Release date: 14. February 2022
Women in CX: an outstanding highly committed community – E61 with Clare Muscutt – Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper
“There Are More Male CEOs With The Name “John” Than Women CEOs” @ClareMuscutt on the CX Goalkeeper PodcastTweet
The CX Goalkeeper had a smart discussion with Clare Muscutt
Member-centered community designer, she brings together women in customer experience from across the globe to collaborate, inspire, learn from, and support each other to succeed
The discussion is available on all common PODCASTING platforms as Apple, Google, Amazon, Spotify and Stitcher as well as a WEBCAST on YouTube.
Topics discussed in this episode:
- Women in CX (WiCX) – the fastest growing community built through co-creation
- The Mission of WiCX
- The secret ingredients of creating an extremely engaged community
- It’s not about exchanging people at the decisioning table, it’s about making the table bigger.
… and much more
Her book suggestions:
- The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experience; Matt Watkinson
- The Grid; Matt Watkinson
- Gap Selling; Keenan
Clare’s Golden Nugget:
“The purpose behind any organization should always be: providing the maximum value to the people”. @ClareMuscutt on the CX Goalkeeper PodcastTweet
How to contact Clare:
Thank you, Clare!
#customerexperience #leadership #cxgoalkeeper #cxtransformation #podcast #WiCX
Mentioned in this episode:
- Mary Drumond and her Podcast Voices of CX
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my YouTube channel
Gregorio Uglioni 0:01
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the CX Goalkeeper podcast. Your host, Gregorio Uglioni will have smart discussions with experts, thought leaders and friends on customer experience, transformation, innovation and leadership. I hope will enjoy the next episode.
Ladies and gentlemen, today it’s really a big big pleasure. I am thrilled to have Clare Muscutt with me. She did a great job in the last few months few years with women in CX and now she’s here on the CX goalkeeper podcast. Thank you very much Clsre for finding time to have a chat with me.
Clare Muscutt 0:46
Thank you so much for inviting me Greg. It’s great to be here.
Gregorio Uglioni 0:49
Thank you very much How are you? Everything fine on your side?
Clare Muscutt 0:53
Yeah, yeah, pretty tired. Actually, running a start up is exhausting, as I’ve discovered, but but very happy nonetheless.
Gregorio Uglioni 1:01
Thank you very much. And as usual, I start my podcast asking my guests to introduce themselves because then it’s easier and you can really explain what what what you like, and not me reading through all your curriculum Vita, Clare, could you please introduce yourself?
Clare Muscutt 1:18
Sure. So I’m presently the founder and CEO of the world’s first online membership community for women in customer experience called Women in CX. But my career very much started at grass roots on the shop floor, so to speak. Initially, as a waitress working in the hospitality industry, I worked from the age of 15. Throughout my university degrees in my master’s, I was very fortunate to be offered a graduate scheme after I graduated and was really my own hotel and restaurant as a general manager at 23. But I think that was a pivotal part in me to developing and shaping my career in CX. Because my operational grounding, I understood how business works, having run my own p&l, but also had a lot of frontline experience with customers and frontline employees as well. So I did my first customer experience type roles, they were very much in things like data and analytics, measurement, reporting insight, moved from there into more of the marketing proposition perspective, and thinking about brand standards and things like brand audits, mystery shoppers, how we can ensure brands are consistent while I was working for Whitbread. And I took my first customer experience manager role with the actual title. Looking back thinking, Oh my God, I’ve been doing the same thing for years, but I just didn’t know what it was called. It actually the b2b organisation, Compass Group, which is a global brand. And that was very much in the service provision, proper service provision markets, for hospitality and soft services in FM. I had an amazing time there developing this model for customer experience that started with really listening to the employees fixing operational challenges, moving into like engaging groups of employees to have these like wholescale launch events where we were there to transform the culture, then these these businesses, and right the way through to redesign the experience for the customer based on insights, background and measurement, but a whole load of people stuff around reward recognition, performance management on the flip side of that, and the HR facets of employee experience that underpin customer experience. And this model became so successful that I’d basically get wheeled out to different clients to go and do this approach that really works to deliver a return on investment consistently of at least 20%. And that, wouldn’t me the accolade of the first woman to win UK Professional of the Year at the six awards the year after in Golding. And I think from his from that moment, really, I started to get noticed as a bit of a voice in our industry. I also helped me to get headhunted by Sainsbury’s to then go and take what I’d been doing over there, but on a much bigger scale. So talking about, you know, 32 million customers every week, 190,000 employees at the time, and I spent five years in the retail space initially leading service proposition and taking, I guess the business from thinking about services interactions that happened at a contact center or on the shop floor and evolving that into a real customer experience process across multiple channels, brands and services. I set up the customer experience design function there from scratch. And then lastly, before I left I was head of CX so amazing time, but in 2017 something just came over me that said, you know, my career progression in this big corporate organization was going to mean I’d have to stop doing CX and go and do something more generalists and prove myself to be able to get to the It’s kind of like management level or directorship, and I just didn’t really want to I loved what I did so much. I thought, you know, I’ve got all this amazing corporate experience all these amazing brands behind me, why don’t I go and try and do this on my own? I did. So in 2017, I became a CX Nomad and set up on my own as a initially a freelance consultant and keynote speaker. But that evolved into me having my own customer experience design agency, where I worked with a fully remote team of associates that I was flying around the world having an amazing time. Until we all know what happened in 2020, the pandemic hit. And I went from having a diary of international speaking events and consulting appointments and workshops, to absolutely nothing in my diary pretty much overnight. And I guess that’s how I ended up here really, with women in CX, that with no work on, I thought, I’m going to start this passion projects have something to do with women in our industry, I didn’t know what it would be. And it started by me reaching out to women that I’ve met through social media, like Instagram, we’d like teach you the stuff but never spoken. And I needed the connection myself at the time, because whilst the whole world fell apart, sort of my personal life, my relationship ended, my housemate moved out, I ended up living alone in lockdown. So I started reaching out to these women and saying, Hey, do you fancy going on that newfangled thing, that zoom thing and having a chat with me? Because I didn’t enemies to zoom.
And I was really, really happy when a lot of them said said, yeah, why not? That’s that’s, that’s hanging out. But when we hung out, it was under the premise of let’s talk about customer experience. But the conversations were always much more around our whole lives and who we were as women, we talked about things like racism, homophobia, cancer, child loss. And that’s how the podcast was born was basically me saying, say, some of these women I’d heard the most brilliant conversations I’ve ever had with. Do you fancy doing this in front of people on a podcast? They all said, yes. So the podcast. Basically, I didn’t do anything else for six months, other than every single week, publishing and producing a podcast. And that led me to this awesome opportunity that actually came from a guy, Jonathan Schreyer, from officium labs, who had been listening to the podcast and said, I think this is amazing what you’re trying to do, if I gave you some money, what would you do with it? And I said, Jonathan, I would start a community. So he gave me $10,000. And from that point, in January, I basically took on the best customer experience, design project of my life, built women in CX with a group of CO founding members, and we’ve now grown to over 43 countries in just six months. So that, in a nutshell, is my career journey.
Gregorio Uglioni 7:51
In French, I would say chapeau, this is really an Outstanding, outstanding journey. And and it’s really, I think, there is already quite a lot of things that we can share, we could share, having a really successful career, to nothing because of pandemic, transitioning as having the strength to start again, and build up something that really stand out. Through all the communities that now are popping popping up. Women in CX is one of the best I’m hearing from a lot of people, I had today’s different discussion also with, with some of the founding members, and it’s really outstanding, what you’re doing and the commitment that it’s behind it. Before we deep dive in how you how you’re growing the business and how you’re creating this business around woman in CX. Claire, what are your core values, the values that you try to live, to live every day?
Clare Muscutt 8:52
It’s interesting, because I think my personal values became our community values. So authentic, collaborative, courageous, and inclusive. That was me. And those values have become the same values as our community.
Gregorio Uglioni 9:09
And these are really important values. And and now speaking about about the community, you started with $10,000, thanks to Officium Labs, and and now you’re really a great community. What is your vision in the long term about this community?
Clare Muscutt 9:30
Interesting question. I. So I think more than a vision, we have a clear mission, and that is to empower women across the world to collaborate, support and inspire one another to shape the future of CX together. In terms of how that plays out. I don’t quite know. But this is part of the beauty of building a community through co design, because each iteration, we’re developing our proposition to meet our users where they Want to be met? So I’m using cocoa members, Jesus tivity as a customer experience as I meet our members where they want to be met, so our value proposition is evolving in line with what they’re needing at the time. So what, you know, we started out as was this customer experience design project. As I said, we did this discovery. We sourced people from our podcast listener list, we asked them about their challenges, their goals, what was holding them back and met this resounding professional loneliness that exists in customer experience. And it was super interesting, because when I worked in business, even though I was surrounded by people, I did always feel a bit lonely, because I think the role of a CX professional quite often is fighting this fight that no one can quite understand why it’s so important. And especially for women who had their own businesses like I did, especially during the pandemic, the professional loneliness was kind of like, multiplied, but also a similar feeling that no one had really found community, or the kind of community that they were looking for. So our premise was initially, if women feel like there isn’t a seat at the table for them, let’s build women in CX as the biggest table on Earth. And invite people from all different backgrounds, cultures, countries disciplines together to form this first founding group of members, not as an afterthought, not how do we make what we’re doing diverse and inclusive? But how do we grow from day one with that at the core of who we are, and what we do? And I think that’s part of the reason we’re evolving so rapidly is because we’ve got such difference in there. And such different perspectives are needs, that it’s enabling us to develop a completely different community proposition than anything else that’s been done before.
Gregorio Uglioni 11:57
It makes totally, totally sense. And it sounds because it’s what we are discussing, we are always doing experience design. And you are mentioned that you really create the experience around the community members. There are two questions popping up. But I need to be polite one after the other question and not to question at the same time, I will park the question around the table, because you mentioned that in other podcasts and I would like that you repeat what what what are they this this idea around the table? But that’s the next question. The question that I would like to ask is now there are in the CX world, but in general, are popping up quite a lot of communities. And there are a lot of communities with less engagement. What I am feeling what I’m getting as information from women in CX is that there is a really big, big community commitment, not only from the founding members, but from the community, to collaborate, to create to co create together and to grow this community. Could you please share the secret ingredients of creating such a successful community?
Clare Muscutt 13:06
Again, super interesting question, because I didn’t know how to build a community. I didn’t know how to build a platform based business, all I knew was how to build customer experience. So I just basically took all of those years of working in corporate consulting, and applied it to this situation in a startup. And I’m essentially engineered, and a customer insight led discovery that enabled us to design something prototype stage that we could bring enough people in to take part in these code, design activities, and workshop together where this needed to go. So I guess I always assume that part of the founding member cohesion was driven out of the fact that we did something amazing together we built this thing to is 30 women, you know, I like to think that that the kind of core founding member or the leader group that emerged out of that first few months became this like gravitational force, like our universe, that attracted, you know, more people, not only from the outside, but from the new member cohorts in really easily. So we were super conscious that our experience needed to help people feel welcome and included from day one. So we just went about setting that challenge with with our founding members, how are we going to make people feel welcome included, and they came up with all these ideas that they went, you know, what happened to implement on their own and as a result that he said about kind of commitment and contribution is never something that we’ve had to work It’s been very organic and very natural. But the role modeling, I think that newer members see, when they arrive, there’s a culture that’s been established that this is just the way that we are, we are the most supportive, encouraging, human, authentic community that is very happy to be vulnerable with one another, and share not only the celebrations, but also the things we’re struggling with. But the response that you get as a member or a new member is exactly the same people will rush to your aid, you know. And I think the fascinating thing about our communities, we weren’t trying to build something that kept members on the inside, and they could only network with one another through was, we had, you know, a space on their profiles where they could add their social media handles. So beyond the community meetups or community activities, we became friends, and actually built deeper, meaningful connections with one another. So I suppose I say, as a founder now, like, I just built this thing, you know, I just built the first version of it, what it’s become is because of who is in it, this is all down to the women that are filling this community role modeling, or values, basically, and it’s just so genuine. So I don’t think that is something that it’s a secret that you can copy. I think the approach has a lot to do with it. But what it is now I think is on tappable. It’s a unique moat, really, for our community, a competitive moat, not that we’re really competing against anybody, because there’s anyone else trying to do women in the community. But I don’t think I don’t think anyone else can kind of replicate that now, especially if they started a long time ago, or in a different way. Because you can’t really retrofit it either. It’s come through the natural growth and evolution of the community itself.
Gregorio Uglioni 16:52
Alright, it makes total sense. And it’s really, I would say, in this case, women centric or customer centric, in order to create and build and build this community, and you were speaking about being genuine and in one of your presentation, because you’re everywhere. And I know that that perhaps you cannot remember exactly the discussion. And the discussion was with Mary diamond on error podcast, voices of CX and you were making an example. It’s not about exchanging people at one table, but making the table Bigger, bigger, that also women can sit there and new work, they’re sharing, shocking, because and I repeat, really shocking statistics that there are more male CEO with the name John or John, CO. occur, John compared compared to women. And the other statistic that you were sharing was around how many women finished studies and how many women that are really sitting in the boardrooms. And for me, it’s also because I would like to use this this fortress also, to share this knowledge to share the reality and to make also older people learn about this this extremely important topic. Could you please elaborate a bit why it makes sense to enlarge this table, create bigger tables that more people can sit there?
Clare Muscutt 18:20
Okay, so I think how to answer this and the best way. So I think explaining the analogy of the table for anybody who doesn’t know, you might hear the phrase like there’s no room for women at the table, or even within female conversations that if there is a woman at the table, she’s going to hold on damn tight to it, because she’s probably the only one with a seat there. So as I said, In our research, it was very clear, especially in male dominated environments that that actually customer experience is becoming with the increased relationship with technology, a lot of CX teams are now part of IT teams or, you know, interfacing much more with with technology type roles. So when I say like build a bigger table is not one where any woman would ever feel like she needs to protect her seat, we just pull up another one for the next person. The next step was for the next one, where we bring as many of us together as we can, because we believe in the power of female leadership, tech, being able to guide the future of things like customer experience and Business and Human Centered business. So that’s where that comes from. And then some of the statistics we were talking about was, yeah, talks about, you know, more women graduate college, but they don’t end up in the senior roles. And that’s a problem in of itself, but in the customer experience or customer service industry. The workforce is 70%, female 70%. But when you get to management and supervisory level that drops to 38. And then when you get to leadership, it drops to 12. So that just does not make sense, does it? Where are the opportunities going? And then When you look at technology, the same is true. So if you look at the percentage of women in, let’s say, artificial intelligence that’s around 12% developers something similar to that women in it 17% of the total population. And then you look at investors 99% of investors are white men. So women only 1%. So where these decisions are being made about, particularly technology, technology and customer experience investment decisions, it is a very male dominated conversation. And imagine in that table again, there are very few women sitting at it. So so a lot of the work we’ve been doing recently as a community, for example, CX day, we it was our first weeks day as well, we got together and we held these in person and online events to actually to start to really talk about this and unpick, you know, presented the data and the information that we knew about CX, the state of it and record number of complaints, citing a lack of humanity and service, this data points around women, or the lack of women in these roles and the career progression not happening, particularly customer experience and within technology itself. And starting to ask why we’re uncovering, you know, yes, there are these external barriers that are put in the way of women because of things like gender bias, maybe or women have to have a track record to get promoted, whereas men get promoted on potential. These are the facts. But But I think where we’re hitting against, especially in the conversations in the community is how much women have internalized these barriers as well. So in fact, we’re actually holding ourselves back. So we won’t apply for the jobs unless we’ve got 99% of the criteria. That’s not something that men struggle with, we hear this word imposter syndrome appearing everywhere, you know, not feeling brave enough to step up and ask for more, we see the gender pay gaps, like in CX, like the pay gap at 44. I think it was, like 13%, women are getting paid 13% less, but we take if we choose to have children, we have to take career breaks, you know, how, but men don’t earn less money just because they’ve had children like and, and that just doesn’t seem really fair.
So it’s super interesting. But we’re already starting to see women in our community, standing up for themselves go into the board and saying, Actually, I think we can tie CX of business outcomes here, I think we can build a pillar that’s about customer experience and brand strategy. Actually, you want to bring these teams together, I want to be the person to lead that team. And this is the reason why I’m seeing people getting promoted, getting paid rises, getting their strategies listened to and learning from one another, how to get around it. And the only other thing I guess, I’d say is, there aren’t that many women who’ve walked the path. So if you think about, you know, female CEOs as the example of female board level, directors, there aren’t that many women mentors to be able to find out how to do that. So we’ve been able to have women at different stages of their career who fought some of these battles and are happy to share their battle scars and how they got them. The Good the Bad of nuclear again, you know, I learned probably why more by messing things up, failing repeatedly than I ever did when I got things, right. But if I can share more of those stories, with women that are tackling similar challenges in customer experience, or their careers more broadly, they can pick something up and be like, Ah, right, okay, I’ve now got a tool to go navigate that conversation or, or, or, you know, that kind of thing. So that’s why I think it’s important and having female only spaces I always get pulled up on where are the men who can’t be diverse and inclusive if there aren’t any men in in women in CX. But I think women do need safe spaces to meet and collaborate and share together so much as we have men, who are our faculty Academy leaders. So they come in and they give us webinars, and they help us out. We have conversations about men and women, I don’t ever see women in CX, becoming a space that has meant in a social network. But we would love to think how women in CX can help to influence external groups and hold sessions for how can men be more aware of female leadership challenges and how to nurture and support more women through their careers? And I think we’re growing in such a powerful platform of people that actually we’re not that far away from being able to influence these things more broadly.
Gregorio Uglioni 24:39
This and I think the the automatic question that that I have now it’s on one side, how can we help because you’re mentioning it? It’s it’s women in CX and also males can add some support. Is there a specific way Or should people contact you if they would like to help support growing this community?
Clare Muscutt 25:00
Yeah, I suppose hopefully just hearing this podcast has perhaps made some people a bit more aware of the inequalities that exists when it comes to gender. And if you dig a little deeper when you start to mix in other intersectional inequalities with that of race and gender, absolutely race and disability, sexual orientation, those margins get even lower for people and women in in those kinds of roles. So hopefully, this is just a starting point to maybe question when you look around the room, how many women are at the decision making table where you are, and what needs to change in order to help to facilitate that? So again, you know, just taking that customer experience approach that we’re also familiar with, can you talk to some women in your organization, maybe, can you maybe talk to your women at home, your sisters, your mothers, your aunties, just ask them about life experience, and try to get a little more connected to some of the struggles that you may not be aware of. And when it comes to taking action? Like I said, there aren’t enough female mentors to go around. A lot of the time, I think there’s nervousness or reticence about men mentoring women, I think it’s a brilliant thing. So perhaps, you know, even considering what women are in my organization, they’ve been identified as potential. And actually, if I was to choose to give some of my time, to helping them sponsoring and supporting them, that would be what creates change within the organization. That’s what guys can do. But
Gregorio Uglioni 26:34
I mean, I would say, yeah,
Clare Muscutt 26:37
no, and it’s and it’s great. And I can tell you that you’ve always been such a vocal supporter of of what we’re doing over here. And we really value and appreciate that 100% I’m really excited to be starting to partner with some organizations who have huge platforms, where they want women in cx to become part of their events, to host roundtable discussions with their groups of customers and their women and their men. So yeah, so I guess if anybody’s interested in their own diversity and inclusion agenda, and how women in CX might be able to help either through providing membership for your employees, or some kind of partnership, as I said today with these things like events, and I’d love to hear from you please do get in touch anytime
Gregorio Uglioni 27:22
in touch directly with you, or is there are some contact details that you can share on this podcast, and we will put them on the show notes.
Clare Muscutt 27:30
Yeah, well, you can contact me on LinkedIn any time, I’ll definitely pass on my details for direct contact. Also, anyone who just wants to join any women out there who think, oh, this sounds like it could be great. Just head to www dot women in cx dot community. And on our landing page, you’ll see a link to sign up to our introductory events. And you can come along and find out a bit more meet some founding members get immersed in the women in CX five. And that magic that I mentioned, you’re more than welcome to come along. Anytime.
Gregorio Uglioni 28:01
Perfect. Thank you very much. And now in the last part of this discussion, we would know a bit more about you. The first question I would like to ask is, is there a book that you would like to suggest to the audience related to what we discussed or related to CX?
Clare Muscutt 28:18
Oh, gosh, well, yeah, so I have all the six books that have ever been written. The only two that I really ever recommend to anybody is Matt Watkinson. Todos the camera here, the 10 principles behind great customer experiences. And that’s a really great starting point. And the second book, actually, the grid is not just about customer experience, but business more broadly. But I think this one is your follow up one. But this is much more about refining and developing products, ideas, identifying the root cause of business challenges. If you understand the principles, then being able to engage the business side of thinking behind that these two are very complementary. And then the other one, that’s just because it’s on my desk at the moment is gap selling by Kenan. And for anyone who struggles to sell customer experience to their C suite to their executives to ever pitch to anyone why some kind of change needs to happen, you need to read this book, because there is a certain amount of science behind identifying the gap to fill that customer experience can certainly fail. But if we go in with an approach of trying to tell people what was the ex can do, versus identifying the gap that it can fill, we’re always gonna end up coming up short. So yesterday, my three the 10 principles, my great customer experiences and the grid of concern and GAP selling by Keenan having three
Gregorio Uglioni 29:51
it’s perfect, it’s more value for the for the audience, and it was really a great discussion, a valuable discussion and now we have additional value from this Three books. And therefore we are coming also to the last question I would like to ask you. And this is Clare, golden nugget, it’s something that we discussed, or something new that you would like to leave to the audience.
Clare Muscutt 30:13
Oh, gosh. So we talked about so much today, I don’t even know. I guess, just remember what you’re doing all of this for the purpose behind any organization should always be about providing the maximum amount of value they can to the people within it, whether that’s the customer or the employee. And yet, really, realistically, it’s hard to do. But if you take a step back, and you stay focused on that delivering value to humans, the results honestly will take care of themselves. And, you know, some of the stats that we’ve had coming out of the community like ATA, NPS, 90% contribution rate 60%, daily average user of nine out of 10, for feeling welcome. And including all the key KPIs that we know we’re going to make this community sustainable. We never focused on any of that any of the numbers or even what were the first question to ask is, what’s the vision? Where are you going? We’ve invested entirely in this idea of creating value and listening and heading in a direction that we need to go in based on the humans within our organization. So I would say, think about people, the results will take care of themselves.
Gregorio Uglioni 31:32
Thank you very much. This was really a great golden nugget. It was clear golden nuggets there for no comment from my side. The only thing that I can say is thank you very much for your time, it was outstanding to have you on the Sikh school keeper podcast. Thank you, Claire.
Clare Muscutt 31:48
Thank you so much for inviting me. And thank you to the audience for listening.
Gregorio Uglioni 31:52
Thank you very much. And I hope also that the audience enjoyed as much this discussion as I did, because it was really outstanding. I will share in the show notes, all the relevant links. And I can conclude saying please, please, let’s support women in CX, it’s really extremely important. And it makes businesses more successful if we have also women and board tables. Thank you very much.
Clare Muscutt 32:20
Thank you. Bye.
Gregorio Uglioni 32:24
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 a b2b or b2c business. We are in a human to human environment. Thank you
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