Todd Muscatello, Sharon Roberts and Lisa Fiondella at PACE conference in Atlanta.
SBR never turns down a chance to talk about one of our favorite topics: the intersection of sales and ethnography. So when the Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE) asked us to be a panelist at their annual conference in Atlanta, it took us about 10 seconds to say “yes”, and just a few hours more to consider what customer engagers might be curious to learn. The panel focused on how in-depth consumer research and the ethnographic method can be used to understand the business consumer and create an amazing experience for the end-user.
Sharon Roberts, SBR’s founder and Principal, provided ways of using ethnography to engage customers. Instead of gathering a bunch of “experts” in the boardroom with stacks of reports and best practices, Sharon explained, we think its better to go straight to the source of the consumer experience. Want to understand what it’s like to buy health insurance in the age of “Obamacare”? Pick up the phone and call your state’s health care exchange. Having trouble hiring and training the sales team? Go on the road and experience what it’s like to be sold to. Wonder what its like for customers to interact with your company? Monitor endless amounts of telephone calls from your call center and assess not just hard skills (like product knowledge) but soft skills as well (such as tone of voice, rapport, willingness to help, and whether they professionally drove the call). Of course, this shouldn’t replace more formal monitoring sessions but it helps to step away from the corporate mindset where we all tend to excuse the lack of consumer engagement.
All in all, a great topic and a fun day in Atlanta. The fact that we got to sit on a panel with one of our clients, Todd Muscatello (VP of Sales for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield), Lisa Fiondella (CEO & Founder of reFocus Analytics) and Rob Marshall (COO of 360CRM) was simply icing on the cake. We’re so grateful to PACE and look forward to seeing everyone again in 2016!