12 Oct 2020 | 02.11 pm
Former Adman Sitting Pretty With CX Training
Michael Killeen's CX Academy reaches out down under
12 Oct 2020 | 02.11 pm
Michael Killeen, founder of The CX Company, used to be in the advertising business in Dublin and he has sympathy for his former peers.
Like so many sectors of the economy, advertising and marketing companies are adversely impacted by the reining in of ad spend ensuing from the government’s restrictions.
Not that Killeen (57) saw the coronavirus coming. He walked away from Dialogue Marketing several years ago because he didn’t see any future in marketing communications.
“Ad agencies were at best fuzzy in terms of our understanding at a boardroom table,” he recalls. “Then digital landed and agencies attempted to own that space and made it very complicated. Most leadership teams still find digital to be cumbersome, very expensive and very unclear as to what is actually happening.”
Customer experience, on the other hand, is an easier concept to grasp. Either public-facing staff are good at ‘CX’ or they’re not, and Killeen set about benchmarking which companies were good, and which were less good, at impressing customers with their attitude and care. That provided a route into consultancy, advising the CX laggards on how to pull their socks up.
The next step was take soft skills training online with The CX Academy, launched a year ago. This decision had the merit of extending possible revenue streams beyond Ireland, and thereby attracting funding from Enterprise Ireland. On the CX Academy website, the payment options are €420 for 12 hours of online learning (certificate course) or €2,395 for 40 to 60 hours (diploma).
Killeen (pictured) says CX Academy has attracted customers in 25 countries, and the venture recently teamed up with a partner in Singapore to spread the word in Asia. “In Singapore the government is now subsidising professional online courses and encouraging companies to invest in staff as opposed to letting them go because of the virus,” says Killeen.
The virus hasn’t stalled activity in Ireland either. “Our product is growing during this downturn because customers are keen to use this time to train their staff,” says Killeen. “About one in four of our certificate participants are CEOs and CFOs, senior executives who need a better understanding of the CX concept. The diploma is for specialists who will be working on the delivery of CX.”
Growth potential is significant. There are an estimated 250,000 customer-centric workers in the UK who don’t have certified customer experience training. On the other hand, when money is tight skills training slips down the corporate agenda. Not that Killeen is too worried. “It was a very brave move to do what we did but it’s paid off in a significant way. I think we are very lucky to have a product that we can sell online.”
Recently the CX Academy has signed an agreement CEC in Sydney which will enable Australian CX managers and leaders to study for its certified CX diplomas and certificates.
Julian Douglas, head of the CX Academy, stated: “CX implementation is more advanced in Australia than in Ireland and the online demand potential for CX qualifications is probably about five to six times that of Ireland. There are nearly 800,000 customer-focused executives with no CX qualifications.”
Douglas added: “Enterprises of all sizes have invested in the technical part of customer experience but have not typically invested at the same level into employee knowledge and essential skills which are equally as important in delivering the customer experience. You have to make that investment if you want to engage customer advocacy and loyalty while also differentiating your offering from that of your competitors.”
Ray Fleming, Enterprise Ireland’s Senior Market Advisor in Sydney, said The CX Academy is an example of how Irish innovation can contribute to the positive transformation of businesses and organisations. “We are extremely proud that the company is representing the best of Irish customer experience on the global stage and we look forward to supporting them as they enter the Australian market.”
The CX Academy employs 11 people and supports five contractors.