“Good CX also needs to take in the needs of the employees. You can make a fantastic change. But if your employees don’t understand how they can bring that to life, then it just becomes a great idea.”
Hayley Spraggett – Head of Client Intake and Care, Slater and Gordon Lawyers
Welcome back to Ten and Ten, the official podcast of CX Loop. It’s the show where we take leaders in customer experience and put them against ten questions in 10 minutes.Today’s guest is the one and only Hayley Spraggett head of Client Intake and Care at Slater and Gordon. I’ve been really looking forward to this chat for a while and it didn’t disappoint.
In today’s episode, we dove into her career and why she thinks a human cantered approach to CX is absolutely crucial to it’s longevity. Take it away, Hayley.
Hayley: Hello, Tom. Good to be here.
Tom: So to start out with, I was wondering if you could tell us about who you are and your current role with Slater and Gordon?
Hayley: Of course. So I’m Hayley Spragget, as you said. And I am currently the head of client intake and care at Slater and Gordon Lawyers, which is a fancy title for what probably in another industry would be head of CX.
Tom: And how did you find your way into the into a CX role?
Hayley: So when I was in my early mid-twenty issues, I went on a frolic around the world for a couple of years, as you do when you’re that age and arrived back in London in the midst of a very cold winter with no job and an overdraft. And so one of the only jobs that was available was a role in a call centre.
I hadn’t even known what a call centre was in those days, but I took the job out of necessity and had planned to stay there just a couple of months until Christmas finished and new jobs came on. I walked out of there ten years later. So, you know, I started, as I say, in the call centre, but I did a whole bunch of jobs, sort of moving every couple of years and through many, many disciplines.
I became a training manager and I then became a service designer.
We did some great projects in the early days of online and and home shopping in the UK. And then whilst working there as a service designer, our company had a consulting division I met some consultants and thought, “oh, that would be a great job to have.”
I was very fortunate to have a mentor. And she said to me, “Well, you know, it’s all well and good that you want to do that, but you perhaps should go and run a division so that you can understand how these things work”. So I went to run some contact centres for BT, the telecoms company over there.
Three centres, 1500 FTE and 34 million contacts a year and certainly put some scars on my back, to learn some of the tools of my trade. And then off the back of that, yeah, I did eventually become a consultant and worked with generally government and police clients for BT. So that was my time there.
After that I moved and did sixteen years as a consultant in my own right.
Tom: As you mentioned there, you’ve worked across so many different facets, you know, from the design side of things to the consulting. Can you tell us a bit about a unique challenge you had to resolve during that time?
It’s a bit of a weird one really, because with most changes that you make in CX, you can experiment or you can incrementally change something.
The one that probably comes to mind as being unique was I did a role leading the client experience change for the regional rail link, which if anybody from Victoria may remember back in 2015 was a change to the rail network between Geelong and Melbourne.
It was probably one of the most complex changes that I’d worked on up until that point in my career.
There were two new stations that were opened. We had to do all the alignment of all the, the multi-modal transports. So all the busses, the trains, the metro trains, the trams, there were timetables there were journey planners. And so it was a massive, massive change. And of course, then this the way that it is structured is complicated as well.
It was unique because you don’t get a trial period. A train line is on or it’s off.
I worked with some great collaborative CX people that were working in the train operating companies; Melinda Button, Jordana Blank from PTV. And so these were real hard core CX’ers who’ve done it many, many times before.
We worked together for the first time to journey map and experience.
On this project we literally went and walked the stations, rode the trains and went to the car parks and, you know, checked out the toilets at the new stations. We literally walked in our clients customer’s shoes. And it was just an amazing experience because of the scale.
Tom: It’s something that’s become a lot more commonplace now. I’ve noticed particularly a story with DoorDash recently where they have everybody within the company experiencing a delivery or doing a delivery at least once a month. So yeah. And being out there and in that direct feedback, experiencing what the customers are going to experience, it’s incredibly important.
Tom: Now obviously your career started in the UK and I was wondering if anything has surprised you about the needs of Australian customers compared to those in the UK?
It’s a great question. I don’t think so really. It’s the really short answer to that.
I think what surprised me when I first migrated here was that the online presence wasn’t perhaps as strong over here as it was in the UK.
I remember being quite shocked trying to find a retailer and finding that their very their online presence was just the opening hours in a PDF and some pictures of some clothes I could buy that was quite shocking.
But I think we’ve moved at a pace since then and everything digitally is there or thereabouts. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Nunwood six pillars or KPMG as they are now. But you know, they’re considered to be universal truths and I use that quite a lot in the work that I do.
I just see that playing out, you know, and that’s a worldwide survey. And I do see that playing out with our clients and previous customers that we do all have the same sorts of needs which need to be serviced.
Tom: And what would be your definition of good CX design?
A lot of people talk about invisible experience and that being good design. And I think that there’s a lot to be said for that but I think for me good CX also needs to take in the needs of the employees.
I think that that’s quite often forgotten or overlooked. So, you know, you can, you can make a fantastic change. But if your employees don’t understand the why or the role that they play and how, they then bring that to life, then it just becomes a great idea.
I think really understanding how your employees interact with whatever that CX is, is crucial.
Tom: Can you tell me what is the best lesson you’ve learned about customer experience?
Thinking back to when I became a consultant. Working with over 4 million contacts a year, it really helped me to understand the people aspect and the processes, the importance of those and the interplay with what you’re doing.
Tom: How do you measure the success of a CX initiative?
Good question. I think that success is dependent on what it is that you’re trying to change, I guess. But but for me, you know, I think one of the key things is to not only to measure the client experience but also your employees experience.
If you can’t understand how their adopting or adapting to the change or what they’re thinking and feeling, then then that change that you’re about to bring about will probably, you know, not eventuate.
For example. Thinking about a change we have just done recently with some of our legal teams. We measured and collaborated on a particular moment for our clients.
But at the same time, we were also working with our legal teams to understand their comfort levels with, the changes that we were working through together and what they were thinking and feeling. And what we identified is that they welcomed some training. they needed some training to go with the change.
I think if you don’t measure that employee experience alongside the client experience, you can miss gems like that.
So had we not measured that we could have just sent out a new way of working and presumed that that it would land well.
But actually the legal teams themselves identified that they wanted some additional training to go along with that.
For me, success is not just about the client experience, it’s about your teams feeling comfortable.
Tom: We touched on earlier the idea of a customer centric culture and the importance of having employee buy in into any of your CX strategies. How do you go about getting that employee buy in?
I’m like a bit of a broken record talking about employees. But I do believe that’s where it comes from.
A lot of my consulting was spent running transformation programs. On paper, it looked like it was a technology change, but actually it was about people. Making sure that they were comfortable with the change and adopting that.
I think that customer centric mindset has to come from the top. It has to be something that is prioritized and that the executive team are and doors and it is a priority.
And sitting in that strategy, I think people have to understand the why and the purpose and what it is that you’re trying to achieve organisationally.
you can then start to look at insights and and put data points to that and help people to understand that there is an opportunity to improve.
If people understand why, then then they’re compelled to want to improve as well.
Then the culture then shifts to a set of people just, wanting to innovate and wanting to do things better.
I see that all the time with the teams that I work with. When we get our client satisfaction service, our legal teams run their own improvement programs because they want to do the right thing by our clients.
If our clients are calling out that there’s a challenge there then our legal teams want to take that away.
We always refer to it as being a team sport. It’s not something that my team do. It’s something that we all collectively do to improve things.
I think when you give something that kind of level of focus, it becomes a cultural norm.
Tom: You’ve highlighted a very human approach to your customer experience initiatives. But on the other hand we’ve had huge advances in AI in customer experience technology this year.
Are you looking forward to seeing how those integrate? do you think there’s a risk of sort of losing that human side?
I don’t think we’ll ever lose that human side. I think there will always be a need for it in one form or another.
AI should do some of the heavy lifting and the grunt work. But what that means then is that the things that humans get left to deal with will be more complex.
Therefore it’s about enabling our teams to deal with those complexities. Supporting them. Making sure they’ve got the training and the skills and everything else that they need in that new world that AI will create.
Tom: All right. We’re on to our last question here. Can you finish this sentence for me? The future of CX is….?
The future of CX is at an inflection point, I think. Tom.
what I absolutely love about where we’re at currently is that it has become an industry. It’s something that’s cool and that people want to do.
Back in the day it was either done from the side of your desk as another job. Or it was something that people didn’t value very much.
But I think the the opportunity may be squandered if it’s just people falling in love with the processes and the tools.
I love a good collaboration session. I love nothing more than journey mapping things along with the rest of them.
But I think if you don’t take it back to that human aspect, then you’ve created the future and everybody’s got it from a from a human lens.
But if you don’t know how to then implement that and embed that then nothing changes. And it’s just been some great times sticking Post-it notes on a wall.
You asked me the question about what I’d learned in my career, and that’s it, right? These things, they need to be brought to life by human beings.
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