Last week I was in Dubai where I participated in the judging process for the Gulf Digital & CX Awards.
I was also honoured to act as the Chairman for the Contact Centre & Customer Experience categories as well.
In this first of two related articles, I’d like to share my observations on the Awards process itself – and why I was so impressed with the approach that Awards International took.
In the second upcoming article, I will share my observations on the CX practices & success factors that the Awards entrants shared during their presentations.
There is definitely a lot of great work going on in the Gulf Region – with some organisations well into their 3rd or 4th year of a concerted CX strategy.
What I liked about the Awards process
By any measure, the implementation of a successful CX strategy involves a variety of innovations – both sustaining & disruptive – across the entire organisation.
But most Awards programs I’ve seen either run the same format year after year or are run as an add-on to a conference and are managed by the conference organiser.
But I believe that –
An innovative industry deserves an innovative Awards
What impressed me –
The breadth of Awards categories
With more than 25 categories ranging from the best Employee Experience, not less than 6 Digital Experience Awards, Contact Centre, multiple Customer Experience awards and more, organisations had the opportunity to put forth projects & candidates across the breadth of what it takes to achieve CX at the organisational level.
I noticed that some organisations entered multiple categories (Digital, CX, Employee Experience) while others – for example, HR Departments – focused in on Employee Engagement & well-being categories.
Project & campaign-based entries
Unlike Awards programs that feature annual ‘Best of the Best’ categories – the Awards International program encouraged entry by project or campaign.
For example in Contact Centre judging, I saw projects related to the implementation of Live Chat, specific call reduction strategies and even networking of sites across the Public Sector.
With regard to CX judging, I saw projects related to the set-up and administration of CX governance committees, delivery of experience by segmentation & personas and extensive VOC activities.
This approach allowed smaller organisations to compete (sometimes successfully!) with larger organisations for the Award.
There was none of this ‘category by size’ grouping that makes some Awards programs so repetitive with the same categories being announced over and over.
Encouraging and recognising project or campaign based accomplishments is at the heart of CX because so much is going on over such a long period of time (years in some cases).
What a small hotel chain can achieve with a digital strategy, or an employee engagement program can readily compete with that of a large bank or telecom – in fact, some of the Winners were SMEs which was very heartening to see.
In the world of CX, we can all learn from each other.
After all, CX is a journey and not a destination.
The transparency of the process
The Awards judging process is elegant.
50% of the score is awarded based on the written submission. All submissions are placed online and judged online.
All results, including comments, are provided to the Awards entrants.
The remaining 50% of the score is based on the Face to Face presentation made by the Awards entrant to a panel of Judges. These Judges are the same ones who judged the written submission.
What really impressed me was that the Face to Face judging sessions – of about 30 – 45 minutes each – are open for viewing by an outside audience.
So for example, if you have attended the Awards to cheer on one of your colleagues who is up for an Award, you can decide which Face to Face sessions that you would like to sit in on and learn practices, success factors and yes – the challenges faced – by the Awards entrant who is presenting.
Wow – talk about real learning.
Most Face to Face judging sessions are conducted in great secrecy and behind closed doors – which feels like a rather dated model in an era when everyone is taught to keep learning and relearning.
And of course, all the Awards entrants receive a full report from each Judge – including comments & recommendations.
In closing for this article, thank you to Awards International – you have developed a truly professional and robust Awards model for the world of CX.
Thank you for reading!