Hi Robert, tell us about yourself and your background and how you got to the CX space?
I’ve been operating in commercial customer roles for most of my career. I’ve worked predominantly in the online gaming sector, which has taken me to many amazing countries including Gibraltar, Israel & Montenegro.
I was fortunate to start working life in a company of highly innovative people, who were customer-obsessed. This set the scene for my CX passion, and I’ve never looked back.
Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so were consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?
Reviews are just one of many areas where there’s a gold mine of information. You have to respond to it and take advantage of this feedback.
We all seek online validation for purchases, so if you’ve spoken about in a bad light, the impact is significant.
Robert’s checklist for digital transformation
In your POV – What is the ultimate checklist for a good digital transformation strategy?
Less is more. Keep it simple. Do a few things to an exceptionally high standard. Above anything else, remember there’s a human at the end of your products and services.
Strive to ensure digital interactions do their utmost to replicate the same emotions and feelings if the encounter was a face-to-face human one.
Do not be seduced by all the technology that exists. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Think long and hard about the impact tech has to customers and employees. It must remove friction, not compound it.
How much has the CX role in the social distancing era – what role has a digital transformation in this crisis?
Brands have had to react quickly or get left behind in the last year. I speak to organizations who now profess to be “digital”, simply because their key products and services are available online. This doesn’t even scratch the surface. Where they offer services has changed, but the thinking hasn’t.
There needs to be an entire mindset shift. It’s not as simple as putting things on a website and then assuming you’re at the technological vanguard.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2020?
Experience data needs to be distributed in real-time to everyone in organizations. In 2020 to survive and thrive, businesses had to listen and adapt quickly. The age-old ways of monitoring customer or employee sentiment don’t wash anymore. We need ongoing and continuous listening delivered as it comes in, to aid robust decision-making.
2020 was the year of webinars and online events; what was your favorite one?
Without a doubt, the UK Customer Experience Awards, which I had the pleasure to judge at, was the most enjoyable and superbly executed online event of the year.
It looks like working from home is going to stay with us for the foreseeable future. How should CEOs gear up to the changing times?
Don’t be intimidated by change. The last 12 months have taught us we don’t know what the future looks likes.
Remember, many naysayers stated for years how remote working wasn’t feasible. Now, it’s celebrated by many of the same organizations and people.
We are at a defining time for what work and the working environment look like. Listen to your people. Be open-minded. Find solutions that work well for you all.
People’s habits and opinions of work have changed. We must respect this and work with employees, not dictate solutions to them.
Can you tell us a bit about why you launched Experience Activists?
It’s born from a desire to challenge convention and outdated approaches. I believe experience improvements to be one of the best differentiators a business can have.
Its impact on financial outcomes is well proven. I’m now working with organizations that want to change and put people first. It’s an exciting time for organizations who now acknowledge this is the way to build truly sustainable growth.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
I’m not really a fan of conventional metrics. I understand why they’re adopted. My favorite means of evaluating how an organization is performing is to speak to customers 1:1 and listen intently.