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On July 13 2017, over two hundred Vision Critical customers, insights, marketing and CX professionals gathered in Sydney for the Asia Pacific Customer Intelligence Summit, Vision Critical’s 7th annual customer summit. Throughout the day, one clear theme emerged: shared value. Creating shared value is essential for developing an authentic brand and truly connecting with customers. Gone are days of spam surveys and lip service to customer happiness; businesses must now take action and demonstrate that they care about what customers are saying, thinking and feeling.

Five key learnings shared throughout the day:

1. Build mutually beneficial relationships and shared value

Shared value between the customer and the brand is key to doing business in the future.

To develop mutual benefits, you need three things: a move from transactional to lifetime relationships, shared value between customer and brand, and Relationship Memory to foster ongoing, authentic interactions. As predicted by Gartner, 89 percent of businesses will compete primarily on customer experience by 2017. Now, more than ever, shared value is vital to remaining competitive.



Relationship Memory is the cornerstone of this strategy. By getting to know your customers, asking the right questions, and sharing back to them, you will make them feel valued, important, and loyal to your brand.

To get insight from your customers, make sure that they feel part of a mutually beneficial relationship. Loyalty programs, for example, are a great way to ensure a constant flow of insight from your customers. Silicon Valley keynoter, Connie Dieken, brought up the example of Marriott Hotels, who bought Starwood Hotels specifically because of the loyalty of their customers. That kind of relationship cannot be developed via surveys: it needs to be built via mutual benefit.

2. Develop personal connections with customers

The Summit had a lot to tell us about personal connections. We often make purchase decisions based on the recommendation of friends or family members, and that kind of trust comes from the belief that the person giving advice has your personal interests at heart.

How do insight communities foster this personal connection? After asking thousands of people using communities powered by Sparq 3,  it was found that 93 percent of members feel appreciated when brands listen, and 88 percent feel valued by brands when interacting within an insight community. Developing those personal connections is vital to improving how your customers perceive you.


3. Stop using spam surveys

The decade to come, coined "the age of authenticity," will make the survey as we know it obsolete by 2025. Soon enough, 90 percent of people will not  fill out spam surveys, leaving you with fewer ways to gather data directly from your customers.

Why will that happen? Because spam surveys don’t work. When is the last time you felt like your survey answers mattered to a brand? When is the last time you had an amazing survey experience? As Dieken shared, providing value to your customers is simple: save them money, time and effort. Ad hoc surveys deliver the opposite, and it’s why customers are perceiving them more and more negatively.

Today, customer expectations demand a change in brand communications where the voice of the customer is heard and actioned upon. By continuously engaging customers within insight communities, brands can deep dive into customer needs and develop products and services backed by customer favor.

4. Ask short, meaningful questions

Prudential Singapore demonstrated incredible business growth by understanding how customer needs vary across market segments. Namrata Jolly, director of customer and digital at Prudential Singapore, unveiled that listening to customer needs and responding in real-time allowed Prudential Singapore to refresh and launch three core product offerings that drove remarkable business results within eight months.

Namrata identified a key issue with product development where a disconnect between the brand and the consumer meant revenue was often wasted on products that didn't satisfy customer needs. By continuously engaging customers to understand their preferences, Prudential Singapore were able to increase revenue on their PRUgolden retirement plan by an astonishing 308 percent year-over-year.

By using insight from their community, PRU For You, Prudential Singapore were able to drive product revenue, improve customer experiences with their products and increase customer lifetime value. The secret? Asking the right questions at the right time while avoiding unnecessary data points.


5. Understand your customers’ varied profiles and needs

Few markets in the world are as diverse as Asia Pacific. Basic characteristics of Asian customers include politeness, spirituality and interdependency. But as Maz Amirahmadi, CEO of Vision Critical's partner ABN Impact, unveiled “understanding your customer” means more than a list of features: it’s about putting a face to their names, listening to their stories and seeing them as unique individuals, not market segments. By “meeting the people”, you can ensure that your relationship with your customers is authentic and based on real needs, feelings and interactions.

Visionary of the Year Awards. Every year, the top Vision Critical customers are recognised for the best uses of customer intelligence across the region. The 2017 Asia Pacific Winners and Finalists were Telstra (winner), Bauer Media NZ, Southern Cross Austereo, Stockland, Westpac, Prudential Singapore (winner), ABC, Carman’s Fine Foods, Jetstar Airways and Midea Group.

Read their stories here.

Why you need to embrace new customer-centric strategies

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Peter Harris

Peter Harris helps brands build authentic customer relationships through technology. Pioneering customer intelligence since 2010, Peter Harris has led Vision Critical Asia Pacific to become the largest customer intelligence software provider, supporting over 140 customer-led brands, in Asia Pacific such as Telstra, Adobe and Cathay Pacific. With deep roots in research and strategy, Peter has championed the future of research and technology across his leadership roles at prominent research organisations, including AMSRS, APRC and GRBN.
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