‘Critical time to understand customer expectations’; 5 minutes with a customer experience expert

CIM spoke with Ali Thompson, from customer experience management provider Resonate, about the importance of data in improving the customer experience journey in events.

Is the world of customer experience (CX) new for the event sector? The term CX may be new to the events sector but the meaning behind it has been there since the beginning of time. How often do we talk about ‘customer experience’ in the events industry? All the time. We’re all about creating the most memorable experiences for our customers, delivering a customer centric approach whether in our previous world of face to face events to our now evolving virtual norm.

CX is all about the customer journey at every touch point. However, formalised and more systematic customer experience management (CEM) in events has fallen under the radar in my opinion. We’re all familiar with post event surveys with zillions of questions and a huge drop off in responses but, what do we do with the little data we’ve gained, and, how do we know it’s true relevance, or how does it drive action and value?

CEM platforms are designed to gain real time data insights and translate underutilised customer insights into commercially viable assets across omni channels. In layman’s terms, delegate data can be used to increase attendance at events, drive advocacy NPS (Net Promoter Score) or to accelerate differentiation and outperform competitors.

Are there different ways to collect the data? Absolutely. COVID has done us a favour in this regard launching QR codes into daily life making them a recognised useful tool for data collection. In addition to email, AI, text analytics, social media, chat bots, tablets and facial analytics all add to this eclectic mix of data collection. Maximising data capture relies on defining the outcome; what answers do we want, who is going to action this and how can we chew it in bite sized pieces to drive greater revenues, it’s never one size fits all.

How do you analyse data in a way that makes it useful for the client? Venues NSW engaged Resonates services over two years ago to develop their customer experience and insights capability – to understand their customers personas, drive attendance throughout their venues, validate investments and manage stakeholder expectations.

This is not only about capturing customer experience feedback but analysing the data to push actionable insights to the people on the ground. Turning data into actions at the frontline. Highlight hidden pain points, empower the frontline teams to learn and recover experiences, drive market share and lasting loyalty.

Is the notion of CX insights more important than ever in a post-Covid world? Customer insights are always vital yet now more than ever. Never has there been a more critical time to understand customer expectations – as data is highlight that customer expectations have been destabilised and new customer expectations are emerging – this means opportunity.

The pandemic has launched many of us to a new mind-altering thought process, playing with our emotional sensitivities whilst shifting priorities from wants to needs. The relationship between customers and businesses now differs to an unprecedented extent making it imperative to win the heart and minds of individuals by adapting to customers’ intent creating a new level of engagement, trust and loyalty – there are new opportunities emerging for those that have insight.

How do you make sure the data serves an organisation’s outcomes across both its operations and strategic planning? There are many uses for CX insights. As we enter the ‘new norm’ it’s clear we need to be savvier than ever.

The availability of customer feedback continues to fuel demand for enriched customer experiences, businesses across the globe are designing customer experiences to capitalise on this mega-trend.

Leading businesses not only listen to their customers but also create a channel for sharing this with operational teams to action these in a timely manner. Due to COVID it’s clear more organisations are recognising the essential business need to understand customer sentiment and invest in CX as a key priority opening endless opportunities.