Read below for a recap of our third annual Customer Experience Summit in Austin, TX, from Aurea Chief Marketing Officer, Eric Levine.
Each year we invite a small group of 20 C-level executive clients to our hometown of Austin, TX for three days with our executive team, networking with peers and, at the core, a full session of learning with the some of the world’s Customer Experience visionaries. This year, we held our third annual Customer Experience Summit in Austin on October 20 – 23. The Summit has quickly become an institution for us at Aurea, with every aspect of the event carefully designed to ensure our attendees have a valuable and memorable experience. Most importantly, we hope they leave inspired to take new ideas back to their organizations to drive meaningful change.
The centerpiece is always the speakers — and each year, our goal is to top the previous year, bringing in the most relevant, insightful and inspiring names in the business. No easy feat, considering that last year’s guest speaker was George Blankenship.
George was the architect of the Apple store experience, and met with Steve Jobs every Thursday for three years to design the experience we know today. After leaving Apple, he went on to work with Elon Musk to revolutionize the car buying experience in what we know of now as the Tesla retail store.
Our goal was to top this in 2016, and by the measure of our attendee surveys, we were successful. This year, we also changed the format, and brought in not one but three guest speakers on Customer Experience, in a TED Talk-style program.
Kicking off the Summit was Matt Dixon, CEB researcher and author of The Effortless Experience. Matt shared provocative research showing that “incredible, diving-catch experiences” alone do not drive measurable retention, contrary to conventional wisdom. Rather, regularly meeting basic customer expectations (think quick and easy support calls) is far and away the key driver of retention.
Next up, we had Dan Heath, bestselling author of Made to Stick, Switch and Decisive. Dan presented the yin to Matt’s yang, showing the value of injecting well-planned, meaningful and memorable experiences – a la a bottle of champagne in the room for an anniversary getaway. Dan offered both great contrast to and support of Matt’s session, and both speakers agreed: The greatest success lies in marrying the two ideas: playing both great offense (memorable experiences) and defense (consistently meeting basic expectations).
Lastly, we were treated to a conversation with David Plouffe, Board Member and policy advisor to Uber and former campaign manager for Barack Obama – largely credited with Obama’s successful 2008 “grass roots” campaign strategy.
David shared remarkable insight around how Uber – which neither owns its physical assets (cars) nor maintains full time staff (drivers are independent contractors) has managed to completely disrupt an industry by using technology to deliver a world-class customer experience.
Given the timing of the event and his deep experience in politics, we closed the day with David leading a spirited discussion on the upcoming election – unprecedented on so many dimensions. David shared his take and welcomed questions on the outcome, and a fascinating view on the impact this election has had on the state of our two party system.
In addition to the roundtable , we managed to weave in some exciting Austin experiences around music and dining, culminating in an incredible Formula One Paddock Club experience.
This year, we also used the gathering to introduce new branding for Aurea, which we call “Experience Success.” The reasoning behind this change is simple: as we grow, it’s important that we strengthen and reaffirm our commitment to you.
With “Experience Success,” we are sending two important messages:
November 7, 2016