies within the CX and CRM space.
Conversational AI was a prevailing theme across the board. It is likely something which will become increasingly common in future CX strategies.
The overall response to the event was positive. Attendees came away with plenty of new insights, connections and a renewed enthusiasm for in-person events.
The FT Group, CX loop and Frazer Tremble are already looking forward to participating in next year’s summit.
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