Believe In Better...
This is of course the strapline used by leading entertainment company Sky, providing a focus for them in content creativity, customer, employee and stakeholder engagement. It was certainly visible at our final 2016 CCA leadership forum on Wednesday, where more than 50 customer service leaders were hosted and wowed at the fabulous Sky premises at Osterley in London.
Believe in better was a central tenet in Mathew Syed’s presentation to the group, as he challenged us all to improve our leadership skills to better represent the true voice of customer, by acknowledging that things can always improve. Being curious, tenaciously seeking support whilst adding value across the enterprise, are central ingredients to success.
The dangers of short-termism
Matthew used sporting analogies to demonstrate the futility of short-term leadership; football managers know they have to win the next two games or risk sacking, preventing effective planning for improvement in the overall game longer term. Businesses often suffer from the same leadership deficit if goals are aligned to a particular individual’s timescale, rather than the organisation’s needs for sustainability.
We heard from Student Loans about a significant transformation plan involving extensive customer research on what people actually want from their service, and how strong leadership is required to implement improvements; even when performance is ok according to existing measures.
Mike Havard from Ember reminded the group that improvements such as marginal gains have limited use if we lack a commensurate focus on potential and existing disruptive forces in our market; examples such as Carrot Insurance were highlighted to demonstrate how a new start has totally altered the concept of once a year payment customer engagement; typical in most insurance relationships, to a continuous engagement regularly rewarding safe young drivers with gifts relevant and valued to them. He also reminded us that demographics of 20 years ahead will make our relationship with robotics essential as we simply don't have enough people to service an elderly population. Creative thinking about the relationship between the essential human touch and where Artificial Intelligence is better should be on every Board agenda.
Mind the Gap!
Strong leadership is necessary when shifting hearts and minds particularly when departments and egos are involved. The age old struggle between marketing and service as to who leads in customer experience is a familiar one. Matt Bateson from Oracle reminded the group that whilst marketeers use impressions and attention measures to determine successful campaigns for mainstream media; these methods are no longer fit for purpose as viewers simply tune in to other devices whilst ads are on, or choose ad free downloads. Ironically we ignore the millions of impressions and absolute attention possibilities available at our finger tips during billions of conversations whether voice or chat each year; instead trying to ration these to meet traditional measures. Surely an area for strong leadership to articulate the untapped value of clever real-time contact whilst the customer is actually engaged?
There were plenty of ‘ahh’ moments and lots to follow up on; critically a chance for those leading ‘always on’ operations to step outside and reset their thinking about what's coming down the line rather than what needs done today.
There are lots of profound quotes about leadership, and plenty of real life examples of good and awful all around us in the world of sport, business and of course politics. One which resonates with the CCA network is 'creating an environment for colleagues to flourish' from Iain Harnett at Tesco Bank.
For some insights and images from this and other CCA events and a glimpse of the new Convention 2016 website why not take a look at our new Facebook page.