Its been a great but busy week with lots of inspiration and opportunities. One of the areas there is loads of growth in in my world is CX.
I did this interview with Kat Hardisty a couple of weeks ago now for a work. It’s a bit corporatey but she says some fab stuff on women, success and so I wanted to share it in the hope that it may help or inspire some of you.
Kat is a super cool chick/leader who, when working in a major kiwi bank had blue hair – which I love. She is super funky and is strategically leading a Wellington organisation in the area of CX. What is that? Well, hold that thought and have a look at Kat first;
what a woman…great photo…(thanks Kat!)
So, without the dorky/inaccurate acronyms (just use an E like) CX stands for Customer Experience which is turn just means what you and I as customers feel and experience when we interact in any way with a brand or business.
It is the new big thing because with the world being digital it is so easy to just close a page, click off and never go back or cancel and order etc if your experience of the online shop for example is not super fast, slick and consistent. In a digital world where gone are the days when we have to explain in a kind of ‘crouched -thanks very much – but I was just looking – and I don’t want to buy anything – duck out of a shop way’ we just press with little red x and we are on our way, the place of Customer Experience is absolutely essential in the long term success of any business especially retail.
In essence, it’s the stuff that makes you keep coming back – forever new, asos, dorothy perkins, debenhams, mac, smashbox – yes well there is an insight into where I sit with CX – can I stalk what I’m going to buy, can I view loadsa things on one page, how made other colours are there – omg forget nude, look at these red heels…most importantly, WILL IT COME IN TIME FOR SATURDAY NIGHT???
Lols – anyway, she says some really interesting things regarding the different perspectives of what she see between guys and girls in the workplace. Have a read and if you couldn’t be done with reading all the industry/boring to non-digital peeps bits just skip down to where I ask her What challenges do you think women face today getting into leadership?
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
(Laughs) I wanted to be a Teacher actually! Physics and English – they were the subjects I found most interesting at school. Physics because of the way things worked and English because it was storytelling. I guess for me it was very interesting – a balance between the logical and creative parts of me.
What path did you take to find yourself working in Digital?
A bit of a wandering one! I actually started out doing Physics and English at University. But then I did a Computer Science paper which I enjoyed so much, I then changed my entire degree to Computer Programing! Afterwards I did a Graduate Diploma in Design. I also did several Anthropology and Linguistics papers – those subjects have always been of interest to me.
My first job after University was a Software Engineer. Then I joined a start-up and found myself working on UI work and getting frustrated working with mostly young men where there was nobody talking to the customers and their needs. I was constantly having these arguments about what people want before development and how important it was to be aware of that.
One day I had lunch with a friend who was working at BNZ . I was talking about a website CMS I was working on and how much I was enjoying working directly with the clients. I discussed with her the connection between people and technology and as we were talking she said there was a job going where she was and the role was a Usability Analyst at BNZ. This role was in Wellington and I ended up getting it really on the basis of a combination of things in my background – tech and anthropology and linguistics. I have never looked back.
I always enjoyed problem solving and now I solve problems about people. Right now what is cool is that I bring in more anthropology, organisational psychology and theory around the creation of organisation culture into my work.
What are the current Digital trends in your industry?
There are couple of key ones…CX has grown in a last few years. It has moved from usability to viewing things more holistically.
First, there’s currently a big trend around service design – looking holistically at the overarching experiences that customers have, including touch points that you don’t have control over
Second, there is a cultural aspect –looking at the culture of an organisation and how it is important to set the culture up in such a way that it supports and enables the delivery of the CX you’re aiming for.
The third, and the slightly frustrating trend is the blend of CX and UI design. There is an increased demand for CX people in NZ and this is disastrously combined with a lot of companies looking for the unicorn candidate that just doesn’t exist. They tend to look for someone who can do everything from Design to CX and I have seen a lot of advertisements looking for a combination of research, wire framing etc and “pixel-perfect” design. These skills sets require two different types of training background and you cannot expect people who design to also test. In my view, as soon as someone has created something they are emotionally attached to it and they cannot research objectively. I find this quite frustrating that companies do not realise this.
Where do you see the biggest opportunities in your industry?
A lot of people want to get into it and there are organisations wanting CX people. This means that there is a big opportunity for someone to develop and train people properly.
The value add is everywhere in terms of CX, we see it in Health, Air NZ, Government and service design agencies are popping up everywhere. City councils are getting interested as well and the Energy sector. Banks are the forerunners – ASB, BNZ and Kiwi Bank are doing a great job. CX is not confined to any special area and consequently it is spreading out and getting traction in all these different areas.
If you could have any job in Digital, what would it be and why?
I would love to be more involved in creating, shaping and nurturing cultures for organisations. Looking wider I would love to do that in a humanitarian type way that helps rather than hinders. I am drawn to something that makes a difference.
What mantra or philosophy plays a centre role in your thinking and approach to life
Something that I remember often is to focus on the problem not the solution and the context of this is important. The idea is actually to understand the problem rather than just go with the solution straight away – take time to understand the problem before you try to come up with different ways of solving it.
What challenges do you think women face today getting into leadership?
Often our own conditioning. You look at kids clothing and pretty t-shirts with princesses. Boys are taught to be strong and courageous and the girls are encouraged to look pretty and be quiet. Society puts value on women for helping and supporting and on men on achievement and strength. Even in performance reviews, studies show that 70% of feedback for women is on their personality and very little feedback is given to men in terms of personality. I have had this all the time. Hiring policies as well are something that are very interesting, again studies show that guys go for roles based on what they think they can do 40% well and with women its 90%. Guys rate themselves on potential and girls rate on current capability. This is the challenges that I think women face and the sad thing is that it is self-perpetuating. In my view, women talk up what they don’t know and guys will talk about what they think they know. To overcome this challenge requires a high level of conscious awareness.
What is the one thing/attribute that has made you successful
Empathy and big picture thinking.
Empathy because I can see different points of view and I make a concerted effort to do so which translates into business as well e.g. reframing to make sense to the customer rather than just have my output fall in line with my thinking.
Big picture thinking. I am a systems thinker and I can think quite far into the future e.g. in 5 years I ask myself where this company is going. My strength is that I can see where they are going – it is important for organisations to have this self-awareness.
What unique things do women bring to the table in a leadership setting
Different ways of seeing the world. The more diversity of perspective exists, the more successful organisations will be. Variety means information and information means that the job or the work can be done better by any given organisation.
Finally, if you could invite any 4 people to a dinner party (alive, dead, famous or not), who would they be and why?
She is an young adult fiction author who develops very strong female characters and breaking down gender based roles. In essence she hinges on feminism equality and a very engaging way and I would like to get an insight into the workings of her mind.
Corporate Anthropologist – to talk about his work
I just think she is a very interesting character, very creative. She created her own path and she is quite private and I just think she would have some wonderful things to say.
Well she just strikes me as a very strong woman and again I would like to know more about the workings of her mind!
Lynn Crean is a Senior Consultant – Digital & Software Development at Davidson Technology, New Zealand