It’s been one of those days today, I feel terrible, and it’s all about one of my customers. I won’t go into too much detail but, my customer was far from delighted and, it comes on the day that I have to submit this blog. Ironically, I am writing about customer experience.

Jeez I can certainly pick my days, but my feelings of regret gave me the realisation that we are not immune to making mistakes however, the difference is I want to make it better.  I thought about The Lorax from Dr Seuss’s books, who said “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.”

Everywhere I turn there are companies screaming out for new customers. On my tube journey home last night there were ads plastered across the inside curve of the tube wall from a bank, in fact my bank, a bank I have been with for over ten years. The flash and attractive ads were offering a ‘cash for custom’ incentive for opening up a new bank account with them. What about me I thought? Your loyal customer for many years?  Have you forgotten about me? Where’s my incentive for not switching?

This may well be an example of how a customer can be negatively affected by something as rudimentary as a fairly common advertisement on public transport. I assure you that my feelings towards the ads would have been quite different had my bank bothered to develop a meaningful relationship with me after I became their customer.

The term customer experience is starting to become such an overused phrase, but what exactly does it mean? To some it means getting what you need when you need it and delivered promptly with empathy and succeeding in the all-important ‘first call resolution’. For me, this also includes admitting mistakes and turning around a bad experience which, is one of the main differentiators.

McKinsey, the world-famous consultancy firm, recently reported that the savviest executives and the brightest of CEOs are asking themselves what customer experience really is and how it relates to their business. Leading companies understand that they are in the customer experience business, and they understand that how an organisation delivers for customers is beginning to be as important as what it delivers.

Executives can now gain rapid insights into building customer loyalty, and by empowering employees, investing in their professional development and generally making employees happier, companies are seeing an improvement in revenue gains and a reduction in costs. This is all well and good, but it takes vision, patience, guts and investment to train an organisation to see the world through the customer’s eyes.

As you can probably tell, I am extremely passionate about customer service and am therefore thrilled to be a judge at the forthcoming UK Complaint Handling Awards in London on Friday 8 March and I am honoured to be in a position where I can gain insight into the companies entering, and learn about all the ways they have improved their customer experience.

As someone who cares greatly about the continuous improvement of customer experience and the progression of customer engagement, I feel it is both reassuring and inspiring that so many companies are taking customer experience seriously and want to be recognised for the effort they have put in to changing the way they work, enabling technology, investing in their people and understanding that a contented, happy customer, becomes a loyal customer, which in turn increases profits.

I’ve no doubt that my role as a judge will be both challenging and rewarding and, I look forward to reading the many submissions and gaining valuable insight into how UK companies are spearheading this all-important movement to improve customer experience in its many guises.