I have now run on every continent except Antarctica. Though I am not sure what I am running from, getting to Australia and meeting a couple of hundred business leaders from Asia Pacific made the 24 hours of flights the most worthwhile I could have imagined. The passion of the marketing and customer service and ‘business-to-consumer’ sales people to help create great customer experiences here is infectious. Beyond the ready willingness – no: it is eagerness – to engage in discussion on Social CRM, CRM, Customer Experience, and the technologies and process changes necessary, is the practical attitude and approach.
I had the privilege to Keynote a CRM Summit on the Gold Coast after meeting clients in Sydney. A poll of audience hands raised showed 80% lines of business leaders and 20% IT. Once one untangles the regional sense of humour (like the organizers insisting I wear a business suit and tie onstage and then discovering no one in the audience had either), it is easy to plunge into very granular discussion about the tools, frustrations, and business value measures that drive customer experience initiatives.
It could in part be the distance from the United States vendor hype machines, but in the region leaders just want to get things done. There is clear frustration at how stymied marketing and Customer Support feel in bringing more real-time marketing into the customer service process. Yet everyone said the same thing: software as a service, and Cloud Computing, were like log-jam clearing for CRM. Rather than queue behind logistics and finance and sales, Customer Service professionals are deploying products to support CRM processes with minimum help or involvement from IT. There is keen desire for local data centers and a fear of placing customer information in the United States, but these are minor issues.
The region is in the throws of a massive focus on customer excellence, and I heard at least ten separate success stories, some of which we hope to highlight at our European CRM Summit next year.
Thanks, Oz. Our Gartner Symposium starts here next week, and if you are not already registered – get over here! http://bit.ly/sosTpL
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