Tag Archives: awards

How I won without even entering the UK Customer Experience Awards

IMG_4794On 25th September I sat down to watch five heavyweights of banking take each other on in a battle of customer experience supremacy. Visa, RBS, NatWest, Virgin Money and Nationwide presented their customer experience initiatives to me and four fellow judges. As MD of Lexden, an independent customer experience agency, I am used to working with senior stakeholders to demonstrate the advantage of improvements. But that didn’t stop me feeling anything less than extremely privileged to chair the group.

The whole day is a genuine pleasure for several reasons, which as MD of Lexden justifies me taking time out of the schedule to enjoy the event. By the end of the day, even without a drink, I felt like a winner because of what I’d enjoyed and gained from the day. Here’s why…

The Judging format

As judges we receive the written entries a couple of weeks before to review and grade. Then on the day each company presents their entry. It’s then you get to see the passion for putting the customer first and can share the challenges they’ve had to get to this place. It’s inspiring and makes you realise we work in a brilliant industry when you watch the fabulous entries unpacked and presented for customer and commercial benefit.

Variety of organisations competing

Having judged discipline awards such as direct marketing, PR and loyalty you find companies are separated by size as well as sector. With the CX Awards all sized companies can compete alongside each other for categories such as ‘best use of customer insight’ or ‘team of the year’. I was chatting to a team from a smaller finance processing house who had been up against high street brands from other sectors, which made them feel great even though they hadn’t won on this occasion. The reason this can happen is unlike many other disciplines, the customer is the common currency here, which results in such diversity.

It’s also reflected in the occupations of the guests. Where else do you find Professors of Psychology rubbing shoulders with bank tellers rubbing shoulders with marketing execs rubbing shoulders with customers and their dogs (yes – that is right, Eurostar brought a customer and their pet dog along to support their case study).

Wonderful people

IMG_4800On that point of ‘broad cross section’, there is still something that every one of the 2,000 people Awards International attract (and wonderfully look after) at this event has in common; everyone is genuinely passionate about putting the customer first. Some awards collections were delayed as the recipients were in floods of tears such their commitment to that cause. It was emotional to see how much companies want to do the right thing.

Of course it’s more than just interesting for us at Lexden as an Independent Customer Strategy Consultancy helping clients to achieve just that.

Surprising guests

I saw many clients, former colleagues and friends at the event. But two stood out for me because they have offers which are not core to customer experience, but highlight how this area really is growing into a leading industry in business and marketing.

IMG_4807I met up with judges, Jo and Kate. They run a growing recruitment company called CX Talent DEDICATED to customer experience. The importance of the DEDICATED bit can not be stressed enough. Having helped a client recruit a customer insight and customer experience team from a generalist recruiter before it is a nightmare. With two minutes I could tell they knew their onions and their text analytics and their NPS from their EXQ. No recruiter should be without them!

I also met Millie and her colleagues from Boost Marketing. A company dedicated to helping people win awards – what a job! They are fiercely secretive about who they work with but they seemed to be smiling an awful lot when winners were announced. My conclusion being they are very successful at what they do! The conversations I had at our table with Millie suggested a real depth of understanding and interest in CX, which is reassuring if you appoint them to help shape your award entry submissions or help with your award entry presentation,

So there we are, why I enjoy these awards so much. Fortunately the industry is growing and with the quality of submissions each year improving I conclude we are in good shape too.

I am looking forward to helping clients win more awards and judging even better entries as the event which celebrates the very best the CX industry has to offer.

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Managing Director, Lexden Ltd

Lexden helps deliver Customer Experience Strategy and Management for clients seeking sustainable profit from customer experience.

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to Lexden’s ‘Customer’s World’ Update for ideas, inspiration and insights to improve your customer strategy endeavours. 

For further information on how we can help with your customer challenges contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call M: +44 (0) 7968 316548 or T: +44 (0)1279 902205.  You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or read client testimonials and case studies at www.lexdengroup.com.

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It’s official, giving at Christmas is still more rewarding than receiving

Last week I attended the DMA Awards at Old Billingsgate market. I was there as a guest of the DMA and a presenter of one of the awards categories. But more than any awards I’ve attended in the past I felt like the winner on the night. I’ll explain why…

Let me be the judge of that

I’d been asked a few months before to chair the judging for one of the sector categories; financial services. Having worked with over 30 financial brands across Europe, I don’t mind admitting I was flattered. A harmless nod of acknowledgment of my twenty years working in marketing (1), much of that in financial services and some previous judging experience. Following a precise and diligent briefing from the appointed invigilator, along with my fellow judges we settled in to review nearly 30 entries. And under the organised conditions and precise nature of the task I felt 100% in control (2); a rarity in today’s often frantic and demanding marketing environment.

IMG_5602[1]The best of the best 

As we poured through the nominations measuring them equally for strategy, creative and results excellence, it dawned on me why the next 3-4 hours would be a special half day in the working calendar. I would be reading and enjoying what the marketing industry’s finest (FS Finest rather than Tesco Finest) had to offer (3). As I read each entry I was captured by the various magic moments the teams must have been through; the client intention, the creative craft, the planners deliberation, the production finesse, the analysts analysis – all working toward this moment. A moment that now I was enjoying the magic of. The entries were of a high calibre; such is the attraction of the dmas. And when I left The Cumberland (above) for the category judging and then the Lateral Group following the Gala Prize judging, with Wayne Hemingway residing this year, it reaffirmed my belief that there are some brilliant people and ideas in our industry (4).

The gospel according to Stephen

IMG_6066[1]On the night of the awards the compere was Stephen Mangan. I’d seen Stephen run his corporate patter past the Loyalty Awards crowd a few months earlier, so I felt a little short changed at first. But then I recalled that at the Loyalty awards I’d spent much of the time listening to my fellow table guest talk about a new opportunity or something (I forget to be honest) and being a bit too accommodating to say ‘shhhh’, I half listened and nodded politely – which meant I didn’t fully hear Mr Mangan.  So this second chance allowed me to this time give it my full attention. And I am grateful I did. It was very witty and a well polished performance. Stephen proved if you can get your message (and pitch) perfect, you can re-use it again to great effect (5) – as Mr Mangan, delivered with as much conviction and energy as he did the previous time. It proved if you can connect with an audience on an engaging topic such as  ‘savour the moment when you win, it may not come along too often’, you can connect with the emotions of the people on the room rather than their egos (6). I’ll hold back on the content as it really is worth seeing Mr Mangan at work.

All present and correct

IMG_6087[1]When the awards ceremony began and the winners started to arrive  on stage to collect their gongs, I could sense their excitement and appreciate what that meant from afar, having recently read through the entries. And when it was my turn on stage to present an award, I ensured I’d learnt my ‘walk on’ drill to perfection; a new experience quickly conquered (7). I walked on the stage to a small cheer (#unexpected – but it was the 3rd to last award so maybe spirits were a little high). When the winners of Best User Experience came forward I was beaming with a sort of undefined pride for the winning team from LIDA (one agency I haven’t worked with before). I realised that I’d earned my place on the stage, like they had. Winning awards in the past certainly was enjoyable, but not nearly as rewarding as giving one (8).

And the winners is…..me (on the right)

In my opinion, from this encounter I gained as much as anyone else:

1) Recognition of experience

2) Stay in control of the outcome

3) Be surrounded by the best

4) Have Profession pride

5) Recognise the power of a good story

6) Remember emotional engagement is a powerful force

7) Instant learning occurs at age

8) Seeing others succeed is most important

If I can apply the above on any given day in the office, it’s a great day. I very much enjoyed my latest judging expedition, and for the reasons of receiving inner fulfillment explained I hope I get to give again and again. If you get the opportunity, put everything you’ve got into it and see what you get in return.

Posted by Christopher Brooks

Lexden is a marketing strategy agency which creates unordinary propositions to motivate customers and deliver commercial advantage for brands.

For more information please contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com  or call us on T: +44 (0) 7968 316548. And you can follow us on LinkedIn Facebook and Twitter @consultingchris 

Who we work with…

clients mar 2013