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Winning Mzansi Women: Interview with Anne Mardon, Founder and CEO of myCX360


Aug 10, 2022 9:26:00 AM

For our next #WinningMzansiWomen Hellopeter Women in Business interview series, we spoke to Anne Mardon, Founder and CEO of myCX360, about starting her own business and making work of her dreams.

Hellopeter: You've just started your own business. Tell us how this came about and what you're most excited about regarding this new entrepreneurial chapter.

Anne Mardon: I've been very fortunate to discover my passion for customer experience early in my career. Having worked in various roles at multiple levels throughout a customer's journey over the last 30 years, starting my own business felt like the natural progressive next step for me. Selecting a name for my business, myCX360, also came naturally as it speaks to exactly what the company offers — a personalised customer experience throughout the entire customer journey.

All too often, we anticipate poor service before we pick up a phone, write an email, send a text or WhatsApp, interact on a website or walk into a face-to-face support environment. I'm most excited to make a difference in the overall customer experience across different businesses that use my services in South Africa and internationally when it comes to this new entrepreneurial chapter in my life.

I wanted to offer value in stages, depending on the burning need of an organisation at that point in time. Therefore, myCX360 has segmented its service offerings for customers to cherry-pick from and build on without breaking the bank. Sometimes businesses need a little help to get to where they want to be but don't need someone permanently. As a result, myCX360 assists companies in identifying and owning their WOW factor. We get involved in the day-to-day activities and get to know the business like a partner, so our relationships become solidified. It's not just a standard consulting solution.    

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HP: You have extensive experience in customer experience and perfecting this. What do you wish other businesses would realise when it comes to the customer experience?

AM: With 30 years of customer experience, I've identified a common misunderstanding (in both public and private sectors) that customer experience only resides at the end part of the journey, being the support function (in most cases, a call centre) and, that you only need to pay attention to it when you get a complaint.  

myCX360 works with businesses to help them realise that the customer's experience is their complete end-to-end journey and that their support functions are the front face of their business (they represent their brand when a customer contacts them). Therefore, it's not just an "entry-level position", but one that should be celebrated and respected by the rest of the business and given the tools to service the customers when they make contact.

Unfortunately, businesses don't always deem customer experience necessary until things go wrong, and at that point, the damage has already been done. Those businesses that get it right are the ones that plan upfront and learn from getting it wrong, putting measures in place to prevent it from happening again and, most importantly, involving the customers during this process.

HP: Do you feel like there has been an increase in women starting their own businesses?

AM: I have, over the last few years, in particular, been inspired by the increase in the number of women starting their own businesses, which partly encouraged and motivated me to do the same.

Although a daunting yet exciting experience, I've been humbled by the support and guidance I have received from fellow women who have their own businesses and are in leadership positions, as well as previous colleagues and my broad range of networking relationships, both male and female.   

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HP: What has been your greatest success and biggest challenges in getting your business up and running?

AM: The greatest success in getting my business up and running was landing my first contract through a previous colleague. What happened simultaneously was that I was contacted by numerous industry leaders advising that they had heard I had started up my own business. They asked if I would share my service offerings with them so that we could enter into discussions about how I could assist their businesses. This made me realise that never burning bridges, maintaining relationships through the years, and consistently living my values around customer experience is not to be taken for granted.

The biggest challenge I have faced in getting my business up and running is constantly reminding myself to walk before I run. Although I am great at coaching and giving guidance and advice, it's always difficult to follow your own advice. I have big dreams and aspirations, but I also don't want to let any of my customers down, so I have started one at a time instead of over-promising and under-delivering. 

HP: What do you hope to see for the future generation of women in business?

AM: I believe in equality, and with that comes hard work, commitment, and dedication, just like anyone else. I hope for future generations of women to take ownership of where they want to be and make it happen for themselves, don't wait for others to present opportunities to you — create those opportunities and own them.

HP: How did leveraging online reviews help you in both your previous roles and current entrepreneurial venture?

AM: Leveraging online reviews solidified my belief that achieving a leadership position in a market sector is possible if you consistently offer the quality and value of service your customers deserve.  

Both positive and negative reviews are so powerful. They can make or break a deal and contribute toward staff motivation and market position. Although positive reviews are great to receive, the negative ones assist a business in understanding its shortfalls and where to focus on improvement.

Too many times, we find ourselves giving excuses for bad reviews instead of picking up the phone and calling the customer to understand the root of their frustration. By then remediating it, you create a relationship for life with your customer because they suddenly feel "heard".

What has pleased me about reviews in South Africa, particularly on Hellopeter, is that the reviews have aligned to an equal amount of positive and negative reviews. In May 2022, Hellopeter recorded, to my knowledge, and for the first time, a 50/50 split of positive and negative reviews. And this compared to 2014 when CEO Alon Rom took over the company, when the split was 92% negative and only 8% positive. This unbalanced split is now a thing of the past because more and more businesses are making an effort to improve their customer experience, fostering more positive reviews and encouraging customers to review their service, be it positive or negative.

Why? Because getting reviews from customers matters, and it makes your customer realise that you are interested in their opinion on the experience they had with you.

HP: Any advice for young women thinking about starting their own business or stepping into the CX industry?

AM: Be practical and set goals that are achievable. Take the time to think about what you want to achieve, and remember to do what you love.  

An important lesson I learned during my career is that I will (and trust me, I did) make mistakes. Own those mistakes and learn from them, which makes you stronger. Use that strength to your advantage when identifying a gap or a need in the market and how you will make your offering unique.

After all that is done, open a bottle of wine, sit back, look in the mirror and cheers yourself, "you've got this girl"!

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