2023 Smarter Services Executive Symposium: The Day 1 Recap

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Each year, Service Council holds its premier event for service industry professionals, thought leaders, and technology partners: The Smarter Services™ Executive Symposium. Held at the J.W. Marriott in downtown Chicago, some of the world’s most renowned brands in the service industry come together to discuss some of the challenges they’re facing, new and exciting technologies and strategies to improve frontline and customer experiences. The theme this year was “Service Journeys,” with each day focusing on 1) People, 2) Processes and 3) Technology.

People are at the heart of service–both customers and employees–and day 1 focused on how to elevate customer and frontline experiences to improve the overall service journey. Let’s dig in to some of the highlights on day 1 of this year’s event—covering speakers, keynote presentations, and critical takeaways.

The Customer Experience Engine

Day 1 Scott WozniakKicking off the Symposium, former Chick-Fil-A executive, Scott Wozniak, talked about how legendary brands build a raving fan base of customers—brands like Disney, Delta, Harley, Buc-ee’s and of course, Chick-Fil-A. As Wozniak noted, you don’t become legendary by simply trying harder. Most companies have their emotional peak with customers at the point of sale, but for legendary brands, they’ve found a way to elicit this emotional response from their customers long after the sale is over. As Wozniak also noted, these brands often aren’t the cheapest in their category, but they have created a customer experience that brings people back time and time again.

From Wozniak’s perspective, building a world-class customer experience engine comes down to this trifecta: operational excellence, personalized service, and memorable moments.

The Only 5 Questions Teams Need to Answer To Deliver Winning Experiences

23.09.11 Service Council 106Next up for Day 1 keynotes included John Ward, Global Head of Customer Experience at Cigna who covered The Only 5 Questions Teams Need To Answer To Deliver Winning Experiences. Ward shared some tactical advice by presenting the five questions your team needs to answer to deliver winning experiences. Some of those questions included:

  • What data/insights do we have to validate the problem to illuminate the solution? Remember: Data doesn’t have an opinion!
  • What constitutes minimum viability for your product?
  • When you reach a fork in the road where a clear decision must be made, how does your team make and communicate critical decisions?

Employee Journeys: The Partnership Between Leadership and the Frontline

23.09.11 Service Council 146Closing out the morning Keynotes on Day 1 was an impactful panel discussion that shared tactics to strengthen the partnership between leadership and the frontline. Service Council Advisory Board members Scott Verbracken from AAA, Sonya Lacore from Southwest, and Rod Cook from Trane Technologies were each joined by members of their frontline—Juan Valle, Sharen Tot, and Ben Jee, respectively—to discuss ways each organization is building a culture of care and recognition for their employees. Their frontline, in turn, feels more empowered to roll out the red carpet for their end customer. Leaders on this panel also discussed ways they’re creating resources, removing friction, and creating a feedback loop for their frontline workers.

Culture Journeys: The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Imperative

23.09.11 Service Council 203Ending Day 1 with a bang was a final closing keynote from Roy Dockery, VP of Field Operations from Flock Safety, who spoke about Culture Journeys: The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Imperative. Dockery noted that diversity is much more than just hiring the right people from typically underrepresented groups, and further, it’s not just colorful representation with individual homogeneity (meaning, it’s not just hiring people from different groups, who all have the same opinions and viewpoints). It’s about celebrating authenticity, giving those individuals a seat at the table, and elevating their voices. In addition, many service organizations end up with “diversity by accident,” with minority hiring remaining exclusive to the frontline or certain departments. This makes it imperative for organizations to hire diverse candidates above the manager level, and throughout the entire organization.

That’s a wrap on Day 1! Join us next week as we share critical insights from Day 2 of the event.

Want to watch these keynotes, or plan to join us for next year’s Symposium? Explore the benefits of membership with us here:

Best Practices Guide to Implementing Mobile Tools & Technology for the Frontline
A Service Leader’s Guide to a Successful Digital Transformation
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