Sunday, February 21, 2010

Custcon 2010

I've recently joined the customer experience team in Virgin Media, and one of the first things I got to do in the new role was to attend our customer conference, which this year was held near Leamington Spa.

The customer conference is an annual two day event where we get together with the customer facing areas of the business, the product teams and other areas that have a direct impact on our customers and celebrate what we've done in the last year as well as looking forward to what we're doing into the next year and further.

It was a brilliant event that I really enjoyed, and I definitely left it buzzing about all the great things that are coming up.

Our chief executive Neil Berkett kicked off the event by taking us through where we've got to and what the business' key priorities are for 2010 - and continuing to put the customers first is at the top of the list:After Neil we had one of the very best presentations I have ever seen, which was totally enthralling.

Stefan Osthaus is the VP of worldwide support and customer experience for Symantec, and walked us through how they had refocused their business and software development on the customer experience (including use of the same Net Promoter® system that we use within Virgin Media), and what results it's brought them so far as well as where they're taking it.

There was also lots of fascinating geeky 'under the hood' information about the Norton security products, and I hope I didn't bore him to death with subsequent questions!

It's certainly given me plenty of food for thought on things we should be doing.

In the afternoon we had some fascinating presentations from the product teams (even my old boss!) about what they are doing, and naturally everyone was excited about the TV presentation. I also learnt a lot more about mobile and fixed line phone, which no doubt I’ll find uses for. There was also a Q&A session with some of the senior team present.

In the evening it was time for our annual customer experience awards, where many of our senior team presented awards to some of the heroes around our business from the last year. The gala award went to one of our colleagues out in India who literally saved a customer's life by acting quickly when their behaviour suddenly changed while on the phone to us. Truly inspiring stuff and both standing ovations were totally deserved.

Day Two included further insight into how other companies are approaching customer experience - some of the things Starbucks are doing in the US were of particular interest to me - and we all got to try out some of our product install experiences and learn more about some of the customer facing teams in 'customer experience street.

However, I'm not sure my colleague Chi-Hong has much of a future as an installer:The day also featured a presentation from a group very close to me - our own Twitter team @virginmedia - on how they are helping customers out who contact us via Twitter and on how we use it proactively to find customers who need assistance.

We also heard from some more of our senior team about the plans for the rest of the year, and then it was time for the conference to wrap up with the various people present reflecting on their observations and making some resolutions about what we’ll all do to improve things for customers ahead of next year’s conference, which it is intended will be the biggest event yet in Virgin Media.

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