ICS: Customer Experience In The Relationship Economy

The Teleperformance UK team is attending the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) annual conference next week, which is always a great one-day focus on the latest customer experience trends. In preparation for the conference I took a quick look at the agenda, which has the broad headline of ‘connected strategies for a relationship economy.’

I saw that Darrell Sansom, Managing Director, AXA Insurance is speaking on ‘How to realise a positive return on customer service investment.’ This is always a hot topic because the way that customer service is integrated into companies today has changed so much – a view emphasised by that overall headline for the conference.

It has always been hard for companies to accept the cost of their customer service team. For years many industries worked hard at measures such as cross-selling and up-selling to try mitigating the cost of providing customer service.

But today these ideas seem dated. The customer service team has become the window onto many brands, either replacing or working alongside many other departments such as marketing, sales, and public relations. It is how many customers see the company and their only way of engaging with the brand.

Think about how you learned of a new type of soft drink or a new pair of trainers endorse by an athlete you support. This awareness is likely to have come about from online engagement and interactions rather than traditional TV or newspaper advertising.

We are entering a new era where the customer service team does not just offer a way to follow up with a brand after the purchase of their products. In the relationship economy I expect to be building a relationship with my favourite brands before, during, and after any purchases and this completely changes the way that customer service investment needs to be measured.

It’s a shame that I have to travel next week so I’m going to miss Darrell’s talk, but at least my team will be there. Insurance really is an industry where customer relationships and loyalty to an insurer can be directly affected by the way the customer engagement is managed.

Are you planning to be at the ICS event next week? Do check out the Teleperformance stand and say hello to the team or just tweet me on @matt_sims1.

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Photo by Mark Hakansson licensed under Creative Commons.

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