Tag Archive for: The Magic Hour

We are delighted to bring you the February edition of our CX Talent Ltd newsletter, featuring an interview with Richie Rumbelow, Customer Experience Director at Sovereign Housing Association.  Richie has over eight years of senior CX experience in various sectors, including health, charity, and property. He is a CXPA Professional Member as well as being certified in NPS, Six Sigma, and coaching.

  • You’re currently Director of Customer Experience at Sovereign Network Group. What does that entail?

Customer Experience at Sovereign Network Group consists of four key teams covering service design, insight, reporting and customer involvement. We’re a small team, which works across the organisation driving customer-centric improvement.

  • What is the most challenging aspect of working in CX for a Housing Association?

The UK has a lack of affordable housing and this combined with economic pressures, creates the perfect storm for the housing sector, which is then felt by tenants and Housing Associations. When it comes to working in CX specifically, one of the biggest challenges my team face is a lack of awareness of CX and the benefits it brings for both customers and the organisation. CX is often thought to be customer service or some kind of undefined mystic art.

  • Can you tell us about some of the successes you’ve had in terms of your CX initiatives at Sovereign Network Group to date?  

There are several areas where I think my team has really excelled over the last year. At the end of 2023, we produced the organisation’s first Voice of the Customer report, which has really helped the organisation understand customers and the challenges they face, most importantly it has guided where we focus improvement activity. To further support this, we’re just about to launch the organisation’s first needs-based customer segmentation.

We’re also enhancing our existing feedback mechanisms, layering on geomapping, which allows us to spot trends not just in specific regions or areas but in small towns and even on specific roads.

In addition to our work improving customer insight, we’re pushing forward with several key projects which will enable self-service for customers. It’s early days but we’re really excited to be working on this throughout 2024.

  • You’ve got some really interesting experience across your career in CX. How do you feel that your career path has led you to your position today at Sovereign Network Group? Would you have done anything differently?

My first role after university was at PPL, working in a contact centre environment, which gave me a good grounding in the essentials of customer service. I was then fortunate enough to spend time working at one of the UK’s largest charities: Cancer Research UK. Here I gained vital project and programme experience within the Digital team. My role there also expanded and I led the Consumer Insight team, which is where my love affair with research started.

My most recent role before joining Sovereign Network Group was at the British Heart Foundation, working in the marketing team. I led a large transformation project to bring together various customer service teams in order to provide a single, consistent customer service experience. I also oversaw the people strategy for the Marketing, Fundraising & Engagement team, which was incredibly fulfilling but also helped strengthen my understanding of employee experience and its link to customer experience.

The skills I’ve gained working in customer service, digital and marketing teams have positioned me well for a CX Director role, as these are the three key disciplines, which I’ve found to have the biggest impact on the customer experience.

  • Your experience in CX is broad both in terms of what you’ve been doing in CX And also from an industry sector perspective. You had a commercial start at PPL – which is a music licensing agency as well as a Telco to working in the Third Sector and The Public Sector. What did you learn about CX in each and what are the key differences about working in a not for profit organisation in CX that you enjoy the most?

There have been cultural difference across every organisation I’ve worked at, but there have probably been many more similarities. Every organisation I’ve worked at has cared about its customers and wants to improve their experience because it’s the right thing to do. Some organisations are more commercial in their approach, with a keen appreciation of the Return on Investment of CX. It may sound strange but I’ve found charitable and not-for-profit organisations to be incredibly commercial as there’s a heightened awareness that every penny comes from customers and there’s a responsibility to use income as effectively as possible.

  • What attributes do candidates need to be able to demonstrate to be a strong candidate for a Housing Association, not for profit or charity organisation?

When I interview people, I look for a genuine passion for customers. Buzzwords like ‘customer-obsessed’ are great as long as people have the examples to back them up, but words alone can fall flat.

CX is all about making change in an organisation and no one can do that without their colleagues; I look for people who can build and maintain relationships. Having strong influencing skills, the ability to sell a vision and the perseverance to cope with setbacks and challenges is also key. This is particularly important in the housing sector as it’s a challenging environment, so you need high resilience levels.

  • How do you think Housing Associations will utilise AI in CX in the future?

I think Housing Associations will use AI in the common ways other organisations are using it. The most obvious and easy step is automating transactional customer service interactions, freeing up people to engage in more complex or emotive interactions.

The other natural application for AI within the housing sector is though smart sensors, which can monitor and analyse data on things like temperature and humidity.

Sovereign Network Group is currently looking at the systems it uses to book and track repairs. There is AI baked into some of the systems we’re looking at and it will undoubtedly have a role in things like dynamic scheduling and route planning.

  • What skills do you think candidates in CX should be looking to hone for the future?

AI and Digital skills are obvious areas for people to focus on. The area my team are focused on currently is total experience, bringing together customer and colleague experience, combining it with knowledge and insight to design experiences. I think developing a good understanding of how People and HR teams design Employee Engagement strategies is going to be crucial for CX professionals.

I also think getting leadership experience is crucial. This can be challenging when you’re starting your career but experience outside of work is a brilliant: do you coach a football team or run a lunch club with friends?

  • What difficulties have you had in recruiting for your CX teams to date?

I’m fortunate to have a complete team after recruiting back in 2023 following an expansion of the CX team. Thinking back to the recruitment process, we saw a huge number of applications, however there were only a small number of shortlisted candidates. During the process we did see candidates withdrawing, even as last minute as an hour before the interview.

  • As a recognised thought leader in Customer Experience, how do you see the discipline evolving in 2024?  

I think we have an exciting year ahead. The top things I’m anticipating are the continued deployment of bots and automation, with voicebots becoming far more prevalent. I’m also excited to see Augmented Reality being used to help resolve customer queries.

Customer journey mapping has always been a staple in any CX professional’s toolkit and I think this will evolve so we’re looking at more advanced journey analytics, visualising online and offline journeys much more easily with tracking made possible through omnichannel platforms.

Overall, I think CX professionals will work even more closely with Employee Experience professionals and a more joined up Total Experience discipline will evolve.

Welcome to our launch edition of the CX Talent Ltd Newsletter.

We’ve thought long and hard about what would be a useful monthly write up, and we’ve decided that as well as continuing with our usual postings, you might find it useful to hear from Senior Customer Experience Leaders with their views on CX, the successes and challenges they have had, and their advice for career development in this space.

We will interview a new voice every month. If you have any questions you’d like us to put to our guests – please do drop us a line at contact@cxtalent.co.uk.

We are delighted to introduce our first guest for 2024 – Michelle Laramy – Director, Customer Experience of Canary Wharf Group.

Michelle joined Canary Wharf Group as Director, Customer Experience in February 2022 with responsibility to develop the strategy for CWG’s customers and to support its ambition to better understand diverse customer profile using data and insights.

Michelle joined CWG from the Crown Estate where she was the Head of Customer since 2015. At the Crown Estate, Michelle was accountable for the development and delivery of the customer strategy and roadmap across the £14bn UK real estate business. Previously, Michelle was the Head of Customer Experience at Santander for over four years.

Michelle Laramy Director of Customer Experience at The Canary Wharf Group

Michelle you’re currently Director of Customer Experience at the Canary Wharf Group plc.  What does that entail?

I have been a CX practitioner for several years working across a range of industries. Starting my career in retail for John Lewis, moving into banking and then into Real Estate.

I joined Canary Wharf Group as Director of Customer Experience 2 years ago.  Canary Wharf Group is the developer of the largest urban regeneration project in Europe.  It is a vibrant mixed-use destination and over the past 35 years, we have developed a diverse community that includes over 17.5m sq ft of offices, 2,200 homes, 1.1m sq ft of retail and leisure, 16.5 acres of green spaces and waterside living.

My role was created to continue to evolve Canary Wharf Group to a customer-centric business and my remit covers all end users of our estate. So that’s shoppers, office workers, residents and the wider community that visit Canary Wharf every day.

What do you enjoy about it most?

I love the variety the role brings, from leading technology transformation projects to meeting customers, I get involved in so many interesting initiatives and projects, and it’s great to see these projects benefit customers and employees.

Can you tell us about some of the successes you’ve had in terms of your CX initiatives at Canary Wharf to date? 

Digital transformation is an important priority to Canary Wharf Group and it’s integral to how end users of our space want to interact with us.  My team led the development of The Canary Wharf App, which is an estate wide app for the estate.  It is a one-stop shop for finding out everything we have to offer from shops, restaurants, leisure, offers and more. The app has over 40k regular users and has supported our strategy to understand our customers and bring us closer to them.

In January my team also launched a new concept called Wharf Connect.  Wharf Connect is a dynamic community designed to empower the next generation of professionals in Canary Wharf. It brings together future leaders, encourages office engagement, and fosters an environment that will encourage the retention of early career professionals as they feel a part of a wider Canary Wharf ecosystem.  The network aims to create an environment that values inclusivity, connection, and collaboration; qualities all extremely important for the next generation.

At Canary Wharf and previously at The Crown Estate, you have had a huge range of customers from leaseholders to office workers to day visitors.  What are the main challenges that that breadth of customers creates?

It is a challenge, as you have a lot of different customer types, and they have a different set of outcomes from the relationship they have with us. So, we need to carefully design experiences to meet their needs and expectations. A one size fits all does not really apply.

Do you think that coming into commercial real estate from a different sector, financial services, has been beneficial in your career? 

CX professionals can easily move been sectors, their skills and capabilities are very transferable. I learnt a lot in financial services about technology, apps and platforms, all of which have been useful skills and knowledge to bring into real estate.

How do you see AI impacting on CX in the property market?

AI has an enormous potential to reshape real estate, prop tech has already laid a foundation for this, however, the understanding of its capabilities is still low. There are some interesting pilots taking place across real estate, but the industry has a long way to go.

What skills do you think candidates in CX should be looking to hone for the future?

Having a data-driven mindset, CX professionals must understand the business data, as you can’t seek to improve what you can’t measure.

A strategic outlook is vital, as anything a CX professional does should align with the overall objectives of the business they work for.

Project Management capabilities can also set professionals apart, as the role is much more digital-led, so you need to understand how to lead projects cross functionally.

CX is also not a department, it’s the way a whole business interacts with its customers, so you need to have brilliant communication and relationship building skills.

What difficulties have you had in recruiting for your CX teams to date?

In smaller businesses, you sometimes require a more generalist CX practitioner and not someone who is very specialist in one thing, so this can be a challenge. Bigger companies need vast capabilities and require a specialist for each specialist area, so it depends on the company’s requirements.

As a recognised thought leader in Customer Experience, how do you see the discipline evolving in 2024? 

CX has changed a lot over the years. COVID accelerated the use of digital customer experience, pushing brands towards self-service and automated services, and this will keep evolving with the evolution of Al. However, all brands need to get the balance right between digital and human-to-human contact.  I believe CX Practitioners have a big part to play to get this balance right.  At Canary Wharf we have advanced in the digital space to make things easier for customers, but we also recognise when companies are telling us that face-to-face and building a sense of community is critical for their business to thrive.

What advice would you have given to your younger self in terms of career development?

Here are my top tips!

Don’t worry if you don’t have it all figured out, sometimes success is a bumpy road and it can take you in all different directions.

Try and find something you love, this will help you really drive your career and ambition forward.

Don’t hesitate to take risks, if an opportunity presents itself grab it with two hands and don’t talk yourself out of it.

Build a strong professional network, networking helps with your career trajectory and some of the amazing people you meet along the way help you support and guide your career path.

We’d like to thank Michelle for her time and professional insight in answering our questions.

Stay tuned for our next months’ CX guest for more insight into CX initiatives and advice on career progression.

At CX Talent Ltd – Jo and Kate are connected with the brightest and best talent in Customer Experience, Customer Operations, Digital Experience and Service Design at all levels.  If you would like 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 – we’d love to hear from you!

At CX Talent Jo and I have long been interested in the whole end to end world of recruitment and what best practise should and does look like – we love the whole process. Here are some of the highlights, as well as news on our latest developments.


We start with the business problem – discussions with the hiring manager around what sort of skills and experience the client is looking for to solve their challenges or move them forward. We need to really understand that in order to be able to find the right talent, and it’s always an interesting and inspiring part of the job.


The candidate experience – this is so important! We are transparent about the opportunity and the salary banding from the word go, and of course we do all the due diligence we can to make sure that the role is real, signed off and ready to go. Candidates invest their time, effort, experience and skills in each and eery application (as do we), and we respect and support that. We try ago make sure that the process moves smoothly. momentum is maintained and feedback is timely. This isn’t always in our power, but we try!


The shortlist. Our shortlists are just that – having gone out to our network and had lots of conversations, we usually present between 4 an 6 excellent candidates for consideration – usually within around a week. We are able to do this because we’ve spent over 8 years building up our network of CX professionals and we know who we want to talk to about each role almost straight away. The way CVs are presented in the first place has evolved – many companies now ask for names and DOBs to be redacted and some go even further. We love getting involved with helping businesses act to reduce even unconscious bias in this space.


The result! A happy Client who has quickly and efficiently filled their role from a carefully and expertly curated shortlist so that in the quickest possible time they are up to speed with their brilliant new recruit in place. Their other applicants had a decent experience and their business brand is stronger than ever. And the right Candidate is in the best next job for their career!


Alongside the nuts and bolts of recruitment are the associated issues of employee wellbeing, rewards an benefit packages, bonus structures and so on – and working with HRs to advise on expectations and build the right package is another important part of the job. We’ve definitely see that changes emerging over the last few years have been accelerating in this aria. Overwhelmingly now people want some flexibility in how and where they work – and they are absolutely looking for this to be a permanent change post Covid.


This is partly what has led Jo van Riemsdijk (CX Talent co-founder as or course you know) and her architect husband Hans to develop their new business, Modulr Spaces Ltd. Modulr Spaces offers a premium, architect designed, plug and play office that can be delivered to almost the smallest of outdoor spaces and provided a comfortable, secure, sound proofed, ergonomically optimised office. It’s aimed at businesses to buy or lease for their staff, and we hope it will fill need for people who are continuing to work from home to be as productive an comfortable as possible.


So at CX Talent we are very much involved with launching and placing this hugely exciting new product and I am sure you will hear more about it! You can find out more from either of us and/or the link at the end of this article, and any feedback is gratefully received.


The core business of Customer Experience Specialist Recruitment, and the offering of our Magic Hour personal job search training sessions, continues as normal. We are currently recruiting in London, the Midlands, Europe and Japan, as you may have seen on other posts, and we hope to be busier than ever next year, so please stay in touch!

There is a LOT of help for job seekers available at the moment and it can be confusing to navigate.

Where do you start?

Definitely with the free stuff! A quick google search for hints and tips for jobseekers will bring you free advice on curating and styling your CV and LinkedIn profile, writing cover letters, practice questions for job interviews, tips on how to approach them on Zoom and much more.

Whose do you use?

Much of the information is common sense based and overlaps, some is specialist to particular industries – all of it is obviously generalised. Go to websites of recruiters you know, media outlets that are particularly relevant to your industry, or the large jobsite websites. Read around and find a source that offers advice you find helpful.

Many different people are offering paid-for services in addition to free help. Access to these can be as simple as buying a book on the subject! They also include specialist recruiters like us, career coaches, CV copywriters and others – we all offer different services and niche resources.

The different models:

There are different models to choose from – from one-off CV writing to subscription services. One-off copy writing services can be helpful but a word of warning here – make sure that your CV and cover letter read as authentically you – this is especially tricky now that documents need to be ATS friendly and be free of most formatting.

For a bit more of a financial commitment, subscription services give months of coaching together with access to supportive online communities which can be useful for networking as well as maintaining optimism and resilience through your search. Don’t forget that you can and should find and build your own community on LinkedIn too. If you are job-seeking, you should already be active on LinkedIn by engaging and commenting on posts and even posting yourself.

If you have more of a budget, you can align with a dedicated career coach to take you hand in hand through a personalised process and there are some very good people in this space. This can be expensive though, so try and get a personal recommendation, and be prepared to research a few so that you are sure you have the right fit for your personality and experience.

Which is going to offer the most value to you?

What do you need it to achieve? This obviously depends on your own personal requirements and needs. None of these options are a quick fix to ‘get a new job’ – this is all about supporting you in your process of finding the right one.

Like many other recruiters we at CX Talent Ltd offer a combination of free and personalised advice. There are hints and tips on our LinkedIn feed. We publish regular blogs on our website in the hope that they will help as many people as possible. We also post frequently on our Linkedin page – job tip reminders and encouragement.

What we offer –

If you want or need more focussed, personalise and individual advice – we offer a service called The Magic Hour. This is a purely bespoke and one to one deep dive look at your CV and LinkedIn profile, your jobseeking plans and your strategy. We don’t write your CV for you but we work through your experience with you to make sure that you are presenting your best, most hire-able self. We get your jobseeking self in its’ strongest possible shape and we support and encourage you in your search. It’s an opportunity to have a sounding board about a future direction and some no-nonsense feedback from a team who have been recruiters, hiring managers and of course candidates ourselves.

We’ve had some great feedback –

“It was really great to speak with you yesterday, I found the conversation, tips and guidance extremely useful and it has given me the boost and motivation to focus my efforts in a constructive and disciplined way to search and secure that new opportunity which is out there somewhere for me!”

“Speaking with Kate and Jo has been invaluable in understanding how to best position myself in the job market. Really deep diving into my CV and LinkedIn profile has placed me in a much more confident position regarding any future job hunt! Kate and Jo have a wealth of amazing experience and they chat with you openly and honestly, a great team to have in your corner.”

This may not be right for you at the moment – if you are on track with your collateral (CV etc) but need ongoing support, look to LinkedIn for a largely helpful community – find the relevant groups and get involved with conversations begun by leaders in your field.

If you are thinking of a career change, you may want to find a specialised career coach to work with you over a period of time.

For general good advice, use our free materials and those of other reputable recruiters, jobseeker websites and media outlets.

And of course, if you feel you could benefit from our one-to-one personalised advice to help you get started or to re-boot you on your job seeking journey, give us a call!

Customer Experience – A Business Critical Team:

In your business – where do you feel that RIGHT NOW there are business critical hires to be made?

If you are not thinking about your Customer Teams you could be making a costly mistake!

As we teeter on the edge of a second wave of this awful pandemic – shouldn’t you be really thinking about how to keep as many of your customers as possible? To do this – you need to: understand how they are feeling, what they need, how they want to be treated. Overlooking the importance of this could lead to huge swathes of customers going elsewhere. They will look to other businesses who are putting their needs at the heart of what they are doing. RIGHT NOW is the time for organisations to swiftly change and adapt their offerings to meet the needs of their customer bases.

ALL businesses serve customers – they are there and survive because of the customers who buy the product or service. This is irrespective of sector and whether you are B2C or B2B organisation.

Listen to your Customers, get Customer Programmes underway NOW:

If you don’t listen to your customer – how will you ensure that you are doing the best for them? You need to make sure that their needs and requirements are at the centre of strategic business decisions. If you aren’t doing the best for your customer – they will go elsewhere. New customers are a lot more expensive to find than the retention of existing ones! Existing customers often make recommendations to friends and family and businesses get more long term custom because of this. So – this is surely one of the most effective ways of marketing and one that is cost effective!

Businesses have become so process orientated – but those processes often aren’t to benefit the customer. They are to benefit the business – making it easier for the business to function. It does not necessarily make things better for the customer!

Investing in your customer teams and enabling your employees to really listen and understand what the customer wants will help organisations stop and think about whether implementing or changing something operationally will ultimately make the experience their customer has with the business better.

Meet and Exceed your Customer’s Expectations:

Since the first wave of this pandemic – when so many organsiations were – not to put too finer point on it – caught with their pants down! We have become acutely aware of how businesses need to adapt, meet and ideally exceed customer expectations at the moment in order to survive. Do you think that NOW might be the time to consider investing in those teams or customer projects?

Organisations investing in Customer Experience will surely be able to navigate their way through this and live to tell the tale. Please Don’t leave it too late or to chance. Invest in your Customer teams. Don’t leave recruitment of these individuals to chance. You need the very best people for your organisation and we can help find you the right person quickly, efficiently and effectively. We have spent 8 years growing and developing our candidate base. Whatever your sector, whatever the maturity of your CX programme, whatever level of individual you need – WE KNOW THEM and can get them into your business making a difference FAST!

CX Talent Ltd is an Independent Customer Experience Recruitment Specialist. We have candidates at all levels. We are only interested in putting the right person into the right role. For all your Customer talent requirements – please contact us today. We are ready and here to help! www.cxtalent.co.uk

How and Why did we come up with the idea of The Magic Hour?

You may have seen us posting about our new service – which we’ve called The Magic Hour. The name was coined by one of our candidates who we helped with some coaching and advice earlier on this year.

Essentially – The Magic Hour is an individually tailored, one to one coaching session where we review your CV and make recommendations on how to improve it, how to make it ATS friendly and how to show yourself off to the best advantage. We also look at your LinkedIn profile and make recommendations on how to change it and how to post to improve your visibility on the platform. We explain how recruitment in the UK works and how to navigate your way through it. We encourage you to work out and articulate what you enjoy about your role and home in on what exactly you are looking for next.  We also give some general advice around job searching and your individual job search plan.  We believe that it gives candidates a sound base from which to launch their job search and helps them secure their next role more quickly.

My Own Experience:

The idea for this came from my experience of being made redundant a few years ago. I felt like I had been cast out to sea – with no direction or understanding about how to best go about finding my next role. It left me feeling very vulnerable and exposed and the experience of this has been one that has been long lasting in my professional life. I wanted to be able to help candidates by providing a useful service to help them take back control of their job search in these very strange and unpredictable times. I wish I had had something similar – it would have saved me weeks / months of floundering about like a mad woman (read my redundancy post!).

In the normal run of things when we are briefed by a client for a role, we start by having a chat about which candidates on our database and network would be a good fit for the position, and who from that list might be ready for their next move.  Then we’d schedule a conversation and go through a very similar process to the Magic Hour, but obviously tartgeted to the new brief.  So we coach candidates through aligning their skills and experiences as closely as possible to the role profile to make sure that the most relevant strengths are easily apparent to the client.

At the moment we have very few ‘live’ briefs on the go!  But we want to keep talking to people and helping candidates to be as strong and focussed as possible in their job searches, so in order to be able to keep doing that we’ve streamlined and focussed our experience and advice and come up with The Magic Hour. This is a fixed fee service we have priced at £150 incl VAT.

We have talked to candidates across the private, public and third sectors in the UK and internationally – consultancies, agencies and in-house clients – and we have seen what works.  We’ve placed candidates in huge complex global businesses and smaller, owner managed companies, and we’ve been doing this successfully since 2012.  There are thousands of professionals on our database and we’ve talked to them all!

A Complete 360 degree view of recruitment:

Before becoming recruitment consultants we have both been candidates (obviously!) and hiring managers, so we really do have a 360 degree view of the process and we have consistently had positive feedback from our sessions.  In fact our business has grown precisely because our candidates often become our clients as they move through their careers and grow their own teams.  So we are confident that we add value.

We are partnering with some clients at the moment and working on some fantastic opportunities and our network of candidates can absolutely rest assured that we will be actively in touch about those as and when appropriate.  The idea is that you do not need to be a candidate for a specific role in order to benefit from our help and advice, or even a CX professional – The Magic Hour is relevant to candidates across any discipline and industry.

Those who do not undertake The Magic Hour will be at no less of an advantage for future roles with us as we are ONLY interested in fitting the right candidate with the right job. That approach will never change at CX Talent Ltd.

The Magic Hour is there to help keep you going in your job search. If you decide you’d benefit from our in depth advice and book a package – you’ll be helping us keep going too!

Here are some recent testimonials:
‘I’d recommend THE MAGIC HOUR, 100%. CX Talent Ltd care, that shows in the EPIC service they provide!’ –

“I found the conversation, tips and guidance extremely useful and it has given me the boost and motivation to focus my efforts in a constructive and disciplined way to search and secure that new opportunity which is out there somewhere for me!”

‘I loved my magic hour, it was not only informative it also motivated me to do things differently…. a real breath of air. Thanks Jo & Kate’.


Are there any positive outcomes for Customer Experience Recruitment from COVID?

As a Director and owner of CX Talent Ltd, I have spent many hours lamenting the lack of CX roles, wondering if we can continue to trade as a business with the very few roles we’ve managed to hold on to and fill during the last few months. I know that I am not alone in this – many of the recruitment agencies we all know of may sadly not make it through. In House resourcing teams are under enormous pressure to fill roles internally rather than use agency partners in order to help reduce costs. We’ve all seen the tsunamis of candidates applying for each and every role! With that sort of role demand – what’s the point of appointing an agency? I wont lie – there have been moments of panic and several sleepless nights!

Advantages of Appointing an Agency at this moment in time:

There are many advantages to appointing a specialist recruitment agency for specialist roles. In a nutshell, we can fill them REALLY quickly and efficiently with the right people and the best talent, while ensuring an excellent candidate experience. I don’t need to advertise unless we don’t have the right people with the right skill set, in the right location for the right money. Other than that – we use our extensive network and database. But enough of that – I’ve talked about it at length in previous posts and this is not the purpose of this particular post

I still have moments of despair and worry about the state of the economy and the lack of roles out there. However, I do have more and more moments of clarity and positivity. I’d like to share them as even in adversity you can find positives to reflect upon:

Listening and Talking with increased number of diverse individuals:

Over the past few months I have spoken to several fantastic individuals both from the CX world and external to it. I have really enjoyed listening to other people’s stories and in many cases being able to help them move forward effectively in their job search. LinkedIn has been our mouthpiece to talk about issues around recruitment and customer experience that we find useful and interesting (and hopefully you do too). Our post engagement seems to be growing – so I take this as a good sign?!

Our huge and rapidly growing top talent database:

Our candidate database, which was already amazing, is now bursting at the seams with the most amazing Customer Experience candidates. I would be confident of filling any Customer Insight, Research, Strategy, Implementation, Change and Transformation, Digital, Product role in a heartbeat. When the market does eventually return to some degree of normality our reach in the Customer Experience world both here in the UK also internationally looks likely to be unrivalled.

Kindness and Longevity of relationships:

We’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness and graciousness of those candidates and individuals that we have spoken to and advised, some of whom have even gone on to publicly thank us. I cannot tell you how much that means to both Kate and myself, it makes all the hours of work and all the conversations more than worthwhile. We see our relationship with candidates and contacts as ongoing and beyond just the next role. Whether we place candidates this time or in 1,2 or 5 years is irrelevant – once you are in our world you’ll stay in it as long as you’d like to, whether that be as candidate or client.

Magic Hour:

We continue to offer and enjoy our Magic Hour sessions with candidates and again, are delighted with the feedback and thanks we have received. These are not just interesting but also so rewarding, as we are helping people position themselves to their best advantage to help them secure the next role – wherever that might be from.

Best Mates and Laughter:

Talking personally – I am so lucky to work with one of my dearest friends. There is never a day that goes by that we don’t find something to laugh at! We pick each other up off the floor when needed and celebrate when things go well. We discuss the matters of the day, current affairs (always an opinion to be shared and very usually agreed upon), and very occasionally the frustrations of being a WFH mum of school age children (Quite a few actually) and newly WFH partners as well (Quite a lot more!).  I genuinely would not enjoy my job as half as much if it was not for the fact I work with Kate.

So all in all – though business may not be where I’d like it to be and though I’m not able to help as many of our candidates into roles as I would like, I count my blessings.  It might just be that when we get out of these strange times or indeed learn to live with them – CX Talent Ltd will be better, stronger and more resilient as a business than ever before.

If you are thinking of expanding your customer teams and need to act fast and efficiently – please contact Kate or myself. We pride ourselves on being open and transparent and kinder than many other agencies out there. We are fast, efficient and offer the best candidate and client experience we possibly can and WE REALLY CARE about doing the best job, finding the best talent and finding the best talent the right jobs.

Are we being too quick to abandon the physical office?


I signed up with a temping agency after graduating – I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do and needed to earn some money.  After sending me around a selection of advertising agencies I was sent to the Really Useful Group (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s theatre production company) as temporary secretary to the Head of Marketing.  I didn’t know that Arts Administration was even an option, but I loved it, stayed, got offered a permanent job, and that was the start of a 15 year career in theatre production, pr, marketing and management.


So going into different offices gave me the chance to find a career I loved but more than that, being in the office with older, successful professionals actually taught me HOW to do these jobs.  I listened to phone conversations, went along to meetings, visited the different box offices / ticket agents / ad agencies / theatres themselves and saw and heard all these different professionals at work.


How are people learning how to do their jobs?  Online mentoring and zoom meetings are  great, really valuable – but not the same as sitting in an office actually hearing different people engage, negotiate, present, make business cases and generally helping you find our own professional voice.


Jo and I were able to start CX Talent Ltd over eight years ago now because of our experience and interests – we had both been regularly recruited and been hiring managers and knew what worked and how to deal with people and their careers not as transactional target points but the real life events they are.  In addition we both had different but valuable understanding of customer experiences in different industries and were interested and connected enough to find out more.


Our careers would have looked very different without the real time exposure to our business environments.


What can we do to help young people starting their careers to broaden out their learning?  My feeling is that businesses will gradually bring back most of their workers for most of the week to an office environment despite all the early thinking that almost all staff who can do will start to WFH.


As well as the learning environment provided by the shared workspace there is also the creative and competitive buzz – of solving problems, innovating, sharing a laugh or encouraging each other along.


There are real issues for businesses to weigh up here – how much office square footage can be safely lost without loosing out to these other, difficult to quantify issues?  I hope that we are able to go into this change carefully and with consideration to future proofing in terms of long term resilience and keeping the pipeline of new talent on track.


For a conversation about talent planning or customer experience recruitment please do get in touch – we are specialists in this field with client across many sectors and industries in the UK and internationally.


If you are a candidate in the current market please check out our website and LinkedIn page for free access to hints and tips to support your job search, or for a personalised session consider booking a Magic Hour.

As we’re emerging from lockdown and easing back into the world it’s interesting to look at the new behaviours that could improve our lives in the future – and what we’ll be happy to leave behind.


Remote working – this is the big one and there has been a lot of focus on it.  Companies can no longer claim that productivity has to suffer and many more people will be working for part of the week from home.  This will have a really positive impact not only on work / life balance for individuals and families, but also on the wider transport system and environment as collectively there will be a significant impact on the number of journeys taken each week.

But also…. the joys of office working – despite the advantages of working from home many workers are keen to get back to the office at least part time.  The company culture, camaraderie, feeling of teamwork and shared endeavour are all stronger and more accessible when we’re physically together.

Busy = important?  Let’s leave this one behind.  I hope that the forced slower pace of the last few months helps us be more mindful about what we WANT to do and break the cycle of doing everything we CAN do just because it’s there.   Stress as a status symbol seems a very old fashioned pose when we are surrounded by the horribly real issues provoked by Covid-19.  Let’s keep focussing on productivity, not hours at the desk.

Customer service is JUST as important as we knew it was – as customers we’ve given companies the benefit of the doubt for months about long wait times for reduced support,  but all the signs are there that we have had enough of poor customer service and want our issues resolved now!  Businesses which acted with the best intentions to hastily adapt processes in order to keep afloat now need to accelerate when it comes to aligning those processes with customer satisfaction.  Customer loyalty is more important than ever and businesses that are doing well in terms of both customer and employee engagement are very visible – these actions now will be remembered!  Good Customer Experience is the KEY differentiator – and both successes and failures are widely shared.

Deliveries – I think we’ll all keep on shopping more online.  The extra billions enjoyed by Jeff Bezos over the last few months as a result of Amazon’s success reflect the trend for taking advantage of the convenient and efficient access to almost everything we need, delivered to our door.

Cleaning – the rise of the anti-bac!  I am sure that this will gradually relax and that hairdressers for example won’t need to ostentatiously wipe down each chair between clients – but it seems likely that we’ll all keep the habit of being more aware of keeping especially shared spaces a lot cleaner.

LinkedIn and virtual networking – LinkedIn particularly has seen a huge surge in networking as people use the platform to connect, build relationships and successfully find new roles.  It’s great to see the support being offered – and the positive results will keep us all coming back for more.

Raised profile for health and care workers – they’ve always been appreciated but now they are rightly celebrated.  Let’s hope (and lobby for) better pay and conditions for these sectors in the future.

Pets – lots of people have used the time at home as an opportunity to get a cat or dog, knowing they can spend the time training and socialising them.  I hope that the pets will adapt as we go back to work, they might find the adjustment difficult at first, but hopefully a new balance of home and office working will ensure success.

Community and creativity – we’ve found different ways to be sociable and communities have found many ways of supporting each other. From making phone calls, delivering food and prescriptions, timed celebrations on VE day and the clap for carers bringing us together, to hyper local seed swaps for people spending more time in their gardens – hopefully some of these links will endure.

Recruitment – we’re talking to people all the time in different sectors and waiting to see how this will change.  Many companies are coming to the end of recruitment freezes and looking to solve their own new problems.  Customer Experience looks likely to be more important than ever as people are more careful with their spending and each buying experience matters for products and services across the board.


If your company is recruiting in the CX space give us a call – we are expert specialist recruiters who have spent over 8 years building a network of customer experience candidates.  We understand the sector and will curate a shortlist of fantastic talent for your role, leaving your hiring manager and HR to get on with the many other demands of the complicated present.

If you’re a CX professional looking for your next role, get in touch – we are always happy to chat and make sure you are in our database.  We are actively working on roles and may have the right one for you.

Do you need some help with your job search? Jo van Riemsdijk at CX Talent Ltd gives her top 10 tips to get you started.

I hope that the tips I detail here will be of some help to Candidates looking for roles or thinking about their next move.

1.If you are in a job and thinking about moving – my first piece of advice would be – DON’T! Squeeze every last drop of experience you can out of your current role and be grateful you have a job – there are a lot of candidates out there who don’t! Don’t disengage either – you may find that you start to really enjoy where you currently are. By all means get your CV ready and your Linkedin profile ship shape – but please stay put!
2.If you are not in a job – do not despair. We will get through this and the market will pick up again. Contact us and we can have a chat about putting an action plan in place.
3.Spend no more than 2 hours a day (if that right now – probably 2 mins with the recruitment freezes out there) looking on job boards and applying for roles. Then for goodness sake go and do something entirely different. Just because you don’t apply for a role the minute it is advertised – does not mean that you won’t get it.
4.Your CV should be tailored for each and every role – WITHOUT FAIL!!!!!!!!! It’s a competitive market out there and will become more so. Absolutely no stretching the truth! Look at the areas the JD is really focusing on. If stakeholder engagement and influencing is one of the main themes – then emphasise this experience. If its customer experience communications – then bring this to the fore. Don’t assume that the person looking at your CV understands CX, has any interest in CX or your CV for that matter. You need to hit people in the face with your suitability for a role.  DON’T ASSUME PEOPLE READ BETWEEN THE LINES.
5.Come up with a CV that you can tailor quickly and effectively. Good CV’s have a personal statement at the top, a list of key skills and / or achievements. Then professional experience, education and other info. I also like to see training undertaken and any software packages you are familiar with (though this is job specific).
6.Your Linkedin profile is incredibly important. Do you have a picture? Please – DO NOT PUT ONE OF YOU WEARING SILLY GLASSES OR DRINKING ALCOHOL. This is a professional networking site – not Facebook! Linkedin should act as your shop window – does someone have your perfect job and is searching for someone like you? MAKE SURE THEY FIND YOU!! Be specific about your skills and describe yourself as your next ideal role – again telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth! The more specific you are on Linkedin about yourself – the more likely you are to be found. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to do a catch all profile – as it will become so generic that you wont be found for anything.
7.Utilise your network – talk to old bosses, get in touch with old colleagues. You never know – they could be looking for someone to run a programme or project short term. Getting involved in interim or contract roles during this time will do you no harm and conversations had about your job area, industry sector, areas of expertise in general can lead to great things.
8.Get involved in conversations on Linkedin about your industry or area of expertise. In our case this is Customer Experience – yes, I know do as I say not as I do! I am aware that we have not been the most vocal people on Linkedin but we are trying to change that! Post regularly, comment with at least 8 words and thoughtfully on relevant posts. Like posts that are relevant to your interests and skill set. Linkedin rewards people who use the platform by making you more visible. It will increase your exposure to people who might be looking for staff.
9.Is there an organisation you’d love to work for? Why not reach out to the Department Head or Director – for our world this would be CX Director or Head of CX, or the CEO if you are one of our more senior candidates. Don’t be afraid to show you are keen on working for an organisation – it’s terribly appealing to have a strong candidate approach you particularly when you decide you want to recruit either immediately or further down the line. Even if it results in a coffee and nothing more – it’s another contact made.
10.Talk to us – we’d love to be the ones to place you in your next job. But even if it’s not us who place you there, we are keen to help you find your next role. The more we talk to you – the easier you are to place and the easier it is to place for you when you need help with recruiting for your teams.