Gestures that turn customers into advocates

This week I received an email from the company where I have my car insurance – Admiral – and the subject was “Important information about your Admiral policy”.

Past experience tells customers that an email with this subject rarely brings good news. It usually is to inform that premiums went up, or something of that nature.

But the content of the email was rather surprising. Admiral was telling me that due to COVID-19, and the lock-down measures, there was less cars on the road.

This obviously resulted in fewer claims. So Admiral decided to pro-actively issue premium refunds to their customers. How cool is that?!


There are a lot of great things about this gesture of goodwill, as well as the way it was communicated, delivering an outstanding Customer Experience.

  1. The gesture is not common in the industry; Surprises the customer with good news in a time of crisis; And puts some money in the pockets of some customers in need.
  2. It shows that even in during a crisis, and whilst the company is dealing with enormous challenges, they are still thinking of the customer.
  3. The communication is personalised, direct, simple and to the point; It not only says how much will be refunded, but is transparent re. the calculation done.
  4. To avoid confusion, anxiety or frustration, it also clarifies how it will be done; And when the customer can expect the refund.
  5. For customers who may need further information, a landing page was created where it is also easy to get in touch.

I have researched a lot when looking for a car insurance, and one of my criteria was Customer Experience – it seems like Admiral is living up to the positive reviews and brand promises.

I am a loyal customer that, on the back of this experience, turned into an advocate.

Employee Engagement and Technology after COVID-19


The world evolves every day, but some events make certain changes come abruptly. In the 20th century, things were never the same after the second World War. And no doubt things will change for good now, after this COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the things that will change is the way we work, and where we work from. Many companies will realise that they no longer need to pay whopping rents for offices in the centre of capital cities, as people can be as efficient working remotely.

But if the cost saving will be good news for companies, and the avoidance of daily commutes will please employees, the situation will pose some challenges, namely around two key things: employee engagement and technology.

1. Employee Engagement

The experience of working for a company will be completely different if people work remotely and don’t have much face-time – for internal meetings, client workshops, even coffee-breaks or team building activities.

In a not completely unlikely situation, people could even spend their whole tenure at a company without physically meeting their colleagues. We see today, many people being interviewed and hired over video-conference.

So the paradigm for Employee Engagement needs to change. HR and XM specialists will be asked by companies to come up with different ways of getting their employees to “feel the company”,live the culture” and “wear the jersey“.

This will impact the strategy, approach, and tactics used in current Employee Experience programs – be it lifecyle (e.g. on-boarding, exit), 360, or pulses. And technology will play an even bigger role in the enablement of this.

2. Technology

But if things change the way we envisage, and more companies and people adopt remote work, technology will no longer be just an enabler (something that makes it possible for a particular thing to happen or be done), it will be pivotal.

Employees will not be able to do their work without technology – I’m thinking not only of Software but also of Hardware. And this will demand technology companies to develop their platforms and devices even further, making them more powerful.

What we achieved, technology-wise, in the last 2 decades (since the Personal Computer and the World Wide Web got married) is absolutely astonishing. With that, remote working today wasn’t possible. But technology is only developing at a possible pace.

The expectation is that this crisis and the changes that will come as a consequence of it, will give a gigantic push for technology development to accelerate massively, and for its power to become unthinkable… but necessary to cope with the new normal.

How COVID-19 will change restaurant experience


The world will definitely not be the same after this COVID-19 pandemic, and many aspects of our daily lives – even those that seem trivial – will be impacted. Some of them changed for good and, I will argue, also for the better.

Recent interactions with a good friend – Miguel Cizeron, an experienced Chef who is opening a new Restaurant in Portugal – made me think of something everyone experiences and will definitely change soon: going out for a meal with friends or family.

Every time we go out for a meal, we are looking for a enjoyable experience. Either we go to McDonald’s with our kids, expecting to see them happy and having fun. Or we go to a fancy restaurant with friends, for a pleasurable and unique experience.

But many times the experience is below par. The food is great (every McDonald’s has tasty burgers and chips, and all fancy restaurants have delicious dishes) but the experience is so much more than food – it’s the the ambiance, the service, the people around us.

More often than desirable, one of those things ruins the overall experience. You wait before getting seated; there’s so much noise that you need to shout for others to hear; people next to you hear your conversation; staff struggles with so many orders.

The social distancing measures that will need to be put in place, due to the pandemic, will most probably change a dinning experience. And, as far as I’m concerned (I hate crowded places), it will change it for the better.

We don’t know yet what governments and policies will enforce, and what the regulations will look like. But surely people will have to make reservations and arrive on time, avoiding queues and people waiting in cramped entrances.

Restaurants will have to reduce capacity, increasing distance between tables. This means customers will be much more comfortable. There won’t be too much noise, people can have private conversations, staff will be more attentive, etc.

My Chef friend asked a good question: “If restaurants reduce capacity, they’ll probably have to increase prices”. My answer, based on public research, is “No problem” – because most people (like me) will gladly pay more for a more enjoyable experience.


5 Essentials for CC Agents working from home


The COVID-19 outbreak in Europe continues to spread, and it seems some countries have not seen the worst of it yet. However, businesses are already being impacted massively.

Some of the biggest impacts have happened in the Customer Service or Customer Care area, with many people trying to contact companies to ask for help – making contact centres very busy and stretched.

More than adding people to their contact centres (I heard some companies are adding thousands of agents) the challenge is to ensure they have all they need to work efficiently from their homes (no one is even remotely thinking of having hundreds of agents in an open-space now!)

What do companies need to provide agents, so they can work from home, without impacting the service delivery and customer experience?

  1. Laptop – most contact centres still equip agents with desktops, and it is critical that all agents have a laptop they can take home.
  2. Headset – a good headset (noise-cancelling, etc.) to ensure the kids screaming or the dog barking in the background doesn’t impact the call quality.
  3. Connection – not all agents will live in an area with fibre, so might as well cater for the faults of a wi-fi connection, with an Ethernet cable.
  4. Security – the majority of companies will have their systems (even if cloud) behind firewalls and only accessible from outside via VPN, so configure those.
  5. Collaboration – agents will no longer be able to turn to their colleagues, or tap them in the back for help. So ensure they can have “offline” conversations.

Of course this all assumes you have a SaaS platform (cloud and web-based), that your agents can access, to manage and log customer interactions – what we would call a customer/service/ticketing management system.

If you don’t… then I would strongly recommend you look into Zendesk. I partner with them, and have helped many companies enable it. It is probably the quickest to subscribe, switch on and start using. And the easiest to adopt, as it is easy-to-use and user-friendly. Apart from that, it brings the necessary features to collaborate, take calls, etc. all in one app.

Should I “put the breaks” on CX or EX programs?


The COVID-19 outbreak is hitting our communities hard, and people’s health and well-being is paramount. But more than our present, this crisis is also affecting our future, because it is impacting businesses, putting the safety of our jobs at risk.

Companies are looking at income and costs very closely, trying to avoid unnecessary spend, in an effort to avoid lay-offs, salary cuts or letting people go. Doing so risks customers and employees’ trust and belief in the company, going forward.

When trying to find, and assess, unnecessary spend, should I consider “putting the breaks” on my Experience Management (CX or EX) programs and initiatives?

I don’t think so, and here are some reasons why you shouldn’t.

1. When it comes to Employee Experience (EX) and if you are a Commercial business, you cannot shut down completely, so you will have employees working from home. Remote work can be tricky due to many variables, so best practice recommends that you check-in frequently, feeling the pulse of your staff and ensuring they have all they need to work effectively. A similar approach could apply to Education organisations, accompanying students.

2. When it comes to Employee Experience (EX) and if you are a Healthcare organisation, your employees will be overwhelmed with work and increasingly stretched. These challenging working conditions can affect staff’s physical and mental well-being, impacting judgement and ability to deliver. Staying connected and understand their pains and needs is crucial. A similar approach could apply to Manufacturing organisations, which will have higher demand.

3. When it comes to Customer Experience (CX) and if you are a Commercial business, you will be compelled (this time not advised, but forced!) to adapt to customers’ different needs and expectations. What products or services are considered essential, what challenges or options for payment or delivery/collection. And the only way you can understand those, is by reaching out and listening to them.

4. When it comes to Customer Experience (CX) and if you are a Healthcare organisation, your patients (as well as their families and friends) will now, more than ever, need your attention. You will need to ensure they not only understand the restrictions and limitations of these challenging situation, but also empathise and contribute to their mental health balance.

However, it is not recommended that you continue to do what you have been doing so far. You should definitely make an effort to readjust your CX or EX program to the current situation.

So what changes should I do to my CX or EX program, what kind of initiatives could I deploy, and how can I make that happen?

I’m delighted to work for a company, Capventis, that partners with Qualtrics – more than just a technology vendor, they work with leaders and subject matter experts to bring their customers the best insight and advice around the XM category.

I’m not only proud to be part of that network, but also extremely proud of what our teams have been doing to allow businesses and organisations to improve and deliver better experiences to their employees and customers.

So some of the answers to the above question can be found in their website, in this URL:

  • Remote Work Pulse
  • COVID-19 Pre-screen & Routing
  • COVID-19 Customer Confidence Pulse
  • Healthcare Workforce Pulse
  • Remote Educator Pulse