Judges' Roundtable: What it takes to become a CX Leader of the Yearby
Customer Experience Leader of the Year judges Christopher Brooks, Ian Golding, and Sue Duris get together to discuss all things CXLOTY. Watch the full discussion on-demand now.
Following the announcement of the 2023 CX Leader of the Year winners and finalists, MyCustomer picked the brains of some of our most experienced judges – discussing everything from why you should enter the awards and what makes a strong application, to what the applicants’ work can teach us about the wider CX sector.
If you’re proud of your programme and you have a fantastic story to tell – tell it.
For any potential CXLOTY applicants reading this, I’m sure the main reason you’re here is to find out how you can produce the strongest possible application. Don’t worry, we asked.
Whilst our three judges had different opinions on what elevated applications from good to great, they were all in agreement on one point: you need evidence.
Ian Golding was particularly adamant on this, commenting:
“The more tangible you can make it, the easier it is for us as judges to recognise that what you’re saying isn’t just theoretical and conceptual, but you’ve actually put it into practice – that’s the differentiating factor.”
For Christopher Brooks, another thing that stands out to him is humility from an applicant who is comfortable enough to admit that they haven’t managed to achieve everything on their own:
“The strong applicant, for me, evidences what they’ve been accountable for, and what they haven’t.”
This concept of being one part of a successful team is taken a step further by Sue Duris, who outlines the need to display cross-functionality across the entire company:
“How do you go about aligning what you’re doing in CX with other parts of the organisation?”
Avoiding common pitfalls
Despite the global reach of the CXLOTY awards, some common application mistakes are universal.
As touched on above, the inability to provide evidence to support your work is a typical stumbling block for an otherwise impressive application. However, Christopher Brooks feels another area in which applicants often let themselves down comes from what he terms the “consequence of success.”
Applicants take us on the journey, but they forget that we weren’t with them at the early stages.
“Applicants take us on the journey, but they forget that we weren’t with them at the early stages.”
For Christopher, applicants sometimes try to fit so much into their entries to highlight all they have achieved but they don’t articulate precisely how they achieved certain steps.
This issue of not presenting your achievements clearly enough is also discussed by Ian Golding, who feels that applicants sometimes over-complicate things with unnecessary jargon:
“There were applications where I genuinely didn’t understand what they were telling me.
“You should be able to show an award entry to your grandma. It isn’t about complexity, it’s about making sense and making it compelling.”
What can CXLOTY teach us about CX?
Although the bulk of the discussion centred around the CX Leader of the Year application and judging process, our judges also gave their opinions on some of the insights that can be inferred from the applications themselves.
For Sue Duris, having spent the earlier part of her career based within the USA – which, at the time, was the standard-bearer for CX – the high calibre of entries from all over the world really struck a chord.
“Now, what people are doing across the globe with CX is levelling the playing field. You can’t tell anymore who’s from each region.”
I’ve seen less dependency on technology and more on the team and changing stakeholders’ minds.
What stood out to Christopher Brooks was a healthier use of technology, where it is deployed as a tool to improve CX programmes rather than the entire programme itself.
“I’ve seen less dependency on technology and more on the team and changing stakeholders’ minds.”
This idea of a more harmonious relationship between technology and CX leaders was also highlighted by Ian Golding:
“In a world where there are many who want to eliminate humans because it will save money, what these professionals are demonstrating is that we can’t do this without humans and we can’t do it without tech.”
Advice from the experts
In closing our discussion, we asked our judges to provide advice to potential CXLOTY applicants and why they would encourage CX leaders to enter.
The people who are getting to the top of the tree in this award are going to be shaping the industry – and you want to be amongst those.
For Sue Duris, the process of completing the application is just as beneficial as the awards themselves. Treating it as an exercise for self-reflection and improvement will not only help professionals but usually lead to a strong application:
“Consider it as a sharing tool; a learning tool to help others.”
This point was also emphasised by Ian Golding, who linked it to the tendency towards imposter syndrome within the CX sector. Golding implores leaders to show pride in their achievements and “don’t be humble.”
For Christopher Brooks, the single biggest reason to enter the awards is the calibre of the applicants. As he so succinctly puts it:
“The people who are getting to the top of the tree in this award are going to be shaping the industry – and you want to be amongst those.”