The Awards Business and importance of recognition with Mark Hamill – E50.1 – special Edition

Release date: 01. December 2021

CX Goalkeeper & Mark Hamill – E50.1 SPECIAL EDITION – is about the Awards Business and recognition Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper

The CX Goalkeeper had a smart discussion with Mark Hamill

LinkedIn Headliner: CEO and Co-Founder of ARCET Global

In this episode we discuss:

  • about ARCET Global
  • Culture is a big topic nowadays
  • The importance of Recognition
  • Customer Centricity World Series will take place in May 2022
  • some criterias to identify which awards are “good”
  • There is zero loyalty in Awards.

… and much more

His book suggestion:

The Dichotomy Of Leadership: Balancing The Challenges Of Extreme Ownership To Lead And Win; Jocko Willink

Mark’s golden nugget:
People and culture are the most important things.

How to contact Mark:

Thank you, Mark !

“People and culture are the most important things” Mark Hamill, CEO of @arcetglobal on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

#customerexperience #leadership #cxgoalkeeper #cxtransformation #podcast

Mentioned in this episode: Rosaria Cirillo, Markus Von Kloeden


Gregorio Uglioni 0:01
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the CX goalkeeper podcast. Your host, Gregorio Uglioni will have small discussion with experts, thought leaders and friends on customer experience, transformation, innovation and leadership. I hope you will enjoy the next episode.

Ladies and gentlemen, today is a big, big pleasure on the CX Goalkeeper podcast, I can talk I can have a chat with Mark Hamill, the CEO of ARCET Global. Hi, Mark!how are you?

Mark Hamill 0:36
Hi Greg. Great to be here. Very well, thanks.

Gregorio Uglioni 0:39
Thank you very much for joining this discussion. I am really thrilled that he will share some insights also from the other side about all these awards, because there are quite a lot of awards on the market, in particular in the customer experience world and I’m really happy to start this discussion with you. But before we start speaking about awards, and could you please introduce yourself?

Mark Hamill 1:01
Yeah, absolutely. So my name is Mark Hamill, CEO of ARCET global. I’m originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, but I’ve lived abroad for many years other than running England, Scotland’s, in the Middle East in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and then also currently living in Hungary, and where my wife is from so just over the Austrian border.

Gregorio Uglioni 1:25
Thank you, Mark. And perhaps also to understand a bit better where you’re coming from? How were you able to start working in the customer experience field?

Mark Hamill 1:35
It’s a good question. And I have to say that my entire career has been in customer experience in one form or another. So as soon as I graduated from university, so many years ago, now, I worked for a customer service consultancy in Dubai. So as soon as I left university in the UK, got this great opportunity to work in Dubai. And, and it was very much about measurement. So mystery shopping, customer satisfaction surveys, they did training, mainly, let’s say customer service training. So it wasn’t quite at the stage where we were all talking about customer experience, of course, but it was part of it. And, and then also did consultancy, they had standards on the on customer service. So that was my starting point was was really sales and not realm. And and then as time went on, I learned more about the products themselves started to do a bit of the the delivery of programs, whether it be consultancy, some training, and and then got involved with marketing. So that’s I got a real breadth of knowledge when it came to customer experience. And, and then off the back of that we started running events. So we ran the UAE customer service week to and it was always on the same day as what we’re familiar with noise CX day. So it was it was always on that day or that week, as well. And then part of that was awards. So that’s how I got into awards as well and realized that that was an important part of customer experience. And then had an opportunity to work with the gentleman from the UK. In Dubai, we had a company, which run many different types of words, not just customer experience awards, and for five years, and then left that company and set up our ARCET global and which is the the awards that we run today through that company. And it wasn’t just about the awards aspect of it, but also how we can help connect people within our network. So whether that be supporting them by finding specialists that can help them on their transformation journey with with training, and also people in culture. So it’s it’s a bit more, let’s say rounded than what I was previously doing in my previous company. But primarily, it’s about connecting people with information and helping them on their journey to improve.

Gregorio Uglioni 4:01
Thank you very much Mark and ARCET global is very well known in the awards field. But it’s not only about awards. Could you please explain a bit where the name is coming from? And what are you really doing at ARCET Global?

Mark Hamill 4:16
Yes, that’s a good question. So ARCET global, although we’re doing a bit more than what the original name suggests, but ARCET means awards, recognition, consultancy, events and training. So although we are known for awards that say the public awards in particular, and we run internal awards for companies, so let’s say challenges for their staff for innovation or just for general engagement to get good ideas from their from their employees. And we do, as I said, match up specialists with companies that are on their journey to transformation. And in particular culture is a big part of that at the moment and everything that we’ve seen in the last year or so I think is Moving towards people and culture and how you keep people happy within the company and how that impacts your customers. And then the talent management piece that we have as well, we do have a technology and suite of services that can support companies to better understand their claims that they already have, but also for recruitment purposes as well. So quite a broad range. But everything kind of fits in without, let’s say, transformation, and people and culture that apart from the awards is

Gregorio Uglioni 5:31
Thank you, Mark. And I think this is exactly the question I would like to ask elaborating on what you’re saying, transformation, cultural change, customer centricity. It’s, it’s something that a lot of people discuss about, but it’s hard work. And and you have also in your company name, the recognition piece that, for me, it really stands out. You had also quite a lot of of workshops, discussions, keynotes, speeches about recognition, why does it make sense to participate to such awards that you are offering?

Mark Hamill 6:08
Well, I would suppose the thing that makes our recognition services or awards programs, whatever way you want to call them quite different is that it really does showcase what they are doing. And so instead of let’s say, traditional program, which is quite simply a lesson entry form, and then no one gets their eyes on that, to see what they’re actually doing. And ours are quite different. So every company that participates, and you’ve seen it yourself, Greg, it’s like they are, they are in the public eye. So they are not just sitting at their desk writing an entry form, and then you never see anything about them. They’re really putting forward their case that filming a video. And not only in the panel of judges, but other delegates that are attending the events, they can watch those presentations. So it’s not just about recognition for the company, but for them on a personal basis. So I think it’s something quite different. And also the feedback. Again, Greg, you know, you write your comments or questions when when you’re scoring, and that those get relayed to them. So they’re able to use that and learn from that and go forward. So it’s not just the the recognition, because I think when you think recognition, you almost think about winning. And I think we’re all guilty of that when you think recognition is just about the wedding. But the way that we’ve got things set up, it’s very much about being part of that journey, and trying to learn and improve all the time whether you win or not. So that’s that’s something I think it’s really important when it comes to the customer experience as well. And especially, which I’m sure many of you’re the people that presented on your show before I’ve talked about like return on investment, for example. A few if you went to an awards at a at an international events, and show that to your boss or to your leadership, or whoever maybe I think that does certainly add to the let’s say, the armor that you have in building the case. So that I think it’s important part of that as well.

Gregorio Uglioni 8:09
Well, what you’re saying it’s totally make sense. And also fully transparent, I am Judge at our global events, and I don’t need to pay to participate. And I see that the level is increasing and increasing, because the entrance and the entries are really I qualitative, and are also globally, it means come from all around the world. And also for us judges, it’s really interesting to see what’s happening around the world, and, and how different companies are tackling this transformation, but also to make that understandable for for the audience. You can choose one event, perhaps the upcoming events are always the process to participate to apply. And at the end, how many people does participate to such big events?

Mark Hamill 9:00
Yet? Good question. So the next one that’s available then who knows the Customers Centricity World Series. So that’s, as you might guess, available for companies from all over the world to participate. Last year, we had over 400 attendees 300 companies applied, but only around 150. I think it wasn’t the end but what went through the shortlisting process, and the process for the whole entry phase is simply register on the website for free they would receive an entry form from our team and and then fill the entry form and submit that and if your company is successfully shortlisted, then you’d be invited to do the video presentation on the same case study or case studies depending on how many categories and at that point as well you’d be invited to to pay the $1,000 which is quite something tickets for the event. The trophy if you win, you’re benchmark feedback report with all the comments from judges like Greg, and many others from around the world. So it’s it’s all in one package, let’s say. And then that takes place in May next year.

Gregorio Uglioni 10:14
Thank you, Mark. And perhaps could you also explain how is the selection process or the judging process. And because you are also sharing on your webpage, that it’s extremely transparent, if we are not speaking about an event, please pay us so much. And you will get the gold award. If you subscribe our yearly fees, then you will get the silver and in the Diamond Award, but it’s really about a process structured process that transparent. And yes, you mentioned me as one of the judges, that was either cherry low, for example is also often judge at your events, it means you are also investing quite a lot of time finding the right jobs. Can you please share a bit the process?

Mark Hamill 11:00
Yeah, absolutely. So first and foremost, we try and that with experience, judges only I know that sounds obvious, but people that have industry experience, or are very well known customer experience professionals. One thing I would say for example, for our European awards, we’re very, very careful to try and get representation from all countries. And so we I think we achieved our goal was to have representation from every European country with over 2 million people population. I think we managed to achieve that this year. Unfortunate that rolls out my country, Northern Ireland, but and I think we did have a Northern Irish judge as well. But yeah, so that’s one thing as well. So we’re not just trying to go after, let’s say, typical awards markets, and which in Europe would usually mean you can Ireland’s, and maybe Netherlands. So we do have quite a good representation. But and then also, what they were the scoring processes, quite simply, they would look at a case study the case study that submitted and is looking at the planning phase. So who was involved? And why why did you decide to do this, then implementation? So again, who was involved in that implementation phase? How did you do it, and then the results, very important. So that’s a really simple, really simple criteria that builds a case study, which could be used for them, even internally, when they’re trying to describe what their, what their projects have been working on, as well. So and then the video that they would submit will be based on the same criteria, it’s just really bringing that entry to life. And so that’s pretty much the process. And then again, one thing I missed is going back to the judge, recruitment is we do try and have a mix of in company, so let’s say practitioners, consultants, and then technology providers. So we are quite careful with that. And to make sure that we do you have a reasonable split. So it’s not just that’s a just consultants, or just practitioners or just technology providers that are on every panel.

Gregorio Uglioni 13:09
Thank you, Mark. And I think this is shows pretty well, the complexity around creating, organizing and running such events. We are not speaking yet about eyebrow events, digital or physical events. But for the next question, I would like to speak with Mark Hamill, they see it’s expert and not the CEO of ARCET. Global, because I really wanted to give some value added to my audience. And I if I asked this question, please, really, without naming any company, but you’re really your view on that. There are a lot of awards on the market, you can participate, let’s say on a weekly basis to the awards. How can you find out which which are the good awards that it makes sense to participate? What would you suggest to the audience?

Mark Hamill 13:59
Well, I think if you’re getting you hit the nail on the head earlier on, he said, you know, you apply for our gold pass, and then you get your guaranteed win or whatever it is those ones where you’re guaranteed to win. I mean, there’s there is a market for this, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a bit empty, I would say so that those are the ones I would I would run away from, you’ll laugh because this is just ridiculous. But we won the best events company in Northern Ireland when we three months after we set up and before we even have an event to give you an example. So exactly. It was quite the achievement might have been a crystal ball movement. I’m not sure but yeah, they reached out to me and I was like, we don’t deserve this award. We haven’t had an event and they were like, no, no, no, just just take it. It’s fine. But it’s not fine. We don’t want that and then about two or three days later received this like banner saying Arquette global best events company Northern Ireland. So things like that. I think it’s just a case of if they’re not willing to offer transparency. And then also, one thing I’ve seen from Awards, which friends, family colleagues, they’ve been involved in where they’re judged. And obviously, it’s not going to be fair on them or the finalists is when there’s let’s say, a grand jury of, let’s say, five to 10 judges, but you know, there’s hundreds of entries. There’s no way anyone that’s a busy person would have the time to read all of this or do them justice. So I think that’s something and it might not seem that obvious, they might be trying to do it right, and trying to get this really, really good panel of judges. But let’s be honest, there no way that I personally, I’m sure you agree, like you wouldn’t want to read 100 entries? And it’s not possible, really not to do justice anyway, you couldn’t spend enough time. So that’s one thing I would say, which isn’t usually as obvious. But that’s something to look out for. Because then when I see that, I know it’s not going to be a fair process.

Gregorio Uglioni 16:06
No, I fully agree with you and with hundreds of hundreds of entries, then it would be a full time job for several months. You need also enough time to prepare for that. But what you’re sharing, I think it’s make total sense. And now please take back your head as CEO of ARCET global. And now the question question is also critical. But what does ARCET global, do better then then order competitors?

Mark Hamill 16:35
Big question. I think the thing that’s at the very center of what we do, which we haven’t really discussed, because it’s not really a product, but it’s our ability to build communities, we give away a huge amount of content, and that the content is on the basis of the amazing content that we receive through our awards. So all of the case studies we receive are available for free for anyone to go much, which is on our experience portal, as we call it. And but also the webinars that we run, Greg, you’ve been involved in those before. And they’re all free to access, we have three to five of those available through like next week, we’ve got one for Europe, we’ve got one for Middle Eastern Africa, then we’ve got one for the Americas. And we get a panel of experts there. It’s very open discussions. And it really does help a lot of people in terms of getting difficult questions answered problems they’re facing, and and that the community continues to grow. So I think that the community is our, let’s say, critical mass of what we do really well. And the team that we have at ARCET global have become specialists and doing that like keeping people informed, and offering them free content that can really help them in their business. And then I would say that’s the thing that we do, it’s quite different.

Gregorio Uglioni 17:54
As you’re explaining that, and we asked also that in the previous question, it looks like that you have a lot of people working at ARCET global, how many people are working with you, for you, including yourself?

Mark Hamill 18:10
That’s a good question. So we have we have six full time employees. And then we have a board of directors, which which is two people. And so a chairman and non executive director. And then we also have a specialist that works with us as the as part of our company, but very autonomous, let’s say they started the by so that’s it’s a small team, really. But only until two months ago, there were only four of us day to day. So it was, yeah, we look much bigger than we really are. But we were very, very productive. I’d like to think so anyway,

Gregorio Uglioni 18:47
it totally makes sense. And I think COVID undid quite a lot of complexity also in the in the organization, because now awards are runt not physical anymore. But yes, I breed and perhaps What’s your your view on the future of awards now really speaking about? I breed in person or digital? What’s your view on that?

Mark Hamill 19:13
Think certainly any of the conversations I have is people are saying they want to go back to physical events, but I don’t see anyone really doing it so much. And I think it will come back eventually. But there’s still too many layers of complexity with whether that be companies not allowing their staff to go and complete policies that say or even if it’s if it’s not company policy to not allow them to go, they’re not willing to pay for their staff to go to physical events. And you’ve got people that don’t really want to travel, you’ve got people that are just too scared to go to events in general. So if you peel back every layer of that onion, what percent is left? I’m not so sure so the the thing I see is more local events are And then any of the international events will be much smaller in scale. And but I don’t see how, as the events industry or that traditional events industry, which is like let’s say the big exhibitions, trade shows, I’m not really sure how they were commercialized that so much, because almost your costs are going to be pretty similar. And if you’re deployed on the same sort of level of show, but you have a lot less people there, so the pricing will probably go up quite a bit for those type of events. For us, we’re looking at, we’re quite lucky, I suppose. Because we’ve got such an well, we should be a nice audience, CX professionals. And so I think we can almost get away with more informal and look more local events. And that’s, that’s the way I kind of see it for a lot of events, companies out there like that, trying to make it more about the just reconnecting with people. So that’s where I see it. And then of course, and the virtual elements still remaining. So if there’s content being provided from someone overseas, or, and so that’s the core thread running through the program, and then anything, either side of that is the networking in person. I think that’s what we’re gonna see. But I just not for the time being, I don’t see big events and people that we speak to, they’re, they’re saying they would love to do the the in person event but his work, or is anyone willing to pay? I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s like big companies are willing to pay, let’s say just yet.

Gregorio Uglioni 21:30
I totally makes sense. And if we speak in the customer experience language, it’s also about convenience, because let’s say today, I can participate, or I can speak with you, and you’re far far away. And tomorrow, in some ways I can be somewhere else. And with all the traveling, it’s it’s really the trade off between networking, the real network, meeting people in person, compared to the convenience of sitting at home, doing what, what we are doing, and also having the opportunity to participate to, to such events. Absolutely. That’s that’s, that’s really good. We spoke a bit about the future, it’s digital, physical, a bit of both? What’s your view in future around these awards? Because we see that they’re popping up a lot of additional awards? Are we going into the direction of that consolidation, that at some point in time, there will be defined events that are really the important one? Or what what do you see because I am also seeing, you are mentioning that that your awards are growing? And for sure, it certainly makes sense. And it’s important, but at the end, there are not 1000s, or millions of companies that are best in class in customer experience. What’s your view on the future of customer experience awards?

Mark Hamill 22:51
Well, the let’s say the most straightforward answer isn’t just about customer experience awards, but awards in general. And there’s absolutely zero loyalty and awards. From what I’ve seen. It is not like your mobile phone provider where you get a contract. And then that’s it. It’s not like that. It is companies who win awards, enter awards, and enter awards and enter awards. It’s very rare that you see, let’s say an airline, every single woman has IATA sky trucks, blah, blah, blah, whatever industry awards after. So in, in theory, in a normal world, or normal industry, I would agree with you and consolidation would make a lot of sense. But as I said, probably 1520 minutes ago, you know, it’s very much, but there’s very much a market for those awards, there’s ones that you and I might not think are worth the paper they’re written on or the crystal they’re written on. But it’s an it’s, you know, there’s people just want to win, so, and they might enter our type of awards, like the ones that are fair, or we hoped or fair. And so it’s it’s a strange industry, I would say. But what you definitely saw 100% was a lot of the physical events that were not really adding value. And that were they were pretty much wiped out when it came to that they didn’t really the way their process was the way that they were set up. It was very much just, let’s get a lot of people in for dinner and we can charge them x $1,000 For give them a nice shiny trophy, have a few drinks, and then see you next year. That has been that’s gone. So there has been a consolidation but there have been a lot of other ones popping up. And I’ve seen but for us like we collaborate with all the words we collaborate with even the duck customer experience words for example. So that is on the basis for Marcus and US for example is we know that we can add value to one another for the companies that are involved. So and that is a different industry. In that sense. It’s really is almost the loyalty, I’d say that there’s zero loyalty in the sense that people are willing to shop around. But they do usually pick a favorite that they would stick with, but still very rare. It’s just one per year.

Gregorio Uglioni 25:13
Really interesting and looking forward to see how the awards market will will develop. Also valuing your time we’re going to the last part of this discussion, and I am asking always similar questions. The first one is, is there a book that you would suggest to the audience that you say tells me during my career?

Mark Hamill 25:34
Yes, absolutely. So the one that I read last year, which I think is run last summer, I think it was, which is really just boils down on leadership in general, which is really helped me for myself, personal development, also, probably my team’s experience, is the dichotomy of leadership. And from Jocko Willink and, and that’s just really, it’s really specific to their time when they were serving in Iraq. And I know that makes it sound like it’s very much, you know, sort of, say very, one of the films you’d see about war, but it’s really not it’s it’s just about how you treat people and that there are when you’re making difficult decisions, sometimes there’s that something that might be the right path to go down might not be and had to be measured. And I think it’s just something that everyone should read. It’s, it’s really simplifies things. For anyone that reads.

Gregorio Uglioni 26:32
Thank you, Mark. And if somebody would like to contact you, what’s the best way?

Mark Hamill 26:37
Well, either on LinkedIn, so I’m quite active on LinkedIn. So that’s always someone like something I’ll get back to people on or my email addresses just quite simply mark at arcetglobal dot com, ARCET as, A R C E T,

Gregorio Uglioni 26:54
thank you very much. And if a company would like to apply to participate, to on to an to an award, what’s the best way?

Mark Hamill 27:02
Best way is probably to reach out to my colleague Laura, which is Laura arcetglobal dot com. But alternatively, as I mentioned, the next one that’s coming up is the customer centricity World Series. And that is customer centricity world series dot com.

Gregorio Uglioni 27:18
Thank you very much. And the last question, sorry for asking for the appointment interview. Right? At the my, in my audience, there are also a lot of a lot of CX professionals, and perhaps some of them would like us to apply as a judge, is there a process? Is there an opportunity? Or what’s the best way to get some insight also as to apply as a judge?

Mark Hamill 27:42
Absolutely. Great question. So my colleague, Jenny is the one that leads that I’m sure Greg, you’ve seen many emails from her in the past. And so my colleague, Jenny arcet global dot com is the person in charge of the judge process and recruitment everything A to Zed really. And so you can reach out to her or alternatively, if you would visit, simply, arcet global dot com. And fill in the form there, then one of us will get back to more details, but we’re definitely recruiting recruiting judges, either for the World Series or for the European or North American awards.

Gregorio Uglioni 28:17
Thank you very much, Mark. And I hope that Laura and Jenny will get some emails. Because it totally makes sense. And you explained pretty well, why it makes sense to participate, to awards, to get recognition to opportunity to win, and to share also great stories. And now I would like to ask the last question to you. That’s Mark’s golden nugget. It’s something that we discussed or something new that you would live to the audience.

Mark Hamill 28:46
Yeah, well, for me, it’s just the people and culture element. I think that everything that we see is that it’s drilling down into people and culture being the most important thing right now. And there’s a lot of questions that we’re getting asked about this. We’re seeing, I wouldn’t say a flight from technical training. In some ways, I think it’s just the given that people are returning to office and not returning to work, we’ve got someone corrected. So someone correct someone on that last week on a conference, but they’re returning back to the office and, and given all the changes apart from the focusing on your people, making sure that they’re comfortable and happy in the role that they’re doing, or finding them a more appropriate role that they’re better suited for, is the thing that I can see over the next six months to a year is going to be the most important thing and to the soft skills rather than just technical skills. So that’s where I see the next six months to a year gone.

Gregorio Uglioni 29:48
Thank you very much Mark. And I’m not commenting your golden nugget because this was Mark Golden Nuggets. All I think that I can say is thank you very much Mark for your time. It was really a big plus Good to have you on the Sikh scorekeeper podcast.

Mark Hamill 30:02
But thanks, Greg, and thanks for having me. It’s been it’s been a pleasure.

Gregorio Uglioni 30:06
And I look forward to that the audience enjoyed the discussion as much as I did. I can only conclude saying thank you very much. Grazie mille, arrivederci.

Mark Hamill 30:16
Thanks, everybody.

Gregorio Uglioni 30:18
If you enjoyed this episode, please share it word of mouth. Subscribe it, share it. Until the next episode. Please don’t forget, we are not in b2b or b2c business. We are in a human to human environment. Thank you

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