What do Dragons, Boxing and Boris have in common?

I’ve mingled with them all this last week, albeit in a roundabout way – apart from a dragon that is, because I properly mingled with one of those this week….

Firstly, we spent the evening in the company of the legend that is Frank Bruno on Tuesday evening, when he co-hosted the European Contact Centre & Customer Service Awards (ECCCSAs) with the very articulate Fiona Bruce, who’s been giving Boris et al a run for their money in the lead up to the General Election these last few weeks.

Neither Fiona or Frank disappointed on the night – they’re both hugely entertaining in their own unique way. She’s a brilliant questioner and he’s a hilarious answerer. The Q&A of the night had to be when Fiona asked Frank “of all the fights you’ve had over the years, who would you say hit you the hardest?” to which Frank replied “my ex-wife and the tax man!”

We were one of 8 finalists in the category for Customer Experience Learning & Development Initiative at ECCCSAs this year with our lovely client, Equiniti, having competed against 24 countries throughout Europe for the gold award.

Whilst we came away without a trophy on Tuesday, we were extremely proud to have got to this position in the best contact centre awards programme in the world AND of course, having already won GOLD for Professional Services and BRONZE for Customer Centric Organisation with our client just 2 weeks before at the UK Business Awards, we weren’t THAT upset…. especially given the fact we all had such a fabulous evening with F&F and now have some lovely memories to bank from the night.

So onto my REAL mingle of the week – my claim to fame of the YEAR me thinks…

The FIT team had the amazing opportunity to listen to (and then properly ‘grill’ during a 60 min Q&A session) the fabulous Dragons Den legend that is Deborah Meaden this week. She’s been my favourite Dragon FOREVER and meeting her in real life did not disappoint.

She’s one of the most emotionally intelligent, authentic, down-to-earth and inspiring entrepreneurs I’ve ever come across and with the exception of Mary Queen of Shops, she’s definitely the best celebrity guest we’ve ever had on stage at the Entrepreneurs Circle Success Summit over the years.

Courtesy of my dear friend and fellow entrepreneur Celia Gaze, who is MD of The Wellbeing Farm & author of the book ‘Why Put a Bow Tie on a Llama’ (visit www.thewellbeingfarm.co.uk to find out the answer) I’m listing below the key takeaways we learned from Deborah on Monday, and hope you derive some benefit from reading them too…

  • Everything you do in your career is a marker in your life (Deborah was once a bingo caller and still uses the learning from this chapter in her life).
  • The power of properly paying attention to your customer and really figuring out what matters to them should not be underestimated.
  • Spend your energy on things that take you forward – don’t drain yourself on the little things that hold you back or keep you focused through the rear-view mirror.
  • Prove yourself to yourself rather than to anyone else.
  • You don’t have to get everything absolutely right – your customer is more forgiving if they like you and trust you.
  • An organisation behaves how the head-honcho behaves – how does your personality, language and trust contribute to how you are perceived as a business owner or leader?
  • Spend your time scanning the horizon so you can spot opportunities. The ability to be flexible to adapt your plan is critical.
  • You don’t have to plan everything – stop over-rehearsing. If you love and are passionate about what you do; you understand your business and marketplace; you believe in your products or service and know why it’s needed by others, people will invest in you and what you are offering. Authenticity is vital.
  • Start walking barefoot on the ground first thing every morning, whatever the weather, for grounding purposes and connect with the earth’s energy.

I particularly loved this last takeaway, given I teach grounding techniques in my therapy work and I’m forever banging on about how we are ALL energy and must take care to connect with positive energy at all times, to ensure we maintain our emotional health and stability.

My overriding memory of the time spent with the Dragons Den superstar is her genuine look of surprise and gratitude when I gave her a personally signed copy of my book ‘Make Their Day: Awesome Ways to WOW Your Customers’ when David & I had our up-close-and-personal photo taken with her.

I told her the book documented my life’s work of having OCD (an Obsession with Customer Delight) just like she’s clearly had all these years too, and how her talk had been sheer musical bliss to my ears because of our common interest in all things customer!

So I’m just waiting for the call now, for Deborah to say…. I’M IN!

Until next time – keep FIT!

Best regs
Marie X

Hello... I'm Marie Cross

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