CEO Blog



It ain't necessarily so

Anne Marie Forsyth, CEO, CCA
25/08/2017

Ken Cheng won the 10th annual Dave's Funniest Joke Of The Edinburgh Fringe with: "I'm not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change."

The joke, from his show Ken Cheng: Chinese Comedian, won 33% of a public vote on a shortlist of gags picked by comedy critics.

I have to confess I prefer a good belly laugh and something a bit more obviously funny, but Ken’s contribution does makes you think. 

According to critics, this year's festival was a fusion of comedy and deep thinking; after all there is no shortage of content with Trump, May, Brexit, North Korea, the falling pound and awful terrorist atrocities. Comedy has always played a role in creating a safe space to say otherwise unspeakable things, but it appears that even comedy has become more of a serious business.

Another funny that made me think was the story about a ferry traveller arriving in Southampton asking a fellow passenger if he knew the distance from Southampton to London. The reply was “No, but I know the distance from London to Southampton I've done it many times”. The ferry traveller scratched his head, “it will be the same distance surely?”, to which the other guy said, “not necessarily, after all there are 359 days between New Year and Christmas but only 6 between Christmas and New Year.”

Ok it's a bit cheesy but it really made me think about all the assumptions we make about the certainty of one fact automatically proving another. Particularly when we have a few variables in the air at the one time (who doesn't?) and no real anchor to measure the real what was, or is, benchmark.

There's been much coverage this week about the GCSE results, because the whole programme has changed it's really difficult to know whether it's the changes or the pupils which have caused the overall results to dip slightly. Does the focus on final exams rather than course work favour boys more than girls as one enthusiastic commentator suggested, 'as fact' on the media?

Over the last year we have noticed a significant increase in the volume of enquiries about 'what good looks like' in customer experience. It's a bit of an old chestnut with a renewed focus. What lies behind it is a real frustration about an inability to pin down performance against moving goalposts of new communication, channel integration, legislation, new systems, and of course the realisation that the measures in place are not always reflecting customer sentiment accurately, despite being well intended. Even worse as we all know, the wrong measures unchecked can drive the wrong behaviours to tick the boxes rather than improve brand performance.  

Gaps in customer service arise when a customer’s expectation of the service doesn’t match up with their actual experience. How can you quickly identify these gaps and minimise service disruption? In other words, how can you shift your entire organisation one step closer to actual customer needs? A serious issue and certainly not one to be laughed at!

However, CCA can help ‘close the gaps’ that exist in your service offering through a new fun, but constructive session that brings team members together to identify and action a series of recommendations to get you one step closer to customers. Using a balanced scorecard approach, we review a series of internal customer service functions and activities, and create an action plan to support customer service excellence. For further information contact katie.white@cca-global.com.