Nicola Millard

The reinvention of the office: does distance still matter?

By Nicola Millard, Customer Experience Futurologist BT

Technology seems to be heralding the death of distance as we become untethered from our desks by a combination of mobile technologies, connectivity and cloud. Packed commuter trains and rush hour traffic jams show us a different picture. Maybe work hasn’t changed as much as the digital revolution initially promised and distance does still seem to matter.

The truth is that co-location may look like an easy solution for fostering collaboration but it doesn’t guarantee it. It is just as easy to feel isolated in an office as it is working from a remote location and the people just five bays down might just as well be on the moon to people in many offices. [Read more...]

Nicola Millard

Leadership in a digital age

By Nicola Millard, Customer Experience Futurologist BT

Collaboration is, by definition, a social activity. However, it needs a reason to occur, it is unlikely to happen unless there is some purpose, goal or outcome to achieve. In delivering a large, time-bound and mission-critical project — like London 2012 Olympics, for example — the goal is obvious and time is of the essence. However, when things aren’t so obvious, targets are blurred or tasks have been divided up in a way that no-one can see how they are contributing to overall success, collaboration isn’t so easy.

This is where leaders come into their own. Work is often extremely fluid, unpredictable, virtualised and globalised. Leadership is less about command and control. It is about being able to connect networks of people who ‘know stuff’ together in an agile way and enabling them to collaborate without necessarily having the advantage of bringing them together physically. The need to build trust in teams without physical presence is going to be the single biggest leadership challenge of the near future. [Read more...]

Nicola Millard

12 ways to collaborate more effectively

Dr. Nicola Millard has donned her festive hat once again, and has compiled her list of the top 12 tips for collaborating more effectively within your business. 

  1. Remember you can’t collaborate on your own. Getting the right people involved at the right time is vital. That means knowing who is available and bringing them in using whichever collaboration tool is most accessible to everyone.
  2. One size doesn’t fit all where collaboration is concerned. Culture, age, extroversion/introversion, context and pyjama wearing can all be factors dictating the best choice of ‘common ground’ for collaboration. Video conferencing is pointless if some team members don’t have cameras, are shy or are in bed; WebEx is not effective if some people aren’t looking at screens. Almost everyone has email, but people respond at different rates. Voice is still, most often, the common ground. [Read more...]
Nicola Millard

12 top tips to improve your customer experience

Continuing with our festive Yuletide blogs, Nicola Millard shares her top 12 tips for improving your customer experience.

  1. Make things easy for customers. Given customers are more likely to do business with you if you make things easy, think how you could build ‘easy’ measures and processes into your customer experience.
  2. Think about how webchat can be used to help keep your customers online, cross-sell, upsell and improve ‘digital only’ interactions. [Read more...]
Nicola Millard, Customer Experience Futurologist BT

From sofa to store: exploiting the power of people and presence on the ‘try’ street.

By: Nicola Millard, Customer Experience Futurologist BT

The internet is a wonderful thing. It has given us access to shoes from Spain, shelves from Sweden and scarves from Sri Lanka. It has made stock availability, pricing and reviews transparent. It has turned us into savvy shopper swots on a quest for a bargain — and it has made us inherently disloyal, with 50 per cent of UK consumers saying that loyalty is a thing of the past. And that’s before we’ve even left the sofa!

One thing is clear. Online brands have set the bar for customer expectations of physical shopping as well as virtual shopping. Our research has shown that 78 per cent of customers expect the same level of service from traditional high street brands as their younger online cousins. [Read more...]