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

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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

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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

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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

 

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

  1. Hi Ian, another great insight into your experiences. I often use some of your comments and learnings to my students – especially the recent Etihad v Emirates blog. I emphasised that the one important message from all of it is the difference it makes when someone truly cares (FA with sandwich offer).

    In your recent blog I would just like to share my experiences and what I teach my pilot students in the cockpit (we call it Crew Resource Management) as regards different attitudes from people.

    One of my first lessons is about personalities. What, they question, is important about that? But then they realise if they can work out someone’s personality they then can work out what strategies to apply in effective communication.

    I just wonder, therefore if a group’s personality is evident (or if you can have a pre-visit to assess this) which may reflect on how you present to that group. For instance in the aviation world we employ different lecture styles to, say a group of pilots from USA to those from UK or Australia or Asia.

    Just thoughts!

    Like

    • Hi Laurie – many thanks again for your very kind words – feedback like yours makes my writing feel even more worthwhile!!

      I completely agree with you on the personality front – this is why I do advocate spending as much time ‘immersing’ yourself in a business prior to running workshops or delivering presentations. Most of the time it provides an invaluable insight in to the way future interactions should be managed – every now and then, I still get it wrong though!!

      Keep up the great work Laurie!

      Like

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