August/September topic

Posted on 13 Jul 2017 by Carl Lyon

Reward and recognition - time for personalisation?

Tuesday 8th August and Tuesday 12th September 11.30 – 4.30
Quo Vadis, Dean Street, London W1D 3LL

Are you recognised for all the good work that you do? How should you reward your employees? And do these strategies have the intended effect?

If customer experience (CX) has taught us anything, it is that customers value personalisation. Personalised experiences are perceived as more authentic, and therefore have greater influence over behaviour and buying decisions.

Yet we are only just beginning to understand how employee experience influences CX. Our recent topics on the role of HR and in CX have revealed that reward and recognition strategies are a powerful lever in influencing employee behaviour. But approaches to rewarding and recognising employees have so far failed to reflect the increased personalisation experienced by customers, leading to a potential risk of disengagement and underperformance.

As customer, employee, and digital experience mature, reward and recognition strategies must also evolve to match the sophistication and personalisation that CX is achieving. While tried and tested initiatives such as ‘employee of the month’ have had some positive impact, these formats increasingly lack the personal touch expected by younger employees who want to feel genuinely valued for their work.

During this topic, we’ll be asking:
•    What is the difference between reward and recognition?
•    What do both terms mean for millenials, and how do they influence behaviour?
•    Should we be rewarding the person or the employee?
•    What role does ‘thank you’ have to play? Is this reward, recognition, or something else entirely?
•    Who should be thanking who? And should this be done publicly or in private?

Join us to remain at the forefront of customer experience. RSVP 

June/July topic: Independent Employee Experience

Posted on 16 May 2017 by Carl Lyon

Should we be considering employee experience and customer experience separately?

Wednesday 7th June 10am - 4.30pm The Aviator Farnborough
Thursday 6th July 12pm - 4pm Quo Vadis London

Our previous topic explored the potential benefits for customer experience of a better understanding of the HR function. During the sessions, it became evident that there is a growing need to consider how the experiences of employees shape and influence customer experience. Specifically we need to ask the question: should customer and employee experience be considered together or viewed independently of each other?

There are two trains of thought. The first is that happy employees make happy customers from the point of view of their interaction. But there is a growing perception that developing a more comprehensive understanding of employee experience can drive a more consistent approach to people, and therefore to customers.

The second perception is that employee experience has the potential to change HR in the same way customer experience has changed customer service. Using the same tools and methodologies, HR has the ability to generate the insight and understanding that could truly elevate employee experience as a company priority.  

Several forward-thinking companies, most notably First Direct, have succeeded in elevating employee and customer experience to ‘people experience’. Businesses that acknowledge the impact of employees’ experience on customers can achieve greater clarity of purpose and understanding. Moving to people experience opens the door to the development of perpetual experience, an approach that helps you ask the right questions for your specific context. Exploring employee experience is therefore a valuable way to help businesses respond to a rapidly changing environment.

Some of the key questions we will be considering are:

  • What is employee experience, and what is its role in customer experience?

  • What are the factors that influence employee experience?

  • How can placing greater focus on employee experience help businesses achieve their objectives?

  • And lastly, should employee experience be viewed independently of customer experience?

Book your place at the table to stay at the forefront of customer experience.

Reflections on Digital CX

Posted on 12 Apr 2017 by Carl Lyon

Digital CX: game changer or distraction?

Digital is a people problem.

Our first topic of 2017 revealed that people feel threatened by digital. Many different functions, groups and communities within organisations are fearful of big data and automation, and by the rapidly changing digital landscape. Call centre staff fear being replaced by chatbots, managers by dashboards, and product experts by knowledge bases. Even leaders themselves feel undermined by the rise of social networks and knowledge sharing platforms such as Yammer.

When discussing digital, there is also a tendency to head for extreme examples as we try to visualise what ‘digital’ means for us. We end up talking about driverless cars, the rise of robots, or other data-driven solutions that will fundamentally change the world. But it’s much more difficult for people to identify exactly what digital means for their organisation, and to discuss practical responses that are appropriate for their specific context.

The good news is that, at least for the foreseeable future, we’re finding that people have a more and more important role in the development of organisations. We humans are increasingly essential because of our ability to understand customers’ context. Our ability to understand context enables us to provide the right data, ask the right questions, educate the algorithms and set the business rules for AI.

More importantly, humans are also the best way of dealing with the people element in all these interactions. For example, front-line staff often want to deal with people issues rather than technical issues. Managers want to manage people rather than data. Leaders want to be free to manage their people, but from a perspective of having more knowledge.

Making your business more human

To keep people engaged, it’s therefore important that digital is perceived as an advantage and not a threat. Organisations should be using technology to do more innovative work or increase capacity, not simply reduce operating costs. The only work that should be automated is the work that people don’t want to do, or work that overloads their cognitive capacity.

Let’s say that a company is generating 10,000 hours a month of work. The digital advantage means that 5,000 hours of this work can be done by machines, extending the total capacity of the organisation to 15,000 hours. Technology is freeing up the humans to be more human, and to do the creative work that brings new innovations and adds more value to the business.

Digital can free employees up to do the things that add value to them and to the business. It can – and should - make businesses more human.

Shifting to a digital mindset

Surprisingly, some of the more ‘human’ brands are the ones that are finding it difficult to adapt to a more digital environment. Organisations can find it uncomfortable when data reveals the disconnect between what people say they will do and what they actually do. Often, the introduction of digital tools provides new evidence for what is really happening, and this can at first be disorientating – especially if it contradicts what we believe to be true. Tools that reveal actual sales conversion rates or data on real world call resolution are common examples of this.

So if digital is challenging the mindset of all the people who work in our businesses, our businesses need to adapt accordingly. But how?

Here are some things to think about:

  • Don’t ask if digital is changing your environment, ask how.
  • Use customers’ data with respect, and with good intention. If you don’t use customers’ data wisely you will rapidly destroy their trust and risk losing them.
  • Focus on how you can reduce effort for your customers and for your employees. Reducing effort underpins the digital mindset, so reducing effort for customers and employees must be the primary objective.
  • Make sure your business really understands the difference between customer service and customer experience. This means we need to understand our customers’ actual needs, not how these needs are interpreted through current product and service standards. Step away from the method of delivery and look at the core need.

And remember: adopting a digital mindset means changing the game, not just the tools.

March/April topic: How can HR amplify customer experience activity?

Posted on 21 Feb 2017 by Carl Lyon


Tuesday 28th March RSVP Full day, Farnborough
Thursday 27th April RSVP Half day, London


For years now, we have known that the value proposition for employees is changing. While salary will always be a consideration, we are increasingly seeing the rise of fulfilment and purpose as important motivations for a workforce.

But can we even call them a workforce? Or are we just looking to employ people?

If customer experience activity is to bring about lasting change, the CX function must engage more effectively with Human Resources. The leaders in UK CX were combining customer and employee experiences several years ago by focusing on ‘people experience’, so this is not a new trend. But as experience increasingly becomes a key differentiator both within and outside organisations, there is a growing need to understand and fulfil the expectations of newer, younger employees in order to create a suitable value proposition.

This shift forces us to consider how we motivate people. While many companies have prided themselves in their pension scheme and their working environment, what behaviours do such considerations drive? And are they the behaviours that will drive the results we want?

At one extreme are companies with a frantic working environment - high pressure, high energy, and high stress. While some employees prefer this kind of environment and thrive in it, they know they will eventually burn out. At the other extreme we have the gigging economy, where workers are more concerned with flexibility and how much the role will strengthen their personal brand.

As experiences become the driving force of activity in organisations, there are opportunities for the CX function to become increasingly involved with the HR function. HR could well be the function within an organisation that is changing most quickly, and it is integral to the sustainability of all digital transformation initiatives. If companies are to deliver excellence in customer and digital experience, they must listen to the needs and expectations of new hires and learn how to respond effectively.


Discussions on this topic will focus on:

  • How can customer experience benefit from a closer relationship with HR?

  • How can we detect a changing landscape in our company?

  • How should we change our approach to recruitment?

  • How can HR help us bring about sustainable, lasting change?

  • How do we engage a broader range of employees in customer experience activity?


Book your place at the table to stay at the forefront of customer experience.


Making digital experience work for you

Posted on 7 Feb 2017 by Carl Lyon



Digital technologies offer almost limitless opportunities for customer experience. Which is great, but at the same time not terribly helpful.
At the QoE, we’re halfway through our first discussion of 2017  focusing on digital experience. A key observation emerging from the first session was how easily we jump to the extremes when discussing digital experiences.  Developments in artificial intelligence, drone deliveries, and driverless cars are all very well. But these extremes can make it difficult to focus on what digital means for our company and our customers.

Making good decisions

Should we strive to be bold and deliver state-of-the-art digital experiences? Or should we use digital to make marginal gains that will incrementally improve the lives of our customers? How do we identify what is the best course of action in the specific context of our business? To make effective decisions, we need to

  • obtain a clearer picture of our customers’ evolving needs
  • understand the extent to which our business can fulfil those needs

If we align these two criteria, we can give customers what they want (a good experience) while also satisfying the needs of the business (a cost-effective and relatively easy response).

What is your experience?

So how do we get to a place where we can see clearly what to do next, and engage employees effectively in the process? Or, to be more precise, how do you do it?
We want to hear about your experiences in this area. How are you bringing your approach to customer experience into a ‘digital first’ environment? What specific challenges and opportunities does digital present for you, your company and your industry?
If you can spare a few minutes we’d love to hear your opinions. Book your place at the next discussion group, or just send us a quick email or message on social media.

One last thing – if you haven’t yet got a copy of Carl’s book Perpetual Experience and you’d like one, just let us know your address and we’ll put a signed copy in the post for you.


There’s always something going on. ..


It all starts with a conversation, call, email, link or tweet. Or send us a message, we look forward to hearing from you.

Next Event

QoE CX - 8 August London
QoE CX - 12 September London
QoE CX - 18 October London