In 2018, Ian Golding (that’s me), will officially become the author of a book. A lifetimes ambition, I am beyond excited!! However, I would never have got to the point of being on the brink of achieving my ambition without the support of many people. A significant amount of support came via my crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. I feel genuinely blessed that so many people believed in what I am doing enough to pledge their support to make my dream come true.

In pledging to my campaign, five wonderful people were rewarded with an interview feature on my blog – what you are reading is the first of the five. I am absolutely delighted to share my interview with James Dodkins – I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed doing it…

James Dodkins is a fascinating chap. As passionate a CX specialist I have ever spoken to, I am only amazed that our interview was the first time we had ever had a conversation. It just goes to show that the world of CX is such a big place, that there are incredible people still to be met! I started our chat with a pretty standard question – I did not expect the answer I was given:

Ian. Tell me a little about your background?

James. As a teenager, I became an international Rockstar (I am not kidding!!). I played guitar in a rock band, releasing two albums and touring the world. It was a fantastic experience, until my world imploded and it all came to an end!

Ian. So, what happened next?

James. Well…. the logical next step was to take a job in the insurance industry! I took a job with Homeserve – the fastest growing insurance company in UK history. I worked my way up the ranks with them until I was eventually made redundant.

Ian. Why on earth did you choose to go in to Insurance having spent time as an international rock star?!

James. To be completely honest, I wanted to do as little work as possible! Additionally, Homeserve was the biggest business within close proximity to where I lived! However, I greatly enjoyed my time there and took redundancy badly. I got a huge amount of exposure to many different industries and a whole range of different organisations. I also discovered that I had a natural love for learning – and I learned a massive amount from Homeserve and their clients.

Ian. I am guessing that it is your time with Homeserve that inspired your love for the world of Customer Experience?

James. Absolutely. It made me want to travel the world again – this time learning from the best organisations on the planet, so I could then share this learning with others. I have had the fortune to work with some amazing companies – Lego, IBM, Microsoft, Disney, Oracle and GE among others.

Ian. As an ‘almost’ author, I am keen to understand your experience of writing – I understand that you published your first book a few years ago, with your second just around the corner.

James. I published my first book – Foundations for Customer Centricity – in 2014. I wanted to get a message out there – the essence of the message being, the further away you get from the customer, the more you get paid and the more important you become. It just did not make any sense to me!! The book featured a football/soccer analogy, focusing on the importance of building multi skilled teams that work effectively together. The point is that any team; any organisation; needs a combination of differing skills and competencies to deliver successful outcomes.

Ian. So why have you decided to publish a second book?

James. I have learned over the years that many companies say they want to ‘put the employee first’ – not the customer. I did not quite believe that the sentiment was genuine – however, having done some research, I concluded that many actually were. I therefore decided to write about it.

Ian. Tell me more about it.

James. The book is called ‘Put Your Customers Second’. It is an exploration of companies who excel at delivering amazing employee experiences. I am not a fan of business books, so decided to write it like a novel. The book is a story, featuring a young executive who turns his company around by focusing on adopting best practices from the most customer centric businesses in the world. Whilst the executive had pre-conceived notions of ‘putting the customer first’, he realises that establishing the right culture and ‘putting the employee first’ is the most important thing. The book follows a framework and features unique contributions from Google, Virgin, The Ritz Carlton and Zappos among others.

Ian. What does writing about Customer Experience mean to you?

James. I love telling stories. Every story accompanying a customer experience is different. This is a subject that cannot be based on logic – it is about emotion and feeling.

Ian. What do you hope the book will achieve?

James. I want to keep spreading the message. There are so many opportunities to do more things with customer experience and I want to inspire more people to do more ‘stuff’. Nowadays, everyone sees themselves as a customer experience ‘expert’. There are some great thought leaders out there, but many have just ‘muddied the waters’. Too many people are giving advice having never done it themselves. Unfortunately, this is contributing to a false perception that customer experience doesn’t work.

Ian. When will the book be published?

James. Sometime in 2018!

Ian. Thank you, James, – I very much look forward to reading it and am sure many others will be too!

You can find out more about the book and get free content on James’s website

My book will be published early in 2018 – I will be revealing the name of the book before Christmas 2017, so look out for it! I look forward to publishing the other four interviews in the next few weeks.