The eleventh BE-terna conference in Zagreb, Croatia, gathered experts, managers and decision-makers from various industries and companies where they discussed technology, customer experience trends, and digitalisation.
Increasingly informed clients, their growing expectations, digitisation, and shopping methods are just some reasons why client satisfaction has been a business imperative for some time. The conference covered topics mentioned with an overview of the trends in the coming years.
Customer experience is one of the most important factors when purchasing
In his opening speech, Krešimir Mlinarić, director of BE-terna Croatia, emphasised that companies today are losing their previous competitive advantages due to the influence of globalisation and digitalisation, so the user experience is becoming one of the main differentiators on the market.
Welcome speech, Krešimir Mlinarić, Managing Director, BE-terna Croatia
Mlinarić mentioned the results of a global PwC survey conducted on 15,000 respondents, in which 73% of respondents consider user experience as one of the most important factors when making a purchase decision, and 43% of them are ready to pay a higher price for a product or service for a good user experience. Also, 74% of survey respondents outside the US expect more human interaction in the user experience (in the US, even 82% of respondents). Mlinarić pointed out that the human factor is irreplaceable, and Jerry Gregoire’s statement that user experience is becoming the next competitive battlefield is increasingly being demonstrated in practice.
Customer experience trends and predictions
Marko Derča, the partner at Kearney, opened the morning programme with his “Customer experience trends and predictions for 2023” presentation. Derča highlighted a recent survey by Kearney, which showed that only 20% of companies saw the results of investing in improving the customer experience in today’s digital world. However, investments that align with growing trends can benefit clients and businesses when properly implemented.
In the same survey, up to 80% of CX leaders said that their companies will solely compete in user experience in the next few years, and only 20% of them said that their efforts exceeded user expectations. Among many other things, Derča highlighted the advantages and risks of a superior user experience. The advantages are:
- 26% higher gross margins are achieved by companies that offer a better user experience
- 3x greater chance of repurchasing the product or recommending it to a friend when the customer is emotionally engaged
- 89% of companies expect to compete in user experience
Marko Derča, Kearney: Customer Experience trends and predictions for 2023
Risks of bad user experience:
- 40% of users switch to competing solutions because of a bad experience
- $338 billion in annual revenue is lost to companies because of poor customer experience
- It is 7x more expensive to try to get a user again than to invest in keeping them
Incentives, contextual triggers, and humanised experiences together form a good cycle that builds customer trust and engagement, concluded Derča.
Technology supporting the demands of modern customers
Filip Lavriv, director of the largest Croatian furniture manufacturer PRIMA, spoke about the implementation of modern technologies into business. Customers of modern times have set the bar of expectations higher than ever, and companies must make significant efforts and investments to respond to their growing needs. PRIMA has been successfully keeping up with the changes and expectations of existing and potential customers for more than 25 years, and modern technologies have been a key factor in the company’s adaptability, added Lavriv.
Filip Lavriv, PRIMA: Technology supporting demands of modern consumers
In 2019, PRIMA embarked on a digital transformation. The biggest challenges were the rapid progress and change of technology, the long and complex implementation project and the significant impact on the core business processes. Lavriv pointed out that technology supports the demands of modern consumers and that at PRIMA, where they are continuously focused on people (customers, visitors and employees), they continuously invest in infrastructure and technology.
Actively listening to users
Although most companies are aware of the importance of customer experience for their business, active management of the customer journey is still at its beginnings, said Igor Gržan, Head of the Project Management department at BE-terna, in a presentation entitled “How Customer Experience makes us (un)successful”. Companies can no longer allow themselves to interpret the wishes of their users but must actively listen to what users are telling them.
Igor Gržan, BE-terna: How Customer Experience makes us (un)successful
Among other things, in his presentation, Gržan mentioned two case studies, the companies Ritz Carlton and Frontier Airlines, which, with the opposite approach to investing in improving the user experience and empowering their own employees, managed to create user experiences that, in a short time became mythical – one in a positive way, and others in a negative context.
Disruption of the insurance industry
With their innovative approaches and services, companies that leave traditional business frameworks not only dominate their niche but also dictate trends in the market, emphasised Ana Zovko, director of the digital development sector at Croatia Osiguranje. In a presentation entitled “Disruption of the insurance industry – from a lot of paper to a few clicks”, Zovko presented the development project of the first 100% digital insurance in Croatia – Laqo.
Ana Zovko, Croatia Osiguranje: Creating game-changing value for the customers
Laqo focuses entirely on customer needs and is the only brand on the market that enables the purchase of insurance products related to vehicles in less than two minutes. In her own experience, Zovko highlighted four key segments crucial for the project’s success:
- strong support from the executive director and management,
- a top internal team of digital experts, insurance experts and an efficient way of working,
- simple product and state-of-the-art digital process; top web, web shop and mobile application, and
- digital communication tools; strong brand and marketing communication.
From great EX to great CX
Ana Bolkovac, Project Manager at Moj Posao, in her presentation “From great EX to great CX”, asserted that the success of every company depends on its relations with customers and employees, and the correlation of these two areas is crucial for the company’s success. Data from foreign research shows that 84% of companies focused on customer experience witness a significant increase in revenue.
Ana Bolkovac, Moj Posao: From great EX to great CX
Companies that have an employee engagement programme in place enjoy 233% greater customer loyalty than those that do not, and companies that stand out in customer experience have 1.5 times more engaged employees than companies with poor customer experience.
To increase EX and CX – and consequently, the company’s revenues – Bolkovac suggests increasing employee engagement, measuring user experience and providing feedback. With Richard Branson’s statement, “Take care of your employees, and they will take care of your customers”, Bolkovac ends her presentation and points out that it is necessary to constantly maintain a focus on the alignment between the customer experience and the employee experience.
Tesla is not resistant to the challenges of the future, just as the former market leaders were not
The leading keynote presentation was given by Dr Vikas Tibrewala, Adjunct Professor of Management at IMD, Lausanne.
In his keynote presentation, Dr Vikas Tibrewala referred to constant changes whose intensity, speed and unpredictability have never been stronger, and in such an environment, many companies fail or live as a shadow of their former glory even though the opportunities for success in their markets are greater than ever.
In his presentation on resilience to the future, Tibrewala referred to the buzzword “future ready”, for which he stated that, although it sounds perfect, in practice, it is often not implementable or predictable. The challenge with the future is, as Tibrewala philosophically argued, that it is different from the past in a completely unpredictable way. Tibrewala pointed out that, although it sounds obvious, the real challenge lies in recognising it. As one of the best attempts to prepare companies for the challenges of the future, Tibrewala mentioned a project carried out at IMD Lausanne called “The Center for Future Readiness”, which helps organisations manage the reality of constant disruptions.
Dr Vikas Tibrewala: The Lucifer Gene & The Challenge of “Future Proof”
This project generates future readiness indicators, which measure how well leading industry companies are prepared for the years to come. As an example, Tibrewala showed the results for the automotive industry, which is racing to transition from internal combustion engines to electric and hybrid vehicles or driverless cars powered by algorithms. Tibrewala showed a comparison of the 2012 automotive industry manufacturer indicator, which did not include Tesla, even though Tesla produced the Model S that year. Tibrewala pointed out that Tesla was not listed because it was a small, insignificant competitor to the automotive giants at the time.
Success leads to arrogance, claimed Tibrewala, and added that even the world’s largest companies are not exempt from it. “Failure has many different forms. Bankruptcy is obvious, irrelevance is almost the worst, and by far the worst is looking in the mirror every day and thinking, ‘this is my legacy’”, said Tibrewala.
The reality is that users want to change, but they have no idea exactly what kind of change they want. Every day, new competitors appear in the market that surprise you in many ways, and competencies are what got you what you have today, but not necessarily what you would like to have tomorrow. “Looking at all these examples, it’s very tempting to say ‘this can’t happen to me, I’m much smarter and much better’ – but the same day you say that, you’ve become a victim of Lucifer’s gene,” Tibrewala concluded in his inspiring presentation.
Sustainability, Data Science, HR, and Cloud business solutions
In the afternoon programme of the conference, BE-terna experts held a series of expert lectures with insight into technological innovations and trends in sustainability, HR, Data science and cloud technology.
Nino Požar, Data Scientist at BE-terna, showed very interesting examples of how regularly collected and analysed data can provide valuable insights for improving the customer experience and how companies that are focused on future challenges recognise the importance and potential of that data.
Nino Požar, BE-terna: How consumer digital signals are reshaping the customer journey
Robert Batista Kovačić, Business Development Manager at BE-terna, referred to an increasingly popular topic in the business world – sustainability. How to measure sustainable development, what Microsoft and BE-terna are doing in that area, what role emotions play in sustainable development and what the trend of end customers who are looking for more than products with a low price is were the main topics of Robert’s presentation.
And at the end of this year’s conference, Marin Deur, Solution Architect at BE-terna and Ana Herak Hercigonja, TMS Team Lead at BE-terna presented lectures on how technology can help companies in the fight against increasingly demanding customer and employee expectations.