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Forum 2017 | A look back at a forward-thinking event

Shad Foos | Mar 17, 2017 Shad Foos 03/17/17

Forum recap
Another awesome Forum event has come and gone—and although the three days flew by, our takeaways this year are long-lasting. We had an unforgettable time connecting with industry leaders, hearing from innovative thinkers, and sharing business-changing insights that unleashed disruption in more ways than we could count. Keep reading to get a taste of what we learned.

Unexpected opportunities

Our keynote speaker for the event, Jeremy Gutsche, set the tone for an exciting and totally out-of-the-box experience. An expert in innovation, Jeremy pulled back the curtain on what it takes to create brave and industry-changing ideas. He proved that while taking the path less-traveled is always risky, it can pay off in big ways. Seeking needs and opportunities for development—and delivering an unexpected solution—is what takes brands from effective to extraordinary.

Jeremy challenged our brains to get ahead of the curve and meet needs our customers didn’t even know they had. His message set the tone for an event brimming with innovative CX strategies and solutions that help brands win.

Innovation is in the details

Two of our client speakers—COO of Taco Bell Mike Grams, and VP of Customer Experience at Kohl’s Brian Dennis—shared some crucial real-world CX insights they’ve gleaned from delivering on customer expectations in big ways.

Mike focused on simple growth. Taco Bell exists in a tough market, and customer expectations are turning over at record speed. Instead of backing down from the challenge, his team forged ahead to transform the brand experience—and his customer and employee feedback lit the way. Two huge aha moments were learning that:

1. The customer experience will never exceed the team member experience
2. “Un-thinking” unthinkable CX elements—like the drive-thru—can create lasting impressions

Brian echoed Mike’s sentiments and emphasized the importance of listening. Listening to shoppers and employees across the entire Kohl’s family of brands helped elevate them across the board. His biggest insights uncovered how reducing friction for customers and employees alike paid off in bigger and better ways than he even expected. Brian proved that areas we often overlook often hold the greatest opportunities for growth, including:

1. Streamlining the process for hiring new candidates
2. Reducing friction in-store at check-out
3. Improving the shipping process when customers order online

Listen. Act. Win.

We love when our clients win—and our Top Partnership Insights are our favorite way to celebrate it. We heard from a handful of clients with real pain-points and how they used real insights to take real action. From hiring, to setting the right expectations for a role, to rethinking product packaging—listening and collaboration is key.

A perfect example is our People’s Choice winner, Einstein Bros. Bagels. The company was having trouble retaining its bakers, and used exit interviews to find out why. Looking at the data, they discovered that the baker’s perception of the role was different than the reality. They turned the hiring process upside down to help set better expectations for the role—and were able to reverse the trend. As with every insight we heard at Forum this year, listening to employees and delivering an unexpected solution proved to stop a pain point in its tracks and keep the brand moving forward.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Forum 2017 gave us a host of invaluable insights that proved when brands listen, big things happen. But don’t take our word for it. Check out the highlight reel to hear what our attendees had to say.

Shad Foos
VP, Marketing