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In this unstable economic environment characterized by zero profit margins, organizational restructuring, company-wide lay-offs and increasing competition in the marketplace, turning your most-valued customers into advocates is the key to survival. Using innovative customer listening posts - from web interactions and early warning systems to complaint tracking - is the first step toward defining and delivering the superior customer experience.
Defining and delivering the superior customer experience is a differentiable trait of successful executives and profitable companies. They listen to, engage and align with external and internal customers to strengthen relationships through an integrated customer strategy.
At the February 2009 Global Benchmarking Council conference, members and guests gathered to discuss insights, innovations, best practices and lessons learned to improve the customer experience, to increase customer loyalty and to increase the customer base during the economic downturn.
Vice presidents, directors and managers responsible for improving the customer experience and impacting the bottom line from customer service, marketing, operations, sales and related areas will benefit most from these case studies from nine leading companies and the summarized transcripts from a targeted panel discussion and two facilitated roundtable discussions.
COMPANIES AND CASE STUDIES
Case studies include speaker biographies and company background before describing key challenges company leaders faced and how they overcame them, the connection between employee engagement and customer loyalty, the increasing prevalence of social media and online marketing tools and the strategic insights that can come from customer data. Speaker anecdotes, quotes, select slides, insights and key take-aways all liven the case studies with personal touches and graphics.
- Abbott Laboratories shared how companies can use online tools to engage customers for product feedback, recommendations, word-of-mouth advertisement or to build communities around their products or company in "The Crowd's Noise Level is Increasing: Understanding User Generated Content and Enhancing its Impact on Your Reputation."
- Eli Lilly & Co. introduced its process for innovation by creating diverse idea generation channels for customers, employees and other parties, evaluating and prioritizing ideas and deploying pilot studies to assess impact and determining the right scale-up plan to implement innovations across the organization in "Listen, Innovate, Change."
- Satmetrix gave an animated presentation on the importance of word-of-mouth advertisement and explained how companies use Net Promoter Score, customer loyalty tool, as a discipline throughout the organization rather than just a metric in "How to Ride Out the Recession with Your Customers."
- KDH Systems talked about Web 2.0 and online tools and how companies across all industries use them cost-effectively in times of economic turmoil to engage and connect with their key customers in "Building Customer Communities and Increasing Customer Loyalty with Web 2.0 and Online Tools."
- The Ritz-Carlton emphasized that achieving exceptional customer experiences is about making an emotional connection and highlighted the connection between employee engagement and how it translates into customer service in "The Ritz-Carlton Gold Standards."
- Thomson Reuters shared insights from its customer centricity strategy, which includes a holistic performance assessment of every business unit based on customer-focused principles in "Customer-Centricity: Using Client Alignment Strategies to Grow and Retain Customer Relationships."
- AFLAC underlined that companies have to realize that every customer interaction is a chance to either enhance trust in the company, its product and services or erode confidence in "Delivering on a Promise that Fosters Customer Loyalty."
- Boost Mobile elaborated on the cross-functional approach to customer experience deployed and shared many methods and tools, including predictive analytics that help your organization anticipate and manage for customer needs in "Incorporating a Cross-Functional Design & Implementation Approach to Customer Experience."
- Teradata shared how data management and warehousing tools support cost-effective, real-time customer relationship management, allowing you to collect volumes of critical customer data and reinforce your brand promise at every touchpoint in "Putting the Theory to Work: Successful Methods for Creating Positive Customer Experiences through Customer Knowledge."
Following the first five presentations on the impact of social media on corporate reputation, creating a process for deploying innovative ideas, using Net Promoter Score as a business framework, increasing customer loyalty through Web 2.0 and the link between employee engagement and customer loyalty, Global Benchmarking Council members and guests divided into smaller groups for roundtable discussions and information exchanges on Harnessing New Technologies to Gain Customer Access & Insight and Best Practices for Customer Relationship Management & Sustained Customer Loyalty, discussing:
- Evaluating & Using New Online Technologies
- Harvesting Customer Feedback & New Ideas through New Technologies
- Identifying, Managing & Understanding Customer Segments & Generational Differences
- Turning Customers into True Brand Advocates via Online Tools
- Managing Customer Insights & Identifying Patterns to Help Grow Relationships
- Looking Ahead: New Generations, New Challenges
The second day of networking and best practice sharing featured a targeted panel discussion on Innovative Strategies for Growing & Keeping Your Customer Base in 2009. Cross-industry representatives fielded questions from the facilitator and from Global Benchmarking Council members and guests on:
- Case Example of a Leadership Lesson Learned
- Understanding your Customers, their Needs, their Market, their Outcomes
- Avoiding the Disconnect: From Customer Insight to Customer-Centric Strategy
This report was compiled from notes taken during speaker presentations and in-depth roundtable and panel discussions at the February 2009 Global Benchmarking Council conference, "Integrated Customer Strategies: Enabling Companies to Survive & Thrive through the Downturn." For more information on the Global Benchmarking Council or to register for upcoming conferences, visit http://www.best-in-class.com/research-advisory.