Archive for the ‘Deliver Experiences’ Category

Ten Trends for the Airport of the Future

 5th February 2019 by gihan

Forget the endless queues and delays – the airport of the future will be a destination in itself. Airports around the world are reinventing themselves to cater to the new model of treating passengers as customers.

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Smart Places – A Competitive Advantage for Location Brands

 11th October 2018 by gihan

We tend to think that everything is moving online and digital, but that’s not always the case. It might be true that we don’t buy music in CD stores anymore, or that we hold a business meeting in an online conference room. But there are some things we still do in “real life” to interact with “location brands” – such as shopping centres, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, and public open spaces.

The leading location brands integrate technology into those physical locations so they become “smart places”. This technology, often falling under the IoT (“Internet of Things”) banner, tracks people moving through the location, and uses this information to improve their experience.

A recent research report from Altimeter reviewed some of these smart places, to see how well location brands were using technology to enhance their CX, or customer experience.

If you’re a consumer, you might find research mildly interesting. If you’re an organisation with a physical location, this is essential reading!

What is a smart place?

First, let’s be clear about what Altimeter means by a “smart place”:

“A physical space – public or private, indoors or outdoors – where connected, sensing technology is used to gather insights into the actions, intent, and behavior of people in it to support customer experience. Smart places can be ‘active’ when people opt-in; ‘passive’ when people’s actions are tracked and their behavior intuited in an unobtrusive way or without their knowledge; or a combination of the two.”

As you can see, this is quite a broad definition, and covers many physical locations, from commercial buildings (such as shopping centres) to entertainment precincts to public spaces.

Let’s narrow our focus now to retail spaces, although everything we cover here applies equally to other smart places.

Use Cases

Let’s look at seven areas – four for consumers and three for the businesses serving those consumers – where we can use smart place technology to enhance CX.


Smart places detect where you are, track your movements, and give you access to different areas of the location. For example, visitors to Disney Resorts wear a “MagicBand” that give them fast check-in, access to their hotel room, entrance into theme parks, and so on.


Smart place technology helps you find your way around. For example, you might use Google Maps for external navigation, but some companies also offer an enhanced “indoors” version that helps you find your way around a large space.

Personalised Content

Smart place technology can personalise your experience, providing content, offers and assistance based on your individual preferences. In the future, AI will become sophisticated enough to even predict your future behaviour, and tailor the experience based on your future preferences!


One of the most common uses of smart place technology is – and will continue to be – for payment. We already have payments that don’t need credit cards (by using wearables, for example), and that will soon extend to biometric identification. The leading location brands are already experimenting with checkout-free experiences.

Asset Tracking

Turning our attention now to the businesses that serve the customers in a smart place, one popular use of this technology is for tracking resources – such as retail stock, vehicles, or medication in hospitals. This is most commonly done now with physical tags on the assets, but advances in AI and computer vision will mean resources won’t need tagging.

Employee Enablement

An obvious extension is to track your most important asset: your people. By tracking their location, smart place technology can simplify access, personalise their experience, and assist with wayfinding. It can also monitor them at finer levels – for example, to monitor how often staff in hospitals wash their hands.


The six areas we’ve considered above apply to individuals, but smart place technology can also be used to collect and aggregate data to conduct useful analytics – for example, measuring foot traffic in stores, detecting potential problems (such as shoplifting), and optimising employee productivity (for example, by reducing lost time walking from one place to another).

It’s Not Too Late!

The Altimeter report identifies some challenges with adopting some of this smart place technology – for example, updating skills, managing privacy concerns, getting consent, and investing in expensive infrastructure.

But these challenges also form a natural barrier to everybody jumping on the band wagon. The market is still new and not very mature, so if you get on board now – even in a small way – it gives you a competitive advantage.

Read the full Altimeter report here

Better Than Referrals – Share the Customer Experience

 17th July 2018 by gihan

In the highly-competitive world of financial advice, financial planning businesses must work harder than ever before to attract new clients. This has become especially important since recent changes to the industry in Australia, where advisers have to charge a fee for their service (rather than earning commissions from products they recommend to clients) and have to demonstrate ongoing value to clients for those fees.

One business has seen this as an opportunity rather than a problem, and combines these two ideas in a way that adds value to existing clients while also attracting new clients.

They host a quarterly “Market Update” webinar for their clients, reporting on the state of the market, describing the impact of recent events (such as an election or change to legislation), and highlighting important future trends.

Their webinar software allows a virtually unlimited number of attendees, so the business could throw open the webinar to everybody, and use it as a public marketing channel.

Instead, they want to offer this as an exclusive value-added benefit to clients, so they restrict the webinar to clients only. However, they do still use it as a marketing opportunity, because each client is given two “free tickets” to invite somebody from their network: family, friends, work colleagues, or anybody else they wish.

By doing this, each webinar becomes a win-win-win opportunity:

  • The clients get exclusive access to valuable information from their financial adviser, and get to extend this to two friends.
  • The friends also get access to this valuable information, with no obligation or pressure to buy anything or switch financial advisers.
  • The financial planning business adds value to their clients and gets the chance to demonstrate their value to a new, warm, friendly audience.

This is better than a referral.

The idea of asking your customers for referrals is not new, and of course somebody referred to you is a “warm” prospect, and usually easier to convert than most other prospects.

But most businesses don’t ask for referrals consistently. Sometimes they don’t have a consistent system for it, but more often it’s because the process seems “icky”: The salesperson feels awkward asking for a referral, and even happy customers are highly protective of their friends.

Think of the three ways you attract new customers:

  1. Without: You reach out to them independently of any relationship they might have with existing customers.
  2. Through: You ask existing customers for referrals.
  3. With: You ask existing customers to invite prospects to share the same experience as the customers themselves.

This third method is more powerful than a simple referral, because the prospect genuinely shares the same experience, in a low-pressure, no-obligation way.

This hasn’t been as easy in the past, because providing an experience comes at a cost for each extra person. But in our digital, social, connected world, it’s easier than ever to provide high-quality experiences at a low – or zero – marginal cost.

How can you extend your customer experience to prospects?

Here are three thinking points for you to bring in more new customers this way:

  1. What are you already doing for customers that you could easily extend to prospects?
  2. What more could you do that adds extra value for customers (that you could also extend to prospects)?
  3. How can you enrol your customers in inviting these prospects to share these experiences?

If you would like my help, please get in touch. In my Think Sharper masterclass and executive mentoring, we examine six different touchpoints in the customer journey where you can involve them more as partners in your business.

The Future of Conferences: Ten Things Great Conference Organisers Do Differently

 31st May 2018 by gihan

Videoconferencing, online meetings, telepresence and other collaboration technology are gaining traction. That doesn’t mean the in-person conference is obsolete – but its role has changed. Some of the benefits of coming together for a conference can be achieved just as effectively in other ways.

As a conference keynote speaker (and somebody who has been in the industry for over 20 years), I have seen major changes in the way conferences and events work. Especially in the last few years, because of technology, changing demographics, and global connectivity.

If you’re in the MICE industry – as a speaker, conference organiser, speaking bureau, association, event sponsor, or anybody else who’s involved in events – download my new special report “The Future of Conferences”.

In this special report, I look at ten trends affecting professional conferences and events, and how conference organisers take advantage of them. Good conference organisers adapt to these changes. Great conference organisers embrace them to create transformational experiences.

I wrote the first edition of this report in 2015, and I’ve now rewritten it completely to bring it up to date for 2018. This is not just a minor revision – I’ve completely rewritten it!

The first edition is only three years old, but that’s an eternity now in this fast-paced world.

In that time, we have seen rapid growth in technology such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, online collaboration tools, personalisation and customisation, social media, and much, much more. It goes without saying that much of this technology affects the Meetings Incentives Conventions & Exhibitions (MICE) industry, but not always in the most obvious ways, and not always to the same extent. This revised edition reports on the latest trends and their impact, especially in the Australian market.

As with the first edition, I wanted to make this more than just a “white paper”, but also a source of practical ideas for great conference organisers. So, as before, I have included practical ideas for you to created more compelling event experiences. In fact, I have gone much further than the previous edition, including more in-depth ideas and more references to external sources.

For example …

We look at the three different types of people in your audience – based on their age and demographic profile:

Not surprisingly, each group wants different things, and there are so many ways now to deliver. For example, we look at audience interaction tools like a live word cloud:

Or what about an online bulletin board for audience members to share their biggest takeaways from a panel discussion?

Yep, there’s a lot of tech – but it’s not all equally useful!

Meetings industry peeps in Australia were asked which technology would be important in future conferences and events, and their answers might surprise you. These were their top five:

Some others that have gained a lot of media hype didn’t make the cut, including holograms, heat maps of foot traffic, artificial intelligence and robotics, and facial recognition software.

But it’s not just about technology.

It’s easy to focus on technology alone because there’s always a new Bright Shiny Object to capture our attention! But events are changing in other ways as well – as meeting professionals predict about the nature of sessions:

That’s just a small sample.

Anyway, that’s just a small sample of the research and resources you’ll find in the 2018 edition of “The Future of Conferences”.

So go ahead – please download it!

Download Now

And, of course, you have my permission to share it far and wide with colleagues and friends in the MICE industry. The more we all learn about how to be fit for the future, the more useful and compelling we can make our events.

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The Future of Conferences

 8th May 2018 by gihan

Videoconferencing, online meetings, telepresence and other collaboration technology are gaining traction. Does that mean the in-person conference is obsolete? No – not by a long way! But its role has changed. In this podcast episode, discover the top trends affecting our professional and personal lives, and how great conference organisers use them to create transformational experiences.

Listen To the Episode

The Future of Conferences

The Future of ConferencesAs a conference keynote speaker (and somebody who has been in the industry for over 20 years), I have seen major changes in the way conferences and events work. Especially in the last few years, because of technology, changing demographics, and global connectivity.

If you’re in the MICE industry – as a speaker, conference organiser, speaking bureau, association, event sponsor, or anybody else who’s involved in events – download my new special report “The Future of Conferences”.

This is the brand-new 2018 edition, based on research and trends in the industry, and tailored especially for the Australian market.

Download Now

More Resources

The Fit for the Future Podcast brings you regular ideas, interviews and insights about how you, your teams and your organisation can become fit for the future.

More ways to engage with me:

Create Experiences, Not Just Products and Services

 17th April 2018 by gihan

I was speaking at an aged care leadership conference about the challenge of increasing competition and client choice. The aged care industry is growing, because of our ageing population, but this also creates more competition and choice for clients. This is true in many industries, and it’s no longer good enough to just provide products and services. To be truly fit for the future, focus on creating compelling experiences your customers and clients can’t get anywhere else.

The Busy Adviser’s Secret to Lifelong Clients

 29th January 2018 by gihan

In a business environment where clients have more choices and information than ever before, keeping in touch with clients – and providing value – is not just about FoFA, the FSI, or compliance – it’s just good business.

Do your clients only hear from you when you send them a statement or invoice? If so, you can do more – much more – to show them that you’re a valued partner in planning their financial future. Focus on touchpoints that give them real value in a non-intrusive way.

Here are four things you could do regularly:

  1. DAILY: Do something nice.
  2. WEEKLY: Send a thank-you postcard.
  3. MONTHLY: Write a high-quality article.
  4. QUARTERLY: Run a client webinar.

Read the full article here

This is an extract from an article I published in Financial Planning, the magazine of the FPA for financial advisers in Australia.

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The Future of Conferences

 11th January 2018 by gihan

The NSW Government recently announced a trial of in-ground “traffic lights” at key intersections in the CBD, to warn pedestrians on mobile phones who don’t look up while crossing the road. It’s been interesting to see the reactions to this idea on social media. Many people are saying it just discourages bad behaviour, and that pedestrians (or “mobile phone zombies”, as they derisively refer to them) should just look up! In fact, in Idaho in the USA, authorities have the power to fine people $50 for walking and texting at the same time.

I don’t want to start a debate about traffic lights. But I do want to point out what the NSW Centre for Road Safety executive director Bernard Carlon, said, defending the new system, “In our society, things have changed”. In other words, yes, it would be nice if all pedestrians stopped looking at their phones and focussed on their environment, but they don’t! So it makes sense to change the environment to adapt to their new behaviour.

The same principle applies to conferences. Despite the growth of videoconferencing, online meetings, telepresence and virtual reality, in-person conferences still have a place. We still want to get together, face to face, and belly to belly.

But the role of the conference has changed. Good conference organisers adapt to these changes, and great conference organisers embrace them and see them as opportunities.

Read the full article here

This is an extract from an article I published in cim, the magazine for the conference industry in Australia.

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The Future of Medicine – It’s the Patient … err, Customer

 8th January 2018 by gihan

Last year, my parents moved house after 40 years. When searching for a new local GP, my 80-year-old father’s first source of information was online reviews he found on Google. Although he’s intelligent and computer-savvy, he’s hardly the stereotype of the typical social-media-obsessed Internet user. And yet even he knew – and used – the power of the tools at his fingertips.

The last few years have seen dramatic changes in healthcare technology – such as 3-D printed organs, smartphone ECG devices, predictive analytics and Big Data, and nanotechnology robotic surgery. But the biggest change in healthcare is the profoundly different relationship between patients and providers.

It’s become a cliché to say healthcare is becoming like a business and patients are acting more like customers. And yet, many healthcare providers don’t understand this profound change in their profession.

Siemens highlighted this in their “Picture the Future” report about healthcare in Australia in 2020: We’re changing focus from cure to prevention, from sickness to wellness, from acute events to chronic diseases, and – most importantly – from patients to customers.

Healthcare consumers are customers first and patients second, and expect to be treated that way. They expect instant access to information, communication via e-mail and SMS, ownership of their private data, fast response times, and the right to review poor service (and praise exceptional service). They don’t want to sit for hours in germ-filled waiting rooms, no longer automatically trust a white coat and stethoscope, and won’t rely on an opinion from just one healthcare professional.

Read the full article here

This is an extract from an article I published in Medical Forum WA, the magazine for WA health professionals.

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The Future of Conferences

 22nd June 2017 by gihan

Videoconferencing, online meetings, telepresence and other collaboration technology are gaining traction. Does that mean the in-person conference is obsolete? No – not by a long way! But its role has changed. In this webinar, I’ll show you the trends affecting our professional and personal lives, and how great conference organisers – and speakers – take advantage of them.

This is a MUST WATCH webinar for anybody involved in conferences – including businesses, conference organisers, bureaus, delegates, and speakers.

You can watch the recording here:

After the webinar, I asked participants “What was the most useful thing you learned today?” Here are some of their answers:

“All of it was useful and the most useful thing is: From event to journey”

“Explore different ways of delivering conferences ”

“Pre-conf prep … most conferences don’t do, well not in the health area”

“Future demographics in 2050”

“Will do more research on participation methods/strategies for conferences”

“The power and influence of social and future virtual connectivity and the flow on affect for the future of the traditional conferencing model”

“The options available now and in the not too distant future for better conferences, forums and even meetings.”

“Direction of options for future conferences”

“Expect the unexpected”

“That our world is changing rapidly”

“Participation ideas, BRiN, International Speakers Conference, Connected conferencing ideas”

“Ways to engage delegates into being participants and looking at the VR options for future conference”

“This was one of the most interesting webinars you’ve given – and they are all interesting. Especially as I’ve just returned from attending a ‘real’ conference that included many of the elements you mentioned”

“Identifying platforms like Brin and Virtual Speech”

“Conference attendees are no longer just attending but expect so much more engagement before, during and after the event”

“I’m going to try to buy the book – Disrupt Yourself as it seems to be a follow through from the Webinar”

“The potential of virtual reality- I will order the kit as suggested”

“Prepare for change !!!!”

“The future of conferences, great tips on apps and resources”

“Generational differences eroding traditional conference model. Other alternatives for face-to-face conference speaking”

“Very thought provoking about the future!”

The Future Proof Webinar Series

The Future Proof webinar series will keep you in touch with our future – what’s ahead, what it means for us, and how to stay ahead of the game.

In each webinar, I’ll cover an important topic about the future – for example, the shift of power to Asia, the changing workplace, healthcare technology, the shift to customer-centric business, big data, and more. This is not just theory; I’ll also give you practical examples and ideas for you to future-proof your organisation, teams, and career.

Register here

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