1914 Vs 2014: When was the best time to be a customer?


0 1914 V 2014

Two years ago my family and I were fortunate and honoured to participate in a BBC1 ‘living history’ programme called Turn Back Time: the Family. An experience like no other, we were transported back in time to the turn of the 20th century to find out how life was like for our ancestors. The essence of the programme was for us to live as our forbears lived with a view to understanding how life for the family unit has changed over time. Whilst there was not a focus on what life was like for the consumer, it is impossible for me not to consider the impact of Customer Experience – whatever the era!! If you want to know more about the programme, you can read all about it here.

Two years on, I am continually reminded about our Turn Back Time experience as commemorations for the start of World War I increase in visibility. I personally went on a significant journey getting closer to understanding the sacrifices my family made for me. As I wear my poppy with pride, I will never forget them and the millions of others who have lost (and continue to lose) their lives protecting the future for us all.

1914 has another significance for the Golding family – it is the year my Grandma was born. Wonderfully, Pauline is still with us having celebrated her 100th birthday on the 1st May. To think that she was born BEFORE the war started is quite something. To think what life was really like in 1914 in London is intriguing. Being involved in Turn Back Time gave me enough of a flavour to make a comparison between the Customer Experience then and now. That is why I want to pose the question – 1914 or 2014: when was the best time to be a customer?

0 1914 shops

Let us start by going black and white. Life in pre war Britain was in many ways much simpler for the consumer than it is today. For a customer there was only one predominant way to shop….one ‘channel’. That channel was the channel that in 2014 is continually in decline – Face to Face! With the overwhelming majority of consumers not owning a car most customers would purchase goods with local retailers in the high street (remember them?).

As a father in 1914, I learned how important etiquette was. Manners and politeness was evident in all daily interactions at home, work and as a customer. Shops were very orderly places, manned by smartly dressed shopkeepers stood behind tall counters. Knowing most of their customers by name, products would be picked and packed whilst maintaining friendly conversation. Most of the time the shopkeepers did not even have to ask what their customers wanted to buy – they knew already. There was not a great deal of variety with the products on offer, but that just made the shopping experience more efficient.

Even in 1914 there was an alternative to shopping on the high street. The first iteration of home shopping had been in existence for some time by then – shopping by mail order allowed consumers to purchase products not available on their high street. Payment in 1914 was also pretty simple – cash or cheque with no plastic in sight.

0 2014 shopping

Fast forward 100 years to 2014. Today, consumers do not have two channels to purchase products. In 2014 we have arguably eight (Shops; telephone; web; mobile; live chat; SMS; mail order; TV). I am sure someone will tell me I have forgotten one as well!! We are able to purchase literally everything we need in any way we want from anywhere in the world. We could in theory live our lives without ever talking to anyone or setting foot outside of our front door!

If we do choose to talk to someone, it is often via an automated telephone system. It is not uncommon to conduct an entire transaction without a human being involved and even if one is, they are often just reading back a pre written script. In stores, it is unlikely that anyone will know who the customer is and staff may not even need to help you make your purchase.

That being said, we are able to choose what we want when we want it. We can buy whatever we need seven days a week 24 hours a day. We can buy things online and have them delivered to our door within the hour. We can pay in a multitude of ways without the need to fill our pockets with cash. We are even able to see what others think about the things we might buy before we commit to doing so.

So when was the best time to be a customer? the personal, simple consumer experience of 1914; or the global, convenient consumer led experience of 2014? Many will argue that surely the ‘winner’ has to be the modern-day – 2014. We experience what we do today because consumers have demanded that the organisations we interact with provide a more functional, accessible experience. We wanted the 24/7 society that we now have and will continue to demand more and more from companies.

Is that really the case though? Is everyone really happy with the connected world that we are now all a part of? It is difficult to deny ease and convenience provided by amazing technology is that greatest evolution for the 2014 consumer. To be able to do/get what we want when we need it is a remarkable thing. However, it is also difficult to deny that shopping in 2014 is often not a particularly emotional experience. It does not always feel particularly good being a customer of the global corporations who distribute the products or provide the services we buy.

in 2014, all too often we read and hear about stories of organisations completely failing to connect emotionally with customers. Not only do they not know their names, but very few businesses seem to empathise with the people who want to buy their products or services. It is almost ironic that the consumer is now demanding more and more personalisation in their interactions……a little like we used to have in the good old days.

My answer to the question ‘when was the best time to be a customer?’, is very possibly one you may already have guessed. I think there is much to learn from BOTH eras. The power a consumer has in 2014 has completely changed the relationship between company and customer. Some have adapted to the change better than others. Improved choice and convenience is a good thing. Easily accessible products and services at affordable prices is another. However, if we could consistently add the personal, empathetic, emotional flavour of the shopping experience of the early 1900’s (albeit modernised), then surely we would have an era that all consumers could enjoy with confidence.

As we steadily approach the end of another calendar year, the importance of Customer Experience in all sectors gathers yet more pace. Maybe 2014 is not the best time to be a customer at all – maybe 2015 will be!!

Shareholder or Customer First? The difference between Tesco and Amazon


0 amazon V tesco

October 2014 was not the best day to be a shareholder of two of the world’s retail giants. Tesco continued their unfortunate journey from world domination to public implosion. The company who convinced the UK and beyond that ‘every little helps’ are going to need all the help they can get to fight through their greatest ever crisis. Whilst the plight of Tesco was very visibly reported in the UK, the performance of an even bigger retail juggernaut was less so. On the day that the BBC reported Tesco shares ‘plunging’ by more than 8%, Amazon shares ‘plunged’ by 10%. All is not rosy in the supersize retail world it seems.

As someone who spends every working day influencing organisations to focus on people (customers and employees), I am always intrigued that the reporting of business performance seems to spend more time empathising with shareholders than it does with customers and employees. Do not get me wrong – I obviously recognise that the financial performance of any business will determine its very existence – declining financial performance is big news, especially if the decline is significant. However I think it is important to focus less on the effect on shareholders and more on what is behind the decline in the first place.

Too many businesses worry about Shareholders first, automatically placing concerns for customers and employees lower down the list of priorities. Businesses cannot operate without shareholders and investors – that is true – yet I believe that it is vital for companies to focus on getting things right for customers and employees first so that in turn, shareholders will benefit from the improving financial performance of the business. This is a subtle but very significant reversal of what we see reported in the business pages on a regular basis.

Although both Tesco and Amazon saw their declining financial performance very clearly displayed in the car headlights yesterday, the reasons behind the declines are very very different – in my opinion, the reasons highlight brilliant why their business models/cultures have been so very very different over the last few years.

I wrote about the ‘Bursting of the Tesco bubble’ in July 2014. In my blog post I argued that whilst they publicly claimed that ‘no-one tries harder for their customers’, the reality is that they were trying too hard to please their shareholders. Their obsession with growth led them to taking their eye off the ball of why they really exist and what their customers want. They are now in a situation where the behaviour has led to an almost complete erosion of trust with the very consumer that they believed they were working so hard to please. Perhaps the greatest challenge now facing the new CEO, Dave Lewis, is to be able to stand up to shareholders and allow them to understand why the needs of customers and colleagues must be put back ahead of their own.

Let us look at the contrast with Amazon. A company that has famously been focussed more on growth than profit, there are many similarities with the trajectory that Tesco have taken over the last few years. Still led by their founder, Jeff Bezos, unlike Tesco their entire business model is based on meeting and exceeding customer expectations. Shareholders need to be in it for the long term. Yesterday the BBC reported the following:

Investors have long been wondering when Amazon will turn its significant revenues into profits for shareholders. Amazon has been spending heavily in various new initiatives, including its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service in the US, and its $1bn acquisition of video game streaming site Twitch.That has hurt profits at the firm, with operating expenses growing to $21.1bn, compared with the $17.1bn last year. Investors have been tolerant of Amazon’s policy of reinvesting profits back into the firm. But patience has been wearing thin in recent months. Shares in the firm have fallen nearly 20% since the beginning of this year.

Unhappy, restless shareholders whose patience is wearing thin. The response of many large corporations would be to immediately address their concerns and do whatever it takes to deliver them a return in the short term. That may be the response from many, but not from Amazon and Mr Bezos. Rather than pandering to shareholders, Jeff Bezos’s public statement when talking about their financial performance was as follows:

“As we get ready for this upcoming holiday season, we are focused on making the customer experience easier and more stress-free than ever,”

This is why Customer Experience Professionals love Jeff Bezos!! Amazon is about long term relationships – with customers, employees and shareholders. The returns will come in time. In order to sustain and grow a business, Mr Bezos understands that it MUST be done so by delivering a stress free experience that just keeps getting better and better. It is not difficult to understand. Of course the investors and shareholders deserve to receive a healthy return on their investment – I am completely confident that will come (as I am sure Mr Bezos is) – they just need to be patient and recognise that continually focussing on improving the customer experience will secure both the returns and the sustainability of the business for a very long time.

As the dust settles, I am sure that Jeff Bezos is a far more relaxed business leader than Dave Lewis. Businesses need shareholders, but they need customers more. If both organisations can influence their investors to recognise that greater returns come from consistently getting better at giving customers what they want and need, the media will very soon be reporting a very different story.

 

‘Customer excellence is here: it’s just not very evenly distributed yet’. The Nunwood 2014 UK Customer Experience Excellence Report


0 Nunwood 2014 6 pillars of Excellence simple

‘Customer Excellence is here: it’s just not evenly distributed yet’. A fantastic quote that I wish I could claim was mine! Whilst it is not, I can recognise a particularly relevant and accurate quote when I see one. The quote is in fact the very first line of the executive summary of this years Nunwood UK Customer Experience Excellence Report – a report that should be essential reading for any customer experience professional in the UK.

The reason why I think the quote is so apt is because I personally agree very much with its sentiment. In 2014, it is very difficult to find an organisation who does not believe that the customer experience or being customer centric is NOT of value. It is far easier to find companies who might say it, but demonstrate something completely different! At a time when even Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary, has publicly linked improving the customer experience with improving financial performance, we are possibly living in the most customer centric society ever (that may be a subject for a future blog post!).

Ryanair do not feature in the top 100 of Nunwood’s report into the Customer Experience Excellence of 250 companies operating in the UK – maybe Mr O’Leary will make entering the top 100 an objective for 2015! The report is a fascinating assessment of the customer centric nature of brand names that we interact with on a daily basis. Focussed around 6 pillars that Nunwood use to assess ‘excellence’, the brand names that are considered to be ‘customer champions’ will probably not surprise you. I am often asked who the most customer centric brands in the UK are – the 2014 top 10 are a very good reflection:

0 nunwood top 10

It is difficult to disagree with this bunch – although I am sure some will try!! As I have already stated, Nunwood produce the listing using their 6 pillars of Customer Experience Excellence. What is important to remember here is that their study does not just produce a league table – it more critically gives you an insight into exactly why these brands are at the top of the list. So let us look at what makes an ‘Excellent Customer Experience’ in a little more detail:

1. Personalisation

Described by Nunwood as – using individualised attention to drive an emotional connection. This is so important and a pillar that has become necessary as we, the consumer, are demanding more emotionally engaging experiences every day. It is absolutely true to say that emotionally engaged customers will interact with you more often – the Nunwood top 10 are demonstrating excellence in achieving this.

2. Expectations

Described by Nunwood as – managing, meeting and exceeding customer expectations. Not difficult to understand – it does what it says on the tin. To be at the top of the Nunwood list, you need to be consistently good at delivering both the basics and the ‘sprinkling of fairy dust’, as I and my colleagues like to describe it!

3. Time and Effort

Described by Nunwood as – minimising customer effort and creating frictionless processes. Now that would be nice! If you read my blog post last week, you will understand just how important this is in delivering ‘excellent’ customer experiences – maybe it is not a surprise that the companies involved in my experience are not in the Nunwood top 100.

4. Integrity

Described by Nunwood as – being trustworthy and engendering trust. Integrity is a word that few would associate with many industries in 2014 – it has been eroded so significantly since 2008. However it should be noted that the brand that has come top of the pile in 2014 (and was also third in 2013) is one that comes from the industry that many of us still trust the least. The fact that First Direct have maintained their integrity whilst the industry around them have failed to do so in such dramatic fashion, is absolute testament to their unrelenting focus on the customer.

5. Resolution

Described by Nunwood as – turning a poor experience into a great one. Recovery of poor experiences is well known to have a potentially galvanising effect on loyalty. The ability to respond to an issue is a vital skill for any business. However, I would argue that it is still better to have to recover as an exception!! Interestingly, my experience last week saw one of the organisations involved responding in ‘best in class’ fashion – I was very impressed. Yet despite this, my opinion of their brand has not changed. Do not get me wrong – the ability to resolve is vital – but getting things right in the first place should take precedence.

6. Empathy

Described by Nunwood as – achieving an understanding of the customer’s circumstances to drive deep rapport. Getting the emotional component of the experience right is still the thing I see most commonly missing from the organisations I interact with. Understanding and empathising with customers is a critical competency that drives the most customer centric of organisations.

To get into Nunwood’s top 10, your business needs to demonstrate excellence in all 6 of these pillars. Some might be good in one or two – yet competency in all 6 is what makes you a Nunwood Customer Champion.

Wherever your business sits today, it is wonderful to see how the excellence pillars are becoming more commonly embedded in businesses all over the UK. The report makes it clear that there is a demonstrable shift in the upward direction in 2014 – this is echoed by reports from other agencies in the US. As customers we are receiving improving customer experiences – some businesses are better than others. Some are improving faster than others. What is important is that the improvements we are seeing are maintained and even more importantly sustained.

If you want to read the report in detail, or find out more about it, please have a look at Nunwood’s Customer Experience Excellence Centre.

 

 

 

Customer Effort – it’s real meaning through real stories (Vauxhall might want to read this!)


0 customer effort

This is not the first time I have written about the concept of customer effort. I doubt it will be the last. A few months ago I shared a story that described my interaction with an organisation as a little like having a tooth extracted – you can read that particular story here. The important point of the story is that the organisation that was the subject of it, Hertz, are no longer a company that I consider myself to be a customer of. The experience ‘pushed me over the edge’. Unnecessary customer effort can be fatal when it comes to your relationship with customers.

Since I wrote that story, I have used a number of alternative car hire companies in my home town of Chester. Relatively recently I switched to Enterprise – the experience they have given me has been markedly different (better) than any other hire car company I have used. I wrote a CX review on my perspective of Enterprise – you can read that here – it is very impressive. I never imagined that I would be connecting a brand that I have now become a ‘fan’ of with a story about Customer Effort, but what you are about to read demonstrates that even the best can get it wrong.

Before I share the story, I must point out that at a time when Customer Effort is being ever more discussed by organisations, I am hearing and reading stories every day that seem to suggest that the poor consumer is being subjected to ever increasing amounts of unnecessary ‘waste’! Being kept on hold; filling in forms; waiting for hours on end to get a response – just have a scan of Facebook and you will see enough evidence to write a book about it! The thing is, companies are losing customers (many of whom may have been loyal) as a result of it – much of the time it is completely avoidable.

So that leads me nicely in to a story that I believe was completely avoidable. Last week I hired a car with Enterprise – a Vauxhall Corsa. A nice little car that provides everything I need at a very affordable price. I drove away as satisfied as I always tend to be with the Enterprise experience. My need to hire a car at the moment is due to having work commitments in Surrey – a long way from Chester. A few days after receiving the car, I noticed a message on my phone. The message was from my Enterprise branch in Chester. The message advised that the car I had been given was subject to a Vauxhall recall. I needed to take it to a Vauxhall garage IMMEDIATELY. ‘Don’t worry said the message, ‘it will only take a couple of minutes to have it checked out’.

My instant reaction was one of annoyance. The week before I collected this car from Enterprise, I read in the news about Vauxhall having to recall around 20,000 cars. You may have seen that as well. My immediate thought was ‘why have Enterprise given me a car that is subject to a recall?’! I was not happy. Like all of you, I am very busy – when am I going to have time to take a car that is not mine to a Vauxhall garage?! I certainly could not do so the afternoon I received the message. However, with a long drive back to North West ahead of me the following evening, I really had no choice but to deal with the problem.

That night I identified a Vauxhall dealership closest to where I was staying – Now Vauxhall. In the morning I would have to take the car there and get it checked. If you know Staples Corner in North London (where Now Vauxhall is located), you will know that it is a rather busy traffic location. Situated at the start of the M1, getting to it can often be tricky – on this particular morning it took me 45 minutes to travel 1.5 miles to get a car checked out that was not even mine. My blood pressure was rising by the minute. As I walked through the front door of Now Vauxhall, I was not in the best of spirits. I had decided that I would have some VERY strong words to say to Enterprise about the whole situation.

Now Vauxhall, Staples Corner, North London
Now Vauxhall, Staples Corner, North London

Things did not get much a better. A lovely lady on the service desk wanted some information from me. My name, address, phone number, inside leg measurement etc… I must have said five times that the car was not mine – why did I have to give them this information? She could not answer the question. My frustration was steadily switching from Enterprise to Now Vauxhall. Having taken my details, I was asked to sit in the waiting area. As the clock ticked, more and more customers subject to the same recall started to arrive. It was a steady flow. The waiting area was getting busier and busier.

15 minutes went by and nothing happened. 20 minutes. 25 minutes. I was getting more and more frustrated. While I was waiting, I noticed hordes of Now Vauxhall staff (who I assume were sales staff) standing around chatting, laughing and joking with each other. They were doing absolutely nothing whilst dozens of their customers sat waiting for what I was told was a ‘2 minute job’!

At the 40 minute mark, I approached the receptionist. I was now getting desperate – I pleaded with her to just find out how long I would have to wait. She was not overly keen on finding out. The desperation in my eyes must have convinced her. A chap appeared from behind the service desk, went outside; came back less than a minute later and thrust the car keys back in to my hand. This man said absolutely nothing to me throughout that exchange. I kid you not – he did not say a word. Not even a little apology for keeping me waiting.

I wasted 90 minutes of my life last week – 90 minutes that I will NEVER get back. I am self employed. I cannot afford to lose 90 minutes – especially when I was spending it on a car that is NOT EVEN MINE!!!! A few days later I received a phone call from Enterprise in Chester. They wanted to apologise for what had happened. It was a good thing they waited a few days – I had calmed down a bit by then. They wanted to know what they could do to make the situation better. That is not what I wanted to hear. In a scenario where they have caused completely unnecessary effort for me, I wanted them to tell me what they were going to do. I do not want to hear excuses about why it happened – that is none of my concern. Just tell me what you are going to do to acknowledge that it should not have happened.

In many cases, I would turn my back on a company that subjected me to a situation like this. In the case of Enterprise I will not be doing so. I do trust them, and believe that they were genuinely sorry. If they do it again though, my reaction is likely to be very different. Vauxhall on the other hand is a different story. My experience at Now Vauxhall has confirmed one thing for me. I personally will NEVER be buying a Vauxhall. Now or in the future. They quite clearly do not care about their customers. They knew that 20,000 cars had been recalled – yet they were woefully unprepared to deal with it. Maybe I was just unlucky with the dealership I visited – it makes no difference. To me they were the face of Vauxhall that day. In a situation where they created unnecessary customer effort, they were neither prepared, sorry or empathetic to the time customers would have to put in to getting the issue that they created resolved.

Customer Effort can be fatal – for Vauxhall I am guessing it will prove to be so – I am unlikely to be the only person who will completely turn their back on the brand as a result of this debacle. I hope that stories like this allow others to understand the importance of dealing with customer effort. Mistakes happen – they always will. It is the way you handle them that will determine if a customer will come back to you in the future.


Update – 17th October 2014

The day I wrote this blog post, all of the organisations concerned contacted me – Enterprise, Now Vauxhall and Vauxhall Group. All have acknowledged the issues raised. I am particularly impressed with the response I received from Vauxhall Customer Assistance – it demonstrates a clear recognition and understanding of what happened, but more importantly, provides a clear view of how the business can learn from what went wrong. I believe that their response is a brilliant demonstration to all in dealing with a problem. I am delighted to share their response in full with you below:

Dear Mr Golding

I write further to our correspondence with you on Twitter today, and my voice message to you this afternoon.  I am sorry I was unable to speak with you directly, but I was keen to make contact with you after reading your blog entitled ‘Customer Effort – it’s real meaning through real stories (Vauxhall might want to read this!)’

We were very disappointed to read of your poor experience when visiting one of our authorised repairers, Now Vauxhall.  However, upon reading the details of your visit last week, we can very much understand your reasons for taking the time to put ‘pen to paper’.

I note from your blog that it was following a recall announcement for the Vauxhall Corsa that you had cause to visit the retailer in the first place.  Having read through the details of your visit I see immediately there are a numbers of learns to be had:

  • Dealership staff to recognise ‘peak periods’ within the business.  For example, first thing in the morning, or following a recall announcement when volumes of visitors may be greater than usual.  Sales staff to assist the service staff at these times, perhaps by helping with the checking in of vehicles or helping with admin etc.
  • Staff to be aware of the ‘2 minute jobs/waiting appointments’  and those which are longer bookings.  We want to try and ensure that a quick recall check such as yours does not end up ‘queuing’ behind an MOT & service, which is booked in for the day. 
  • From your report, on this occasion some of the dealership staff failed to demonstrate the customer service skills which we expect to be used in the workplace, when representing Now Vauxhall and Vauxhall Motors Ltd.  I regret that I am unable to offer an explanation as to why one service advisor failed to speak at all in his dealings with you.  This would seem to be one of the areas which also requires addressing.

The above suggestions, and your feedback, will all be passed to the Now Vauxhall Dealer Principal to review also.  This will ensure that areas of the business which require attention are addressed, in order to prevent such a situation arising again.

In the meantime, we would like to offer our sincere apologies that your experience when using our retailer was so poor, but thank you for taking the time out to let us know, and to make us aware.

Whilst I see from your blog that you have made a personal decision to never buy a Vauxhall, I do hope that you may consider accepting our apology.  I would like to assure you that this matter has been taken very seriously, and your comments will be used to help us demonstrate to our customers the high levels of customer service which should be expected at all times.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to respond, but please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further queries.

 

 

The secret diary of a Customer Experience Professional (aged 41 & 3/4)


0 cx day

This blog post is written to mark the second global Customer Experience Day on Tuesday 7th October 2014. Join thousands of CX Professionals all over the world in marking the significance of Customer Experience in our lives today! You can find out about physical and online events throughout the 7th October here.


What you are about to read are the exploits of one Customer Experience Professional as he went about his business during a working week. Whether it makes you laugh, cry or feel pity for me, I genuinely hope that my diary provides a useful insight into my work in helping organisations to become more customer centric.

Monday 29th September 2014

0 sept 29

As has become normal recently, I am up at 4:30am to embark on a long journey from the North West of England down to the South. Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I load my car up with a suitcase, laptop bag and enough sticky notes and sweets to sink a battleship! This week will see me delivering two workshops for two different companies and I need plenty of supplies!

By the time I arrive at a McDonald’s close to my location, I start to feel ready for the week ahead. Sipping my Americano, I go about dealing with my first task of the day – of most days to be honest – dealing with my emails. Getting them out of the way before the working day really begins is essential. I need my mind fully focussed on the major task for this particular Monday morning – the delivery of a ‘current state customer journey mapping workshop’ for a relatively new client.

Having already spent time ‘immersing myself with said client, I and my colleagues at Custerian are not expecting the day to be an easy one. A challenge for any CX Professional is assessing the ‘readiness’ of a business to ‘transform’ – to become more customer centric. This particular business has fantastic people, yet their desire to accept change is less overt. The workshop proved to be as challenging as anticipated. Ultimately we achieved what was necessary – but it was not easy. Sometimes it can be so frustrating working with people who on the face of it appear to be resistant to change – even if on the inside they are not.

I believe that a good CX Professional will determine the ‘pace’ that an organisation can work at as they embark or continue on a CX transformation. We must be patient and sensitive in understanding the issues, behaviours and mind-sets of the people we work with. I must admit that I struggled with this today – something I openly admitted to the participants of the workshop. Although I said the right thing, I said it in an inappropriate way. It is so easy to do! I must apologise to the person I spoke to as soon as possible.

Back in my car driving further south – I am tired and reflective. It never ceases to amaze me just how different every business I interact with seems to be from another – this is why I love doing what I do. I learnt a lot today as I continue to do on a weekly basis.

Tuesday 30th September 2014

0 sept 30

I spend the night at my parents flat in North London. I am immensely grateful for their kind hospitality and generosity. In the early days as an independent CX Professional, keeping costs low for me and my clients is important. Today is an exciting one. I am visiting a potential new client. Business development is a vital component for any CX consultant (I hate that word, although that is what I technically am) and I must admit I do not particularly like doing it.

This is a business that has been introduced to me by a long term friend of mine. I am very confident that the company will want to work with me – especially with his endorsement. Arriving early (as I ALWAYS do), I find a lovely café in West London and catch up on my emails over a coffee and a pain au chocolat!

I have just come out of the meeting – it did not go quite as I expected. In fact it went far worse than I could have imagined! I learned a long time ago that not everyone is going to like me, my style or my view on the world! The meeting this morning saw me present to two people who did not appear to connect with anything I said or did. I keep going over everything in my head – did I say something to upset them?

Meetings like this are so frustrating – I put so much time, energy and passion into my work. Yet to come across people who do not appear to recognise it at all is very de-motivating. I am sure that the expectation set prior to the meeting was the major contributor to the problem. I must work harder on ensuring that everyone I meet going forward is crystal clear about expectation so as to avoid meetings like this.

Walking back to the tube station I feel so deflated – after the challenges of yesterday, it has been a tough week already…..and it is only Tuesday lunchtime!! I cheer myself up by going back to the café and writing my weekly blog post. A review of the 2014 Customer Experience Awards – reminiscing on the fabulous event goes some way to restoring my faith and mood!

Blog written, I telephone the person who I had a ‘disagreement’ with in the workshop yesterday. I apologise for what I perceived to be my insensitivity – he was very grateful for my humility. We both understand each others perspectives better after the call – a very useful call to have made.

I am back in the car on the way south. I do not have long to dwell on anything these days – Wednesday and Thursday I move on to another client and the delivery of a two day Customer Experience Workshop – happy days!

Wednesday 1st October 2014

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Up at 4:30 for my morning run – I love running, but do not have much time to fit it in…..unless I get up at silly o’clock!! It does make me feel good though. Today is the start of a new month and it could not be starting better. A few years ago I became a full time Six Sigma trainer for GE – I never realised how much I would enjoy training other people…….that is still the case today. I am excited about spending two days imparting knowledge to another of my clients – surely the week can only get better from here!

I arrive at the clients offices at 7:30 – the sun is shining – everything seems good. As the delegates start to arrive with smiles on their faces, I become even more optimistic about the day ahead. I was right to be. I am blown away by the energy, enthusiasm, passion and drive of the 18 people in the room. The mood could not have been more different to Monday.

Again, it is astounding how different my two clients this week have been. Totally different industries – completely different people. Both have very different challenges. The common denominator is that through their people they can both make a difference – they can transform for the good of customers and colleagues – I have no doubt they both will.

The day has come to an end – I feel radically different to yesterday – my faith in myself has been restored. I shall sleep well tonight.

Thursday 2nd October 2014

0 oct 2

I did not think I could improve on yesterday. I was wrong. The delegates arrived early for the workshop today – early!! I am inspired by their desire to want to know more. I so hope this company succeeds in its mission to become more customer centric – I will do everything in my power to help them do so.

There is not much more to write about today – it continued as it started. At the end of the day, the delegates presented their learning’s back to me – it sent a shiver down my spine (a good one that is). The last two days validate to me why my job is so important. To be able to help people influence their own organisations to change is a wonderful thing. The questions and requests that followed the workshop bowled me over.

The only slight sad thing about the two days was the absence of any senior leader. They had said that they were committed to attending, but ‘work emergencies’ ruled them out at the last minute. Sometimes I do not believe it when senior leaders ‘abandon’ their commitment to attend a CX workshop – in this case I do believe them. It is such a shame though – I wish they could have witnessed the passion of their people. Hopefully the feedback they deliver will do the trick.

I arrive back in Chester at 23:30 – a VERY long day – but so rewarding, I feel energised rather than exhausted. My happy head hits the pillow for a very good nights sleep.

Friday 3rd October 2014

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Where has the week gone? Another week? Seeing my beautiful wife and children is a real bonus – I can no longer take it for granted that I will see them more than one day a week these days! I drop them off at school before returning home to catch up on everything I have been unable to do for the last couple of days.

Emails and invoices take up most of my morning – it is a productive few hours. Feedback keeps coming in from the workshop on Monday and the two day training workshop. It is all good news. Despite Monday being a challenge, our client is very happy with progress. They know how hard change will be, yet they are delighted that we are making the right progress – they do not see my behaviour as insensitive – they see it as necessary.

The delegates from the two day training workshop keep emailing – some of them are telling me about the customer centric things they have done since the course ended – yesterday!!!! I wish I could share some of their immediate stories with you – but now is not the time. Safe to say that they are taking action on the things they have learned – the most successful outcome to the week I could ever have anticipated.

I have another call with a different client – not one I have worked with this week. Their challenges are different yet again. On Monday I am to present to their board of directors. We expect the presentation to be challenging – nothing new there! Some of my client’s colleagues do not think there is much to do on the CX front – we do not agree. I have just finished the presentation and am happy that I have a good story to tell to help influence them. I am hopeful that my start to next week will be a good one!

It is time to turn off the laptop for another week – the weekend is for my family – not for work. What a week it has been. The typical rollercoaster ride of a CX professional – the ups and downs are constant and continuous…..I would not have it any other way!


This blog post is part of the 2014 CX Day Customer Experience Blog Carnival hosted here:  http://community.cxpa.org/blogs/val-moschella/2014/10/07/cx-day-blog-carnival-cx-core-competencies