Getting to know you: Stuart Brown

What do you currently do?
My role is Director of Customer experience – what this really means is that my responsibility is to develop and support our people to best meet the demands of our customers. This involves gaining customer insights to share with our supply partners and employees, so we are able to develop products, systems and delivery experiences that consistently meet the evolving requirements of the customer.

What is your inspiration in business?
I’m inspired by ‘customer champion brands’ with strong leadership cultures from all walks of life and the power of a compelling vision. I’ve worked with polar explorers, Olympic athletes, and corporate entrepreneurs- they all have common insights.

Focus on the ‘health of the business’ and this will drive the ‘wealth of the business’.

Who do you admire?
I admire leaders who are prepared to challenge convention. A great example is Julian Richer of Richer Sounds. He removes the doors from his shops for customer convenience, provides change for parking meters and will provide customers’ dogs with a bowl of water – He also generates world record revenues!

Sir Clive Woodward introduced insight from Australian dentist Paddi Lund with his ‘critical non-essentials’ strategy which included tight fitting shirts, clean shirts at half-time, and clear player guidelines on what’s expected from ambassadors of ‘Brand England’ –he also won a World Cup along the way…

Sir Chris Hoy is a formidable athlete and an inspirational personality. Unlike many high profile individuals, Chris attributes his success to the passion, commitment and innovation of his support team.

Looking back, would you have done things differently?
I’m a great believer in ‘you do what you do with the information that you have at the time’. Sure, I’d have liked some more positive outcomes but I’ve learnt some amazing lessons. When I began my journey in customer experience, my consultancy services were declined by English League One football team Carlisle United – two years later I was developing the brand for The Rugby League World Cup and having meetings with the Chairman of Santos FC and Corinthians in Brazil. I’m very proud of that.

I’d say the key to making improvements in customer experience is clearly demonstrating the ‘why’ element to decision-makers. Many organisations get away with delivering poor customer experience and still make significant profits. Relating this ‘why’ element to the business and getting good performance metrics is really important in engaging the entire business to support customer experience.

What defines your way of doing business?
Invest time in both employee and customer relationships, and engage your supply partners in your vision.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
‘Be the customer’ and look for the ‘critical non-essentials’ (the little things that complacent competitors ignore). These provide the gateway to profitable emotional engagement with your employees and your customers.