June 2024 Newsletter

Jo van Riemsdijk and Kate Baird are delighted to bring you our next edition of the CX Talent Ltd Newsletter. This month we are so pleased that the truly wonderful human being who is Helen Wilson – Global CXO – CX, Channel Performance & Global Service Line Organisation at Ipsos shares her thoughts and professional insights with us.

Helen has significant leadership, CX and research experience and is a frequent speaker, chair and judge at industry events. Helen has been in the industry for over 25 years, and has helped leading brands design, orchestrate, and ensure they are delivering great CX. She has held various ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) leadership roles across Ipsos, and is a trained business coach.

Helen – you’re the Global Chief Experience Officer (CXO) for Customer Experience, Channel Performance and Global Service Line Organisation at Ipsos – what does that entail?

I ‘wear a few hats’ at Ipsos, which means I get to work with our brilliant Ipsos teams across the business, across the world, supporting them to deliver great experiences for our clients; to help drive greater impact in their organisations. In the case of my Customer Experience role, specifically, ultimately we’re about helping our clients deliver a greater Return on their CX Investment (ROCXI); helping them increase customer retention, share of spend, advocacy and doing all of that in an operationally efficient manner.  I get involved in shaping our offer – which spans CX research, technology, analytics, and advisory services,  equipping our people to deliver on our brand promise, and ‘shouting loud’, so thought leadership and marcomms sits with me too.  Needless to say, our Customer Experience teams works hand in hand with our Employee Experience teams!  Channel Performance is about improving the performance of physical, digital and contact centre channels, another key aspect of the Customer Experience, of course!

Having been promoted six times in ten years at Ipsos you are clearly doing something right, what skills do you feel that CX leaders need generally to focus on leading change at this level?

I attended a fantastic Ipsos event many years ago, at which one of the speakers spoke about the skills needed to succeed in the future (and current!) world of work.  If you were that speaker, please do give me a shout – I’d love to credit you and talk more! That message stayed with me and is one I repeat, including to my four daughters as they prepare for their futures. As for those skills – for offspring and CXers leading change alike: empathy, resilience and the ability to orchestrate!  Fundamentally, CX is about building strong relationships with customers – creating emotional attachment that leads to those desired customer behaviours.  Understanding customers is the starting point – empathy rules!

What would you say are you favourite moments in terms of CX in your career to date?

There’s a long list, but I’ll keep it short here: brilliant relationships with brilliant clients; helping to ‘unlock the potential’ of rising stars; being surrounded by people I learn from very day – Ipsos is a ‘talent magnet’, so I get to work with the best of the best; and I do get a buzz out of standing on stage and talking CX! Watch out for our Ipsos LinkedIn Live CX event, on 25 June, 15.00 BST. Marko Ivanovic, Haleon’s Global Consumer Relations Director – Digital Strategy and Innovation, and Ipsos’ Nicholas Mercurio, Helen Bywater-Smith and I, will be exploring how the world of Customer Experience in products is evolving. We’ll consider what brands in this space, including Direct to Consumer (D2C), need to consider to enhance their Total CX management, measurement, design and delivery – to drive those desired consumer/customer behaviours and that ultimate Return on CX Investment (ROCXI).  For more details on the event – see the link at bottom of page.

Ipsos is #1 for CX Insights. What characteristics and specific skills do candidates need to have to be successful in CX at Ipsos?

As well, as being CX experts, we’re researchers, technologists, analysts, advisors, relationship builders, storytellers, data scientists, ethnographers, designers … and more besides.  You get the idea!  Ipsos is in 90 markets, across 220 cities.  There are 20,000 of us, partnering with over 5,000 clients. We need all sorts of characteristics and skills! At Ipsos we aim to recruit, develop and retain the most talented multi-disciplinary employees in the industry – to help them to achieve their career goals, to feel valued for their contributions, supported by technology and engaging leaders.  We’re continuing to grow and would love to hear from great CXers.  I loved a recent comment from our CEO, Ben Page, who said when asked about facing future challenges: “I know we’ll succeed because of the flexibility, adaptability, ingenuity and above all the overall commitment of Ipsos people”.

You’ve been the Chair of Judges for the European Contact Centre & Customer Service Awards (ECCCSA) for the past few years – what insights has that given you into the world of contact centres and customer service?

How long have you got? Seriously, I could write a book! One of the fabulous things about doing this is that I get to see the best of the best; the truly gold standard organisations and their practices, and the same goes for my ‘day job’! But as just a trio of topline insights from the ECCCSAs, I’m delighted to report on ever more:

  • Sophisticated use of customer feedback and data analytics to understand where to focus efforts, including the delivery of tailored experiences, and with what return
  • Intelligent use of AI to better equip agents to meet customers’ needs
  • Recognition of the importance of the contact centre to the business as a whole.

As a recognised thought leader in CX – how do you see CX evolving in the future?

Our world is complex. Our expectations as citizens, employees and customers are shaped by an increasingly diverse range of influences. Advances in technology, including the rise of Generative AI and digitisation, are changing the way people interact with each other. ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) concerns impact what customers expect of the brands they use or consider. Customers want fast, yet personalised and authentic interactions and relationships.  All in all, the pace of change feels quicker and quicker. This challenging and uncertain landscape makes it difficult for businesses to plan and work out how to design and deliver experiences that drive improved business performance.  So what can they rely on to create solid grounds for business success?

Relationships are, and will continue to be, fundamental assets for businesses. Strong relationships ensure loyalty, sustainable revenue and growth. Ipsos’ R&D data clearly shows that emotional attachment, the highest form of relationship strength, is key to driving higher lifetime values. When a customer is emotionally attached, they are:

  • Far more likely to express a preference towards the brand
  • Much more likely to recommend the brand (than if they were just functionally satisfied)
  • Significantly more likely to stay with the brand in the future.

Of course in many cases the priority will be to reduce customer pain and dissatisfaction. But in parallel, brands need to work out how to design and deliver experiences that create a meaningful connection and ultimately drive positive outcomes.  And that leads us back to where I started – with ROCXI – delivering a Return on CX Investment.  And whilst ROCXI is key, in our current and future environment, it is critical for Businesses to act in a way that benefits themselves andthe wider world.

To help you prepare for the future, keep an eye out, as ‘Ipsos Global Trends’ will certainly be heading your way.  And on that Gen AI front, look out for a paper we’ll be launching later this month, concerned with balancing AI and HI (Human Intelligence), for exceptional Customer Experience. Give me a shout if you’d like a copy.

What advice would you give your younger self in terms of career development?

  • Be bold, be brave, ask yourself what’s to lose?  What’s the worst thing that could happen if you did ‘xyz’ – not too bad, huh?  So go ahead and make it happen!
  • Network, network, network – relationships matter!
  • Be the person people want to be around – positivity all the way …

I’d like to think I took my own advice, but perhaps we could all be that bit bolder, no matter what stage of life …

A massive thanks to Helen Wilson for her time and really useful and interesting professional insight into her world at Ipsosand CX. We hope that you have enjoyed reading her thoughts and opinions. Please do check out the links below to find out more and to sign up to the IPSOS’ LinkedIn Live Event.

Sign up to hear from Helen at Ipsos’ upcoming LinkedIn Live event: Ipsos’ Customer Perspective: The Experience Beyond the Product | LinkedIn

Head here to read about Ipsos’ Forces of CX, and learn more about what it takes to do the right thing by your customers, and your business … and by the world: Embedding ESG in Experience | Ipsos.

Head here if you want to enter this year’s ECCCSA awards: Enter – ECCCSAs (closing date 19th July).

Next month – we have a fabulous guest from a retail background to give their insights into CX and their advice in developing a career in this fantastic world! Do click subscribe to make sure you don’t miss it!!

At CX Talent LtdJo van Riemsdijk and Kate Bairdaer proud to be connected with the brightest and best talent in Customer Experience, Customer Operations, Digital Experience and Service Design at all levels. To discuss your recruitment requirements in this area and how we can add value in finding the right fit for your team – please get in touch as we’d love to hear from you!!