In three episodes of Salesforce Live: Australia & New Zealand, customer experience was the predominant focus for Trailblazers in marketing, small business and service. Find out what Trailblazers and experts had to say about creating better customer experiences, regardless of function or business type.

Marketing and digital experience: the beauty of blending channels and creating personalised journeys

Since this session focused on marketing and digital experience specifically, it’s no surprise that experience was a big part of the conversation. But what should those experiences look like and how can companies achieve them? 

We consistently heard that focusing on customers’ needs with flexibility and agility helped companies weather the COVID-19 pandemic and come out the other side even stronger. Mecca, for example, launched their flagship store in Sydney during the height of the pandemic, despite a successful digital pivot earlier. The result? A perfect blend of physical and digital, with the beauty brand providing a variety of in-store events and tutorials streamed online. According to Sam Bain, Mecca’s Chief Digital Officer, personalised journeys are what customers crave above all else. 

Audiences also heard marketing tips from the pros, including Bridie Smith from OFX, Leandro Perez from Salesforce and Robert Lopez from Norths Collective. This included the 50 Pro Marketing Tips Gameshow, centred around the hottest topics in marketing. From Bridie, we learned that feedback should be at the core of everything a company does, while Robert explained how to balance ROI and customer experience. 

In the State of Digital: Top Consumer Trends and Insights of 2020, there were three key digital experience trends: 

  • digital experiences are mandatory
  • agility is the new competitive advantage
  • personalisation is more important than ever. 

Online shopping, social channels and contactless pickup services are now central to the consumer experience, with companies who offer these services growing their year-on-year revenue 2-3 times faster than those who didn’t. 

Personalisation is another necessity. According to Jeremy Nicholas, Chief Marketing Officer at Telstra, companies need to be leveraging data in order to ensure the customer is at the heart of every transaction. Customer expectations are no longer industry-specific and are more comparable to other industries such as food delivery and travel. As an example of how other industries might leverage data, a telco might combine data about 5G tower locations with customer data to proactively address a failure to connect.

Small business: technology, customer-centricity and your own mental wellbeing are foundations for growth

Amid economic recovery in both Australia and New Zealand, a common question for small business owners is how to navigate serious yet short-term setbacks, while also building the foundations they’ll need to grow and scale in the long term. Solutions often came back to a laser-like focus on solving customers’ problems and creating great experiences. 

Our Small Business Show kicked off the day, hosted by Tobi Skovron, CEO of CreativeCubes.Co and long-time entrepreneur. He first spoke with Peter Strong, CEO of Council of Small Business of Australia, about new priorities for small business, such as the growing importance of cyber security. Tobi also led an inspiring and informative conversation with leaders from Canva, Xero and Lawpath

Small business Trailblazers shared big wins and vital lessons. One was Living Edge, who saw a 230% increase in revenue and a 290% increase in their web conversion after partnering with Salesforce. This focus on experience included tailoring marketing and communications for specific segments, but also making sure interactions with the Living Edge website matched what they knew about different types of customers. 

Similar focuses on customer experiences and digital strategy also helped Trailblazers navigate the pandemic while supporting long-term growth. Take me&u, a hospitality startup simplifying mobile payments, who had to act fast when COVID-19 turned hospitality on its head. Chief Operating Officer Asheesh Chacko explained that the business bucked a short-term focus on lockdown restrictions and refined their long-term strategy, reworked their venue onboarding process, and leveraged automation to help scale for a massive 25x increase in customers. 

We also heard from Tall Poppy, the New Zealand real estate company that uses platforms like Salesforce to empower a central support team and equip their people with the best tools for serving customers.

Finally, Beyond Blue’s Tim Hoopmann gave practical advice for one of those most common small business issues: how to look after your wellbeing and that of your team. Explaining that a mental health plan is just as important as a business plan, Tim broke down the steps that leaders can take to spot warning signs, form a wellbeing plan and use free resources.

“Looking after yourself is not a selfish act when it comes to mental health, and you must start there.”

Service and customer experience: the new ambassadors of experiences that build relationships

The emphasis on customer experience took a new shape in sessions devoted to service. No longer just post-sales problem-solvers, we learned that service professionals are becoming more strategic and something closer to customer ambassadors across end-to-end journeys. 

The day opened with an exploration of the macro trends shaping these shifts. Futurist and digital analyst Brian Solis told viewers about ‘Generation Novel,’ part of an economy with no existing playbook and a new customer segment that’s happier than ever to experiment with your competitors. Rather than technology for technology’s sake, Brian explained, progressive organisations will focus on designing and investing in relationships. Service plays a new and critical role in this, enabling customers throughout everything from discovery to retention.

That means functions will blend and service professionals will step into more strategic roles, a prediction backed by trends in our latest State of Service report and observations from Xero and Community Vision. See some of the report’s most significant findings visualised.

To understand the practical realities of transforming service for better experiences and building relationships, Salesforce’s Derek Laney also spoke with Foxtel leaders about the media giant’s ongoing service journey. Adam King, Group Director of Customer, Marketing, Audience Enablement and Corporate Technology, and Jason Smith, Director of Service and Agent Experience, told us how they’re working to build something new and transform what they already have.

Adam explained that their service journey is knitted into a larger journey that includes sales, reacquisition and retention, reflecting the blurred lines of reorienting functions around a cohesive customer experience. Adam said businesses need a strong 18-month vision, but that agility is key and that Foxtel focused on breaking larger goals into more immediate wins that they could accomplish quickly. As Jason noted, this included real-time digital solutions via Salesforce Messaging and social. 

Along with super-fast deployment and a seamless transition for their agents, these solutions produced immediate efficiencies for Foxtel’s service function. Using Salesforce has allowed them to layer each interaction with an understanding of customers’ previous interactions and needs.

“It’s great to have all these digital channels, but if they’re not stitched together nicely and the agent hasn’t got the right information, it’s gonna be frustrating,” said Jason. “So really being able to support that end-to-end and deliver efficient, value-led conversations is going to be key.”

Catch up on all the on-demand episodes from Salesforce Live: Australia & New Zealand here.