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What Does the Future of Customer Experience Look Like?

Welcome to the POSITIVE Customer Experience Briefing!

I was delighted to be invited to give two presentations at a conference in Zagreb, Croatia last week. Speaking to an audience of tourism professionals from across Europe, I shared some perspectives on the future of heritage tourism development, global trends impacting Customer Experience, and the secrets of better communication - via my It's a Zoo Around Here programme. More of that later...

I was most grateful to my friend Dr Ian Yeoman, Associate Professor of Tourism Futures at Victoria University of Wellington, for identifying the key trends which he believes will determine the foreseeable future for Customer Experience - I've summarised them here: 
  1. Demanding Consumers – better educated, culturally aware, price sensitive, wider choice
  2. Mobile Living – living life through smart devices, wearable technologies, big data, social media, augment reality, facial recognition
  3. Global Economy – deflation, disinflation, over supply, more choice
  4. Professional Concierge – one to one predictions, technology enabled
  5. Demographics – ageing population, ageless society, family focused
  6. Political Instability – immigration, institutional failures, trust redefined
So what does this mean? "Whereas consumers may once have simply accepted without question whatever suppliers offered them, the dynamics have changed and they now want low prices and high quality, attentive customer service yet speedy convenience, personalised offers yet their privacy respected, complex solutions that are also easy to understand." - Future Foundation, nVision Trend Report

I sum it up like this: the world is changing faster than ever, in ways we could hardly imagine even just a few years ago. Consumers have more choice and they increasingly make their choices based on recommendations from those they trust - including those who have shared their experiences via social media. Marketing as we know it is in its death throes: trust in institutions is at an all-time low, and only the organisations that can offer experiences that are relevant, personalised, life-enhancing and (paradoxically) competitively priced, can expect to have a bright future.  

If this sounds like "Project Fear" I apologise! It's actually very exciting: if you can build a high quality, consistent, flexible (another paradox!) and authentic experience around a compelling brand story the future will be yours. 

As I shared at the conference: “We must be able to predict what the customer wants next. Today it is reactionary – after the fact.  [By] 2020 customers will expect firms to be ahead of them, knowing what they need before they themselves have shown the need.” - Walker Information, Inc.

In the remainder of the newsletter you will find two key tools that will help you to start embracing the future... 

The Future of Customer Experience Is...Better Communication

During the conference, I shared the unique communication tool It's a Zoo Around Here - the new rules for better communication. Simplifying the often confusing array of personality types and communication preferences we face when communicating within teams, or with customers, this workshop breaks down barriers and facilitates better communication like no other I've ever come across.

Based on all the research I've read about the future of Customer Experience, the key to success will be understanding how communication works and putting that understanding into practice in everything we do in business.

To find out more, read my blog post about a workshop I recently delivered in Canterbury. If you'd like to explore how It's a Zoo Around Here could help you develop more productive, engaged team members and improve customer loyalty, do get in touch.
The Future of Customer Experience is... building a coherent, consistent, scalable and authentic experience of your organisation - in every interaction. In Zagreb I shared my STARS model which can be used both as a template and as a diagnostic tool, helping organisations create Customer Experiences that will drive sales, loyalty and referrals. 

My blog post on this topic will show you how that might work in practice. Let me know if you'd like to discuss how "Project STARS" could help your organisation. 

Quote of the Week

I have two for you this month - no explanation needed:

“You’ve got to start with the Customer Experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.”                - Steve Jobs

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk ... In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” - Mark Zuckerberg

Service Moment of the Week

I had a brilliant time in Zagreb. The conference organisers - the Association of Croatian Travel Agents - could not have been more efficient, responsive and kind. 

After the conference, they sent me this testimonial:

Stephen Spencer's presentations Customer Experience: Innovations in the Travel and Tourism Experience and Why it Matters and Heritage Tourism: How is it Adapting to the New World”?were very much appreciated by the audience and are among the best rated sessions of the conference. We've got extremely positive feedback from our participants. For them, his sessions were engaging, motivating, insightful and inspiring, a great opportunity to learn from industry expert. Besides giving us an overview of trends and threats for heritage tourism, variety of perspectives on customer experience and case studies, Stephen helped us to get clearer understanding on how we can differentiate customer experience, find the ways and tools to engage and adapt to the new world, make a change, educate, integrate and drive positive improvements in our business models. We are thankful for the time Stephen took to join us and share his insights and expertise with other participants." 

Wow! And then - they sent me this "Certificate of Appreciation", signed by their president! For exceeding my expectations, and providing me with the warm glow of acknowledgment and appreciation, Ivica Projić and his organising team delivered my Service Moment of the Week.

Give Your Team the Gift of Better Communication

"It's a Zoo Around Here"If the Customer Experience STARS model is (or should be) the engine of every organisation, then communication is the oil that drives optimum performance. 

It's a Zoo Around Here contains the  secrets of our unique, practical and fun communication programme. Easy  to read, remember and put into practice, this book will help your team to communicate better, with each other and with your customers.

ORDER NOW at our special online price of £10 (RRP £15.99). 

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I help businesses and organisations increase sales and productivity through developing POSITIVE Customer Experiences. Find out more here.
Copyright © 2016 Stephen Spencer & Associates, All rights reserved.

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