Craig Pumfrey – Welcome to The CX Chat with Matt and Simon, the podcast series where we talk about the hottest topics in customer experience. Now for the keen eard amongst you I am clearly not Matt Dyer or Simon Thorpe. My name is Craig Pumfrey and following The CX Chat tradition. I’d love to get your feedback questions and suggestions for future topics. You can also find us in all the usual social places. Just check us out at hashtag #TheCXChat. So for this week’s podcast, we thought we’d change up a bit and ask Matt and Simon to give us a mini earful and talk us through their journey give us some insights into the best bits of The CX Chat. And if we’re good to them, we might even get a sneak peek into season two. Gentlemen, Hello and welcome to your podbooth.
Matt Dyer – Hello.
Simon Thorpe – [Laughs] It’s very odd been on the other side of the questions. Well done Craig.
Craig – This is payback time, guys. Pay back. So Simon we’re gonna get straight to it because this is a mini earful. It’s not a full podcast edition. So according to sabiogroup.com when asked to describe yourselves, you said two blokes with bags of enthusiasm for CX. Both with big opinions and lots of passion for the industry. So that’s a really great mission statement. Simon, how did that translate into this podcast series?
Simon – It stopped that slogan hasn’t it. It’s um it’s something that people often ask us about. And so it’s been a passion project this from from Matt and I for a while now. So um, so I joined Sabio a couple of years ago and, and Matt and I kind of instantly connected I think around our joint desire to kind of learn more meet interesting people be part of the community that is the customer experience groups. And we we were very keen to try and create something that gave an audience continued access to, you know, helpful ideas and topics and themes that that could help them on their daily lives. But we were also very aware that a lot of the people that would find this interesting spend their entire life firefighting or in meetings, really struggling for time. So, so we did a bit of research and the podcast Matt is a big fan of podcasting. And he mentioned that as a potential medium as a good way of, you know, people getting access to information that could be downloaded in a format that lended itself to them, you know, using it when they’re at the gym or going for a walk or whatever it might be.
Matt – Yeah, just think on that same and it was kind of prior to lockdown, we talked about it, but we just didn’t get the time to execute on it. So having the opportunity to do it, I think has been really kind of exciting. And hopefully, you as a community have gotten a lot out of it.
Simon – And it’s definitely one of the best things we’ve done in that for quite a while and the remit really was try find really interesting people that had something to say try and mix Topic wise, find people that we’d have a chat with, that we’d get on with. And I’m really so chuffed with the audience. I mean, and, and so, you know, with all of the feedback and reactions we’ve had, and I’m so chuffed with a guest, because they’ve all come with a really kind of lovely attitude to it. And given some brilliant anecdotes and stories and ideas, it’s been fascinating to learn.
Matt – And I think the key thing for me is given some ideas that you can actually take away and action against, which I think is important. I listen to a lot of podcasts. And that was key to kind of why I wanted to do it, get some ideas, get some insight you don’t haven’t done yourself before, and then act in it.
Craig – And I think also, from a listeners point of view, as well. I mean, a lot of people have been really, really engaged particularly on the social channels. So this isn’t just about the podcast itself. It’s about how people are following up and discussing you know, the issues that are really affecting them on a day to day basis. But Matt I want to I wanted to focus on you for a little bit because I know you’ve got a lot of background here. You guys have covered a massive amount of ground in season one and I wanted to really jump into some of the highlights here. So, talk to me about Episode Five because you you covered a lot during that you talked about Dior and Givenchy you know repurposing their factories for hand sanitizers, brewdog in your neck of the woods in Aberdeen doing the same thing. In that episode we even even on the fact that you were, you know, part of a support team originally at Sabio. And then you guys hit us between the eyes with the story of Dr. Andrew Muir Wood Meals for the NHS. Talk to me about that.
Matt – Well, I really enjoyed that session we had with Dr. Andrew Muir Wood, I think a standout quote for me was I think he said, fake it while you make it, which I really loved. This episode meant a lot to me as well. My brother being a nurse in the NHS was directly touched by some of the work the guys did as part of their kind of the business that they created and and the altruistic nature and the community driven business. This and the testament to kind of their initiative and really struggling times. I think another thing that we took and everyone could take from it was the principles around creating a minimal lovable product, governed by the key or key guiding principles that everyone understood. So if they did veered off path in terms of the project and the objectives, they could come back to the Northstar, and get back on track in terms of what they were meant to be doing as an organisation. So I think when everyone’s embarking on a CX project, whether small or large, they could take a lot of the learning from Dr Andrew Muir Wood and his team, in terms of, I guess, delivering projects that they have.
Simon – The thing that I loved, I mean, obviously, it’s a brilliant story, they’ve raised huge amounts of money for for what a brilliant cause and it also executed and kept all the business alive around the around the sourcing and delivering the food. But the thing that really inspires from that session was taking a kind of design mindset and turning and spinning up in a matter of days. It kind of personified agile working, you know, they were running the whole thing from WhatsApp, they were, you know, they got some really smart people together and created a kind of business principle that often will take you years to manifest, you know, speed, being nimble and delivering and executing, it was just the kind of personification of what you can do. If you put your mind to it.
Matt – Now you’re gonna see some of the themes they talked about, kind of we we surface in other podcasts that we have. So for me, it was very much around being an environment where they felt comfortable having views and opinions. And that sound that very kind of nicely in terms of what Sandra talked about and the psychological safety aspects. Yeah, it was a really interesting podcast, that one.
Craig – Yeah, it was such a great story and such a great cause. And again, from the listeners point of view, it really surprised a few people. It wasn’t a standard customer experience story it had, you know, really relevance in what everybody was experiencing at the time. So, brilliant episode. What I’d like to do now, though, is I’d like to bring us back to episode one, if I may. So Simon, you know, we kicked off with your very good friend, Amy Scott. And she kicked the whole thing off with a very, very simple statement. Her statement was, people will never forget how you made them feel. And that was so true of the NHS episode, which we just talked about. But tell me more about the episodes in the podcast series where you took on the more emotional aspects of CX.
Simon – That’s a great question, Craig, we’ve got to give a shout out to Amy because bless her, I mean, she is a dear friend of mine, but she also put her, you know, a very enviable reputation on the line to jump on the podcast and be our first first guest. And it was brilliant. I mean, that gave us a lot of confidence to push on. And you know that with the format and how we would do it so, so big thanks to Ames for kind of setting the standard ready. And I mean, we’ve I reckon you could probably divide up the podcasts and we did this quite purposely in two. So half the podcasts have been around team about mobilising teams and culture and employees to be able to deliver largely around a kind of agile and mobile service experience. And then the others have been about more about transformation, and particularly focused around how do we deal with, you know, the mother of all necessity to change and transform around COVID crisis. And so, drilling down to the kind of emotional the first podcast was all around, do customers actually want convenience over a kind of emotional connection? And I think we resoundingly agree that they want both. And to get to that kind of emotional state where customers actually remember something about that interaction, you have to build the kind of culture of, of teams that are delivering that CX journey. And the only way you can do that is really by tapping into, you know, really well thought through learning and development programmes. Really You know, solid employee engagement and practices, great culture. I mean, Matt just touched on Sandra Thompson’s psychological piece there, that was kind of a revelation to us. We’ve never heard of it. And it makes complete sense and ties into loads of kind of motivational and, and kind of, you know, best practice working environments. So it was everything was really trying to link back to this idea that, you know, you’ve got to be continually adapting, you’ve got to be listening to your customers, and you’ve got to try and create a culture of positive working.
Matt – Yeah, and I think just on the Amy point she made the sort of sentence about the situation is bad the way it’s handled, determine how you feel about the company. And there’s a great example quite recently with wire card he went into receivership at the weekend, and people couldn’t access their money. But the way a lot of these organisations handled that significant aspect of people’s lives and that they can’t get the money. I think it will make them Customers for life even though it was a really negative situation to be in. So that really took me back to that podcast and the kind of the ideas and themes she talked about.
Simon – And what was nice was we tried to interject it and I hope we hope that this resonated with the audience that we tried to get a kind of consultancy view, kind of, you know, practical, kind of how do you build a strategy view and then we try to interject with guests that we’re, we’re kind of living and doing so, you know, someone like Rob flower, who was, you know, worked to some epic businesses Amazon and wayfare, and you know, is it Blue Nile at the moment, you know, really living the life, you know, like Nathan, who is a consultant now, but, you know, spent many years had to volunteer at Walmart, Asda, great to get the, the kind of doing principles of what this feels like, if you’re in an operation.
Matt – And I think Nathan had the best quote of the whole thing, didn’t he? The watermelon metric. And if you don’t know what that is. Go back and listen to that specific episode. Briliant.
Craig – Which is of course available on sabiogroup.com for anybody that wants to go listen to it. And I think you know what one of the other things that came across very clearly was that especially around the emotional connection, it’s all very, very subjective. And all of your guests seem to seem to explore their issues from very, very different lenses and very, very different experiences, which gave the whole thing a really, really well balanced feel. But right now I’m going to move on because this is the mini earful it’s not the full episode, let’s talk about some of the highlights around the actual practicalities around creating brilliant customer experiences. So, Matt, you know, we’ve been working together for years now and we both know that if you want something to feel natural and spontaneous, you’ve got to plan it. So take us back to Episode Four with the Agile service piece.
Matt – Yeah, it’s a good question. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, Craig. So Amanda Reynolds talked about agile which is really topical at that point in time, so organisations were a lot of distress, they couldn’t answer calls, they couldn’t do self service. So a lot of organisations quite quickly had to pivot towards an agile way of working, rather than kind of using a waterfall method. So when we talk about doing a lot of preparation before we do a project, I totally agree. I think what organisations need to do though is think slightly differently and approach it differently in the Agile model, you still need as much prep work to kind of execute on it. But the mindset in terms of the winning and Amanda talked about this in terms of how you need to execute needs to change. And Sandra kind of in her specific podcast as well talked about this as well. If the mindset and the leadership’s not in the right place, and they’re always pointing the finger, you’re not going to be able to deliver agile projects. So that’s something really kind of a strong theme that I took away from that specific episode.
Simon – Do you know what was really interesting in that that kind of block? If we’re chunking episodes up, you know, talking to Amanda, talking to Jonathan, talking to Al, and the thing that really jumped out at me and I think I asked every one of them was how do you get that c-level buy in, you know, you’re trying to make make some moves around transformation. And I think I mentioned this the fragility of enthusiasm, which I which I love that phrase that he coined this idea that people get bored very easily. So even if you win them over initially, unless you can show almost instantaneous results, people lose interest. And, and particularly, Jonathan, Amanda’s perception about how you engage with the c-level. I mean, they effectively, you know, our executive leaders themselves. So how do you make sure that you get budget? How do you you know, deliver against expectation? How do you kind of, you know, drive different stakeholders to a common goal that really stood out for me and I think was one of the reasons why a lot of transformations fail because they don’t have people don’t have those skills.
Matt – Yeah, big one I took away from that was was about listening. Jonathan George, you could just tell from the his kind of the way he talked and the way he spoke, he’d been there and done it. He talked about going into an organisation listening to the people, because they typically always have the answers. But then when Al talked about kind of start telling a story, he probably knows how to frame the situation and kind of land it with the relevant people. You can’t have one story that kind of lands with everyone. So that was probably the key thing for me is have a story but adapted depending on who you’re talking to.
Craig – So what I’d like to do now is kind of addressing the the issue of the fragility of enthusiasm, Simon, I’d like to thank you so much for your time today, but we can’t leave it without asking that that very simple question. Season One is complete and has gone down really well. What have you got coming up in season two?
Simon – You know, it’s getting really exciting actually. Because when we did this, it was a bit of a pun and I you know, shout out to the company we work with Sabio. They’ve kind of let us get on with it. And, and, you know, just run it as we think will be interesting for for an audience and shout out to the audience for giving us lots of feedback to help tailor it. So season two, I genuinely I’m super excited about it because we’ve got a really good blend again of, of kind of practitioners, people that are in industry, and people that have kind of, you know, just got a long legacy of experience. So we’re going to kick off with Kate Russell. So she is a very eminent journalist, I’m pretty sure most people will know Kate, from being on Click and on the news on a almost daily basis, you know, she is someone that really does know her onions in terms of technology, and you know, what that looks like in a kind of environmental change, and how businesses should be contending with different perspectives about technology and the the kind of evolution of, of people’s use of tech. We’re also and I think the second episode there’s going to be the main man, the rock star of CX, the number one CX influencer, James Dodkins. I just think I’m a huge fan of his. He’s just a really cool guy. He just, I think makes things sound human, talks a lot of sense, great fun, loads of charisma. So two fantastic guests to start with, I’m not going to give too much away because we want to, we want to be able to use a bit of this on social but, you know, to kind of really kind of industry, guests that are joining us very early on, one of them is going to talk to us about how they’re driving and implementing and building an emotional customer experience programme in their business, one of the biggest businesses in the UK. So to get some practical, how are they doing the do it’s going to be incredible. And one of them is going to, another guest is going to give us some real insight from the front line. So she was in a unique position to actually be in the front line of the the kind of people that service customers time and time again from one of, if not one of the biggest, and most well known brands. So, so really exciting guests but the fact is, you know, we’re not doing this with any particular agenda. So if people want to get in touch if they want to hear stuff, let us know. We’re having the best time ever doing it. We’re learning. And you know, we’re engaging with lots of cool funky people. But the whole principle is if people are getting value out of it, great. We’ll carry on if they’re not, or they want us to do something different then they’ll let us know.
Craig – Brilliant. And then any final words from you, Matt?
Matt – No, I’m just really excited to get stuck into series two.
Craig – Excellent. Well, all I can say is you must have a really great team behind you to enable this fantastic podcast. So at this point, I’d really like to thank you both. What was one of my lockdown highlights and of course it will continue into whatever the new normal is for all of us. I’d also like to do a little shout out to Jenny in the Marketing team for making you two sound great and keeping us straight on all of the organisation required behind the podcast. And of course you know your listeners for joining you guys on on a weekly basis. We can’t do it without you guys. So we hope you’ve enjoyed it. Keep your questions and thoughts and topics and ideas coming via social at hashtag #TheCXChat. Take care, stay safe and thanks for tuning in.