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Customer experience trends from CS Week 2017

Affectionately dubbed ‘The Catalina Wine Mixer’ for many years by Experian Data Quality employees who have attended, CS Week 2017 certainly lived up to its reputation as being the biggest event of the year. This year’s conference took place in Fort Worth, Texas and centered around customer service within the electric, gas and water/wastewater utility industries. Some of the topics of focus were analytics, billing and payments, contact center, credit and collections, digital customer engagement, field customer service, and strategies and management. The event drew a crowd of about 2,000 utilities professionals from all over the United States and Canada.

Before delving into the key takeaways, I want to take a moment to explain why I love attending this conference. The attendees at CS Week are always very engaged with the vendors they interact with. While having great booth swag always helps, most of the people stayed to talk to us long after they collected their Experian branded koozies, sunglasses, and camping lights. They shared their biggest data challenges, their top initiatives, and their overall vision for improving the customer experience. In turn, they were open to listening to how Experian’s products and services could help them throughout the customer life cycle.

So, what were the key takeaways? Here are my top two:

1) They should change the name of the conference to CE week instead of CS week. I jokingly say that because there has been a massive shift over the last couple of years due to the emergence of self-service portals and digital transformation projects. It’s no longer just about Customer Service (CS)—it is about providing a consistently good Customer Experience (CE) in every engagement that the customer has with the brand. We had a lot of conversations about how we can improve the customer experience, specifically in the contact data capture process. For example, we talked about how implementing things like ‘autofill’ address verification on customer-facing websites can enhance the customer experience. Simple tweaks like that have a big impact because it reduces the time it takes for a customer to fill out the form. Imagine living at an address like 1800 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE Ste 200, Washington, DC, 20020 and having to enter all of that information? With our tool, it takes the customer 16 keystrokes instead of 67!

2) If I had a nickel for every time I heard about an existing or upcoming data migration, I would probably be about $6.25 richer. Whether we were having discussions around data migrations for an acquisition or data migrations in instances where they are moving to a new CIS platform, the attendees consistently brought up the issue of data quality and how challenging these projects are. In many of these discussions, we got the chance to demonstrate our Experian Pandora tool which helps reduce the amount of time it takes to successfully complete a data migration. Watching their eyes get wide and jaws drop when we showed them how easily and quickly our tool could profile data and then how they could easily transform the data (without SQL coding!) was certainly a highlight for me.

There are 335 days until CS Week 2018 and we are already looking forward to going again!

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