Continuous Education in Customer Experience with Ricky Harris – E90

Episode released on: 5. September 2022

Continuous Education in Customer Experience with Ricky Harris Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper

The CX Goalkeeper had the great opportunity to interview Ricky Harris

LinkedIn Headline: Chartered Institute of Customer Management, Call Centre, Customer Services Master classes


  • 00:00 Game Start
  • 00:32 Ricky’s introduction
  • 03:34 Ricky’s values
  • 05:26 The CX landscape in South Africa
  • 7:36 What can we learn from South Africa
  • 12:49 The role of the Chartered Institute of customer management
  • 19:19 Continuous Education & the most requested skills
  • 21:36 The future question (CX in 10 years)
  • 26:29 Ricky’s book suggestion
  • 31:28 Ricky’s contact details
  • 32:39 Ricky’s golden nugget

and much more…

Guest’s Contact Details:

Her book suggestion:

  • Relentless, making customer service your core principles by John Tschohl
  • Outside In by H. Manning & K. Bodine

Ricky’s Golden Nuggets:

  • Just keep the imagination going… Come up with new ideas, designs, I think at Elon Musk, he got all these crazy ideas, but a lot of things materialized.
  • I read about the Swedish government that’s got that time bank, where if you look after an elderly person, you put time in a bank. And when you are older one day, you have that time so that somebody spend that time with you. It’s such a brilliant idea.

“Just keep the imagination going… Come up with new ideas, designs, I think at Elon Musk, he got all these crazy ideas, but a lot of things materialized.” Ricky Harris on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

#customerexperience #leadership #cxgoalkeeper #cxtransformation #podcast


Gregorio Uglioni 0:00
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the CX goalkeeper podcast, your host, Gregorio Uglioni, will have small discussions with experts, thought leaders, and friends on customer experience, transformation, innovation and leadership. I hope you will enjoy the next episode.

Ladies and gentlemen tonight, it’s really, really a big pleasure. I have Ricky Harris together with me, Hi Ricky, how are you?

Ricky Harris 0:29
Hi, Greg. Nice, nice chatting to you.

Gregorio Uglioni 0:32
It’s really a great pleasure. Thank you very much for accepting my invitation. Because I really enjoy this this discussion and learning from other people’s and I’m quite sure tonight, I will learn a lot also from from you. But before we kick off our discussion, let’s start with an introduction. Ricky, could you please introduce yourself.

Ricky Harris 0:54
I’ve been in the training industry been involved since the 1990s, mid 1990. Setting up further education, training, in management, secretarial, HR, computer skills. And it’s basically for companies. We call it further education, further education training skills, you don’t necessarily need a university entrance. So gives students an opportunity to study and to do skills that is suitable for them to walk into a job. And to get a suitable position. These also leadership programs, the government should support it, because it’s a Sakra, South African quality assurance body that sets they actually set the standards. So they assist a lot with the learnerships. And whilst students study, they can also go and do practicals at companies. So yeah, I’ve always been very interested in the customer service training, because we offer that, too. We used to offer it to the municipalities, we offered it to a company called Impact game. So we educated chemical engineers, and you know, they as being intellectuals and specialists within the field, they needed skills, sales skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills, to go and sell the product. That it was very specialized. So yeah, I’ve actually gone into the customer service training with customer Chartered Institute of customer management. And we offer many, many customer experience management programs, call center programs. And yeah, that’s my passion of feel that people companies should deliver excellent customer services, especially in South Africa, we need to up our game. I need to educate the people. Absolutely.

Gregorio Uglioni 3:34
I really, I can understand that. And thank you very much. You are also introducing the topic we are going to discuss. It’s about the CX landscape in South Africa, but also really related education. But before we deep dive into this topic, it is really relevant topic. Perhaps Ricky, Could you share please with us, which are your values?

Ricky Harris 4:00
like I say, I feel customers company should simplify things. They should actually put the money money within minutes, or they should deliver on the promises. They should show initiative, they should actually deliver on the service plans, and make sure that the companies and the employees or properly educated to deliver great services, especially in South Africa, you know, there you you were talking you talk to so many people in all over the world. And yeah, I get the impression from a lot of companies that they they get a lot of support from the government and you were talking to as a veteran from Dubai. And ya that to me that was an eye opener that they get so much support from the government and we Need to, to really follow the example of a lot of overseas companies, international companies. And I think with what you doing, it’s giving us the platform to find out and learn from other countries, other companies, and for us to also implement those, those quality services.

Gregorio Uglioni 5:26
Thank you very much, I think is really, really interesting. Thank you very much. You were you were you were mentioning also. And that’s, that’s you are coming from South Africa? And the question that I’ve how is the CX landscape in South Africa?

Ricky Harris 5:50
Um, well, we we, like I say, we have bodies, we have the second the South African Quality Association authorities, we’ve got a board a body, the CXSA, and now you know, about the CCXP, these are all quality assurance companies out the they make sure that the quality is that the designations or and that what the people are offered is accredited. That is, you know, good quality services, at services in measurement, journey mapping, customer relations management, customer experience management goals into whatever it is, we do have a board that, you know, is a qualifying board. And we have to comply to these rules and regulations and policies. It’s the quality manual, quality men management system, I actually call it, it’s like almost like a recipe. Like if you want to bake a cake, you need to know what ingredients you’re going to use, what method you’re going to use to bake a cake, and a moist cake. And we all have our own secret ingredients. So I think it’s very, very important for for us to your two to focus on quality, and make sure that we do deliver on, on what we we’ve set out to deliver

Gregorio Uglioni 7:36
you very much. I think what you’re saying it’s really important quality. It’s the basis the foundation of every service that we are often offering to our customers. And basically what I would love to learn it, who’s to share with you, it’s because we are always speaking about what is happening in Europe, what is happening in the USA, and we know all these well known examples that we are discussing and discuss. And I think what I would like to learn it’s a bit from you and from your country. And what can we learn from your country.

Ricky Harris 8:11
Our country is so beautiful, Greg, I live in Belize, at the moment of very close to the sea. We have so many beautiful countryside, I think, you know, activities, things to do. You would love a holiday in South Africa. We have a lot to offer and as you were saying you had a discussion with a tennis worker by age I love your your interview with him. I really did. And a little bit about your background being in the hospital in the hospital industry where you also continuously need information to improve on your on your services. And yeah, basically that’s what we feel we basically feel that we we don’t like and you were talking to foreign you know the the Dubai situation, I’m coming back to that again. Now we we very, very resilient nation, because we don’t always get the support. And you know, you only as good as your leaders, they say there’s no such thing as a bad child. It’s only bad parenting. So you’re we and we we also up against a lot of adversities we’ve got the right taxes. We have raised some taxes we’ve got fuel prices going up inflation. So yeah, we you know, up against all these challenges, but like I say, we are very resilient. And we always want to score a goal. We always ask for a good challenge. And and we keep in mind that experience, experience is the key the key differentiator that adds value for companies. And I’ve recently because I’m remember, I’m a baby boomer, I grew up without technology. And I currently go to present for my daughter, my granddaughter, New Zealand online. And yeah, it was an amazing experience. And then was it convenient, it was very convenient. Because we have a store in South Africa, we actually have a country wide stores of this particular shop, which is a clothing shop. Cotton on, so at least it wasn’t Chinese, you know, and it’s something familiar. And I was familiar with equality familiar with price pricing. So yeah, I purchase I don’t have a credit card, but I used my debit card. And because I’m an old Suze I don’t know if you know Suze Orman, she’s a financial guru from from the UK. And her motto was cut up the credit card, don’t buy on credit. So yeah, I was pleasantly surprised. I could purchase with my debit card. And they notified me the parcels on its way. And they’ve given me a Weibo, they communicated via email, telephone. So yeah, it was convenient and value for money because I could pay in dollars. If I convert dollars to rent, I would have paid the same as what I would have faked. Had I gone into the store and bought the item. So did it exceed expectations? Yes, it did. Because you know, I’m a first time online shopper. And it worked. For me it was it was a nice experience, that they retain me as a customer, I’ll definitely go back. And I think the online, having the online as well as the store where you can go and you can always use it as a showroom. I think that concept works beautifully. And I was very pleasantly surprised that I could use that.

Gregorio Uglioni 12:49
Thank you very much for this story. I think this is what really, to the audience enjoy personal stories related to customer experience, because at the end, we are also buyers, we are also customer and therefore it’s important to to share these topics. I really like how you’re tackling this this topic. And basically we’re speaking about the Chartered Institute of customer management. There you’re defining three main values satisfaction, trust and positivity, what is the role of this Chartered Institute of customer management?

Ricky Harris 13:28
Well, we realized that without customer experience management programs, that companies need to put in place a not just a marketing plan, not just a strategy plan. But before products leave the the organization, they need a service plan in place, that’s very important. And to make sure that the the employees and everybody within the ecosystem within the various departments are educated and updated and knows exactly what is what is expected of them and are costing frontline retail people. They basically are I call it the they go they play a very important role. They like your public relations people because they get information directly from the consumer and feed it back again to the organization. So I think leaders need to be they need to be vulnerable enough to give these people and and empower these people, the frontline people, call center people and make sure that they are educated that they have the right information product knowledge, communication person, interpersonal skills, communication skills, that they can interact with customers to a point where they can say, Okay, you’re good to go. And that’s, that’s, that’s very important. And I think with our with the customer experience management program, with an enhanced understanding of the program for employees, they can assist the company to increase a customer retention, growth, profitability positively in the long run. So you’re the these are our aims to, to, to deliver the services. We also see ICM is the innovator of the customer service awards. And cascading to national service awards, international awards that we that that being held in Malawi, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and we also did the virtual awards in South Africa. And there’s just so many programs and the aim, the aim of the the the awards, is to keep the awareness and importance of the customer service delivery. And also through the methodology that we use, the consumer decides who is the customer that delivers excellent customer services, and our excellent customer service professionals within the industry. Then again, we also do the journey mapping, I don’t know if you’ve heard of rah, rah Jones, is our Guru equals the journey mapping on steroids. And that’s obviously you know, that’s a tool. It’s a process. It’s a it’s a working process. It’s not one that all poor companies, that’s also something that you need to customize to suit the individual organization to make sure that all the different various departments are researched. And that there are no discrepancies, that the call centers are evaluated and audited to make sure that they they are doing the right thing the frontline people just defined out way or the other discrepancies with within the organization. We’ve got actually we’ve got a program at the moment, we’ve got programs, if you go to the customer, Chartered Institute of customer management site, we’ve got programs ongoing, what we call the three months intense Customer Experience Management Certification, and causing the experience management, that that’s running for three months, there’s so many programs that you’re you, you you just have to you cannot go wrong, or we all need to learn, especially with with this industry. Growing the so many job opportunities, whether you like I said whether you in a retailer, call center frontline person, they are just so many opportunities, and we all need to sell ourselves and we all need to communicate and you know get get our stories across there. Yeah, check it out. We’ve got many many programs available. Does this depends on what the needs or are the young we can assist with many many, many tools.

Gregorio Uglioni 19:19
Thank you very much. I really like engine enjoy, how passionate you are about what you are explaining Thank you very much. Perhaps Could you also share your thoughts about continuous education and in particular, how should people, customer service experts look for which courses they should they should apply for and which skills are the most required on the market.

Ricky Harris 19:49
Like I say with the with with the customer experience management with a good understanding. You will be able to make a difference within your organization. So our I think our speciality is the customer experience management program. And also the call center programs we, like I said, we we, we go in and we assess the centers, though we don’t just train, we go in to the organization, and we customize the programs to suit the organization’s needs. So that’s, that’s where we, we excel. And then also we do master classes, which is a three day program on maybe new generation CX. What is what tools can you use to improve as well as the three month or one year to two year diploma programs? So it all depends, you know, the timeframe are people prepared to take off time? Do they want to study maybe online and work part time study online, those methodologies, and opportunities are the so they get a couple of hours a week facilitation time, and then they go back, and they do assess, they do? Do worksheets, they get assessed, and they get moderated at the end of the day, and then certificates for for the knowledge and for what they’ve learnt.

Gregorio Uglioni 21:36
Thank you very much. I think we are really coming to the end of this game. However, I still have some questions for you. And I think one important question is that they would like to share with us, what do you foresee in the future of customer experience in the next 10 years?

Ricky Harris 21:52
I think I think the focus was was so much on. Branding in the 1990s when I started out, and then 2000, especially in 2010 onwards, the focus shifted to customer centricity, which is the blueprint for companies visualizing the journeys. Yes, I think customers, like complex now, they want, they were they have high expectations. And as such as proactive services, interpersonal relations, they weren’t connected experiences across the channels and touchpoints. So they don’t just, they they know more, I think they know a lot more. So they won’t if you say for instance, you in the short term car insurance, they don’t want you to just tell them, Oh, we can, you know, give you a good premium. They want you to educate them. They want you just say, you know, you can get a comprehensive insurance you can get towing. If the car if you’re in an accident, you can get services towing services, you can get a rental car. So they want to know, what is that value? You know, and I think yeah, you don’t need to be you don’t need to compete with the whole world. As long as you compete with the with your competitor within your industry. I mean, Ryan, yeah, there’s so many BAP being a tourist town. There’s so many restaurants that you like, yeah, there’s so many opportunity choices. And what is the key differentiator that adds value or that will make you go back to a specific restaurant? I mean, they have the same beautiful view. They have the same menus pricing, but what what is going to be that really that that’s really going to stand out for you? Is it going to be the way they welcome you a clean restroom. Just the whole ambience, how people treat you. And it’s for me, it’s about if your service plan is about being friendly, then then your focus should be on being friendly. It’s actually very simple and making sure that your employees everybody within the organization understands the culture and what it is that you want to deliver. So we conflict often complicated I think, for us in the future we want we want fast, simple, quick deliveries. We want agents sales You both educate us. And not just so I sometimes I’ll get so confused when I get, I get bombarded with life insurance with all sorts of investment plans and you think, Oh, my goodness return is the best one because as I told you with South Africa, uh, you know, with the situation, your your disposable income is shrinking, you don’t have the disposable income, you’ve got to think twice, before you go out and spend your hard earned money. So you need to know that what ever you do and whatever you spend your money on, was a good choice. And we need to be educated. I mean, what do you what do you how do you foresee it, because that’s, for me, so important to be educated and informed very well about why I should come to you or buy from you. Or go back to to your company. Think of just how we can be better every day in every way, just be a little bit better than before, and competing with our competitors within our industries. Not not necessarily have to be a genius to the whole to the rest of the world. Hope that helps.

Gregorio Uglioni 26:29
thank you very much. I really appreciate your your personal view on this question. This is a question I’m always asking. And it’s really interesting to compare what what people were thought leaders like you are saying on this topic. We are coming to an end of this discussion. And however, the game is coming to an end. But I still have three questions for you. These are short question with short answers. The first one is, is there a book that you would suggest to the audience that perhaps actually during your life, or during your career,

Ricky Harris 27:02
there’s a book called relentless that’s making customer service your core principles by John Tschohl. What stood out for me as he also talks a lot about your service plans and being aligned with your ecosystems and supply chain, and making sure that you also employ people with a good attitude. He says that you can teach people skills, but you cannot teach people to have a good attitude. And he was talking about a uses that racers elite racers know how to they know how to bolt the bass dog sled. A team and you’re not all dogs like to pull a sled and not all employees like to, to work with, you know, in the service industry. And on not everybody’s people, people, people, people persons. So it’s very, very important for companies to select the right type of person with the right type of attitude. And yeah, I spoke is very speaks to me. Because it’s something that I do value is that, that you need to also deliver relentlessly good services. I mean, you in the hospital industry in the medical industry. I know I know that’s a challenge that can only be a challenge because a lot of your nursing staff must get tired and at a certain time in the day, they may not feel as perky as they should feel. But really you have to relentlessly be the and service people. And yeah, you just have to be there for the for the people and that’s what he talks about is to just be relentless. Another word for relentless for me is persistent. Be persistently good at what you’re doing. You know, you can’t just do it one day and then the next day you like no today on not in the mood for this. So persistently make sure that your team is delivering, delivering the best services and then I’ve got another book I don’t know if you’ve heard of outside in. I know we get confused about should it be inside out. outside in. I know This book by Harley have actually got a book, I’ve got a copy here. But it’s by Harley Manning. And Kerry, Bodine, they give you a very good it’s a as I explain how customers sometimes perceive things, and it’s important for you to make sure that the customer perceive you in a in a good light. And it’s all of our perceptions at the end of the day. And then he talks about the power of putting customers at the center of your business. They discussed the six disciplines of customer experience, have a good strategy, customer understanding, design, measurement, governance, and the culture that we spoke about. So it’s a very practical book, they give you a lot of practical examples, and they use companies all over the world. So they explain maybe a strategy plan, and then they will give you an example of a company that’s put it into practice, and how it’s benefited them. That’s a very practical, little manual.

Gregorio Uglioni 31:28
And thank you very much. I think you’ll see the second book that you are mentioning, it’s one of the most mentioned book outside-In, it’s really a great book. So the second last question, I’d like to ask it, and what are your contact details? What’s the best way to contact you?

Ricky Harris 31:48
Um, we are linkedin. We also on the Chartered Institute of customer management, we actually posting a lot of the program that’s available at the moment, people can register on an ongoing basis. The programs are they also www dot cicma global DOT com; cicma But just think of a global company. Young and you can also reach me, Ricky at the cicm a And I’m also on LinkedIn, this Ricky Harris. And obviously, through you, Greg,

Gregorio Uglioni 32:39
thank you very much for for this contract these tickets, I will put them in the show notes. And the last question is weekly golden nugget, it’s something that we discussed or something new that you will give to the audience.

Ricky Harris 32:54
Um, ya know, just I think keep the imagination going come up with new ideas, designs, I think the you know, there’s so many like, Elon Musk was talking about, he’s got all these crazy ideas. But a lot of things materialized and yeah, I think I was I read about the Swedish that’s got that time bank, where you can if you look after elderly person, you put time in a bank. And when you an older person one day, you have that time to get somebody to come and spend that time. Is that correct? I think it’s such a brilliant,

Gregorio Uglioni 33:46
I was not aware of that. But I also saw this this video. Thank you very much for your time. Ricky, it was a great pleasure.

Ricky Harris 33:57
Oh, thank you. Greg. Thank you very much.

Gregorio Uglioni 33:59
Thank you very much. And also the audience. Thank you very much. It was a great Pleasure. I wish you a nice evening.

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