Tag Archives: Beth Richardson

Storytelling, stopwatches and suspense – a judge’s eye view of the UK Financial Services Experience Awards 2016

Working with Lexden I was delighted to be a judge at the awards 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.

fs cx awards

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.

The Standard Life team collecting their award on the day.

standard lifeSee more on the event at: http://f-x-a.co.uk/meet-our-judges/#sthash.VBMuCgvI.dpuf.

Posted by Beth, Associate Consultant with Lexden Group.

Lexden helps deliver effective customer experience strategy and solutions 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. 

With customer experience design, functional is good. But don’t stop there.

“Focus on the whole journey, not just the transaction”.  In the world of Customer Experience (CX) you will hear this phrase frequently.  But what does it mean?

It’s the difference between a task and a purpose.  The difference between a user story like the one above, and meeting a customer’s overall goal.  It is important to understand the difference between the two, because how you frame the interaction determines how your customer will experience it.

This is perhaps best illustrated with an example:

The background.  You are a lifelong customer of Locality Bank.  Your parents took you in to the bank open your first account when you were a child, and you remember how you felt when a moneybox was presented to you as a thank you.

Your dealings with the bank over the years have always been consistent, efficient and straightforward.  You don’t usually give banking too much thought, often using online services.  It just happens in the background.

But recently you decided to strike out on your own and start a business.  This is new and uncharted territory, and you are looking for help to get started.  Locality Bank are the first people that spring to mind.  You phone them to make an appointment – you don’t want to leave anything to chance.

Scenario 1.  The person who answered was fantastic.  She knew exactly what you were looking for, apparently quite a few customers are in the same boat, so they have put a package together just for people like you.  She invited you to come in , walk through how everything works, then decide which elements will work best for you.  She knew you had been with them for years, so they know you pretty well.  There will be very little form filling, and lots of talking about your business and what excites / worries you most about starting up.

Scenario 2. The person who answered was polite and efficient.  She asked if you would like an appointment to see a new business adviser.  You  asked whether that was the best thing, but she didn’t have any other options, so you booked an appointment anyway.  She promised to send a pack in the post which you can fill in and bring along.  It will help the Bank assess your suitability for a business account.  You felt a little unsettled by this.   What if they can’t help?  If you can get through this stage, it’s another step towards your little business getting up and running, but you will look at other options just in case.

Scenario 1 leaves you reassured, and looking forward. Scenario 2 leaves you anxious and looking for a plan B

We’ve all encountered these scenarios, where we’re left feeling a certain way by one supermarket/airline/store/bank and completely different by another.  It’s something you can’t put your finger on, but it makes you feel…something.

So why the difference?

In scenario 1, the business understood this customer’s whole journey.  The history of the relationship, their context right now (nervous excitement), and their goal (I want to start my own business, I need help to understand how it works).  It was efficient and easy, but it went beyond the transaction and delivered the total experience – which was reassuring, empathetic and human.  Almost as if they were standing beside this customer when she made the call.

In scenario 2, the business focused purely on delivering an efficient, easy transaction for their customer.  The customer’s goal is likely to have been framed as “I want to make an appointment to speak to a new business adviser”.  Nothing wrong with this – efficient and easy is the foundation of a good customer experience – but they were looking at the wrong goal…

It was all about the bank, not the customer.  The experience was functional, and process-driven, and left this customer feeling unsettled.

 Customers are human.  We all have complex brains.   When I set out for the supermarket I can be very task focused and impatient; I want to get in and out quickly (rational).

But I also equate food with home, and making people happy (not so rational).

Perhaps what I am really looking for is kudos from the family – a hugely effective distraction from price labels, and the reason why I often come out of the supermarket without the items I went in for (completely irrational).

So how do we avoid falling into the trap of designing purely functional journeys which miss the point for customers?

Map the journey.  From the customer’s point of view.  Journey mapping is a brilliant method of stepping back from the minutiae and seeing the whole picture:

Map the journey.  From the customer’s point of view.  Journey mapping is a brilliant method of stepping back from the minutiae and seeing the whole picture:

  • Get close to customers, in the moment.  This helps you to understand how customers think (and ex-customers, and near-miss customers)
  • Decide how you want your customers to feel, and what you want them to say about you.  What does your brand stand for?
  • Use journey mapping to show where you are hitting the mark, or not.

Journey mapping helps to clear the mist, so you can design interactions with purpose, which meet their true goals and deliver the total experience.

Reproduced with kind permission by Beth Richardson, Lexden Consultant – helping business get closer to customers.