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Delivering Gold Standard Customer Experience – ten lessons we learned from Rio

At ServiceTick we are all huge sports fans. So, in desperate pursuit of a topical hook on which to hang a relevant message, we wondered what, as CX professionals, we can learn from the Olympic carnival.

1. Never give up

The longer we work, the more we wonder if we can get better at our jobs. But success can come to those who wait – and those who practice every day, get the right team around them and keep on trying. At 58 and in his seventh Olympiad, Nick Skelton finally came up with a gold medal.

2. One person’s (or team’s) success can be transformative for everyone

Fiji won their first ever Olympic gold medal at the Rugby sevens tournament and the whole country celebrated with them. A national holiday, boost to the economy and international recognition were the outcomes. And a second lesson here: success is best coupled with humility - the whole Fijian team knelt to receive their medals from Princess Anne. (Though Murray says they had to kneel as otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to reach over their heads!)

3. Even your top-performers can have an off-day

From one of the favourites in the ten-metre dive Tom Daley, inexplicably, crashed out in the semi-finals. Not every member of the team can produce stellar performance every minute of every day. We all have off-days and it’s how we handle them that proves our worth.

4. Your stars may be those you least expect to succeed

We can all be guilty of pre-judging people, of deciding in advance who will be our front-runners and who will not shine as bright. But sometimes people can surprise you; and so it was with Bryony Page who came from nowhere to bag a silver medal in the Women’s trampoline event. Try not to prejudge how people will perform.

5. Sometimes you can succeed by breaking the rules

Possibly not something to encourage but don’t immediately assume that your team has done wrong if they don’t follow the rules. The idea at the Olympics is to finish first (‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ and all that). But this was not the case for Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino in the heats of the 5,000 metres. Having crashed to the ground they did the right thing, stopped racing and helped each other to their feet. This show of sportsmanship has won them the Pierre de Coubertin Medal. Otherwise known as the International Fair Play Trophy, the award has only been handed out 17 times in Olympic history.

6. Preparation is everything…and pays dividends

The Gold Medal won by team GB in the women’s hockey was very much a team effort; but they would not have beaten Holland in the final were it not for the performance of one player – the goalkeeper, Maddie Hinch. Her meticulous preparation led to her saving four out of the four penalties she faced and GB won the shoot-out. Hinch studies videos of her opponents, makes extensive notes and does her homework. The irony is that she will be playing club hockey in Holland next season.

7. Marginal gains continue to pay dividends

Much has been written about GB cycling success and the strategy of marginal gains put in place by Dave Brailsford. This approach eschews a great leap of transformation in favour of small advances in every aspect of delivery – the whole effect ending up larger than the sum of its parts. Marginal gains worked in 2012; it continues to work in 2016

8. It’s never over till it’s over

Pity poor Lutalo Muhammad denied a gold medal in the final second of his Taekwondo final. Four years of effort snatched away in a single second. It just goes to show that no matter how well you are doing in an engagement you have to keep delivering top-flight performance right up until the end.

9. It's OK to have a bit of fun whilst you work, as long as you perform

Usain Bolt is the world’s greatest sprinter and maybe the greatest of all time. He is at the pinnacle of his sport but he manages to engage in a bit of fun with his fellow competitors and the media. But he does so in the full and certain knowledge that if he didn’t then produce he would be mocked mercilessly. And, crucially, he never exhibits a lack of respect for those who toil in his wake. Be the best but be respectful with it.

10. No matter how pointless your role may seem you must be ‘always on’

No matter that the Olympic pool played host to the world’s greatest swimmers, there were still lifeguards on duty. Some were snapped looking less than alert, maybe even bored but hats off to Anderson Fertes, one of the lifeguards, who told The New York Times "It's a one-in-a-million type of event, but we're prepared. I don't think they'll need us, but we'll be on the lookout just in case." Now he’s the kind of guy we’d want on our team.

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