connections conference news

November 2017
Vol. 16, Number 9

Management News

Conference News

Chapter News

Committee News

Member News

CX Talks: The Customer Experience Summit

Janelle Nelems,

The first annual CX Talks Summit held on October 2, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia, was an exciting, successful event, with more than 400 in attendance.

The Atlanta Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Buckhead was filled with curiosity as participants from 18 premier professional organizations and their guests listened to various perspectives on consumer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) research. The program was content rich and comprehensive. There was something for everyone: strategic, tactical, emotional, and technical.

With a mix of 20-plus outstanding speakers, talks were dynamic, engaging, and short in duration — similar to the format for TED Talks. In addition to networking opportunities, the conference provided insight regarding the ever-changing CX landscape. Speakers discussed their own/company journey, how they gain consumer insight, current methodologies, and expectations for the future. 

Whether understanding VOC, culture, creating empathy, or rebranding, interacting and understanding — your target is paramount. Decisions cannot be based solely on data; true understanding comes from engaging with people. There is extraordinary potential for qualitative research to be incorporated in a CX/UX program, but not simply traditional qualitative. QRCs need to further embrace the opportunities available in the world of CX. As my technologically savvy husband, CEO of the Don Ryan Center for Innovation, often reminds me, “Evolve or die.” Technology should be utilized creatively, as much as possible. It allows us to organically gain understanding and communicate in various ways: mobile devices, social media, online platforms. Our mobile devices are truly a window into our world.

The afternoon of the CX Talks Conference offered 14 diverse breakout sessions by the 18 different partner associations, highlighting emerging ideas, research and trends, and more. Our QRCA session was titled “Integrating High Touch into the Touchpoints in Your CX/EX/UX Programs.” The session focused on how organizations should work toward incorporating “high-touch” (in essence, more qualitative research) into their current customer experience/user experience programs. The two 45-minute sessions were facilitated by QRCA SE Chapter Co-Chairs Laurie Butler and Janelle Nelems. Other QRCA members who attended these breakout sessions also participated in the discussions, both by introducing more ideas and helping to answer questions.

Special thanks to CX Talks Co-Chairmen Carlos Pimenta, CEO, Macquarium [sponsor of CX Talks], who moderated the program, and Mark Michelson, President/CEO, Association Advisors, who served as the event’s emcee.

Thanks also to the members of the CX Planning Committee, the Southeast Chapter of QRCA, the QRCA Conference Committee, and Ewald Consulting — all of whom worked alongside the team of CX Planners to bring this event to life and to actively promote QRCA as one of the world leaders in the CX industry with respect to qualitative research.

The Conference Committee sincerely hopes that you will join us next year for CX Talks Atlanta 2018.

CX Talks

CX Talks

QRCA Southeast Chapter Members (right to left): Gary Dreyer, Janelle Nelems, Randi Stillman,
Laurie Butler
, Bruce Peoples

CX Talks

QRCA Southeast Chapter Co-chairs Laurie Butler and Janelle Nelems

CX Talks

Janelle Nelems and Laurie Butler (QRCA Representatives for the CX Talks Team) and Mark Michelson (Past QRCA Southeast Chapter Member) center, with some of his other CX Talks Partners

CX Talks

QRCA Southeast Chapter and BMA Member Mike McClellan

CX Talks

Southeast Chapter Members Bruce Peoples and Tom Beggs

CX Talks

Laurie Butler and Janelle Nelems, Southeast Chapter Co-Chairs

CX Talks

Session I: New Southeast Chapter Member Michelle Shaute [head of table in back], and Southeast Chapter Member Tom Beggs [Far right] and not pictured, Bruce Peoples, Janelle Nelems and Laurie Butler as well as our discussion participants.]

CX Talks

Breakout Session 2 with QRCA Members: Janelle Nelems [Southeast Chapter Co-Chair], Bruce Peoples, Tom Beggs, and Gary Dreyer as well as our discussion participants. Not pictured: Laurie Butler [Southeast Chapter Co-Chair]

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Qually Award Proposals’ Third-Year Volume Smashes Record

Kayte Hamilton,, and Tory Gentes,

The awards ceremony at the 2018 QRCA Conference is looking to be a fierce competition for the 2018 Qually Award winner! This award continues to grow in popularity, with a record-breaking number of proposals submitted in response to our RFQ.

How did we get here? This year the Qually Award Committee secured an RFQ idea from a real, live, actively breathing client. OH! Though the project is hypothetical in nature, the fact that the concept came from someone in the industry really helped our contenders marshal behind the idea of solving a REAL problem. In turn, the client who submitted the idea will get the chance to review the top three proposals — and potentially hire one of the contenders directly. It’s a fascinating RFQ focused on understanding the shift toward a more curated shopping experience. With the rise of companies such as Amazon and Birchbox (where everything is chosen for you), consumers no longer have to walk store aisles. The client desires to uncover the ideal balance between a fully curated shopping experience and total self-discovery.

The RFQ was available for response from August 9 to October 15.

The top three finalists will be chosen after all seven proposals have been reviewed blindly by the review team. (No, they don’t read the proposals with blindfolds on, instead, the lovely ladies from Ewald Consulting have been sworn to utter secrecy and removed all PII from the proposals before they were shared with the review team.) This year’s review team includes: Tory Gentes and Kayte Hamilton (the Qually Award Committee Co-Chairs), Kathy Doyle ( Qually Award Committee Member), Jay Zaltzman (QRCA President) and a yet-to-be-named Conference Committee representative. Each reviewer will score the proposals on equal measures with regard to:

  • Relevance
  • Methodology
  • Logic
  • Creativity
  • Style and Presentation

What happens next? Once the review team has stayed up several sleepless nights to grade the proposals, Kayte and Tory will announce the top three finalists on the QRCA website, the QRCA Facebook page, LinkedIn, Twitter and any other relevant sources where people are reading and interacting with the organization. Then, the three finalists have slightly more than two months to prepare a 15-minute rock star presentation with which to woo their QRCA peers. During the 2018 QRCA Conference, the finalists will travel to Phoenix (with their nice 50% conference fee discount!) to pitch their proposals to the greater QRCA audience. We will utilize a text-based voting platform to crown the winner.

The 2018 Qually Award winner walks away with bragging rights as the reigning problem-solving champ, QRCA marketing exposure, oh, and did we mention... $1,000 cash?!

The Qually Award is a way for QRCA to acknowledge, uplift, and reward its dedicated researchers. So much of our work can’t be shared due to NDAs, proprietary methodologies, and more. This is a creative outlet NOT meant to add more work to your plate (we can ALL one-up each other on workload!), but instead to think outside of the box, where anything goes ... and to potentially earn money and [brief] fame while doing it.

We hope to see you at the 2018 QRCA Conference during the finalists’ presentations!

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2018 Conference Roundtables Are Shaping Up!

Tom Rich,

We’re poised for some exciting and interactive discussions across a variety of topics.

The Conference Round Tables Committee has been busy confirming leaders to spearhead discussion on topics that we know will be of interest ... and that will provide more tools, hacks, and ideas to cultivate and elevate your business. Come prepared to share and learn from others.

Psst ... we still have a few slots open, so if you have an idea, let us know!

Here’s what’s on tap:

  • Working with kids and millennials: who holds the purse strings—really—and how do we talk to them?
  • What can go wrong in research, and how do you manage the unexpected?
  • How can you experiment in research while mitigating the possibility of failure?
  • Managing client expectations around timelines, as they continue to get compressed.
  • Developing a strategy for reporting results: how can we make this a less painful and more successful process?
  • Online research: what is the latest and greatest?
  • Working globally: what we need to know and hacks for making it affordable.

The Conference Roundtables Committee members are:
Lorie Poe
Pam Goldfarb Liss
Thomas Rich

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