Nicki Clark

Nicki Clark, chief executive of BE Group

Stick with it

Nicki Clark, chief executive of BE Group focuses on customers.

It’s all about the experience, stickiness and data.

The best in class in the service sector continue to adapt and change how they think as much as what they do. But one thing that seems to set them apart is their ruthless and enthusiastic focus on service experience, combined with enviable insight into their customers. The days of being at or near the top of the leader board because of your competitive price, consistency of quality or brand awareness are diminishing rapidly. It’s simply not enough.

Stickiness and how do we create more stickiness? You could be forgiven for feeling a little disconcerted but don’t resist it, embrace the sticky stuff. It’s today’s version of customer loyalty and how proficient you are at moving from a transaction to a relationship, or what you can do to give customers compelling reasons to remain engaged within your service rather than leave. The concept is not entirely new but the ways in which you create optimum stickiness are.

Immersive technology, artificial intelligence and machine based learning are just a few of the disruptive methods and technologies being applied right across the service sector. When you boil it all down though, if used thoughtfully and dynamically they create a step change in your ability to acquire data, analyse it in such a way that allows you to truly know your customer, use that knowledge to personalise services and solve your customers’ problems or desires before they even knew it was an issue. Following on from that the ability to then present those services or solutions to customers in the most creative, convenient and cost effective way is crucial. Those that do it well have an inherent ability to know when to mix the old with the new, when to exploit those methods described above, but also when to embrace tradition and combine the physical world with the virtual one.

It won’t surprise you to hear then that in the early part of 2017 BE Group took an exciting leap into the tech space by investing in Synoptica, a business operating at the leading edge of AI, machine based learning and natural language processing. Our investment cemented an already fruitful operational relationship that was enabling us to find new customers using real time rich profiles and improve the relevancy of our services to existing audiences. But what’s more exciting is how it has opened our minds to so many possibilities and challenged our thinking about how we can create even greater impact.

So, you may have a really clear understanding and way of describing who you are, what you do and maybe even why you do it, but can you describe what your customers will experience? How do you rate your stickiness? Marmalade or superglue? How well do you really know your customer? Do you consider the data you hold, or your ability to use it, an asset worthy of investment?

Rather than reflect on the challenges the service sector faces as you flick through the next few pages take a moment to consider the boundless opportunities that are presented by just thinking about those three simple words; experience, stickiness and data.