The inaugural International Customer Experience Awards is taking place this November 20 in the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam.

The gala event will reward the world’s most customer-centric businesses and organisations, that will be judged by an expert panel of key global CX industry figures.

Among these judges are the 2018 International Customer Experience Awards Ambassadors, each representing his or her country at what will be the planet’s biggest ever celebration of CX. In this special series, CXM World is publishing exclusive interviews with – and opinion articles from – the Ambassadors, as the event approaches.

The closing date for entries is August 23. For more information on entering the awards, click here.

Ambassador: Daniel Ord

Country: Singapore

Occupation: Founder and Director of OmniTouch International

Hi Daniel. Tell us about your background and what drew you towards the concept of CX

I started off in the contact centre industry nearly 30 years ago. Like most of us in contact centres, I entered the industry by accident after a career in finance.

The rigour of running a great contact centres involves knowing operations, people, leadership, business, and of course, customers. Some of the things I hear people talk about today in the context of CX, we were talking about back in the 80s, 90s, and early 00s. I like having that perspective.

After setting up my own consultancy in Singapore in 2001, we focused heavily on contact centres and customer service. We also taught customer relationship management quite heavily in the early 00s.

But as I kept coming across the terms ‘CX’ or ‘Customer Experience’, we modified our company’s tagline to ‘We help & inspire you to create great Customer Experiences’.

Roughly around 2006/2007 we developed a full-fledged course in Customer Experience, backed up by agencies of the Singapore Government.

Over the years we modified and updated that program along with trends in the industry. Now we deliver a full CCXP Exam Preparation Workshop/Customer Experience Management program around the region.

It’s something we’re very proud of – mastery in contact centre, customer service, and Customer Experience – as they are all interrelated but quite different.

You’re a judge and Ambassador at the ICXAs – what themes do you hope to see in this year’s presentations?

As an ex-Finance person I’d love to see some business cases that prove the value of CX. I’d also like to see more qualitative research activities and how those have contributed to calibre of CX delivered.

I’m also keen to see how culture is taking shape – what’s working and what’s not. Lastly, I’m always keen to hear ‘lessons learned’, i.e. we tried this or that and it didn’t work so we moved on. Sometimes as a judge some presentations can feel too polished – and that’s not how real life works. 

What aspects of CX are popular among businesses/organisations in your country?

I think that in the Asian markets where I work most, CX as a business strategy is not yet very developed. You hear the term a lot, of course, but I find it is mixed up with customer service.

Even though there’s a lot of CX know-how available, it is distributed very unevenly (a phrase I borrowed). A few organisations are clearly ahead, but most are in the laggard or late adopter stage.

As we know, adding CX to your job title or department doesn’t make it so.

What areas of CX could be improved in Singapore?

Voice of Customer work: both quantitative and qualitative – and learning to accept results as is, instead of pushing for a score

Culture: to move from hierarchical to flatter organisational structures with better engagement 

Service quality: to move from compliance to principles-based service

These are just a few areas I would mention, based on our consulting and research work in particular. 

What does the future hold in terms of CX? Can you offer any predictions, based on your experience, for the coming years?

I think firstly people will begin to understand the difference between Customer Experience and customer service, and they will realise that CX covers so much more. That’s fundamental!

Then I expect that the role of the CX professional will ‘professionalise’ more.  I think certification has a big role to play here.  

I also think that people will learn how to ‘influence’ and increase skills around change management; building slowly and even self-funding improvements as CX gains a foothold within an organisation.

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