SMG Client Connect 2019: Prioritising humanity in the customer experience

Jeremy Michael | Nov 18, 2019 Jeremy Michael 11/18/19

Does it always have to be about money? Is that a ridiculous question?

Luckily at this year’s Client Connect, I learned the answer to both of these questions is no. I was genuinely delighted to see so many clients—from so many impressive brands—engaged in efforts that went beyond hitting financial targets.

This was the seventh year SMG has hosted this event in London. As always, I was inspired by the calibre of the audience, as well as the amount of impactful, cross-industry conversations that took place. There is something very special about seeing brands like McDonald’s mingle with Nando’s, and Sainsbury’s chatting to Co-op at the next table. It says a lot about the type of people in the room when brands are happy to share stories with competitors with the knowledge that ultimately, we are all on the same side. 

While there were fascinating discussions around technology and insights, the overarching theme of the day was people—and more importantly, caring about people.

It was a real privilege to hear Mike Logue, CEO at Dreams, share the incredible journey he has taken since joining the brand in 2013. The vision he set was bold, yet has been achieved—mostly through the focus on the CARE values he established early on. 

Next, Scott Bush, Operations Director at Domino’s, made it abundantly clear that people have to care and be diligent in order to achieve success. From delivery driver to operations director, Scott has risen through the ranks by being bold, caring deeply, and building engagement across the organisation.

With the passion and drive of both Scott and Mike, it is not surprising that both companies have enjoyed significant increases in customer loyalty and consequently, improved business outcomes.

For the first time at Client Connect, we brought in a speaker from outside the CX world. Joshua Coombs (#dosomethingfornothing) has created a global movement helping the homeless, simply by offering a free haircut and listening to people’s stories. His message of making connections and taking action is something that tugged at heartstrings, but more importantly, made us all sit up and think about how we could also make a difference. 

Following the event, I’ve learned about two amazing things that happened.

First, a director at Domino’s acted on the concept of care, and made the decision to ensure all corporate store staff (including drivers) received free pizza on Fridays as a thank you for their service. Secondly, senior contacts at both Topps Tiles and Carpetright proactively spent time talking with the homeless individuals they met on their way to work.

Thinking about taking action is one thing, but I am constantly delighted by the way our clients move with agility and confidence from simply thinking to actually doing. It is admirable and absolutely reflects our SMG culture and values.

I loved Client Connect from start to finish, primarily because we came away with the understanding that while financials are important, it should never be just about money. Caring for people can also pay dividends. 

Jeremy Michael | Managing Director
Customer Experience Update