We are in the midst of an age in which instant information is creating ever more savvy consumers.
As we enter a new decade, customers are ever more influenced by their experiences of a brand when considering a purchase. The role of Customer Experience as a profession, therefore, is so much more important than it has ever been before.
Meanwhile, for businesses to really get to know how customers behave, think, and feel, there are a growing number of CX influencers who continue to coach, guide, and inspire both company executives and the next generation of professionals to return customer centricity to the heart of their operations.
In celebration of these CX Stars operating here in the UK, Customer Experience Magazine presents a list of our Top 25 CX Influencers and Top 25 CX Professionals of 2019.
These are the people making a significant impact in Customer Experience, and who deserve to be celebrated. They will be the ones to watch as we enter 2020.
Some of our stars you will know, and others you certainly will know soon, as they continue on their career paths. Our researchers have ranked these CX Stars based on criteria including their achievements, industry activity and their influence within the UK CX sphere.
In the New Year, we will profile our Top 10 Influencers and Top 10 Professionals in more detail, offering you further insight into the amazing work they do. As CX matures from a buzzword to a vital professional realm, we are proud to be able to acknowledge those who are pioneering and making a difference. We can’t wait to see how these inspirational CX leaders grow, and look forward to discovering who will emerge to join them as CX Stars in 2020!
Directly below is our Top 25 CX Professionals list.
Scroll down further or click here to jump directly to our Top 25 CX Influencers
Name: DeAnna Avis
Role: National Customer Experience Manager at Solus ARC
Solus Accident and Repair Centre, owned by Aviva, has enjoyed a phenomenal year capped by taking the Overall Winner title at the 2019 UK Customer Experience Awards in October. Central to that success is DeAnna Avis, the firm’s National Customer Experience Manager, whose holistic approach to CX includes a focus on customer insight and employee engagement.
Name: Salman Sharif
Role: Senior Advisor, EMEA at Forrester
A former UK Customer Experience Awards judge, Salman works with senior CX leaders from FTSE 500 companies across the EMEA region.
He offers direction on how to help their company become more customer-centric by leveraging a combination of his own experience, Forrester’s research and analysis, and unrivalled peer insight.
Name: Hannah Louise Cox
Role: Executive Search Consultant at Douglas Jackson
Hannah identifies talent within the Customer Experience space to engage with for specialist roles, in order to shape business strategies and transform cultures. A passionate blogger and industry awards judge, Hannah earned the Outstanding Contribution to Judging gong at the 2019 UK Digital Experience Awards.
Name: Matt Currall
Role: Client Portfolio Director at Capita
An industry acclaimed CX leader, Matt is responsible for all aspects of customer delivery across a varied portfolio of Capita partnerships, including Tesco Mobile, The National Trust, and Vauxhall Finance.
Matt is best known for his award-winning work on the use of psychological motivation theory to stimulate emotional commitment in employees to drive customer excellence.
Name: Stuart Bishop
Role: Director of Service at Cheshire Datasystems Ltd
A Companion Member of the Institute of Customer Service, Stuart specialises in transforming teams and creating a focus on the customer.
At leading UK tech company Cheshire Datasystems, he is exploring the potential of tech including AI and machine learning, and how to combine it with a human element for superior CX.
Name: Emma Donnelly
Role: Former Head of Customer Relations at CrossCountry Trains
Emma is an all-rounder, whose leadership skills ensured CX success for one of the UK’s best-known rail franchises.
In 2018, she enjoyed a prize year, being named Inspirational Leader of the Year at the UK Business Awards, Leader of the Year at the UK Complaints Handling Awards, and Professional Woman of the Year at the UK Customer Experience Awards.
Name: Sabrina Gross
Role: Customer Success Director at Vizolution
With global experience and a passion for customer centricity, Sabrina leads a team which engages with customers from pre-sale stages and right the way through the entire journey.
This ensures they can maximise the full value of the tech solutions offered by Swansea-based Vizolution.
Name: James Hardwick
Role: Industry Director for Gaming at Oracle CX
James is a recognised thought leader and advisor for CX in the Gaming and Gambling industry.
With a decade’s experience under his belt working with both start-ups and long-established brands, James has also been recognised for his achievements through various awards.
Name: Sarah Sargent
Role: Director of Customer Experience at Radian Group
Sarah Sargent became the first Certified Customer Experience Professional in Yorkshire in 2018, and has carved a successful career in both customer service and CX leadership across Financial Services and Telcos.
She is currently reinvigorating CX in social housing at Radian Group.
Name: Nick Lygo-Baker
Role: Founding Director at Paradigm CX
Having founded Paradigm CX in 2018, Nick Lygo-Baker’s passion for delivering CX strategies for organisations was seeded in Mystery Shopping and Customer Satisfaction research. Previously, Nick lead CX research teams in the UK and EMEA working with a wide range of SaaS technologies. As a CCXP and Certified member of the MRS Nick has built some of the most innovative customer measurement programmes across HoRECA, Retail, Telco and Financial Services.
Name: Chloe Woolger
Role: Commercial Director CX at Kantar
Chloe Woolger joined Kantar this year and is developing its CX strategy for clients including Bupa, Virgin Atlantic, and Nationwide.
A solid background in marketing has placed her in pole position to help build relationships that will ultimately benefit customers.
Name: Claire Sporton
Role: Senior Vice President, Customer Experience Innovation at Confirmit
Claire Sporton lives and breathes CX, and began her Confirmit career in 2011 before being appointed to her current crucial role in 2018 – a year that saw her land a CX Impact Award, given by the CXPA to “recognise individuals that exemplify excellent customer experience and make a profound impact on their organisation and its customers”.
Name: Jamie Thorpe
Role: Head of Experience Management at Ipsos MORI CX
With over 20 years behind him as a foundation for his expertise, Jamie Thorpe has long recognised the need for brands to be connected with customers, and the customers’ realisation of their own value.
Before bringing his vision to Ipsos MORI, Jamie worked with Kantar’s Customer Experience division, holding roles including CX Deputy Managing Director.
Name: Tiffany Carpenter
Role: UKI Head of Customer Intelligence Solutions at SAS UK
Tiffany has spent over 20 years helping organisations transform CX across their sales, service, and marketing operations.
In her current role at SAS, she guides firms in the application of advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to harness customer insights and deliver relevant one-to-one experiences.
Name: Laura Bowyer
Role: Head of Customer Excellence, UK and Ireland at KFC
CCXP Laura has transformed customer service teams for family favourite brands KFC and PizzaExpress, through the introduction of VOC programmes and by creating effective training programmes for front-line teams.
Laura is also a former Secretary of the Inter Company Consumer Affairs Association.
Name: Phil Durand
Role: Director of Customer Experience Management at Confirmit
Confirmit has positioned itself firmly at the forefront of Voice of the Customer solutions, and Philip Durand’s expertise is ensuring they will stay there.
An advocate for customer insight and ‘keeping it simple’ for consumers, Philip recently judged at the UK Customer Experience Awards.
Name: Marion Ellis
Role: MD of BlueBox Partners
Marion Ellis began her CX career at Countrywide Surveying Services, which carried out mortgage valuations and home surveys.
Now a CCXP, Marion is creating an alliance of experienced residential valuers and surveyors committed to supporting the professional development of other valuers and surveyors through the Surveyor Hub online community.
Name: Sharif-Paul Anton
Role: General Manager Customer Support at Samsung Electronics
Sharif-Paul has 20 years of experience in CX, contact centres, and outsourcing.
He has worked with a number of leading brands, onshore and offshore, across numerous verticals including Banking, Consumer Electronics, Travel/Tourism, Gaming, and Retail.
Name: Iain O’Connor
Role: Senior Manager of Customer Experience & Insight at Aegon UK
Iain O’Connor is responsible for implementing a CX culture at Edinburgh insurance, pensions, and investment firm Aegon UK.
His work has included the development of in-house CX Labs, a CX Academy, and the creation of closed loop feedback and social media channel Aegon Cares.
Name: Christina Liciaga
Role: Head of Customer Service at HSBC UK
Christina has led HSBC’s customer service team since 2017, and oversees complaints and service recovery, root cause analysis, and customer insight.
She prides herself on being “the customer advocate who drives initiatives and interventions to make our customers better off everyday”.
Name: Alison Lawrie
Role: Head of Customer Experience, Quality & Continuous Improvememt at AkzoNobel
Alison Lawrie is responsible for implementing the CX Strategy and Transformation Programme at AkzoNobel, the firm behind Dulux Paint.
Her dedication was recognised at national level in 2018 when she was named Professional of the Year at the UK Customer Experience Awards.
Name: Andrew McGuigan
Role: Director of Worldwide Customer Service Strategy at Microsoft
Before taking up his hugely influential role at Microsoft in 2017, Andrew spent four years at Vodafone, where he headed the UK Customer Services division before taking the role of Head of Consumer Customer Care.
At Microsoft, Andrew is leading the charge in placing the customer at the very centre of one of the planet’s most recognisable brands.
Name: Jo Mayes
Role: Director of Customer Operations at Business Stream
A former Head of CX at Standard Life, Jo Mayes is now making transformational changes in the water retail sector with Business Stream, and was named 2019’s CX Professional of the Year at the UK Customer Experience Awards.
Under her leadership, Business Stream has developed its ambitious Customer First Strategy, which has helped to transform its CX offering.
Name: Nick Macfarlane
Role: Head of Customer Experience at Sky
Currently Head of CX for Sky in Spain, Nick has a long and storied career in Customer Experience, including several years delivering world class digital customer service solutions for Sky’s International OTT customers.
Nick has also judged at the UK Customer Experience Awards, while Sky has also reached the finals of the event – most recently in 2019 when the brand was shortlisted in categories including Customers at the Heart of Everything.
Name: Amanda Riches
Role: Director of Professional Services – CX Consulting at Medallia
Topping our Professionals list is CX expert and Net Promoter certified associate Amanda Riches, who has enabled leading multi-sector organisations to drive customer-centric change delivering measurable business results over the last two decades.
Previously Head of Quality & Guest Insight at Whitbread, Amanda established the successful service formula that sits behind Premier Inn, the award-winning leading hotel chain, before setting up Enrich Customer Consultancy in 2008. Now Director of Professional Services at Medallia, she continues to help large organisations operationalise the voice of their customers, employees, and partners, engaging senior and frontline teams to drive action on the things that matter most.
Name: Ben Philips
Role: Global Head of Customer Experience at Neilsen
Ben Philips is, in his own words, living his “dream role”, and travels around the world working to ensure clients are becoming fully customer-centric.
A passionate speaker, Ben also spreads his CX knowledge through his writing, including contributing to a new book on CX best practise alongside 21 other global influencers.
Name: Paul Weald
Role: Director of Multichannel Customer Experience Ltd
Paul is known by peers as the Contact Centre Innovator, and is the founder and Director of his consultancy firm Multichannel Customer Experience Ltd.
An inspirational speaker and prolific writer, Paul has also judged at numerous industry awards events over the years.
Name: Chris Little
Role: Founder of BeyondCuriosity
Having successfully established BeyondCuriosity, a specialist insight and strategy consultancy for innovation, CX and growth, Chris Little has championed customer thinking for over 30 years, starting with the customer facing revolution at Barclays in the 1980s. He has been actively involved in CX measurement and strategies since.
Name: Olga Potaptseva
Role: Founder of the European Customer Consultancy
CX mentor Olga has offered expert consulting around the world, and reaches a wide audience through motivational speaking roles.
Making use of her customer-centric employee engagement framework, she leads companies in multiple industries to transform their processes, policies, and products through her European Customer Consultancy. Olga was Chair of Judges at the 2019 UK Customer Experience Awards.
Name: Karen Swindells
Role: Director at Jigsaw Customer Solutions
Karen Swindells has developed her strong skillset over three decades in customer service environments, including contact centres.
Her background as a Operations Manager with Ombudsman Services led to her becoming one of the most respected judges at the 2019 UK Complaint Handling Awards.
Name: Peter Evia-Rhodes
Role: Director of Customer Value at The Times (News UK)
In his role at The Times and The Sunday Times, Peter is responsible for increasing and maintaining subscribers for one of the most respected titles in British newspapers.
His CX approach, based on innovative speech analytics supported by award-winning data science, has been shared with audiences through Peter’s role as a keynote speaker and writer.
Name: Jo Boswell
Role: Founder/Director of Sentio-B
Jo is the brains behind Sentio-B, a consultancy firm specialising in CX transformation. Before this, she honed her skills at British Airways with a series of high-flying roles including Head of Customer Value Management.
She was the driving force behind the airline’s ‘Know Me’ initiative, a successful transformation programme that embedded personalisation at scale into their CX and service strategy.
Name: Chris Garthwaite
Role: Managing Director at CGA Experience
The MD of consultancy CGA Experience, Chris is a 35-year CX industry veteran. After a successful career driving Customer Experience transformation, including early-stage e-commerce launching Woolworths Direct and e-Kingfisher, he set up CGA in 2001.
Over the past 18 years, CGA has led the way in creating value through transforming customer journeys into compelling and commercial experiences.
Name: Ben Smithwell
Role: Director of Comotion – a Freeman Company
CX and service design consultant Ben Smithwell will be a name familiar to many in Customer Experience roles, both here in the UK and further afield.
Having founded his own Nottingham-based CX agency, Ben is also Director of Comotion, a Freeman company, while in 2015 he even delivered a powerful TEDx talk on how to tackle bullying.
Name: Donna O’Toole
Role: CEO of August Recognition
Donna O’Toole is a a Customer Experience champion through-and-through.
A writer and thought-leader, Donna now heads August – The Awards Company, where she guides business leaders and teams in improving their own CX and preparing them for awards recognition at various industry events.
Name: Simon Green
Role: Founder/Director of 3RM
The power behind 3RM Digital Marketing Strategy, Simon Green integrates communications and advertising into Customer Experience, intrinsically linking it with ‘Brand Experience’ for the benefit of large UK and global brands.
CCXP Simon helps organisations see the end-to-end consumer process as starting from brand advertising and digital personalised communications, and running throughout the cycles of pre-purchase, sales, consumption, customer service, and repeat sales.
Name: Marie Cross
Role: Co-founder of First Impressions Training
Marie is the co-founder of First Impressions Training (FIT), and a passionate CX influencer.
Through her on-the-ground role as FIT’s Training Director, Marie leads large-scale culture change projects for clients, developing the talent of front-line teams and leaders, in order to enhance CX, increase employee engagement, and improve operational efficiency.
Name: Caroline Cooper
Role: Trainer/Consultant at Naturally Loyal
An author, speaker, and trainer, Caroline is a life-long advocate of customer centricity, and regularly writes on a range of Customer and Employee Experience topics.
Caroline is the go-to authority on Customer Experience in the Hospitality industry, helping create loyal customers who will return again and again thanks to excellent service inspired by her.
Name: Stephen Parry
Role: CEO/Founder of Lloyd Parry
A name familiar to many readers, Stephen is a multi-award winning international leader and strategist on the creation of service enterprises that are adaptive, innovative and engaging.
London-based Stephen is the founder of consultancy Lloyd Parry, and has a global reputation for passionate leadership and creating organisations with superior service climates by changing the way employees, managers, and leaders think about the business.
Name: Mark Conway
Role: Founder of Contact Centre Partners
The driving force of Contact Centre Partners, Mark has been recruiting senior talent within the customer contact and CX industry since 2007.
Over the past 12 years, he has successfully placed hundreds of influential professionals across a wide variety of industry sectors, many of whom are multi-award-winning industry leaders.
Name: Claire Boscq-Scott
Role: Founder of The Busy Queen Bee Ltd
Known as the Busy Queen Bee herself, Claire Boscq-Scott is a global guru for brands dedicated to improving both customer and employee experience.
A Member of the Professional Speaker Association, Claire has toured the world to spread her enthusiasm and presented before thousands of people. She has also authored two books: Thrive With the Hive and Thriving by Caring.
Name: Nick Hague
Role: Co-founder of B2B International
As an original founder of B2B International, Nick has been at the centre of assisting some of the world’s biggest business-to-business companies design, implement, and track their CX strategy based on the grounded research B2B International carry out.
Through his work as a research practitioner, Nick knows what works and what doesn’t in getting change within an organisation and his first-hand experience led him to publishing his bestselling book, B2B Customer Experience in 2018.
Name: Michelle Ansell
Role: Managing Partner at Douglas Jackson
Michelle is based at specialist recruitment and executive search consultancy, Douglas Jackson. She has worked with many award-winning business and brands, as well as start-up and disruptor companies, placing individuals who have gone on to make significant impacts.
Her skills have served the contact centre and burgeoning CX industry for over 15 years.
Name: Nick Meinertzhagen
Role: Founder of Experiential Consulting Ltd
CCXP Nick Meinertzhagen is a passionate CX strategist, management consultant, and entrepreneur.
In 2004 he founded one of the UK’s largest mystery shopping businesses 360 Perspectives, which he sold in 2018 to Yomdel.
Nick currently runs his own CX management consultancy, Experiential Consulting Ltd, where he designs customer-centric solutions that aligns to his clients’ commercial objectives.
Name: Dr Nicola Millard
Role: Principal Innovation Partner at BT
UK Customer Experience Award winner BT has benefited hugely from the oversight of its former Head of Customer Insight and Futurology, Dr Nicola Millard. Now a Principal Innovation Partner for the brand, she has been responsible for developing human-centred innovation thought-leadership for BT Global Services’ Innovation team.
A speaker, writer and thought-leader, Nicola got her PhD from Lancaster University in 2005 on motivational technologies in contact centres, & published her first book in 2009.
Name: Clare Muscutt
Role: Founder/Director of CMXperience,
Entrepreneur Clare Muscutt is recognised as a leading millennial voice in CX, and founded her own consultancy firm, CMXperience, from her kitchen in Hackney, London.
Now a global influencer, public speaker, and soon-to-be author, Clare is aiming to bring the CX skills honed at brands including Sainsbury’s, M&S, British Airways, and Premier Inn to a whole new audience in 2020.
Name: Naeem Arif
Role: MD at NA Consulting
Alongside running successful national flooring firm United Carpets Group, CCXP Naeem Arif has founded his own consultancy firm, NA Consulting Ltd, and has penned a whopping six books, including the hugely influential Customer First.
Birmingham-based Naeem has an unrivalled knack for business leadership and a dedication to customer centricity that is making waves in the UK.
Name: Adrian Swinscoe
Role: Influencer, consultant, podcaster, author, and founder of Punk CX
The author of books including How to Wow, Scottish-born Adrian Swinscoe is an influential consultant, speaker, and coach, who says his driving passion is “helping create, develop, and grow businesses that take care of their customers in the best way possible, and create the great teams that are required to do that.”
A man of many talents, Adrian’s new Punk CX book is a radical departure from the often-dry tomes found on business shelves.
Name: Ian Golding
Role: Founder of the Customer Experience Consultancy
No stranger to CXM readers, nor anyone with even a passing interest in Customer Experience, Ian Golding is among the UK’s foremost CX experts, whose thoughts on customer centricity are sought the world over.
Along with imparting his wisdom through CX Masterclasses and in-house training, he has penned one of the most influential books in the industry to-date, Customer What? The honest and practical guide to customer experience.
Name: James Dodkins
Role: Founder of Rockstar CX
Topping the charts for CX influencers is the man known to many as the ‘Customer Experience Rockstar’, James brings his passion for CX to a global audience through his energetic speaking engagements.
As his image implies, James has corralled the energy and enthusiasm from his days in a rock band, and turned it towards the world of Customer Experience
From writing CX books, and even launching his own line of Rockstar CX-inspired clothing, James is bringing customer centricity into an entirely new era. Among his latest projects is presenting the This Week in CX show, currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Coming soon: CXM will profile our Top 10 Stars in both Influencer and Professional categories. Congratulations to all those who made it into this year’s Top 50 CX Stars!