Highlights From... The Customer Experience Exchange for Retail in London

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CX leaders from Argos, Forrester, JD Williams, NotOnTheHighStreet, Anne Summers and Hasbro provide insights into the hot topics within customer experience.

This week saw the annual Customer Experience Exchange for Retail return to London for two insightful days of panels, roundtables, presentations and networking around all aspects of CX within the retail industry with customer experience and marketing leaders from the likes of Argos, Forrester, JD Williams, NotOnTehHighStreet, Anne Summers and Hasbro.

CX network attended the first day of the event and we've compiled some of the highlights as food for thought below.

Andy Brown, Central Operations Director at Argos, took the stage to give advice on how to close the gap between ecommerce and the in-store world. Many retailers still struggle providing a consistence experience across all channels and his honest insights showed that the bigger brands are no different.

He highlighted that while there was a move to digital in their stores, they're also continuing on with their catalogues as they don't want to alienate their core customers who are used to this touch point. He concluded: "Paper has as much a place in multi-channel as digital."

SEE ALSO: How Retailer Argos Changed Their Contact Strategy to Make Customer Service Digital

Next up were Gary Topiol, Mabaging Director International of InMoment, and Kamila Cedro, Insight Analyst Strategic Marketing at Wilko, who discussed the importance of collecting in-depth customer feedback and linking it to business outcomes.

The conclusion of their presentation was that it is incredibly important to gather comments from customers when surveying, and not just "yes" and "no" answers. Ask further and for examples, such as "if one thing could be done better, what would you like to see changed?" Active listening and actioning upon feedback is key.

Foye Pascoe, General Manager UK, Ireland, Nordic and Benelux of Hasbro, gave a very personal presentation around creating emotional engagement with customers to turn them into true brand advocates.

She highlighted the importance of forming partnerships with other brands and companies in a multi-layered engagement campaign to elevate the customer experience and create a halo effect of brand engagement. She also said that you need to be willing to take risks and think beyond where you drive partnerships.

A panel with Ben Carter, Global Marketing Director at NotOnTheHighStreet and Claire Hill, Director Customer Services at JD Williams, was focused on the Millennial customer and the importance of tailoring services for Generation Y.

Claire said that Millennials don't want to be bluffed by corporate cliches and even if they may use emoticons in messages they want to feel they're taken seriously. Reflect their language and they're very forgiving.

Ben added that brands with a purpose really matter to Millennials, which of course aligns well with the service they're providing and the unique products and companies that are represented on the ecommerce-only platform. He also said that social is vital, not just for customer service but also to drive sales.

In addition, the panel touched upon the topic of content, which Millennials are bombarded with. It is incredibly important but shouldn't be too slick or cliche Having an in-house content team to really capture stories can make a real difference; it's all about engagement.

SEE ALSO: 4 Ways to Create a Great Customer Experience For Millennials

The importance of emotional engagement as part of the customer experience was the clear takeaway message of the first day of the exchange. Have you made it a part of your CX strategy yet?