Delivering a positive customer experi- ence is just good business. But en- suring that customers, partners and prospects have positive interactions with – and impressions of – your brand is becoming even more important. That’s because the new con- nected consumer has more choices of suppli- ers, more opportunities to use online resources for comparison shopping, and more available venues through which to vent their dissatis- faction if they don’t get what they want when they want it.
To be competitive, organizations today must provide the products, services and support that customers have come to expect – and quickly, as most of us have grown accustomed to immediate gratification in today’s always-connected world. Speaking of connectivity, customers want to connect with businesses based on their own personal preferences. That means organizations need to be ready, willing and able to interface with customers and prospects over any and all communications media, and to do it seamlessly and effectively. And rather than simply pushing out products and messaging to the masses, customers want solutions and service that cater to their individual needs and preferences.
“The world has become an increasingly competitive place, and there are so many products and services out there that it’s critical organizations distinguish themselves based on their customer service,” Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert) CEO Don Brown noted in the cover story of this maga- zine a year ago this month.
All this explains why a focus on customer experience is now center stage at many organizations. Indeed, a fair share of businesses have already established new executive positions and teams to specifically address customer experience-related initiatives and concerns. As last month’s issue of CUSTOM- ER magazine notes, the chief customer officer has become widespread at companies of all sizes: CCOs exist today at 40 percent of $1 billion-plus enterprises, 46 percent of enter- prises with less than $250 million in revenues, and about 15 percent of mid-sized companies.
But even after customer experience has been identified by an organization as a key strategic initiative, and personnel have been installed to lead the charge, there’s no set script for how it should all play out. So it can be helpful to learn from customer experience experts about best practices, key trends and developments, and what’s working and not working for others.
This thinking is what led to the creation of a new industry event called CX Hot Trends Symposium, jointly produced by Interactive Intelligence and TMC (News - Alert), to take place June 2-4, 2014, at the Indianapolis Convention Center.
The event is targeted at those with such titles as CCO, vice president of customer experience, contact center director – or anybody with a focus on the customer.
“CX Hot Trends Symposium is the best collection of speakers focused exclusively on how to make the experience that a company delivers to its customers a strategic business advantage,” says Joe Staples (News - Alert), chief marketing officer at Interactive Intelligence.
Unlike other gatherings that attempt to address everything and the kitchen sink, Staples says the CX Hot Trends Symposium will offer in-depth analysis of the nine hottest technology trends shaping the customer experience. Interac tive Intelligence did a lot of research to identify those top nine trends, says Staples.
The following are the nine trends that will be covered during the event:
• Cloud-based communications
• Data analytics and new-model KPIs
• Innovative self-service
• Mobile customer service
• Multichannel communications
• Proactive customer care
• Social customer service
• Video-based customer service
Among the speakers is Art Schoeller, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research (News - Alert). He will be talking about what’s possible with self-service today and how you can use it to boost your revenues and cut costs.
Sheila McGee-Smith of McGee-Smith Analytics, mean- while, will discuss how technologies like analytics and mobile customer care applications are enabling companies to make sure customers have the information they need, when they need it, even as conditions change. The session will explore best practices for using, not abusing, proactive customer care strategies.
“What’s unique about the CX Hot Trends Symposium is that it approaches the discussion from a customer experience perspective rather than from a contact center technology one,” says McGee-Smith. “This shift in focus makes this event particularly significant.”
To review the complete speaker lineup and session summaries, visit www.cx-expo.com.
Attendees of CX Hot Trends Symposium will also hear keynote addresses from angel investor, best-selling author, and social media advisor Jay Baer; famed outdoorsman Aron Ralston; and Interactive Intelligence’s Brown.
Baer is president and founder of Convince & Convert, which has conducted social media and content marketing projects for such notable clients as Billabong, BMC Soft- ware, Caterpillar, Columbia Sportswear, Nike, Petco, Visit California, and Wal-Mart. He is also the author of the books “YOUTILITY: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype” and “The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social.”
Ralston is the subject of the movie 127 Hours, in which he is played by actor James Franco. It tells the story about how Ralston’s arm became pinned under an 800-pound rock while he was hiking in Utah, and how after five days trapped alone in the wilderness he took extreme measures to free himself.
Brown founded Interactive Intelligence, his third software company, in October 1994. He is CEO, president, and chair- man of the board. Brown will showcase the next generation of cloud communications technology and discuss how increased flexibility can positively impact the customer experience.
CX Hot Trends Symposium will be collocated with the Interac tive Intelligence annual customer and partner event, INTER- ACTIONS 2014. While the audiences of these two events will come together for the keynotes, Staples says that the symposium’s educational opportunities were tailor-made for individuals with an interest in, and responsibility for, customer experience.
“There are a lot of shows that dabble on the periphery of customer experience issues,” says Staples. “They’ll take one narrow topic, or they’ll lump them all into a 45-minute session. But to us, a multi-day event focused exclusively on the most impactful trends shaping customer service, and delivered by industry experts who would provide actionable advice, made a lot more sense.”