Qwst and Metricx Blog were fortunate to have the opportunity to interview Ian Golding, one of the most respected people within the sphere of customer experience.
Ian recently came to Brazil to hold a MasterClass and speak at the Wow Summit, both events of which we had the honor of sponsoring through the organization of Comunidade Amigos de CX (CX Friends Community).
Well, enough talk and let’s move on to what matters! Learning CX with Ian Golding 😊
Ian Golding is a founding member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) – He was a member of the inaugural Board of Directors of CXPA, in addition to being the world’s first professional authorized by CXPA to apply the association’s methodology in training. Ian is the author of the Best Seller “Customer What?” and has published over 300 customer experience articles.
Overview about Customer Experience – Ian Golding
Ian, thank you for accepting our invitation and taking the time to chat with us about customer experience. To start off, you have worked with customer experience for nearly 25 years. During that time you have shared your knowledge of CX with several companies, and you have written articles and books. I was hoping you could share with us a little about how you got where you are now, what were the difficulties of being a co-creator of the CX culture and why did you choose to work with customer experience?
It is such a pleasure to finally get to Brazil and to share my thoughts on all things CX with you! How did I get to where I am now? A very good question!!! To be completely honest, I now believe that doing the right thing for people in business – employees AND customers – was embedded into my brain from birth!! I genuinely have always wanted to do ‘the right thing’ – the problem, is that I often found myself in businesses that did not want to do the right thing for customers – they wanted to do what was right for them, whatever the consequences might be – to make more money!
Everything changed for me when I went to work for GE Capital – what used to be the financial services arm of General Electric. I was fortunate to join when Jack Welch was still the CEO. To say that my time at GE and Jack Welch’s influence ‘changed my life’ is not an overstatement.
Jack Welch made me realise that it is completely possible to do the right thing AND make money – and this has driven me forward ever since.
That does not mean it was easy though. Doing what is right is incredibly challenging. I worked in several corporate environments with people who resented me for doing what I did. I was belittled; patronized; ignored; and sometimes humiliated.
Yet the experiences of trying to influence those who do not believe in the principles of CX are what have made me who I am today.
Although I spent 17 years thinking there was something wrong with me, it took me coming out of the corporate world to realise that there never was anything wrong with me.
I now consider myself to be incredibly lucky – lucky to be able to share my experiences with CX professionals all around the world.
To give others knowledge, belief and hope – hope that they too can do the right thing.
I get the impression that today many things have specific names and terminology, which seemed to have been approached in a somewhat amateurish and improvised or unaware manner previously, would you agree? What has changed in CX over the last 25 years?
We live in a business world where giving everything and anything a ‘name’ is the norm. My cynical head believes that ‘naming’ things is a way of making those things commercial assets – things that can be sold. Unfiortunately, the capitalist society that drives the corporate world then leads to the same things being given multiple names. Since I became involved in the world of CX it has transitioned from:
Customer service to
Customer Relationship Management to
Customer Experience to
Customer Success, Customer Happiness, Customer Excellence……
I am sure there will be many more!
The irony of all of this is that Customer Experience has ALWAYS existed – from the second the very first commercial business was founded; it was delivering a customer experience.
Some ask me ‘when will customer experience be replaced with the next big idea’ – I usually laugh at this question – it will NEVER be replaced by anything – it has always existed and always will!
I would like to ask you about your experience giving this Masterclass and speaking at the
I cannot believe my visit to Brazil was just over a month ago – with everything that has happened since, it feels like three years ago!!
However, the wonderful week I had in Sao Paolo will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Having never visited South America before, I was not quite prepared for the passion, enthusiasm and desire that faced me.
I was quite literally blown away by the excitement for CX that I saw. I have never seen such a large group of people so eager to learn. To see 400 people at the first WOW summit was inspiring – I have never smiled so much – partly from never having been asked to take so many selfies!!!
Will I return to Brazil in the future – you try and stop me!! I want to return as quickly as possible – and to demonstrate that, as I cannot travel, I will be holding a one day CX Masterclass specifically for Brazil on the 5th May – a virtual event – but the next best thing to actually being there!
Here in Brazil the CX market continues growing every year. New positions are being created, and much has been done towards improving the client’s journey. Based on your visit to Brazil, could you talk a little about your perception of the Brazilian customer experience market and the way we approach CX here?
Based on what I have seen and learned, I am extremely excited for what can be achieved in Brazil. Whilst it appears as though the evolution of CX is in its early stages (compared to other parts of the world), the energy and enthusiasm I witnessed will undoubtedly see CX maturity advance at a relatively fast pace. What is so positive, is that there is not just a desire to learn, but a desire to do something with what has been learned. What I want to see in the next twelve months are senior leaders of big corporations learning too – learning about CX and bringing CX into their daily language and decision making.
Regarding listening to customers in general: How can Voice of the Customer affect a company either positively or negatively?
Voice of the Customer (VOC) is a critical competency of the profession that CX has become.
VOC is a ‘fact’ based representation of the EFFECT of everything an organization does – it should enable an organization to understand what works or what does not work in the eyes of the customer. However, the success of VOC is hugely reliant on how it is captured – far too many are NOT capturing it as an accurate representation of the truth – and as a result, are drawing the wrong conclusion from it.
The danger of this is that too many are failing to act on VOC in a way that will serve to improve the way customers feel.
In a world where any customer can share the way they feel with thousands, if not millions of others in a single ‘tweet’, VOC could quite literally lead to the success or failure of a business.
Continuing on the subject of measuring Voice of the Customer (VoC). What are the main reasons why organizations are incorrectly measuring the Voice of the Customer?
I could spend a whole day talking about this!!! I will keep it brief – apart from too many using measurement systems like NPS (Net Promoter Score) incorrectly, the biggest two reasons are:
- What is being measured is NOT representative of the ‘end to end’ customer journey
- Feedback from ALL customers is NOT being captured – from customers who complete their journey AND customers who do not!
What would be a step by step process for companies to build a successful plan for collecting feedback from their customers? Which KPIs should be used?
This is a very good question – one that I will respond to as ‘bullets’:
- You must know what the customer journey looks like first – ‘end to end’
- Design the feedback mechanism to ‘fit in’ to the journey – it is a touchpoint in its own right
- Consider how you can capture feedback ‘throughout’ the journey – from customers who continue AND customers who do not
- Consider which channels would be most suitable to capture feedback in each stage of the customer journey
- Us the VOC KPIs that will best capture the ‘truth’
- Never rely on one KPI alone – to draw the right conclusion, you need multiple measures
The world is constantly changing and consequently customers are impacted by offers, experiences, products and services on a daily basis. With that in mind, what are the biggest challenges for CX professionals in the years to come?
The biggest challenge for CX Professionals is actually the current challenge – and the past challenge! How to keep CX at the top of the agenda – in some cases, on the agenda at all!
We still live in a world where money talks. Executives will do whatever they can to hit the numbers and keep shareholders and financial markets happy.
There is still a long way to go for many of those executives to understand that focusing on CX as a long-term business strategy is the most effective way of delivering those numbers sustainably.
This is why CX Professionals must keep going – educating; influencing; convincing – the lack of knowledge of CX competencies is still hugely significant – it is our role to share knowledge and apply a structured, rigorous approach to CX to ultimately make the management of it INTENTIONAL!
In your opinion, what will be the main customer experience trends in the years ahead?
Two things in my opinion:
- Humanity – continuing to remind organizations and the world of business in general, as to how important the human connection is. Embedding empathy into the corporate world so the way we treat customers and each other is caring, understanding and humane.
- Technology – without losing the human connection, there is no doubt that advancing technology – if applied for the right reasons – will make customer experiences ever more accessible.
What advice would you give companies about how to provide a positive experience for customers?
It sounds so simple – if you want to give customers positive experiences – experiences they remember for the right reasons – you MUST give your people the ability to THINK and ACT in the interests of the customer – every time they do anything. If this is supported by a CX Framework, incorporating a CX Strategy, a positive outcome will be completely possible – a sustained focus on CX AND the sustainable growth of the organization.
We are nearing the end of our interview but I feel I should mention the Covid-19 pandemic that has been impacting the lives of thousands of people and companies. What are the challenges companies are facing during this pandemic? How can we work with customer experience, employer experience and patient experience during this time?
Outside of wartime, we are living in the most challenging time in living memory. Aside from the tragic loss of life, we are facing into the biggest economic disaster the world has ever seen. Employees, customers, business owners, shareholders, governments; are experiencing things they would never have expected to experience. Jobs and livelihoods are at stake.
What we have come to expect as ‘normal’ living standards are going to change. For many, their dreams and aspirations have been snatched from them.
From weddings, to that once in a lifetime holiday. Teenagers having their final year of school halted – no final exams – no prom – no celebration of the end of one chapter and the start of another.
Most regrettable of all – not even being able to say goodbye – to Moms, Dads, Grandfathers, Grandmothers, Brothers, Sisters, Sons and Daughters.
At times like this, there is only one way to think about customer experience – not as CX, but as HX – the HUMAN EXPERIENCE. Out of all bad can come good – if this crisis can teach us to become better human beings, then not all will have been lost.
In conclusion, how does Ian Golding define customer experience?
In as simplistic terms as possible, customer experience is the representation of everything an organization does that enables the delivery of its goods and/or services to the customer.
Ian, I appreciate your time and participation in our blog. We hope to see you again soon here in Brazil.
Note¹: I would like to thank Bruno Guimarães of Comunidade Amigos do CX for putting me in contact with Ian Golding.
Note²: Click here to access the interview in Portuguese.
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Qwst is a company specialized in developing and managing market intelligence solutions and consumer experience surveys. We use methodologies such as satisfaction surveys, NPS®, ConJoint, MaxDiff and Worthix.
In our 18 years of operation we have implemented over 1,000 projects for both national and international brands, specializing in new services, on-line tools and methodologies which guarantee complete and up-to-date solutions which enable our clients to obtain better financial results due to the improvement in customer satisfaction and loyalty.
In 2012 we established a partnership with the world’s largest dashboard platform – TABLEAU. We are also leader in the implementation of CEM (Customer Experience Management) projects in the Brazilian market and the first Brazilian company licensed to use the Worthix methodology. Furthermore, we are the first consultant firm in Brazil to bring valuation techniques for the calculation for Customer Experience Return On Investment. Talk to a Qwst specialist and improve your results.