Customer Experience specialist Ian Golding, author of Customer What: The Honest and Practical Guide to Customer Experience, writes for Customer Experience Magazine, offering his expert insight to help businesses improve their CX offering.
You can also join Ian for the upcoming CX Professional Masterclass.
To ask Ian a question on how to boost the Customer Experience provided by YOUR business, please email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. The best questions will be featured in future instalments…
Is it worth entering my business into awards in the UK and worldwide? How does success at such events translate into an improved Customer Experience?
Whenever I share knowledge with people around the world, I will always recommend that one of my ‘top tips’ to help develop a customer-centric organisation is to “get recognition and build authority”. There are six other tips, but if you want to find out what they are, you will have to attend one of my Masterclasses.
In my experience, getting recognition for the work of an organisation and its employees in continually putting customers at the heart of everything they do is vitally important in the evolution of a Customer Experience programme, initiative, or approach.
While it is perfectly feasible to get recognition internally, as well as receiving direct feedback from customers themselves, anything that can tangibly increase the visibility of the positivity of increasing customer-centric behaviour must be leveraged by professionals to sustain a focus on Customer Experience.
Whilst some may be sceptical of getting recognition through winning awards, I have only seen good come out of an organisation, and/or its people, in receiving recognition for the amazing work they do to embed Customer Experience into the way they work.
Scepticism often comes from a misunderstanding of the way awards programmes work. If recognition is simply ‘handed down’ to a company, without any form of independent assessment, I can understand the scepticism. However, if awards programmes are designed to challenge an organisation to present its case to a panel of industry peers and specialists, then the opposite is the case.
As Head of Customer Experience for a UK Retailer, I will NEVER forget my organisation winning a UK Customer Experience Award in 2010. It was a groundbreaking moment for both my company and my team. For the first time in the five years we had been focusing on Customer Experience, we had received independent recognition that the things we were doing were good…great even!
What meant even more was the effect winning the award had on the whole company. Finally, there was a realisation that our focus on Customer Experience was starting to differentiate us. This led to an even greater focus – with increased intensity, resources, and budget.
In 2011, a member of my team won a personal UK Customer Experience Award. It was an equally groundbreaking moment. What better way to celebrate the brilliance, passion, and desire of a Customer Experience professional? Since then, I have proudly acted as a judge at the CX Awards in the UK and the Gulf. In November, I am incredibly excited to be judging the first ever International Customer Experience Awards, which are taking place in Amsterdam.
By the end of 2018, I will have had the honour of judging around 60 companies and individuals in their attempts to gain recognition for their Customer Experience efforts. Whilst only a small number of them have actually won the award, on many occasions I have found myself approaching a finalist at the gala ceremony to personally congratulate them on their achievements.
Please note, I do not use the term ‘losing’ finalist, because without wanting to sound too cheesy, not one company that enters the awards can be considered a loser. Just being there, sharing experiences and celebrating achievements, makes every single entrant of legitimate awards programmes around the world an inspiration to others.
So the simple answer to your question is a big, fat YES! Entering any awards programme, as long as it is not just handed to you on a silver platter, is, in my opinion, something that should be incorporated into any Customer Experience professional’s strategy to drive adoption and accountability.