Innovation is a word that is often misused in the HCM technology space. In fact, companies are so fixated on “what’s hot” that they often lose sight of what their customers want. In an age where customer experience is everything (thanks to social media), it still surprises me how many solution providers seem disconnected from their buyers. Don’t get me wrong, innovation is exciting but if innovation is not creating efficiency or meeting customers’ demands, what’s the point?
A customer advisory board or council is a great opportunity to connect and engage with customers. Too often, solution providers use these meetings as a time to showcase what they are working on without listening to what customers have to say. I have attended a few of these, where the disconnect between a customer’s satisfaction and the provider’s awareness of that satisfaction is painfully obvious. Fortunately, that is not the case for a recent event I participated in … the iCIMS customer advisory board. This talent acquisition provider has created strong and meaningful relationships with its customers through collaboration and engagement. At this event, the customer experience was the number one priority.
Below are a few tips and lessons providers might want to consider:
- CEO participation: iCIMS’ CEO, Colin Day, not only attended each session but he was an active participant. He engaged with customers, discussed product enhancements, and centered discussions around what is working and what is not.
- Transparency: Customers’ frustrations and opinions were not stifled at this event but rather embraced. Customers were free to voice concerns, and the iCIMS team was not threatened by these concerns. They were responsive. This type of transparency leads to stronger customer engagement and retention.
- Fun: Although this event was packed with sessions, discussions and updates, it also provided a fun getaway and bonding experience for customers. iCIMS included golf and spa outings as well as parties and dinners.
- Partnerships: iCIMS did a wonderful job of including partners in their event. Partners were invited to present on relevant topics in a way that educated their customers and provided value.