Medallia Experience in Orlando, Florida wrapped last week and I walked away with more than a good tan and a few new friends. I found this conference to be very unique. In this industry, it can feel like if you’ve seen one user conference, you’ve seen them all. But at Medallia Experience, there were some very impactful messages and lasting takeaways…
- Take risks
This was, without question, the biggest (and maybe unintentional) message I walked away with. The keynote from Doug Leone of Sequoia Capital said some pretty powerful things; namely, the fact that if your company is feeling comfortable or on top of the world, it’s actually prime for the taking. If you’re not looking at what’s coming next and a way to differentiate, transform, or (buzzword alert!) disrupt your industry, you won’t be on top of the world much longer. This message was echoed — albeit in a far different tone — by Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly. The best thing I heard the entire week was when she said, “It’s not ‘what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail’; it’s ‘what would be worth doing even if you did fail?’” That’s heavy stuff that I think Customer Experience professionals can really take to heart; take chances, risks, and dare greatly to change your customer’s experience.
- Empower employees
The second takeaway is something we heard over and over: a message of empowering employees to represent your brand and support your customers. Jeff James of Disney Institute shared a bit of their secret sauce when he explained that, at Disney, they believe all employees have a task and a purpose. Their task is what they were hired to do, but their purpose is bigger; it’s really the purpose of the business… Why are we here? That type of stuff. You have to empower your employees to occasionally go off-task when it means supporting and focusing on the greater purpose of your business. I really put this in the “do the right thing” category. It is so important to enable employees to make decisions. And whether it was Farmers Insurance or Kate Spade, we heard this message a lot.
- Look across industries
I really loved this one. Historically, we always hear “What are other hospitality companies doing?” or “We want to cover retail industry best practices and benchmark.” The truth is — that’s tired. “Best practice” is just another term for “what worked yesterday.” To be truly innovative, companies need to be looking across industries. If you’re Marriott, you should ask what Coca Cola is doing. If you’re Coca Cola, go off-script and look at what Disney is doing. Looking across industry lines will get the innovative juices flowing.
- Use data wisely
Because when is data not a theme? But in this case, data is the key to making informed and insightful decisions to transform your Customer Experience. And that’s one of the things I love most about Medallia’s platform: insanely rich data you couldn’t get any other way. It stops making Customer Experience “anecdotal” and starts quantifying it, which is no easy feat.
All in all, a spectacular event spurring lots of motivation, important dialogue, and the best kind of head-scratching. Bravo, Medallia!