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Highlights from Leadership Strategies for Customer Experience Keynote Panel Customer Experience Summit – April 2017 Part I

Highlights from Leadership Strategies for Customer Experience

Keynote Panel Customer Experience Summit – April 2017

by Alex Jarett

Our recent Customer Experience Summit included a popular keynote panel called “Leadership Strategies for Customer Experience.”  The panel was moderated by Grant Smith, Director, Tools and Solutions, Americas, LANSA and included:

* James Marks, Director of Information Technology, Magellan Corporation
* Abdur Sulaiman, Director of IT: Digital Transformation Omnichannel Store Systems Transformation Strategy and Architecture, Crate and Barrel
* Elizabeth Romero, Ph.D., Director, Learning Technology Solutions, University of Illinois at Chicago

* Sonesh Shah, Director of Digital Marketing eCommerce & IoT, Robert Bosch Tool Corp

After reviewing the recording, I’ve identified three key insights from the panel.

Below you’ll see each Insight, plus the highlighted excerpts from the panel explaining the insight.  (Editor’s Note: Comments have been edited for space purposes ) Enjoy!

Insight One:  To create a better customer experience, start by getting closer to your actual customer.  

Grant:  How can we as the technology leaders drive customer experience or help people make that change?

James:  I like to take a broad view of the user community, so that I try not to think just about our direct customers but I like to think about their customers when I think about solving a problem. (As an example) Someone will come to me and say “I have a customer who wants to have an ASN (Advanced Shipping Notification) delivered…And then they’ll say ASN, but it could mean a broad spectrum of possible solutions… my simple answer is that We (may) have 50 direct users, but I feel like I have hundreds and even thousands of indirect users out there who are all basically looking for IT support.

Grant: What is the best way to stay in touch with your user community from a user experience perspective?

Abdur:  As a retailer you always have to be in touch with your customers needs and wants.

We do that in many ways, the one that’s most commonly used is that we would actually go out to the stores and there’s a team that goes out to the store … with a new product or a new kind of service … and talk to real customers show them our prototype.

Another way we do it is … we recruit people to come out to our corporate offices in Northbrook spend a day with us.

The third way we do that is by using analytics. Analytics can be a very powerful thing depending on how you use it and where you put it.

Elizabeth:  As you can imagine in higher education we have a very …different approach here, because who is our customer really?  We serve faculty, staff and students, but we don’t have the (same) idea of a customer in higher education…

(We first) target…our faculty, although the faculty benefits the students …

We invite valuable contributions from everyone in the university…. (We also) develop some intentional (relationships) with people that (are) in positions of helping us or hurting us, especially the ones that were in position of hurt…We learn in little steps and improve continuously…

Transparency …is important for us. We formalized a governance board with the representation of most of the colleges.

Sonesh Shah:  Eliminating proxies (for feedback) …  I think that’s really the key for what my team tries to do to (get) user influence…We sell to distributors, our distributors sell to customers… So you have these proxies that exist in the organization that speak on behalf of the customer. (for example, the VP of Sales to the distributors) And I think for us to be really good at what we do, we have to eliminate those proxies (for our feedback) …My team spends a lot of time and energy in the field: on job sites, with customers, trying to learn pain points from the place they come from, which is the more technical space, and a more user solution oriented space. …And this is way easier than when the sales guy comes and says you know what would be great is if there was an app where our dealers could just press a button and everything would come to them. Of course this would be great. But having that (technical) understanding is really missing.

Be sure to watch this presentation: Go here immediately to view.

Updated: August 2, 2017 — 5:55 pm

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