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Douglas Jackson Limited - Blog

Page: 1 | 2 | 3

How You and Your Leaders Can Emerge Stronger and More Successful

If you are like many of the customer and employee focused business leaders and HR Directors we are talking to, resilience and the ability to attract and develop resilient leaders is critical at this time.

We have been speaking with a number of business leaders, CEO’s, CCO’s, COO’s, and HR Directors about the resilience of their leadership team.

Having resilient leaders at the moment is critical for you to achieve success, to make money, save money, lead your teams and colleagues.

What if you do not feel you have enough resilience in your leadership team?

Maybe you are asking how do I recruit for resilience?

How do I measure resilience in our leadership team?

Recent business insight published by McKinsey states ‘To emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, companies should start reskilling their workforce’s now’

‘Even before the crisis, 87 percent of executives said they were experiencing skill gaps in the workforce or expected them within a few years. But less than half of respondents had a clear sense of how to address the problem.’

The report goes on to state that ‘current trends are accelerating the need to enhance skills’ and ‘adapting employees’ skills and roles to the post-pandemic ways of working will be crucial to building operating-model resilience.’

The great news is that resilience can be taught.

It can improve with interventions.

As we know how important resilience, emotional intelligence, social intelligence and motivation is to our clients and customers at this time, we are able to offer our clients a comprehensive assessment process, insight and report which will help you measure the levels of resilience, EQ, SQ and motivation in your current leadership team.

A comprehensive assessment of your leaders, which will give them the chance to demonstrate personal excellence in the workplace.

The assessment helps you recruit and develop self-aware individuals who are able to self regulate and self-manage.

An assessment, insight and comprehensive report that can be used to develop better resilience in your leadership team.

Contact us to learn more and see if this tool and process will help you recruit and or develop a more resilient, more effective, more successful leadership team.  Contact Hannah Louise Cox, 01543 231072, or Michelle Ansell, 01543 231071, both of who are accredited interpreters of these reports and who can carry out a free no obligation audit of your situation.

Douglas Jackson help customer and employee led business leaders and HR Directors substantially improve the recruitment and retention of their new hires, saving you time and money.


Publish Date: August 24, 2020 5:00 AM

Returning to the office…Covid Recovery for business…

If you are like many customer led business leaders you will be considering getting at least some of your team back to the office in the coming weeks, or months.

Are you thinking about the key considerations for getting your team back to the office?

As we knew this subject was something a number of leaders were considering and asking about in our Customer Director Network, a virtual collaboration platform where Customer Service Directors, Customer Experience Directors, COO’s and CCO’s come to share and collaborate with their peers on challenges and opportunities, Executive Search Consultant Hannah Louise Cox organised a video interview with Customer Experience Director at Vanarama Dan Eddie on ‘getting your people back to the office successfully’.

Click on the image which will take you to the full video.

In this video you can see:

How Dan and his teams effectively worked towards getting back to normal following the easing of lock-down.

How their communications had to go up a level.

How to keep employee engagement high.

How to get the premises and team ready for return.

Other great tips about enhancing teams and business performance.

If you would like to know more or have any questions we can help with, where we can share advice or insight, please do get in touch with Hannah at or Tel: 01543 231072.

Hannah Louise Cox is an Executive Search Consultant at Douglas Jackson. We help customer led leaders and HR Directors substantially improve the success and retention of your new hires.


Publish Date: August 4, 2020 5:00 AM

Searching For Excellence and Geisha Recruiters???

I was recently lucky enough to visit Japan, a fascinating country with a diverse, rich and unique culture, much in contrast to the West.  I was particularly drawn to the tradition and history of Japan; the Geisha, the Samurai, the wonder of the bamboo forests, the might of Mount Fuji but I was also struck by how they strive for perfection and how they master their profession and or art.

Whether it be the fact that all their trains are on time.  They have the most 3* Michelin restaurants in the world. The lack of rubbish, or that a Maiko (Geisha apprentice), will train for 5 years to achieve the status of Geiko.  During this time, they will have no access to a TV, Facebook, or any other technology.  They receive no wage.  It is hard to imagine that such young women, Maiko are typically aged between 14 and 17, volunteer for this, mainly due to a sense of honour, to preserve and maintain such traditions. This apprenticeship and service to a trade is not unique, a Sushi Chef will also generally serve as an apprentice for 5 years, working with a master itamae before they are given their first job, preparation of the sushi rice and so it continues across professions. 

So back to the western world and yes, recruitment.  Our industry gets a good deal of bad press, in some cases quite rightly. The industry attracts many individuals through promises of big bucks, working with people and looses just as many through bad management, a lack of training, unprofessional practices etc.  However, like any other profession, to become great, takes a significant amount of time and experience, indeed, if you subscribe to Malcolm Gladwells bestseller Outliers, the magic number of greatness is 10,000 hours, or 6-10 years.

It reminded me of a post from Miles Jennings ‘Why Recruiting Looks Easy’, Miles talks about a children’s book 20 heartbeats. In it, a wealthy Chinese man asks a painter for a painting of his favourite horse, years go by and still no painting.  The wealthy man eventually goes to the painter wanting his money back. The painter pulls out a piece of parchment and paints the horse in less than the time of 20 heartbeats.  The wealthy man, initially perplexed, as he had paid so much money and waited so long for a painting that took so little time, soon realised that actually the painter had been practising his art for all this time to produce, what was now, a perfect image.

Many see recruitment as simple, easy even.  The reality is few really succeed and last for any time, for those of us who do, we dedicate our working life to becoming the best we can be across our specialist area, constantly crafting our trade.

In our search for excellence, time is a wise teacher, or, to quote Fred Astaire on his dancing:

‘If it doesn’ t look easy, it is that we have not tried hard enough yet”

To become an expert takes time.

If you want to work with a good recruiter, do your research, find an expert, a specialist, someone who has learnt their craft.  Ask them when was the last time and how many times have they successfully delivered a role like yours, or helped an individual like you. A Geisha we might not be, but some of us have spent years learning our craft and take great pride in the delivery of the service we provide.

We hope we can help and work with you in the future on our continued search for excellence.

Michelle Ansell is a founding partner of Douglas Jackson, working as a management consultant within talent acquisition, Michelle has been serving customer led business and leaders to recruit and retain the best talent for over 15 years.


Publish Date: June 3, 2020 5:00 AM

Is Customer Experience Really Dead?

This is a subject that I have been pondering on for a long while, and it is a subject that seems to really be at the forefront now in the face of our global crisis.

There is so much talk around what ‘Customer Experience’ means exactly. What actually does make up a Customer Experience leader? Is there need for ‘Customer Experience’ leadership or should all members of a leadership team embrace the customer and therefore drive customer centric values across each and every business function? As an industry, is this something that we are doing effectively?

The current global crisis has changed ‘Customer Experience’, potentially forever. What does the customers view of the world now look like with regards to expectations from product and service providers?

I was talking to a significant industry leader just yesterday about this specifically, and it was their view that ‘Customer Experience’ will be less important to customers post COVID19. Customers may not care about a ‘wow’ factor, as we go back to basics and provide products and services that provide value for money, with a service proposition that is top class. Cost will certainly be a factor, now and in the immediate future, post COVID19. How will our industry adapt to the differing customers views of the world? How will ‘Customer Experience’ as a function change to adapt to the new world?

Customer Experience has changed so much over the last decade, becoming much more sophisticated as a function, and becoming very popular for senior leaders and businesses to advocate. Customers have been really loyal to brands who have gone the extra mile and provided that ‘wow’ factor. Will customers now demand that the ‘bells and whistles’ are dropped, in favour of providing a more cost effective and basic customer service?

Also, it is the opinion of many individuals that the words ‘Customer Experience’ seem to have become ‘buzz words’ without any real meaning. Customer Experience Practitioners are popping up all over the place, without any real background in dealing with consumers. Businesses have been hiring Customer Experience leaders for a long while that actually have no real decision making capacity. Even hiring Customer Experience roles that have zero impact on making the ‘Customer Experience’ better at all.

I see both sides of the coin and there certainly are some businesses that have super slick Customer Experience functions, that do provide real value to the customer. Customers are becoming much more aware of companies social purposes and core ethics and values. Sustainability and the environment are becoming more and more important to customers, and businesses with good Customer Experience strategies are switched on to this. Still, many businesses do not use or harness data to their full potential, providing opportunity for Customer Experience leaders to really identify what matters to a customer and then make a business’ product and proposition more attractive to the customer. 

Is Customer Experience really dead? Or is it just changing? Customer satisfaction is at its lowest since July 2015, as per The Customer Satisfaction Index, January 2020. Is this an opportunity for businesses to again differentiate against their competitors? Or is providing the most cost effective product or service going to be the most important differentiator moving forward?

Interested to hear your thoughts on this, and what the words ‘Customer Experience’ really mean to you and your organisation.

Direct Dial: 01543 231072


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Hannah-Louise Cox is a Senior Recruitment Consultant and Executive Search Consultant at Douglas Jackson specialising in recruiting executive level, senior Director and management appointments across operations, strategy, transformation, Customer Contact, Digital and Customer Experience.


Publish Date: May 28, 2020 5:00 AM

The New Customer and Employee Landscape

What a few months, outside of the movies, I don’t think the majority of us could have ever planned or thought the country would be in lockdown, or in the grip of pandemic as we are.

On the whole, we have coped admirably well, everyone is trying to be upbeat, positive, kinder, more helpful, but the future is likely to look and be very different to the past, especially across the customer, employee and contact landscape.

As we look beyond lockdown and a gradual return to work, of sorts, what sort of change are we likely to see in the world of customer led organisations, customer experience, employee engagement and contact centres:

Remote working

There has been a lot of talk about the increased use of remote working during this crisis, with uplifts in morale and productivity being experienced by many.  From the conversations we are having this will certainly feature in the future of customer service and contact centres.

Challenge: It takes a different type of person to effectively work from home, uplifts and efficiencies, productivity might not be as easy to find in more ‘normal times’.  The lock down has also shown that many would not want an option to work from home on an ongoing, continuous basis, regulation, health and safety and technology will also play a significant part in our ability to develop and benefit successfully in this area.

Opportunity: Flexible working options will no doubt benefit organisations moving forwards, as well as a previously underutilised, untapped talent pool of semi-retired, or part-time workers, could now be considered for more flexible, or home working opportunities, who previously might not have been a consideration for a full-time office position.  This opens a world of opportunity when we look at attracting and developing a more inclusive and diverse workforce.

A new type of leader

Organisations will no doubt be reflecting and rethinking their current structures; is there a need for as many leaders, or indeed a different type of leader as we move past the current crisis, how can we best serve our business, customer and employees?  Do our leaders and managers have the EQ required to survive and thrive post crisis?

Challenge: Our future leaders and managers will need to have as much if not more EQ (Emotional Intelligence), as they do IQ, their ability to read others signals and react appropriately has already caught out some, almost previously untouchable characters and business, the effects of which are still to be felt.

Opportunity: Emotional Intelligence can be learned and improved in all of us, it makes us better leaders, better people, leading more motivated, likely empowered employees, who in turn, will also be influenced to be more self-aware and interested in their own self development. These changes, done well, could have a far reaching impact on our customer experience, employee engagement and be truly transformative to our organsiations.

New technology

Despite talking about digitalisation, the omni-channel, AI, automation, for some years now, the crisis has exposed many a business, their technology, tools and contingency plans.

Challenge: Has the technology developed or, been tested to the level needed? If we look at remote working for instance, a change in management for these workers includes an ability to identify when intervention is required for coaching and or guidance, can AI step in to recognise and deliver coaching and training requirements per call on a daily and ongoing basis to the levels required?

Opportunity: If we can obtain a balance of remote recruitment, onboarding, training and self-development with a mix of automation, digital, AI and human interactions, it opens up a world of opportunity, with a more empowered workforce, needing less performance management, less management, offering more efficiencies, productivity and an improved CX or, service proposition.

Protection of our vulnerable employees

Beyond lockdown, those considered more vulnerable to the virus will need more protection in the workforce.  How can we as employers ensure a safe and working environment for all.

Challenge: Existing working contracts and structures, process, technology and automation, much of which has been swiftly mobilised in a short period of time will need improvements and large-scale transformation for the future, with teams all of a sudden split between office and home, flexible working, how will we continue to manage and engage this changing workforce?

Opportunity: Rotational shift patterns and more flexible working patterns, offer us an  opportunity to reduce the size of offices some of us currently need, a better work life balance, adaptable workforce and a rethink of the scope and use of technology beyond our usual thinking, with significant shifts in the development and opportunities available to our employees.

Lots to think about….

What do you think about each of the above, or do you have another idea or opportunity for the new customer and contact landscape?  Please do comment or get in touch with your thoughts.


Publish Date: May 4, 2020 5:00 AM

Accelerated Digital Transformations

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had some interesting conversations with senior leaders particularly those operating in the digital transformation space.

A number of conversations have gravitated to the lack of ‘red tape’ during the latest digital transformation projects aimed to get teams working effectively but remotely.

A number of businesses have seen large scale transformation projects, expected to take months or years, accelerated to happen almost over night. The need for an increase in urgency when taking business from a BAU busy contact centre, to throwing all efforts (particularly from the IT teams) into directing a large volume of team members to work from home.

The most popular discussion piece, across business - both large and small has been the realisation that when business continuity relies on it, projects that would typically take 6 months of planning, sign off and preparation have all been conducted in less than two weeks, with two extreme cases that I’ve encountered taking just 48 hours.

What’s amazing, is that the transformation is truly adding value and keeping businesses contactable and compliant with the current nationwide lockdown restrictions.

Something that I have challenged the key stakeholders with that I have spoken to, is whether this sudden implementation of remote contact centres teams gives a true representation of what we can achieve post-crisis?

From my discussions, here are some key take-aways from this situation that I believe could improve “working life after COVID-19”:

  • Diversity and Inclusion - Could we open up the options for a diverse working culture i.e. people that are unable to travel to attend a regular place of work, perhaps due to a condition or, disability as they could operate functionally from the comfort of their own home?
  • The meeting that could have been a phone call - Could we replace meetings and travel expenses and key stakeholders time by holding meetings remotely to decrease downtime within a busy working environment?
  • Flexible working to control peak times out of core contact centre hours - The RAC are one example of a business that utilise home working agents to pick up additional call and digital contact out of hours by logging on remotely - is this something that could span new market sectors?
  • Decreasing dependent absence leave - Could we empower with the opportunity to work from home when dependants are ill? Typically, in this situation, businesses see their stakeholders required to take a leave of absence from work to cover this time - accounting for around 5% of absences within the corporate world.
  • Empowering key stakeholders to make decisions - This could alleviate the need to request permission to advance transformation projects, and for individuals to be accountable for project budgets and to make informed decisions to decrease project guidelines.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. What impact do you believe COVID-19 will leave on the workforce within the contact centre space?

Holly Beeston is a Executive Search and Recruitment Consultant at Douglas Jackson.  Holly specialises in the Utilities, Telecomms and Technology – SAAS vertical markets. Contact Holly on  Tel: 01543 231074


Publish Date: April 6, 2020 5:00 AM

6 Top Tips For Video Interviews

With the nations home-working in full swing, there have been a number of changes for us all day to day.

From battling with the youngest family members, prioritising home-schooling over spending time out in the garden whilst the sun is shining, to sharing work space with other family members who are also working from home every day, it is certainly bringing new challenges to the fore.

A big change that’s hit the world of recruitment has been the need to utilise technology for interviewing for roles with the inability to travel to sites for face to face meetings.

 A number of our clients here at Douglas Jackson are opting to use video interviews to alleviate the pressure whilst hiring for business critical roles during this unprecedented period.

But for some candidates, video interviews are an unknown and a very different prospect to being face to face.

How is best to prepare for these interviews?

Here are a six top tips (in no particular order) from our team here at Douglas Jackson to help you to prepare:

Do a dummy run

There’s nothing more frustrating than technology that doesn’t work when you need it to, so we would always advise that you ask a friend or family member to practice connecting with you online to ensure that there are no technical issues with your camera, speaker or connectivity ahead of time - giving you the opportunity to fix any problems that you might have.  This is also a great time to try and get comfortable talking to someone via video as opposed to a real person.

Dress to Impress!

First impressions really do count, so interviewing in your pyjamas on the sofa really isn’t the best way to approach an initial call. You’re home and have the time to prepare, so find out that suit and smart attire and get dressed as though you were going to meet the business in the flesh. 

It’s also important to dress entirely too - don’t be fooled and think that you’re okay to wear your tracksuit bottoms for comfort - all it takes is to need to get up from your seat to collect something for the interviewers to see that you have only turned up half prepared.

Do your homework…

 You likely have a little more time on your hands with the majority of the country closed for business, so take the time to research the company online, check the business out on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Google etc and take a look at the background of the people that’re interviewing you. If you have mutual connections, make a note as this could be an informal talking point and will also allow you to potentially discuss any businesses that you have mutual experiences with.

Be on time.

You don’t have the hassle of finding a parking space, or traffic on the way - so there really aren’t any excuses for punctuality. Be prepared and log on to the meeting a little early - you’ll then be a lot more relaxed when the interviewer logs on. We would suggest around 10 minutes early should be plenty of time to get yourself settled and prepared to begin your interview.

Think about your environment

Whilst we’re all contending with our houses being full, it’s important to find some quiet space with no distractions to ensure that you can concentrate on your interview that’s taking place. Treat your video interview like you would if you were visiting the office or contact centre for the first time - you wouldn’t take your dog or child with you, so ensure that they’re occupied elsewhere as much as you can

A key thing to also think about is lighting and the backdrop behind you. Ideally the hiring manager needs to be able to see you and will need to focus on you - not anything in the room or on the walls around you, so it’s best to really consider what’s in view of the camera. Ensure that you’re in a well lit room, that is tidy and clutter free and that you’re sat comfortably and appropriately. Whilst it’s great that you may have a house full of personality, it’s important to remain professional and to take the process seriously.

 Preparation is key

With being at home, you have the ability to make some notes of some of the things that you’d like to get across during the interview, take advantage and have a note of key achievements - ensuring that you have the facts and numbers to back up your statements - whether that be specific revenue targets that you have achieved, the impact that you have made for the performance of the team or, wider business.

It’s important to use the video interview to really showcase your talents, personality and to find out more about the available opportunity. So, it’s always important to ensure that you are as well prepared as possible and ready to show the interviewer exactly what you can bring to them and the business.

Above all, don’t forget to smile, be yourself and try and relax as much as you can.  The more comfortable you feel will come across in how you present yourself.

 If you’re preparing for your first video interview, we hope that this has helped and wish you the best of luck!

If you are on the lookout for your next opportunity, and you would like to discuss the market and how we can help you to find your next opportunity, contact me for more information on the roles that we’re currently hiring for and to discuss future roles, or I am happy to arrange a dummy run with you if you have a video interview coming up.

If you are a business who are looking to hire for a critical role, and would like to find out more about how we can help to find the perfect culture match through the use of Douglas Jackson Search, and would like to arrange a virtual coffee to discuss how we can help and add value, then please do get in touch.

Holly Beeston is a Executive Search and Recruitment Consultant at Douglas Jackson.  Holly specialises in the Utilities, Telecomms and Technology - SAAS vertical markets. Contact Holly on  Tel: 01543 231074


Publish Date: March 30, 2020 5:00 AM

Continued Support

The team at Douglas Jackson share your concerns about the spread of COVID-19, and its impact on the country, our daily lives and our friends and family.

The health, safety and wellbeing of our employees and our customers; clients and candidates are our top priority.

We have, for the time being reverted to virtual interviews and behavioural profiling, for ongoing roles, interviews and virtual meetings with our client customers. We are working to support our customers with the same.

Our employees are all able to work from home and can access all the tools and technologies to do their roles and serve our customers as usual, continuing the high level of professionalism, speed, quality of care and support you require. 

We are continuing to monitor the changing situation on an ongoing basis and following advice from the UK Government and World Health Organisation.

We understand that there is alot of disruption right now and many people may want to talk to us for our support, equally your priorities may lie elsewhere. Please do just let us know if we reach out to you, or, if we can offer any advice or support, you can contact us on 0345 620 9720 or email;

Our advice is free as always and we are available to offer this to anyone who needs it.


Publish Date: March 17, 2020 5:00 AM

Personalisation Of The Customer Journey – CCMA Seminar

I attended another great CCMA seminar in London, focused on the customer journey and how personalising the approach with customers can affect productivity within the contact centre.

The afternoon kicked off at the De Vere Connaught Rooms in Holborn with an informative presentation by Stephen Yap of Intuit who delved into research surrounding the personalisation of the customer journey and the knock on effect for customers.


With the consumer now expecting the same level of speed, agility, convenience and experience that corporate giants like Amazon are able to provide (both across B2B and B2C sectors), this ignited the afternoon’s discussions around the definition, design and implementation of personalisation, and the subsequent affects for both the customer and employees internally across the contact centres.

Following on from Stephen, software provider Noble Systems presented and gave some great examples of how market disrupters are standing out from the crowd and making life simple for the customer. From using facial recognition on banking apps, to resolving and paying an insurance claim in 3 seconds from data capture to payment, Geoff and Andy gave a thought-provoking insight into the way businesses are making their own mark through the use of personalisation.

Following a short break, we were then provided with an insightful panel discussion with a number of industry experts including Alice Henderson of John Lewis, Joe Diskin of Cabot Financial, Mahadevan Krishnanof Vitality and Claire Lomax of ttec. We were informed of the technologies and processes that these businesses have been implementing across a range of industry sectors in the contact centre space; each servicing very different end customers. From the implementation of chatbot’s and automation to increase the response time for the customer, to the use of speech analytics and the future implementation of conversational analytics, it was great to be a part of conversations with a range of industry leaders who share a common goal and passion for customer experience and who are constantly evolving through means of digital transformation.

The changes in the choice of channels used by the consumer was a huge topic, as a drastic changes in buying behaviour has resulted in a need to change the way that customers are being serviced.   A member’s example from today’s seminar mirrors a recent recruitment campaign that I have been working on, whereby a typical B2B servicing centre is now beginning to receive direct contact from consumers through different channels for the first time. This has meant that these businesses have had to assess their contact strategy and are having to create new ways to service their customers, training employees on new outcome focuses. The shift in buying behaviour trends have created a need to analyse the approach to a customised customer experience to fulfil heightened expectations.

The afternoon session concluded with a round table discussion around members experiences and plans for their personalisation efforts and the common hurdles to overcome. A resounding outcome from the session highlighted that, amongst other things, the regular obstacles include: budget, ability to demonstrate ROI prior to implementation for senior stakeholder buy in and multi site operations working on multiple systems needing to migrate from many platforms and standardise across the wider business to make change.

I’d be interested to hear more from my wider network around your thoughts on personalisation, so please do get in touch. What is your business doing to improve and personalise customer experience?

If you are looking for a sector specialist to support you to hire the right leaders into your business we can help to find the personality and skills to support the improvement of customer experience for your business.  We partner with you to source top talent across the UK and overseas across contact centres, customer service, sales, change, digital implementation, programmes, customer experience, resource planning, insight and analytics, please do get in touch and see how we can help you.

Holly Beeston - please contact me directly at or, telephone: 01543 231074.  Holly specialises in the following market verticals : Utilities, Telecomms and Technology - SAAS.


Publish Date: March 9, 2020 5:00 AM

The Future of The Contact Centre Conference

I attended The Future of the Contact Centre conference in London last week, and I must say, I came away from the event absolutely buzzing.

A big theme for me, taken from the conference, other events, and from talking to great senior Leaders, is the big emphasis now on inclusion across all demographics and personality types, and individuality. The rise of the robots is also seeing the rise in humans as individuals. What do you think about this? I’m all up for it to be honest. I believe that we should embrace our individuality.

Anyway, back to the conference specifically…

Nicola Millard from the Global Innovation Team at BT was very engaging as usual with some interesting points to note: Voice contact is going up! Social media is going down in preference as a channel. Millennials are digital first but are also impatient - they use voice to escalate queries. Social media is good for brand and sales, and not so much for service. Video chat is being used successfully in healthcare, making doctors’ appointments easier, and is also having success in some parts of financial services.

Chris Thewlis, COO at Npower talked us through “doing the right thing, and costs look after themselves”.

Ben Lappin, Director, Retention & Customer Experience at The Guardian, gave some valuable tips on getting buy in from senior management.

Ed Creasey from Calabrio spoke about simplifying employee engagement. A 5% increase in engagement drives 3% increase in revenue.

The Share Centre’s Mary Cope, Human Resource Director, and Gavin Morden, Head of Customer Service, shared stories of their “people first” culture, where people are encouraged to be themselves at work reaping real benefits for the company. Happy employees = happy customers.

Jason Hendrey from Vodafone Business explained how Customer Success is becoming popular as a function with the purpose of enriching Customer Experience and increasing profit.

Microsoft’s Andrew Mcguigan, WW Leader Deployment Services, explained how customer needs are the same as they have always been. ‘Something’ begins complex and then over time it gets simpler as things become the norm. Then something new (and complex) is released again. And so, the cycle carries on.

Paula Kennedy Garcia, Vice President, Concentrix and Edmund Ovington from Unbabel explained the Unbabel in partnership with Concentrix’s proposition. Multi-lingual businesses often hire on language skills alone, and not on empathy - a crucial component to possess in order to provide excellent customer care. They have taken the top performing multi-lingual agents and centralised them into a ‘hub’, and using a unique blend of machine learning, AI and human translators they provide a multi-lingual service proposition of excellence.

Ian Naylor a Customer Experience Transformation Leader, from showed us how they strengthened their supplier relationships and created a more competitive environment to support better Customer Experience scores.

Then it was Census Group with their ‘Give Something Back’ campaign. Richard Rowley, Managing Director, and Nicola Whitbread gave a compelling presentation that really touched the heart. Giving convicts who are hoping for a chance to turn their lives around. Proving stable employment whilst they are inside prison, and for when they are released. I don’t know about anybody else who saw this, but I had to hold back on my emotions all the way back to Euston station! It really is super work by the Census Group.

The last of the presentations that I saw, and certainly not least, was delivered by Alex King, Head of Customer Support, from the Fintech business Bought By Many. Alex wears the same outfit every day - a clean version I’m sure! This business has so far enjoyed no attrition whatsoever in their contact centre!! They are obsessed with customer feedback and have customer centric insurance policies making them more appealing to the public consumer.

A special mention to Martin Hill-Wilson, Customer Experience Strategist & Influencer, and popular industry speaker, from Brainfood Consulting, for opening the event and chairing one of the two halls.

So much to see, and so many people to see - I didn’t get to see some of the presentations that I had wanted to, and so apologies if I missed you out.

What was your experience of the event? I would be happy to hear from you, either in the comments, direct message, e-mail or phone on the number below:

Direct Dial: 01543 231072


Connect with me on Linkedin

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Hannah-Louise Cox is a Senior Recruitment Consultant at Douglas Jackson specialising in recruiting executive level, senior Director and management appointments across operations, strategy, transformation, Customer Contact, Digital and Customer Experience.


Publish Date: February 21, 2020 5:00 AM

Attracting and Retaining The Skills For The Future.

I was at a recent event and talking to a Director of Customer Experience about the changing roles within the customer market, as well as the perception vs the reality of the pace of change, given that voice is still a prominent and, in many organisations, still the leading channel of contact.

For me, the biggest challenge to organisations across our sector is attracting the individuals we need to deliver the future workforce, those that will deliver the cross-channel customer experience today, whilst retaining and developing this talent for the future to take on new and varied roles.

As with most change, these issues fall beyond one function or, department and will require CEO’s, ExCo and leaders who can adapt and offer truly inclusive and purposeful leadership.  In a recent article on ‘The Future CEO’ from Raconteur, ‘creating a value-based culture’ was the second most important business objective for CEO’s behind ‘ensuring long term success and investing for the future’.  Giving workers a voice and the ability to provide opportunities for all ages, gender and ethnicity, whilst leading by example, will be key attributes to the successful CEO of the future.

With an ageing workforce, the ability to engage, listen and connect in an authentic way will set one business aside from another.

I was recently invited to give an interview to Call Centre Helper on the subject ‘Why is it getting harder to recruit good contact centre people’, you can read the article here.

Contact Centres, Customer Service, Customer Experience, still has a dated perception which doesn’t always reflect the reality of life and opportunities available within this environment.  Companies certainly need to start looking at how they promote themselves and the roles they wish to fill.  Our industry is a great environment for so many.  If we look at so many of today’s leaders, myself included, they have learnt and built their trade within the Contact Centre from the ground up, in fact we were writing about this back in 2012 in Contact Centre, The Future Leaders Training Ground.

As trust in a brand grows ever more important to our consumers, as it does for our employees.  Individuals want to feel valued, they want to develop skills for the future, they want to believe in and invest in a brand that cares for their people, their customers, their environment, their future footprint.  Delivering and promoting these areas will help us attract and retain the skills for the future.

If you would like a conversation about how you can develop your recruitment and talent acquisition strategy, or to work with an organisation proven in our ability to help you attract and retain future proof talent, please give me a call on 01543 231071 or email

Michelle Ansell is a founding member of Douglas Jackson, partnering with clients for over 15 years to find solutions to their recruitment challenges.  Michelle was recently announced in the Top 50 CX Stars, at #8 in the CX Influencers list, also a top 3 female influencer.


Publish Date: January 24, 2020 5:00 AM

Customer Experience Stars

The start of a New Year, we don’t know about you but it always brings about a time of self reflection, of improvement, of new beginnings, even for those of us who strive for continued development and leanings throughout the year.

At the end of last year, Douglas Jackson received an amazing and unexpected accolade.

The Customer Experience Magazine published its Top 50 CX Stars.  Hannah Louise Cox, Executive Search Consultant, was announced in the Top 25 Customer Experience Professionals, the only recruitment professional to make this list and the only non-recruitment business owner to make the top 50 and Michelle Ansell, Managing Partner, was announced No 8 in the Customer Experience Influencers list, amongst the top 3 female influencers and the highest ranking recruitment industry professional within the list.

Douglas Jackson were also only one of two companies who achieved more than one industry professional on the list.

To say we are extremely proud of this recognition is an understatement, looking through the list we are in esteemed company indeed.

So, looking forward to 2020, Douglas Jackson enters its 13th year of serving the Customer industry and how things have changed.

Back in 2007 when we started we almost exclusively hired for the Call Centre and Customer Service industry, Customer Experience, Omni-Channel, Customer Success did not exist, let alone the number of supporting, strategic and specialist roles we now recruit extensively for; CRM, Programmes, Change, Insight, Resource Planning, Forecasting, Journey, Strategy, Design, Data, Analytics…. We wonder what will the next decade bring?

We look forward to the year and decade ahead, change is constant, as is our passion and commitment to the service we provide to the industry and individuals we serve.  We look forward to working with many of you again this year and would like to wish you all a healthy and happy new year! 

If you are considering a change, to your team, your structure, or your career.  Give us a call or contact us to see how we can help you.  0345 620 9720, or


Publish Date: January 7, 2020 5:00 AM

Stability In a Changing Market

Well, we are hours away from yet another time in our economic climate whereby decisions of our country are going to be remembered in history. Whatever your opinions on what has happened, is happening, or about to happen, there is no doubt that what we are facing as a country has an effect on us day to day in business.

How has the current economic situation affected your business, or business area?

The truth is, from a recruitment perspective, and regardless of Douglas Jackson having much continued success, is that we have seen challenging times now for many years. There can always be a reason not to hire – the Scottish Independence referendum, the EU referendum, general elections in years gone by, and the one that we face tomorrow.

How does this affect your ability to hire and attract the right talent into your organisation?

We are in a very unique political and economic situation, for sure, however, there are ways to make sure that you are securing the very best candidates not just on the market, but in the market. Some candidates, especially top performers, can be hesitant to move roles. The market has been very unpredictable over recent years with change being the only constant. Trust has become so very important, to clients, candidates, and to us.


If you are struggling to attract the right individuals to your business, who can not only do the role, but will do the role, and perform very effectively, we have a variety of solutions for you. We have worked very hard over the many years that we have been specialists in the Customer industry to build up a reputation of trust and quality, and we also have proven scientific methodology for matching candidates specifically to your organisations culture and the expectations of your specific role.

You can watch the Douglas Jackson Search video here

We can move swiftly to tap into a well-developed network of talented professionals, producing fully qualified shortlists of quality candidates, supported all the time by experienced, respected and most importantly trusted industry professionals.

Whatever tomorrow brings, we will all still be striving to deliver exceptional service and experiences throughout our great industry, and I look forward to working with you during another very successful year!

Please contact me to find out more about how to secure the right senior leaders for your business needs:

Direct Dial: 01543 231072



Publish Date: December 11, 2019 5:00 AM

The Future of Work in Contact Centres

The Future of Work in Contact Centres was this years theme and a topical subject for the annual CCMA UK National Contact Centre Conference, which was once again held at the fabulous British Library.

This event is always an informative, content packed conference and a highlight of the calendar and if you didn’t know already, totally free to CCMA members.

Ann-Marie opened the conference and introduced our first speaker Professor Moira Clark from the Henley Business School with ‘Customer Experience and the Ageing Workforce’.  Moira outlined the challenges in customer management for 2019;

People - employee engagement, quality and skills.

Culture - customer centricity and the ability to adapt to change

Customers - turning feedback into realistic actions

Technology, Finance, Resources and Regulation were also listed.

Moira advised business needs to realign its expectations regarding the makeup of its workforce, and how it serves its customers.  Our workforce, customers and population are ageing rapidly; by 2031 50% of the UK population will be over 50 and by 2050, 33% will be over 60 across mature economies.  In addition, those being born now are expected to live to 110.

This will have a significant impact on the ability to recruit, secure and retain the right skills and the workplace will have to adapt to the changes in how we learn, how we act, how we think.  In addition, we need to think about how we serve this ageing population, considering larger print, better lighting, ease and patience!

‘Thinking is to humans as swimming is to cats.  We can do it if we have to but we’ll do anything to avoid it’  Kahneman, 2012

Andrew Hall from Odigo talked about ‘Meeting the emotional needs of customers and agents’.  How can we treat our employees and customers differently as there are a world of personalities, each with emotions, where 95% of our purchasing decisions are made in our subconscious mind.

Andrew also highlighted the differential across the generational workforce with regards to important factors for employment; whereas good health and benefits were important to the baby boomers, salary rules for the Millennials and Gen Z.  An ability to pursue passions and job security are also important for these demographics.

Claire Smith from Moneypenny, a business we have enjoyed hearing from before, shared how a focus on culture helped reduce churn, sickness, drive growth and increased productivity.

‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast, operational excellence for lunch and everything else for dinner’, Peter Druker.

Declan Doyle, Poly addressed ‘making remote work’, where the transition to cloud, AI and robotics, all help the remote agent.  When an average support agent requires  up to 8 programs to do their job, and the most successful companies have an average of 6.7 interaction channels, efficiencies from AI and analytics are critical.

However, in an empathy economy, voice has become the priority line, with 70% of respondents from a Frost and Sullivan (2018) survey with Plantronics saying Voice calls had increased!

So can intensive voice environments thrive in a remote working environment?  Considering ‘Bricks (environment), Bytes (technology) and Behaviours (educations), smarter working can deliver significant benefits for employee, employer and customer.

Helen Wilson from Ipsos Mori was next, now Ipsos Mori are always a firm favourite of ours, in a world of fake news and sensational headlines, their insight and knowledge of global thinking and trends, is always a leveller, restoring faith and calm.

Helen talked about Trust.  When more than 80% find it hard to know who or what to trust due to contradictory information, 60% said trusting in brands is more important than ever.

Although trust seems to be on the decline, for many institutions this change happened some time ago with countries including Britain actually showing rising levels of trust in other people.    Where trust is low for Bankers, Politicians and Government Ministers, our trust in experts is high with Scientists, Doctors and Teachers topping the list.

Understanding how trust matters and what drives it for our customers is good for business, although this differs from sector to sector and country to country.

Hayley Diggens and David Geffan from NICE showed us how Gamification, helps drive performance, engagement and motivation in our employees.  If you didn’t already know 40% annual turnover costs £2.5 million for every 1,000 employees.

Steven Bell from Verint shared their 2019 research to help humans and technology work hand in hand to achieve rising expectations and Sabio took us through the CCMA benchmark and index report which will compare contact centre performance across 20 core metrics.

The above does not go half way to include everything, we could go on and on.  Thank you to Ann-Marie and her team and all the speakers for another super event.


Publish Date: November 14, 2019 5:00 AM

Voice Still King in Retail

I had the opportunity of attending a retail round-table event hosted by Ann-Marie Stagg and the CCMA in London last week, titled ‘The Future of Retail’.

As you would expect, AI and Bots were heavily featured, although interestingly, voice was still a channel of choice, or ultimate destination for many of retail consumers.

Ann-Marie kicked us off and introduced Ben Page from Ipsos Mori, who was followed by Marcus Hickman, both market research, customer insight and data organisations.

19% of consumer interaction is in store or by phone, with 15% being digital only, this included social media, apps and chat bots, with the remaining 66% utilising a multi-channel approach of interaction, therefore using more than one channel.  Marcus’s insight showed that customers want to make calls and one of the challenges for some was the challenge in identifying the customers, cross channel communications, or interactions and the customer being asked to repeat or give information multiple times.

Marcus spoke about the “Voice Technology of the Future”, with 2 in 3 consumers wanting Chatbots like Google with a more interactive quick response, they also want to be able to access customer service through smart speakers and to bypass verification via voice biometrics.

One thing that was highlighted through both Ben’s and Marcus’s presentation was the importance of “Trust”. Trust of a brand and our interactions with them, are paramount to drive loyalty and allow us to build “memories and moments”, which are key to a great customer experience.

Ben Lyons and Adrian Morley from the Co-op, shared their progress, taking the “Bot” to the next level and presented the Robot that can deliver consumer goods to your door, with its innovative GPS technology, taking convenience to the next level. Watching their video and how this comes to life created great interest in the room.

Our individual round-table discussion chose ‘multi-channel’ as our subject, but again voice seemed to dominate several high profile and leading brands.

The afternoon panel discussion covering the effects of AI and chatbots, with representatives from Lego, John Lewis, Wilko, Asos and Co-op take to the stage, it was interesting to see the different stages of AI across these, the challenges and success stories behind their achievements.

My personal overview of the day is, although digital is a significant and driving force across retail, with many online transactions driving business, the statistics show, at least today, that customers want freedom of choice to use a mix of channels for their communications, with Voice still being a prominent factor, at least for now…..

If you would like to speak with me about how I can save your business time and money, in sourcing the right senior managers and leaders for your business, you can contact me on:

Direct Dial: 01543 231073


Kerry Gidziewicz is a Senior Recruitment Consultant at Douglas Jackson specialising in recruiting executive level and senior management appointments across operations, strategy, transformation, Customer Contact, Digital and Customer Experience for the Retail, Travel and Online markets.

Douglas Jackson are committed to innovation, and if you would like a demonstration on our digital recruitment process, which features video and behavioural profiling, as well as other innovative and helpful tools, then please get in touch!

You can watch the Douglas Jackson Search video here


Publish Date: October 28, 2019 5:00 AM

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