Working with Lexden I was delighted to be a judge at the UK Financial Services Experience Awards 2016, especially as I recalled we’d partnered the inaugural event last year. I have been on the finalists’ side of the fence a few times, but it was my first time as a judge.
If you get offered an opportunity to judge in future years, take it – I found it a thoroughly educational and enjoyable day all round. I met some wonderful people with inspiring stories. it’s the award to win if you excel at FS CX.
The awards are broken down into around 20 categories. Each category has its own judging panel – usually four or five people. Before the main event, we review written entries and complete a first round of scoring. The final round takes place on awards day itself.
The Awards day started really well – a sparkling-blue-sky, and a train which got me from A to B on time. Which is certainly out of the ordinary. During the journey I wondered what it must be like to deal with a hotel full of customer experience specialists. I expect we can be rather demanding customers.
When I arrived at the venue, Lisa Bailey and her team whisked me off for a judges briefing. I knew I would be chairing the panel for my category – Best Use of Technology – so I was extra keen to have everything work smoothly for our five teams of finalists.
I was given a timetable setting out which order the finalists would present in, a set of scoring sheets, and a stopwatch. With up to five finalists presenting in each category, the event is a logistical marathon. So timings are planned with military precision.
The panel set themselves up in a room, and the finalists appear in turn to make their pitch, and do a question and answer session, then leave the room so the judges can score the entries and note down their comments. After each presentation scoring sheets are placed in an envelope and collected by a member of the Awards team. The scores are totted up, ready for the awards ceremony and dinner later that afternoon.
Our superb six were; – Welcome Real Time, Carfinance 247, Provident Home Credit, G2A.COM Limited, Standard Life plc and LV= Retirement Wizard
After the judging stage was complete, we enjoyed a quick glass of fizz and a chance to meet people and share stories. Then it was time for lunch and the awards themselves. The trophy giving took about three hours, so there was a lot of nail biting for the finalists before they were fully able to relax and let their hair down.
And the award goes to…
While the entries in our category were very different, all of them told a compelling story about how they had made life easier for customers, and improved business performance. Many of them also talked about an influential leader who had got behind them and shouted them on from the sidelines.
A worthy silver went to Carfinance 247. But for the winning team – Standard Life – success was about people as much as technology. The careful selection of team members with the right balance of technical and people skills. The quest to build bridges between functions and suppliers. And you could see it right there in the room as they were presenting – determination, unity, and an amazing team chemistry.
We’ve all been there, in the thick of a complex project with heartburn-inducing deadlines. But managing budgets and sprints is only part of the job. Thank you Standard Life for reminding me that it’s people who sustain organisations and create change.
See more on the event at: http://f-x-a.co.uk/meet-our-judges/
Written by Beth Richardson,
Associate Consultant with Lexden Group
Get inspired just like Beth – hear the amazing customer journey stories as a judge on UK Customer Experience Awards. If you are interested in more opportunities like this, write an email to Lisa Bailey, Judging Process and Recruitment Manager, Awards International at email@example.com