CEO Blog



A time to ask ‘why’

Anne Marie Forsyth
05/07/2019

Earlier this week I visited the Marble Arch Caves, a series of natural limestone caves located in the beautiful countryside of County Fermanagh, Ireland. 

For me this was a big step; I’m not very comfortable in confined spaces, particularly underground! The trip was worth it - an incredible experience to be somewhere which has only been open to the public since 1985 but is like a whole other world beneath us. Locals have known about the caves for hundreds of years, but their existence became a superstitious, ghostly folklore; it wasn’t until brave explorers descended into the spaces that the extent of the 11.5km of space became known and documented.

Stalactites and stalagmites formed marble-like, magical formations, some positively life like. These incredible creations grow at 1cm every thousand years; the oldest visible stalactite was a quarter of a million years old! 

A mysterious yet calming atmosphere filled the caves, one where time takes its own time, uninterrupted by the speeded-up pace which forms the basis of our lives in the real world. It was a glimpse of natural evolution, majestic in its glory, a reflection of natural evolution without the intervention of progress. It got me thinking about the contrasting relationship between the natural pace of change and the relentless pace which dominates every aspect of our lives today.

At our recent Industry Council Thought Leadership session one of the main questions that was posed for boards to consider was around how organisations actually prioritise new technology initiatives. In other words, is there a clear strategy around what they won’t do in addition to what they will. The group expressed frustration about the need to stay abreast of growing, new technological opportunities presented to them - ‘just because we can doesn’t mean that we should’. 

Our conclusion was that everyone needs to be involved in identifying the problem, and having better due diligence in the decision-making process about what to invest in. Critically, there’s a growing imperative in making sure that the “big transformation” project doesn’t block out the light from numerous smaller changes identified at the front line, many of which can make huge differences for customer experience.

Sometimes it’s tempting to consider how we would structure our customer service operations if we were starting from scratch and nothing was in situ. The reality is that most organisations are unable to start from scratch, some have literally hundreds of systems in their ecosystem that have to be considered. 

It’s unlikely that progress will halt, we won’t go back to the cavemen of the past, however perhaps we need some fresh thinking about how we process manage the why in order that we succeed in the how. 

Taking on that challenge of new thinking will be the focus of our Annual Convention this year as we consider the Future of CX to 2030 – one not to miss so get in touch if you’d like to know more.

Have a great weekend!