Hi James, tell us about yourself and share some background about Momentus (and its founding story)
Of course! Let’s go back about 15 years. I had spent almost 10 years believing that great things would come to me and my career development if I kept my head down, said yes to everything, and waited my turn to be ‘chosen’ for whatever came next. It took a stress-based ‘moment’ of a breakout of psoriasis to open my eyes to the hamster wheel life I was living and taking some control.
I sought a coach to help me help myself, and well, the rest is history! I spent the next 10 years being more focused, more in control of my career development, and learning how to be the very best I could be. I discovered I was great at helping people see their own potential, and I achieved this through coaching, training, or presenting/speaking.
At the end of 2015, I seized the ‘moment’ to leave the corporate world and start my own business. As you may have picked up, the word Moment is important. It’s all about preparing for, seizing, and making the most of a Moment. And that’s where Momentus came to life. What I’ve especially enjoyed is working with organizations from start-ups to established businesses across a variety of sectors to embed sustainable customer experience practices and leadership capabilities.
How much has the consumer sentiments changed in your space during 2020, and how will 2021 look?
Interesting question. As a B2B provider, I saw businesses react very slowly during 2020 in terms of how they handled the relationships with their consumers, and as a result, the experience they gave. In a world of unknowns and uncertainty, and no answers, businesses shut down lines of communication and made it harder for their customers to engage. This created consumer frustration – and so the businesses that adapted quickly, or rose and shone, became the heroes.
With the majority of consumer journeys needing to be fulfilled in an online virtual world, consumers became not only defined by segment but also by capability and confidence (in themselves and in the businesses they rely upon).
2021 will bring acceptance. Acceptance in consumers that business will be conducted differently for the foreseeable future. Acceptance in businesses that things aren’t “going back to normal,” and so they need to adapt or say goodbye. For me, I continue to show my clients that we can conduct business together seamlessly without ever having met face to face. I’ve worked with the board of a major electrical retailer since November 2020 to create a high-performance culture, yet never met any of the Directors face to face. I’m coaching individuals from the UK, Australia, and Brazil, and again we’ve not met face to face. This is how things will be to a greater or lesser extent.
In your POV, what are the most important KPIs you use to measure customer experience benchmarks?
You know what, KPIs like CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) and NPS (Net Promoter Score) are great for measuring how customers feel, but it’s generally a moment (see, told you everything is about a ‘moment!) in time and a set of many brilliant interactions with a customer can be tainted by one bad interaction, which invariably is what a customer will remember most.
CES (Customer Effort Score) is good for measuring how easy it is for customers to engage with your products or services. High effort experiences are proven to have a negative impact on CSAT and loyalty.
One thing we encourage businesses to consider is their own level of CX Maturity. We look at 6 key areas of vision, leadership, customer, culture, design, and governance. Excelling in these areas within an organization will deliver greater returns for customer and commercial KPIs.
How much has the CEO’s role changed in the social distancing era – what role digital transformation has in this crisis?
In our eyes, the role of the CEO hasn’t changed fundamentally. But, it has become even more important for them be ‘virtually’ visible and inspiring, sharing their vision, business performance & progress for the organization and also holding their leaders to account for ensuring great communication to their people. Social distancing doesn’t change that. A great CEO would understand what their role is to play in motivating their people and would go about doing that in socially distant digital world.
Digital transformation agendas have been brought forward for sure. And there’s two elements to this – the digital journeys a customer can take with a business, and the digital world in which a business’ people operate. Many businesses were focussing more on the former than the latter! A global crisis has accelerated the need for people to work digitally and changed the way businesses engage with customers.
How is Momentus transforming the customer experience landscape?
I would say there’s two key ways we’re doing this. Firstly, I referred earlier to our CX Maturity model. We’re using this to hold up the mirror to businesses and transform how they genuinely view customer experience. No longer can they pay lip service. Consumer choice and loyalty have been disrupted over the last year and now is the time for businesses to make themselves the number one choice and create unwavering loyalty.
Secondly, we’re enabling businesses to master their virtual communication in this digital world. We’re rapidly losing count of the number of training events we’ve run helping businesses maximize their communication channels, truly listen to customers and create the right outcomes first time, every time. We’ve run these events ourselves, with our partners and in-house with clients and they enable immediate positive change.
We are extremely passionate about helping businesses link their employee engagement and customer engagement, which is what drives our three service offerings towards developing great leaders who inspire & motivate high performing teams, who understand the importance of delivering brilliant customer experience.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2020?
Do. Not. Procrastinate. If you take too long to react, to think of alternatives, or to give your customers what they need, then it’s game over. Take what you know, what you have, what you can offer, and very quickly turn it into solutions for your customers and solutions for your people.
We (virtually) held the hands of my clients as we went into the start of the global pandemic in March/April 2020, and we kept each other honest. We ended 2020 with more clients, more business, and more conversations about making the impossible possible.
2020 was the year of webinars and online events. What was your favorite one?
I really enjoy podcasts and listen to ‘The High-Performance Podcast’ with Jake Humphries and Professor Damian Hughes. If I’m allowed to creep slightly into 2021, I would say my favorite webinar was by Professor Hughes, where he presented a summary of all the key insights and learning from all the previous podcasts. I don’t think I’ve ever written as many notes in one hour!
It looks like working from home is going to stay with us for the foreseeable future. How should Executives gear up to the changing times?
I love this question. I’ve personally been a ‘homeworker’ since pre-2000. Yes, it was painful; working over a dial-up modem that would seem like a slug right now was not fun, but more importantly, it has allowed me to learn how to balance my time AND understand the conditions in which I work at my best. And that’s the point – executives need to gear up by enabling and encouraging their people to be able to work at their best.
They need to consider trading the monies previously spent on office space, real estate, and travel expenses for better IT products and services for their people to work and collaborate smartly and productively. They need to invest in developing their leaders and managers to be confident in managing teams remotely, demonstrating trust, and being able to leave people alone to get on with their jobs.
With over 20 years' experience in diverse sectors such as telecommunications, travel, insurance, banking and FMCG, James understands the challenges of working in large, multi-functional…
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