Past events

Custommerce National Convention 2014

Round-up  |  Presentations

Iconic organizations address acute contradictions in society. By tapping into a collective desire or anxiety, they develop a status that transcends functional benefits. They challenge people, either directly or subtly, to reconsider accepted thinking and behaviour. And then, they become a way of life. They affect the way business is done and in turn affect the economics of nations. Welcome to the world of ICONOMICS.

The 10th edition of the Custommerce National Convention 2014 was held on 23rd & 24th of January 2014 at the Marriott, Jaipur. As the word ICONOMICS suggests, the Custommerce National Convention this year dealt with Icons who have redefined the way they do business. This is keeping in line with the lofty vision of The Custommerce Service Excellence Foundation of building a ‘Customer Experience Driven Globally Competitive Indian Economy’.

The broad themes that were covered included:

  • Icons who have built iconic brands and what they did differently to get to where they are. These could be people / company / product or service brands.
  • Icons who have dared to redefine performance metrics – who worry about for example, how to ensure that a service requirement is addressed no matter how long it takes. Or what the request was in the first place.
  • Icons who have ‘truly’ empowered their employees to go to any extent to ensure that a customer is serviced to their absolute satisfaction
  • Icons who have dared to buck convention and look at success (and bottomline) very differently
  • Icons who have made their business truly inclusive and touched the lives of millions of people through their product / service

The sessions brought home to the participants the imperative to think holistically and systemically. Each session was connected to the others in a way that showcased a comprehensive approach that is required when dealing with the whole area of customer experience and at the service touch points in particular. This was illustrated through the various presentations that followed.

Rajiv Bakshi, MD, METRO Cash and Carry talked about focusing on brand design and about the depth of thought and investment that goes into creating a brand. He talked of brands that are built under differing circumstances – when a brand is aging, when a brand is creating a market category against the grain, when a brand is under threat, when a brand is a market leader and so on. He brought his session to life with examples of the kind of advertising and the underlying messages in advertising that addressed these specific needs under specific circumstances. The perspective that Mr. Bakshi brought was that the wealth of thought and the depth of effort that goes into building a brand can all be negated by creating poor service/interaction experience. Brand designers carefully build “emotional connect” with customers and the irony of it is that the deeper the connect, the more devastating the backlash if the customer feels let down in later engagements with the brand. The customer too invests in the brand emotionally – making it imperative to ensure that this investment is protected.

Ms. Jessie Paul, Managing Director, Paul Writer talked about the process of brand design. She emphasized on the process of brand creation and highlighted its ubiquitous nature. In essence, brands are being built all the time not just through the promises made during communication campaigns but through every single interaction that consumers have with the brand. It is a real time ongoing process and cannot be stopped – even if companies are not actively engaged in communicating brand messages – the brand is being built with every customer engagement taking place across the eco-system. Ms. Jessie Paul emphasized the importance of understanding the real time nature of the brand building process and understanding the various touch points or engagement points where the customer engages the brand. And managing those touch points effectively to create a uniform and consistent brand experience in line with the expectations of the consumer.

Mr. Aniruddha Limaye, Director, Great Places to Work Institute talked about the deep connect between employee motivation, morale and commitment – and the performance of the enterprise, both at the level of market valuation and customer satisfaction. He explored the various models and frameworks available for understanding the mechanics of creating a “Great Place to Work”. He called out the key elements of Trust, Pride and Camaraderie and talked the participants through several real life examples of organizations that have successfully created environments, strong in these attributes. He emphasized the fact that all service is an interaction between people and that service is “proximate in time and space” making it extremely challenging to maintain standards in real time. He brought to life the fact that the route to good performance in the market as represented by valuation lay through creating a strong culture of pride and commitment to the brand leading to high levels of customer engagement. He brought home the need for employees to be engaged with the brand since they are the custodians and representatives of the brand in the real-time service cycle.

Mr. Rajiv Khandelwal, Director, Aajeevika Bureau talked of his experience in bringing non-participating people into the organized economy. He explained the challenges of identifying them, reaching them, building services that are relevant to them, and inducting them into a virtuous cycle of growth and prosperity. He gave the audience inspiring examples of the things he is attempting – issuing identity cards, getting the government to recognize these cards, reaching services like health care and insurance cover to them all within the framework of a not-for-profit organization. This once again brought to mind the challenges of thinking systemically and holistically. This slice of society represents both the market and workforce of tomorrow if the India growth story is to work. How do corporates engage with them? What services to offer them? How to monetize this in a fashion that maximizes value for all parties concerned? This left a lot of food for thought.

Mr. Sidney Yuen, CEO, HBC & Chairman, Asia Pacific Contact Centre Association Leaders (APCCAL) talked about the importance of Customer experience and how this is on the agenda of CEOs worldwide. His talk brought to the fore the various forces driving change in the customer service ecosystem and how technology evolution would impact the world in the coming years, particularly the way in which customers engage with their service providers. He spoke of the fallacy of believing that “no complaints” from customers meant all customers are happy and of the need to build robust ways of understanding customer experience and delivering the desired service. This reiterated the need to think of the customer service eco-system as an integrated, holistic piece, to understand all the players – the brand, the employees, the customers of today and tomorrow and the technology providers.

Mr. Binny Bansal,COO – Flipkart, one of the speakers was unable to make it for the event due to personal constraints. His video presentation will be uploaded shortly.

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