New customer acquisition events and clients successes are great, but Nigel Shanahan is aware that he must take heed of valuable business learning points.
As is often the case with this time of year, it’s a good time for reflection and business learning – but also to look ahead. The last year for the UK has certainly thrown up some surprises (yes the “B” word) but it’s been another stellar year for Rant & Rave.
Looking back in terms of an overall highlight it’s really difficult to put my finger on one single highlight but I am particularly proud of the calibre of the new clients we’ve on-boarded – a number of which contributed to or attended our annual event, Customer Engagement Raveolution, which took place in November. Well over 200 directors and head of departments, customers and prospects showed up to hear Dunelm, Sage and Plusnet (amongst others) share their best practice advice, not only on their use of Rant & Rave but on their CX strategies.
The event started as bit of our experiment in 2014, we wanted to see whether our customers would get value from an event with a difference. No hotel venue, stale format or overzealous sales men in sight – just a chance to hear truly valuable presentations, network and go back to the office inspired. Since then it’s grown hugely year on year and I’m humbled to see where we’ve got to. There’s such a buzz and excitement around these events and such a strong belief in the brand that it feels almost like a cult following – people are proud to be “part of the Raveolution”.
In terms of clients we’ve seen a lot of expansion within our existing customer base – easyJet has rolled out its offering Europe-wide, Rant & Rave is now live within Linde across 24 different countries and we’ve expanded our relationship with HomeServe to the US, so we’ve achieved our ambition of taking Rant & Rave global.
In terms of HR success, the launch of our new company wide values – which we decided on collaboratively across the company – has been particularly important. Our values are at the heart of everything we do. They’re now up on the wall on in reception and are actively spoken about on a day to day basis – we’re not afraid to call people out when something’s not right for the customer. We’ve also launched a new HR system which is gamified and allows Ravers to reward other Ravers with badges to acknowledge anything they’ve done which reflects our values.
Obviously no organisation is perfect and we practice what we preach in that we are always looking at what could be improved. One nagging business learning from this year is that we need to increase our speed of execution across the board – I need to start believing in my gut as much as head – it’s all about taking action. Another key learning from my perspective as I’ve been more actively involved in the business again this year is that I’ve realised how passionate our people are and how protective of our values they are. That unswerving commitment and dedication will stand us in good stead for next year and the years to come.
Looking ahead and business learning
In terms of looking ahead to 2017, we’ll see the Age of Emotion (Forrester) as emotions become a key focus for businesses. In customer service, there’s lots of talk about emotion as a driver for employees and customers and the link between the two is inextricable. Whether a customer is purchasing in store or online, how employees interact with a customer is as important as the product itself. For us it’s when people connect with people – customers to employees, that hearts, minds and wallets are won and lost, and as such I think staff frontline will be a key focus.
In terms of business objectives, we will be looking to continue our international expansion with existing and new clients and in doing so establish Rant & Rave as a global brand. We will also be investing a lot of resource into making our people the best they can be. Employee engagement is everything to us and that needs to start at Rant & Rave towers.
All that’s left to say is thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my column this year. Rant & Rave would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and remember don’t stop raving!