This episode was also recorded in video format. To watch the conversation, tune in below:
About Mark Hamill
Mark is from Belfast, Northern Ireland and spent 10 years in the UAE before moving back to the UK in 2019. Recently he has moved to Hungary with his family. Mark started as a consultant for a Customer Experience Consultancy. He is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of ARCET Global. In 2013, Mark co-founded Awards International UAE which successfully ran 15 large-scale business Awards programmes, with the average audience being in excess of 250 business leaders.
Over the years, Mark successfully forged strong relationships with some of the leading business people across the world. Mark’s focus is now on building more engaging Awards concepts and Business Community events to fit with customer and market needs.
In particular, Mark has been heavily focused on creating content for companies as well as Customer Centricity Programs and Predictive Talent Management Solutions.
- 18-19 May 2021: Customer Centricity World Series
- 15-16 September 2021: European Customer Centricity Awards
- 27-28 October 2021: North American Customer Centricity Awards
The Voices of CX Podcast is a podcast that covers all things business strategies, customer decision insight, empathetic leadership practices, and tips for sustainable profitability. With a little bit of geeking out on behavioral science, A.I. and other innovation sprinkled in here and there. The guests span multiple industries, but all of them have years of experience to bring to the table.
Mary Drumond: It’s season seven of voices of CX podcasts. Still bringing you the best. Thought leaders, practitioners and academics of the industry. But this time with a renewed focus on the human touch. Empathy is our keyword and we’re going all out on discussing how conversations can reshape experiences and your business inside and out, no matter how big your business is, what your challenges are or your industry.
Connecting with your customers and their decisions is essential to leading through empathy.
Welcome to season seven, voices of customer experience podcast. I’m still kind of shocked that we’re in season seven, because it’s been a long ride. But today I am joined by the CEO and founder of ARCET Global, Mark Hamill. Hey Mark. Hello.
You’ve got such a recognizable name. It’s got so much clout. How do you deal with that in general with a world full of crazy star Wars fans?
Mark Hamill: It depends. It depends who it is, but usually quite well. I was used to, all my teachers used to make fun of me. So. It was, uh, from a young age.
Mary Drumond: That’s not a bad thing to be made fun of. I got to say.
Mark Hamill: Yep. Yep. That’s true.
Mary Drumond: Did your parents do it on purpose? Let’s talk about this for a second, because when you were born, star Wars already had come out.
Mark Hamill: Exactly, exactly. And I don’t know whether I’ve told you this one before, but my mother’s maiden name is Walker as well, so ridiculous. Absolutely ludicrous. So I can’t even, I don’t even know what they were thinking, but-
Mary Drumond: did you carry your mom’s maiden name or?
Mark Hamill: I probably should have interchanged between the two.
Mary Drumond: It would’ve been amazing. You could’ve been Mark Walker-Hamill, I’m gonna have to cut this part out of the podcast or just leave it for entertainment value.
Mark Hamill: Yeah, so that was a strange one. So, but yeah, usually 50% of the people pick up on it, I would say.
Mary Drumond: That’s awesome. Well, um, I’m going to have you start off Mark by introducing the non star Wars part of your life and a little bit of your career and how you landed in your current role. And then talk a little bit about your current role, just to kind of get people acclimated to this episode.
Mark Hamill: Yeah, absolutely. So, I guess my career, kind of started by accident and I knew a lot of people are probably not same position, but, um, when I was graduating from university, it was during the financial crisis in 2008, 2009.
And I looked around, what was the opportunities in the UK? Where I’m from and where I went to university. I just thought, well, Why not look or orther fields. And I was always curious about Dubai and I’d ended up actually going there on holiday and applying for a few jobs on within a month, sorry, two months I was living there in my first job. And my first job was in a customer experience consultancy or customer service as it was known then. So I kind of fell into this world of customer experience by accident and started as a salesperson, then marketing manager. I then got into the events space and particularly in awards and conferences.
So that’s how I really got into this. That was 2011, 2012 started that, and then 2013 set up my first company in Dubai. And so I was there for 10 years in Dubai in tool. And in 2019, set up ARCET global and moved back to the UK and still have an office there, and still very much in the awards and recognition and events business, but also we do a lot of consultancy and training as well.
So that’s kind of, that’s actually where the name ARCET comes from. So it’s awards recognition, awards, recognition, consultancy events, and training.
Mary Drumond: Oh, well, it’s a very descriptive name, I would say. How much of the awards part is focused solely on customer-oriented events?
Mark Hamill: All of them at the moment. So we have three programs around the world. One in North America, one in Europe, and then we have the world series. So we get people from all over the world participating in that. But we do run awards, I would say private awards, should we say. So companies that want to run awards we would lend our expertise for them.
So whether it be chambers of commerce and business associations, we do run other awards, which can be from a wide variety of backgrounds. But the ones that we’ve got at the moment are pretty much business associations or chambers of commerce.
Mary Drumond: Well, Mark, as a marketer, myself. That sounded really weird. But as a marketer, I get a lot of publications, a lot of emails from different awards companies and magazines, wanting to present me with awards. And in general, that’s always associated with some cost and some fee, and it feels kind of scammy most of the time. Is that most of the award world, is that something that you’re trying to break down or like a notion that you find yourself having to, um, combat on, on a regular basis, like we’re not one of those regular awards that, you know, pay me $5,000 and I’ll hand you an award.
Mark Hamill: Yeah, absolutely. And I’ve had people say that the other way around, you know, how much does it cost to win an award? And we’re like, it’s not the way it works, but whether the award is scammy or not, it’s, you know, it’s not for me to say, but I think it just fits with their objectives of why they’re running awards in the first place.
So, you know, if a magazine is running an awards, and I would say from the ones that I’ve seen, certainly, and this isn’t all of them, some are very good. But lot of them are, um, traditionally it’s about making money out of that particular event. You know, events like, for example, I’ve participated before, without naming names, that they tell everyone who’s won in advance and thenthey have 90 winners. You know, that’s an event that, and that was actually the reason why I ventured into set up my own business, because this was a very well-known awards. And I went to this as part of my research and sat down at my table and they said, here’s the 90 winners for this evening. Evening, you have 15 seconds to say thank you on stage. And if you want to buy your trophy afterwards, it’s $350. So that is some of those that are there, but there are some really legitimate ones. And just, I don’t think whether there’s any better way, if you have a certain set of objectives, but the way we do it is, it’s all about transparency and knowledge share.
And the amount of awards that I think any of the listeners have been too, where they have no idea what anyone did, were the opposite. So every company that is participating in our awards can view the video presentation that was submitted as part of the assessment process from any of their competitors, whether they’re in their category or not.
So very few times over my career. Certainly people have contested while they haven’t won. And if they have we say, well, here’s the case study. So, and the idea that knowledge sharing is part of our business as well. So ensuring that people are learning from others.
If you are finishing second, third, fourth, whatever it may be, you can learn from the ones at the top or other peers in the other categories. So, and then the feedback reports as well. So anyone that does submit gets feedback from the judges who are all independent, we don’t do any of the judging. Um, so they can learn for next time as well.
Mary Drumond: That’s what I was going to ask. Is your jury, let’s say, composed of a Guild of like, Customer experience practitioners or are they preselected? How does that part work, choosing the jurors?
Mark Hamill: There’s a mix I would say, of how we would do it and also the mix in terms of their backgrounds as well.
I’m quite persistent with my team to make sure that we do try and get as good a blend as possible of consultants, practitioners, and technology providers in this space, because I think it’s important to not just have one type. And so having that diversity of outlook on certain projects really helps.
But in terms of how we recruit. Some come to us directly, some are recommended to us, and then some we are doing outreach because we think there would be a very good fit, for example. So it really depends how they come our way. But one thing that I would say, since compared to this time last year, I think we have a bit of continuity with the judges. We’ve had two events. And then a lot of those judges from those two events are filtered into our world series. So they know the process, what to expect. And in fact, they’ve come back, we’re delighted with as well. So they’ve seen value in learning from these case studies. They’re not just not just scoring them or the fact that we promote them, but I think they are learning what’s best in the market as well, which is good.
Mary Drumond: Yeah. And how many submissions of case studies do you think you get? I mean, I know you’re growing every day, so it’s hard to estimate what the next event series is going to look like. But do you have some sort of an average of how many case studies are submitted for recognition?
Mark Hamill: I would say, probably we’re talking about 180, I think. And the reason why I say that is, when we got to, so I’m not sure you even know this Mary, but the close of entries for the North American awards was the end of March, 2020. So you can imagine a lot of those companies dropped out, and we were at 150 at that point. And then towards the end of the process is like 89. And the European awards was something similar.
But then if you look at the world series, which we just closed entries last week, I think we’re on 290 entries, so that’s not normal. That’s something that would be well above what I’ve been involved in. But traditionally I would say between 150-180 would be standard.
And that doesn’t mean everyone gets shortlisted, of course not. But, and some don’t make the cut, some actually register to enter, and then don’t necessarily submit the right documentation on time. So, but the event would usually have around 50 to 75 companies competing and would enter one or multiple categories.
Mary Drumond: Well, you kind of alluded a bit to my next question, which was what was 2020 like, because most events were canceled, postponed, went into some weird hybrid version or like in general, most event companies really, really struggled last year. How did you figure it out? What did you do?
Mark Hamill: It’s a good question. And it was a very difficult time. I remember that moments when we decided, you know, we’re not going to renew the lease on our office. And it was probably a 10 day period where we thought we have to do something here. So we didn’t renew the lease in the office. Everyone was working remotely. And at the end of that 10 day period, we just decided, alright, we’re going to do them online. And the reason why we did them online and we felt they were successful is because it goes back to what I said about the content. We are a content-driven event, essentially. So we are not a typical awards where it is trophy and nice meal and a few speeches. That would be impossible for us to replicate, or anyone to replicate properly.
And then we looked at how we could, what’s best practice out there currently. So we’re talking April and may, when I think everyone was learning as they were going onstage. And then we were also probably looking out what not to do. I mean, there is even more examples of that. Cause a lot of companies are trying to put a physical event through an online platform, and it’s just not possible.
I don’t think- there’s so many different elements to it. The buildup as well as is quite important. So because you don’t have those moments of serendipity where you bump into someone and we’ve talked about that at length as well, mary, like what you like about events is that serendipity or sitting face to face with someone?
Yeah, we all like that. Of course. But that doesn’t necessarily happen. So it has to be structured. It has to be much more structured. It has to be planned meetings in advance. Even if it’s not really at the event, it can be done in advance. We can, so we were arranging meetings for people in advance of the event, at the event. The software that we had was exceptional for the networking side of things.
So those are the things that worked well and then all the content. So we had all the presentations, so around about 30 to 40 hours worth of content per event, And then access to that content after the event. So that’s kind of in a nutshell what we did, but it was tough at the time. And, yeah I think it’s going to be difficult to replicate the very sales driven events like big trade shows, for example. I think they’re going to find it challenging. Hybrid events. I think our vision of what hybrid events will look like if we do them, would be quite different where we would have maybe something offline, which isn’t directly linked up to the event, but how that will look, we’re not sure, but,it depends on demands in the cities that we have to, or the complaints that we have, demand from what cities they’re in.
So it’s kind of a watch the space, the stage, but continue as we did last year and build on that. We definitely had some learnings as well.
Mary Drumond: The last event that I went to in person was customer contact week in Nashville last January. So it’s been a year since I was last at an event. And it’s interesting because you’ve got those, like conference circuits and it’s kind of the same people, it’s the same crowd, especially the kind of trade show-y like let’s say events. And people were like, Ugh, I’m so tired of this.
You know, it’s always the same thing, blah, blah, blah. At this point, I would expect that people are desperate to get back out there and kind of reestablish that human connection, that power of networking face to face of the simple events that sometimes happen. Like I would say the most valuable conversations that I’ve had at conferences have happened over coffee breaks or over a post event drink during the happy hour.
And I do believe that when all of this comes back, there will be a renewed interest. Okay, granted, it might not be the same way. It might be a mixture of hybrid and in person, but I believe that when it comes back, it’ll come back strong. Like any other venue, like concerts. I think that people are going to flock back to concerts.
People are going to flock back to events as soon as the world is somewhat safe again. Because people miss that. People miss that connection that events provide. So, I mean, I see, you know, for the companies that are able to make it through this time and survive this period of transition, I see a strong future. How do you see it?
Mark Hamill: Yeah, absolutely. I think, everyone wants that. I think most people would say that. The difference is the circumstances that people would need in their life to do that, to make that leap, let’s say. And I think that’s the challenge. So the most ridiculous analogy, but the way we were talking about it at the time, that 10 day period I referred to, was like an onion.
So we were like, there might be a layer in the center that might be 30% of our customers that might be absolutely fine with coming to an event. Now bearing in mind, this is April when we’re talking about it. I mean, without the restrictions or anything, but this is the analogy we use. And then maybe there’s another 20% that was on this circumstance.
Then there’s 20% beyond that that might not be able to because their company won’t let them travel. And so I think it really depends on those different circumstances and how that would influence the scale of events. But I think the demand is certainly there for most people. I think people would like to go back to events, but whether, what would have to happen for them to go to the events is a different question.
So I think they will come back. I think there’s a lot of, there’s too much to lose from like in terms of the big trade shows and those venues, you know, that they need to be full. So I think as long as there is demand there, those will be full again. But whether they go back to what they were before, I think it might take a couple of years, at least.
Mary Drumond: Yeah. Like I imagine like big events, like a HubSpot’s inbound that is just thousands of people or even social media marketing week, which is a gigantic event. And everybody’s walking in and out and you’ve got, you know, 20 different breakout session rooms. I don’t know how that’s going to be. I mean, I’m pretty sure everybody’s trying to be flexible and everybody’s trying to think of ways to make it happen, but I expect that we, that 2021 may not be the year of these big events coming back just yet. What do you think?
Mark Hamill: It depends where it is as well. I mean, there’s some, like, I know for example, the Dubai was having big events last year. So, you know, I know Dubai is a special place and the demographics are very different. They’re a much younger population.Bbut still, I mean, it depends where they are.
I don’t think there’s going to be many. I don’t even know what the percentage would be of those big events that would happen compared to 2019, for example, in Europe and North America. But it remains to be seen. I know there’s definitely people that are calling for, even the end of Q2 and that I’ve seen. And thing is customers are comfortable if they are getting pushed out. And I don’t think anyone’s going to rush to book their travel for these events anyway. And so if something is planned for June and it works, great. But they know that the customers they have would probably be fairly happy or, well, let’s say understanding, if it gets pushed out to end of Q3 or early Q4, whatever it may be.
So, and they’ll look throughout their customer feedback from the virtual events that they probably run. And they’ll probably see actually, yeah, we would love to go back to physical events and build it around that. You’d like to think anyway.
Mary Drumond: So it seems like you and your team have kind of got it figured out, at least how to navigate 2021. So let’s talk a little bit about the value that you’re bringing to the table to organizations that do choose to submit their case studies, to companies who want to be a part of the vision that you’re creating. What is the greatest value that you feel you’re adding
Mark Hamill: Greatest value? I mean, for me, I think it’s the recognition piece, like the opportunity to go out of your day to day, I would say, day to day in the office, but you know, many of us aren’t in office. I think you’re the only one, Mary, that I know that’s there every time. But yeah, the opportunity to work with your team and putting your story out there is something that you don’t really get very often. And the fact that your story is getting told, not just going into an awards process and then winning an award, you’re you actually are telling your story because you’re creating video content, which is then shared amongst hundreds of other CX professionals from around the world.
But I think one of the things I always say is people enter awards for different reasons, or multiple, multiple reasons. So some people really just want to win. That’s it. They don’t care about anything else. And that’s fine. Some people want the recognition piece purely for themselves, some want it for their teams. And then some people bizarrely want to do it so they can elevate their personal profile to look elsewhere for jobs. So there’s a host of reasons we found over the years why people did.
But the value is definitely in the recognition and from a company perspective or team, apart from the recognition, I think the feedback that they get from these experts. That document can be really helpful for the next iteration of that project or campaign, or just in future projects and companies they’ll be working on.
Mary Drumond: And what do you see more of? Is it organizations that are submitting their own customer experience projects, or is it a vendor alongside a client that together developed a program, or maybe a consultant or something of the sort?
Mark Hamill: It’s a bit of a mix, I would say. But at the moment it’s around 60 to 65% is company submitting on behalf of themselves. But we’re increasingly getting strategic communications agencies.
And also as you rightly said, so vendors and consultants. Because, especially for consultants, they’re working on those specific projects with the clients. So it’s in their benefit. So some of them do just, they would name it, as the company name, the actual name of the winner, for example, or it’s in collaboration with, the same for the vendors as well.
But it’s a real […] As it is, a project, initiative, or campaign they’re submitting. It can be that way. So we’re not looking at a company as a whole in any of the categories.
Mary Drumond: Well, I know that you said at the beginning that it was kind of accidental that you ended up in kind of a customer forward, or customer related, awards market.
But what is it that drove you to continue down this path once you decided to open up your own organization? What is it about customer centricity that fuels or propels your business to move forward?
That’s a very
Mark Hamill: good question. I just find it fascinating first, and foremost. And I know it can help people. I think it’s just something that I’ve noticed over the years that ties a lot of things together. And really when you see the penny drop for people like they’re kind of in their day to day role and there’s no, not really cross-functional communication or collaboration and the culture isn’t quite right in companies.
And I’ve seen that so many times over the years, that being more customer centric can make their lives better, not just their customers’ lives. And I just find that very fascinating and I enjoy doing what I do. And fundamentally I am one of those people that has to enjoy what they’re doing and to really enjoy the space and yeah, I think it’s, it was very lucky that I fell into it this when I was much younger. And yeah, looking forward to continuing down that road. But the idea that we’re working more, not just the awards and events side of things or training, I’m actually involved in quite large scale and transformation projects as well now, which is, which has given me, I’m learning every day, on that side as well.
So. Yeah, this part is definitely by design. I would say it might’ve been an accident at the beginning, but it’s definitely by design now.
Mary Drumond: And how about some of the trainers that you work with that are really well-known and beloved in this industry? To name a couple, Ian Golding, who’s one of my favorite people in the whole world.
Love you Ian, if you’re watching this. There’s Diane majors, who’s also been a guest on this podcast. And you’ve got a close relationship with the international CX communities in a lot of different countries. What is it that first of all, why do you work so closely- well, that makes sense, forget it. Forget my question. I’m going to go back to another one. What is it that makes you so inspired about working with the international community? Because for me, when I talk to people around the world, it seems like there’s always a different vibe. There’s always a different moving force behind International CX movements.
And most of the time you can boil it down to a very small group of individuals that are catalysts in their industries. So is that something that you’ve noticed as well, working internationally? Or is that just me?
Mark Hamill: No, you’re absolutely right. It is. It’s like, and I guess when I look at this sort of work that we do with chambers as an example, some of them are very active and some of them aren’t.
In certain communies- and it does boil down to like a small group of people that really are passionate about what they do. There’s some cities where it’s really taken off. I think that just before we started, we were talking about certain cities that really are regulars on watching your podcast.
And so, yeah, I think the passion is out there. It’s just the expertise. And also the one thing I would say, learning from my experience in the UAE: it really is different. Like it’s remarkable how different each market is. So there’s some things that they really focus on that perhaps it wouldn’t be something that in Europe or certain countries in Europe, wouldn’t focus on, Western Europe in particular. So it just depends. And that is guided, I guess, by those small group of passionate people.
But one thing I would say is that there’s a lot of countries out there that probably have a lot more customer experience professionals than let’s say the average, but there isn’t a community there that’s tying them all together and they don’t meet regularly. It’s very disparate. So without naming any names of those countries. But, yeah there’s ones I’ve experienced where I’m like, there seems to be a lot of people coming from this place, but they don’t know each other. They’ve never had any events, there’s no events there. So in terms of how we can help, our community events like our webinars that we run, our events and at the awards and the conferences that we run, that can tie them together. And we’ve had instances where we have run webinars or community events in those types of countries where there is a very disparate community, and then offer some thought leadership through the likes of Diane or Ian, or […] Who we work with as well. So, yeah.
Mary Drumond: And which countries would you say are the most active in customer experience? Now you’re going to have to name names. You’ve spent this entire podcasts, not naming names. Now you have to name it.
Mark Hamill: Because it’s positive. Because it’s a positive thing. Yeah, exactly. And I have to say the UAE is very active and I suppose that goes back to the nature of the market. Dubai in particular is very active.
Mary Drumond: Yeah, I’ve noticed that. I have a lot of connections, that are in, in the middle East, in general. Like, not even just exclusively the UAE, but also in Saudi Arabia and some surrounding countries, even Egypt, that are really, really passionate about it. It’s pretty cool.
Mark Hamill: Yeah, absolutely. Um, I think that part of the world, it’s leading in some aspects, I think particularly with the GCC. So UAE and Saudi in particular, they are investing a lot of money in training people. More than I’ve seen in the West, for example. UK is extremely active, although we don’t do very much work, even though we are based there. There is a lot of activity. There is a lot of CX professionals., And then in pocketsaroundn the States. I think certain cities like Atlanta, there appears to be a lot of activity. Dallas and we do-
Mary Drumond: Nashville. Nashville is one of my favorite CX cities. And again, I’m going to say that one of the catalysts of that is Nate Brown, who is like a really, really passionate guy and he’s based in Nashville and he, for a while he was the head of the CXPA Nashville chapter, and he really created this really nice ecosystem. Every time I go in town, I try to go to the CXPA events in Nashville. And I’m always blown away about, you know, by how collaborative and how United they’re even more so than Atlanta.
Mark Hamill: Really? Yeah. Because the ones that I’ve seen is definitely that in Atlanta, it was Atlanta and Dallas.
Mary Drumond: Chicago as well, I think.
Mark Hamill: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So there’s definitely pockets around the States as well. And then our, well, our mutual friends, that Ninja that is Bruno.
Mary Drumond: Bruno, yeah.
Mark Hamill: Yeah he’s exceptional in terms of the community he’s building there. But and Australia, Anita […] Has been very active in Melbourne. With market culture in Sydney as well.
So there are pockets around there, but there’s definitely a potential in some countries and still many, many countries, actually.
Mary Drumond: Do you find that like, that these like smaller pockets, the reason they might be more active or more passionate perhaps is because they have less resources at their disposal? Like in the U S and in the UK, there’s such a strong movement, like there are so many CX influencers. There’s so much material being put out. Like I know that Brazil has this really strong movement that I would say is being led by Bruno and by Chris and by their team at Amigos do CX. And they’re really, really making this movement into something really special and they’re developing material. They’re developing like universities and all of these things. But in general, what I’ve seen, and I’ve shared this before on this podcast with other guests, is that they don’t have access to the resources that we have very easily, and that makes them so much more passionate about participating, partaking, and consuming content in the industry.
So. I mean, I think it’s really cool. They’re not burnt out yet, I think to a certain degree, where we kind of are CX’ed out to many degrees. Like we’ve already heard a lot of the stuff. There’s not that much innovation going on in the industry. So we’re already a little bit more passive, but they still have that passion for creating and generating and talking about it, which I think is amazing.
Mark Hamill: Yeah. It’s like the evangelical side of it, is still there. I think, I suppose it comes, we’re very lucky that we’re English speaking in English speaking countries, you know, they’re translating a lot of stuff. And it’s not the same. When I was in the UAE, I was involved in translating things to Arabic or it’s the same around the world.
So if you’re the first to have a book or course in Portuguese or Arabic or wherever it may be you know, it’s a pretty big deal to do that. So I can understand that that’s the kind of shift in mindset in the UK and the States. But, um, yeah, I think that it depends on the nature of the industries that they have there as well, or in certain countries. So some countries might be. More, you know any country that has a lot of big focus on finance is going to have a lot of CX professionals. And telcos anywhere in the world as well.
Mary Drumond: They’re very problematic across the board. Universally problematic, right?
Mark Hamill: It’s just the legacy and the way it works. You know, they buy up smaller telcos in different, you know, or providers.
So it’s just kind of, you know, nuts and bolts, trying to fit things together. So just the nature of the industry, but yeah, there’s lots of opportunities and some ones are done it really well.
Mary Drumond: And how are you, um, I would say that there’s not much of it, it’s easier to transition virtually when it comes to training, isn’t it? Because at this point we’re so used to having like e-learning and zoom classes, et cetera. That might even be a positive thing. It reduces travel expenses and venue expenses, et cetera. Do you feel like training will move into a permanently virtual model or do you see it being hybrid?
Mark Hamill: It depends what it is, I would say. So for example, if training, which is a, and sounds very obvious, but a training course, which is content based and it’s telling the stories around content. I think that works really well. If it is training with an element of collaboration where you have to really work as a team, so let’s say cross functional teams in a bigger company, I think having that face to face where you can hash out what the problems are, what the solutions are, it’s so difficult to do, to be perfectly honest.
There’s no choice at the moment, but I can’t imagine that would remain like that. And should, you know, things go back to normal, but I think anything that is, let’s say curricular focused and someone telling or explaining it, telling the stories around that, I think that can come in and as long as there’s regular screen breaks and it’s not, again, going back to what I said about large events and Semper training, it’s not trying to force physical training through virtual mechanism or media.
It’s completely, it’s a completely different thing.
Mary Drumond: Yeah. Going back to Ian Golding, I saw his masterclass last year and if it hadn’t been in person, it would have been an entirely different experience because not only does he train people about customer experience, he offers that experience as well in his master class.
So he’s very hands on and very kinesthetic about the way that he passes on knowledge. And so like, that is definitely one aspect that I would like to see continue. I would like to have still have in-person masterclasses and training. I think that it would, at least for me, it makes a really big difference.
I get really, really bored, just staring at a screen. Whereas when you’re interacting, not only are you feeding off of the presenter, you’re feeding off of your colleagues as well. And the energy that they’re bringing to that event.
Mark Hamill: Yeah, absolutely. So, yeah, I think that it really depends on the situation. I think, again, what we’re talking about, travel restrictions or how comfortable businesses are bringing people in, but I think it’s just a basic human need to learn in a group. But in terms of, I do think that one day courses, maybe even the ones in particular, like when it comes to like a certification where if you have to get specific bits of information. I think they will be online. But the ones where it is more collaborative, I think certainly going back to face-to-face is the way to go. We’ll see how it goes.
Mary Drumond: Great. So what’s in store for ARCET global for 2021? You already talked about it lightly, but can you give us dates and names so that our listeners can stay in tune and maybe even tune in if they’re all virtual?
Mark Hamill: Yeah, absolutely. Well like the awards that we have, we’ve got the world series in may, and then we have the North American on European awards. They’ll start European. Then North American awards in September and October, they are open to enter now. And I’ll share the links after. And then we also have a customer-centric culture certification courses, which are running at the moment. So those are the things we’re really focusing on, along with the talent management solutions. That’s a different story altogether, but those are the real things.
Mary Drumond: Talent management. Well, okay we haven’t even addressed that yet. Is it also in the customer centricity customer experience realm?
Mark Hamill: Yeah, it would be a more in the employee experience realm, I would say. So it’s predictive talent management. So it’s all about understanding what a person’s real needs are. And so it’s not your typical behavioral or psychometric test. It’s more predictive. It looks at a person’s EQ, actual values, and then how that influences their behavior and whether they’re in the right role. So it’s very, very mathematical, I’m going to say. But we’ve partnered with a company and that they’ve been doing this for a number of years.
I’ve taken the test. That’s why I got into it, because it changed my life. And I know that’s a different that it identified some things I needed to change from a professional perspective and helped me with moving forward to my career. But, that’s one of the things so very much from an employee experience perspective.
And so whether it be from recruitment or personal development, Or even for mergers and acquisitions, retaining the right people. So that’s a bit of a background on it, but it’s something I’ll say more, more informational after. I’ll put the link in.
Mary Drumond: So we can find it all if we go to your website?
Mark Hamill: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. In short, yes.
Mary Drumond: Great! And if our listeners do want to get in touch with you and talk a little bit more about the opportunities and understand, the recognition value that your company brings to the table, how can they do that?
Mark Hamill: Just, so my email address mark@ARCETglobal.com or find me on LinkedIn. And I don’t know if it’s the real Mark Hamill is on LinkedIn. If you’ve watched this podcast.
Mary Drumond: It’s the one place where you’re the only Mark Hamill.
Mark Hamill: Oh, you’d be surprised. You’d be surprised. Yeah. No, I don’t think he’d be on there. I would doubt it.
Mary Drumond: Yeah. An IMDB profile instead of a LinkedIn bio, that’d be great.
Mark Hamill: Exactly. Yeah. So that’s the best way to find me, as you know.
Mary Drumond: Perfect. Well, thank you so much for coming on and sharing your experience and your point of view with us. And we look forward to seeing you in the future. In more events and hopefully in person in the very near future.
Mark Hamill: Thanks for helping me, Mary. I really appreciate it, enjoyed it.
Mary Drumond: Awesome.
That’s our show. Thanks for joining us. We hope we’ve brought you one step closer to leading through empathy. It’s our way of making the world a better place, one business at a time. Don’t forget to subscribe and hit the bell if you want to know. As soon as we publish a new episode. Voices of CX is brought to you by Worthix I’m Mary Drumond.
This podcast is hosted and produced by me edited and co-produced by Steve Berry. See you next week.
Mary Drumond is Chief Marketing Officer at survey tech startup Worthix, and host of the Voices of Customer Experience Podcast. Originally a passion project, the podcast runs weekly and features some of the most influential CX thought-leaders, practitioners and academia on challenges, development and the evolution of CX.