This report highlights key messages in the plenary sessions and summarises issues and learning from IQPC’s two-day conference in the Retail Financial Services sector.

The conference re-iterated some themes from 2005, such as estimating ‘customer lifetime value’ and ‘finding organisational balance’, but there was also a different emphasis this year. The focus was much less on CRM for sales alone, and more about understanding what it takes to do customer service well so that sales are easier to make. It was more about how you put customer at the centre of your thinking and take more account of what your staff tell you about their customer interactions. The importance of feedback from front line agents, and treating staff well, was central to the discussions, as was the importance of involving all levels of the organisation in thinking about the customer. This included educating and measuring the board and senior management to ‘think customer’. What emerged most, however, and the thread running through the sessions, was the importance getting the basics right first, before you can even start thinking about anything ‘advanced’ in relation to customer management. Most companies still find it a challenge to do the basics well. Those who have mastered the fundamentals are now able to take systematic action on what they learn from and about customers. Most importantly, as was clear from some of the presenters, the more ‘advanced’ companies demonstrate clear, cohesive thinking in the way they plan and implement customer management.

 

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