Global Frontline Experience Summit 2022 - Key Takeaways
On February 16 2022, hundreds of leaders from service businesses across the world gathered together online to take part in the Global Frontline Experience Summit, an event we are delighted to sponsor and host again after it’s hugely successful first run in 2020. It was a phenomenal event with a contagious heaping of inspiration, excitement and possibility for anyone working in the customer experience and frontline service space.
The event began just after 8am on a chilly morning in Portland. AskNicely CEO Aaron Ward gave an opening presentation on the elephant in the room: why we need to fix frontline work. It set the tone for the rest of the day: customer experience led by an empowered and inspired frontline could and SHOULD be your future, so listen up!
“As we move into a post-covid world and service businesses are re-opening their doors, there's an opportunity for these businesses to reorient around first principles in the way they serve their customers” — Aaron Ward
We then heard from Dan Cockerell, Ex. VP of the Magic Kingdom at Disney, who not only wins the award for the coolest job title ever, but also for one of the most thought-provoking and inspiring presentations at the summit. Dan started out as a parking attendant and worked his way to Vice President of the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida leading 12,000 employees. We heard about Dan’s story and what he learned during his 26 year career, both personally and professionally. It was pretty magical.
When talking about his approach to leadership, he said:
“Being a leader is never about you. It’s ALWAYS about everyone else. . . it’s about improving the experience for the guest. You come last.” — Dan Cockerell
We then entered into our first round of mini talks, from Cheryl DeSanti (Chief People & Diversity Officer of SmileDirectClub), Jerry Campbell (Director, Customer Workflows-Leading Practices of Service Now) and Sandra Thompson (Tedx Speaker, CX and EX Educator). The only complaint? Choosing between which amazing mini talk to attend! Key themes that were discussed included how valuing your employees drives a culture of service, why empathy is a key driver of better business results and the power of emotional intelligence.
Q&A Time! Jeremy Hyde, Director of Customer Service for Sun Country Airlines then led an interactive, juicy Q&A session. Jeremy has spent the bulk of his career in customer experience management, helping companies like Medica and UCare deliver an exceptional experience to their customers. He supports 1,800 employees and 3 million passengers in his current role. Jeremy spoke on the importance of doing one thing better, scaling awesome customer service and successfully leading a workforce that is fully remote.
AskNicely’s very own Robert Galop was next up, who delivered a fascinating keynote on the state of frontline work. Robert delivered the findings from a hot-off-the-press research study conducted by Metrigy, which looked at the four key areas where companies can invest in empowering their frontline teams to significantly increase ROI from their customer experience investments.
“We are excited to reveal the invaluable insights from the survey,” says Galop. “Traditional methods of managing customer experience are holding service businesses back. Companies follow a long path of collecting and analyzing data before taking any action to improve the actual experience. This data may eventually - but probably will not - trickle down to those frontline teams that can actually do something about it. Service businesses following this approach spend more and get less out of their customer experience than those following the AskNicely approach.”
Afterward, Roxana-Maria Barbu, PhD and Senior Cognitive and Behavioral Experience Researcher gave her presentation on the psychology of habit formation. This was nothing short of fascinating, particularly if you’ve read the AskNicely playbook on the 7 habits of empowered frontline teams. Roxana provided a glimpse into the psychology of habit formation and explained why patience and consistency is key when trying to change human behavior.
“On average it takes 66 days to achieve long-lasting behavior change or form a new habit. But the actual range is 18-254 days. It's hugely different across different people.” she says.
After another round of short and super engaging mini talks, Christine McHugh, Ex. VP of Customer Service and Operations Services Starbucks and author of the book From Barista to Boardroom, led another Q&A session, focussed on how to build a culture of service for your business. Everyone felt like a Starbucks after, so a coffee-filled break was had.
After lunch, we heard from Charles Ryan Minton from Marriott Hotels. As the author of “Thanks for coming in today”, Charles is nearly as famous in the customer service industry as the hotels he’s headed up. He’s built a career in leadership of many of the world’s most loved hotel brands, including the famed Westin (owned by Marriott Bonvoy).
Ryan walked us through his journey to get to where he is now, a leader who knows that genuinely empowering and appreciating the people on your team is how you create truly great experiences. His presentation also included a “mind blowing” pickle story that you’ll need to watch the video to hear.
Jeanne Bliss, author and customer experience advisor, brought everyone right down to earth with her heartwarming presentation on humanity in business. She explains that experience without humanity is just a bunch of tactics.
“You earn admiration from the “hello.” Trusting your frontline has everything to do with enabling them to act.” — Jeanne Bliss
Jeanne’s presentation inspired us to look at the often-overlooked critical element of transformation: understanding the human at the end of your decisions.
In the late afternoon, another series of mini talks and another juicy Q&A took place. Here are just a few of the golden nuggets to come out of the sessions:
“You have to ask yourself, what type of legacy do I want to leave? For me, my legacy is about giving other people the opportunity to be the best that they could possibly be.” — Mel Tempest, Fitness Industry Thought Leader.
In my experience, two things are always true. One: people only do what is measured. Two: always tie compensation across the team to the behavior that you need. — Wendy Millar, Ruby.
Guests were then treated to a final round of incredible mini talks, including:
- Yvette Mihelic, from John Holland on “Creating a passion for customer connection”
- Jami Kaliebe & Vinny Pacione from BioReference Laboratories on “How tech can enable a culture of coaching and self-improvement for the mobile workforce”
- AskNicely customer Chris Wong, NZHL on “The power of fast feedback loops to drive customer satisfaction”
- Kirsten Riechelmann from Mitre 10 on “Transforming business results from the inside out”.
The final presentation of the summit was delivered by the one and only Christine Trippi, who also doubled as the summit’s incredible and high energy host.
Christine Trippi is an author, keynote speaker, hospitality consultant, and an award-winning hotelier who has been in hospitality for over 30 years, serving resort, full, and select-service hotels. Christina talked through her “4 easy ways to always say YES! to customers.” Which turned out to be a fantastic, practical formula for empowering frontline service workers to create genuine and positive interactions with customers at every turn. Watch her break down the steps here.
And with that, another year of the Global Frontline Experience Summit is officially wrapped! What a day! Keep an eye on the AskNicely blog for a deep dive into each presentation from the Summit, and be sure to join the Frontline Magic Community to be the first to know about upcoming events. A HUGE thank you to all of our incredible speakers, fellow sponsors, guests and organizers, it truly was an awesome day. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Now, let’s go and fix the frontline 👋