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Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Madrid: Craig Hayman On Remembering Great Customer Experiences

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At this afternoon’s opening general session at the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit here in Madrid, the laughter was immediate, yet amazingly technologically relevant, as UK broadcast presenter Jon Briggs helped ring the conference opening bell….or was that cash register?

IBM Industry Solutions general manager Craig Hayman reminds the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit audience convened in Madrid that customers remember both their good and bad experiences with brands, online and off.

Briggs explained the critical importance of voice as commercial presence, highlighting the fact that the mood of a room can be dramatically altered as soon as we open our mouthes.

But we had no problem in listening to Mr. Briggs and his opening comments, whereupon he explained that his was the voice of the U.K. version of “Siri,” the intelligent agent for the iPhone 4S (which, in the U.S., has the voice of a female).

Customers Never Forget

Jokes about role reversal and artificial intelligence dating aside, Mr. Briggs, aka “UK Siri Dude,” also apologized in advance for being from the U.K. And NOT being a Chelsea fan, a head nod to Chelsea’s recent victory in the European Champions League final, and groans all around, of course, from the Germans in the audience (whose Bayern Munich team lost 4-3 to Chelsea last Saturday in penalty kicks).

It was then Craig Hayman’s turn to share his voice, and Craig hit the stage explaining that this was IBM’s first Smarter Commerce event in Europe, and that there were over 1,700 people in attendance, ranging from as far away as South Africa and Australia.

Hayman explained that the world was changing quickly, and that people and companies both were struggling with the amount of technology that has been thrust into their lives and/or operations, and that “the amount of information they [customers] have in their hands now surpasses what you have inside the four walls of your organization.”

Customers also expect their experiences to be seamless, and increasingly, for global brands, they must reach out across markets and multiple countries, but that the value of those truly global brands is instantaneously recognized.

Growth In Growth Markets

Hayman explained that one can see the importance of brand simply by visiting emerging markets — China, India, Brazil — where people will pay more for and perceive more value for brand.

And, in turn, global companies who wish to be global leaders in business are anticipating and delivering new models that facilitate this kind of “smarter commerce,” hence the conference and the discussions going on here in Madrid.

By way of example, Hayman explained we all knew LPs and CDs would eventually go the way of the do-do bird — but did we know they would be replaced by a service like Spotify, which gives us personalized music on the go?

IBM’s Smarter Customers’ Adoption Of Smarter Commerce

Or how about some of IBM’s smarter commerce customers, like SNS Bank, which realized a five percent lift in product sales its first year of intelligent targeted marketing. Or Wehkamp.nl, which used targeted promotions to to increase revenues by 30 percent.

Or countless others who are utilizing IBM smarter commerce technologies to create their own business advantage.

How we got here, to this stage, Hayman explained, was exactly this: We realized at IBM there’s something in common with all these customers around the world, and that when we put those customers at the center and keep an eye on the data that emerges, we’re able to choose the next best action for the customer before even they realize it, and that such capabilities improve growth models and provide cost reduction.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes, Hayman suggested.  Think of the time when you’ve been treated well, or badly, as a consumer — you remember both those experiences, do you not? But wouldn’t you prefer to be remembered more for the great experiences than the bad?

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