Career History & CV for Nik Sargent
Aside from the Photography, Music production, Creative writing, Bumblebee research and being a former NHS Governor, I also have a career of over 25 years in customer experience consulting.
I love simplicity and hate inefficiency! So, I'm always looking for an even better way of doing things - very much a natural innovator.
I'm especially passionate about user and customer experience, communications technology, visualisation and improving business processes; and these are my specialist areas of problem solving.
My consulting experience covers interaction and interface design, process improvement, web and information systems, communications technology, transformation and cost reduction gained from over 2 decades specialising in customer service, service automation, contact centres and telecommunications technology.
I've always been fanatical about exceptional customer service, and throughout my consulting career I've been involved in helping organisations improve their communications, interactions and processes.
I have also have keen interests in Interaction Design, Usability and Lean Six Sigma - the point where people, processes and technology meet.
I gained my childhood fondness for computer technology the day I was given a Sinclair ZX81 for Christmas. By Hogmanay I'd programmed snowflakes to fall and "Happy New Year" to scroll across the screen. That's probably also when I started wondering "How do we use this stuff to make things better and easier?"
I've always enjoyed the challenge of devising technology solutions to address business and practical problems. Of course, rarely do such problems stand alone, but are bound up in process and behavioural factors too. And so, quite early in my career I became absorbed in the holistic approach, considering how people, processes and technology interact effectively.
My mother says I should have been a teacher - but what she really means is I have a knack for mentoring and explaining complex things to almost anyone, through analogies and distillation of the core concepts. Visualisation helps enormously. Consequently I very much enjoy helping organisations who have disparate lines of business and IT departments come to a common understanding, figure out "who's driving who" and make good strategic IT decisions.
This realisation came as a student in a practical way when I was selling mountaineering gear to people mainly looking to climb Ben Nevis. I discovered first hand that if I explained the challenges, then brought together the right footwear and clothing and demonstrated why the features contributed to the overall benefit, customers were not only delighted, but cost became a secondary issue.
Some of the challenges I've helped organisations succeed at:
- How to improve the success rate of collecting fines
- How to reduce the cost of taking payments by 95%?
- Identifying user-interface issue that are impacting efficiency
- Persuading decision makers that good (user-centric) automation improves customer experience rather than damages it
- Understanding customer behaviour and pain points to drive process improvements and identify systemic issues
- How to enable 3000 people to work collaboratively in a building for 2000 people, saving millions in property costs, energy and carbon
- Would it be better to close the central customer services team and move their work or not?
- Identify conflicts of interests, targets and metrics driving inconsistent and unintended behaviour
- Migrating from legacy customer service platforms, adopting new features and working practices
- Devising technology transformation roadmap(s) that align with business goals, deliver early benefit, and make strategic projects deliverable in tangible phases
- Keeping a kindergarten group of 4-year olds busy for a morning, sharing the world of bumblebees ☺
- Experience in a broad range of technical and creative skills
- A natural and empathic leader who understands team dynamics, mentoring and coaching
- A thought-leader, able to inspire others to think and behave in whole new ways.
- Combines creativity, artistic ability, science and problem solving
- A professional approach to work
- Constantly pursuing the "wow" factor
- Always striving for improvements in approach and processes - and never accepts things are done because "that's the way they always have been".
- An innovator - never short on ideas - always thinking of better ways - thinks creatively every time
- Comfortable and credible speaker and presenter to large/senior audiences.
- Captivating and Imaginative presentation style based on storytelling and strong visual imagery.
- Business skills in a range of areas, such as consultancy, pre-sales, technical support, technical design, usability design, team leadership, product management, marketing, innovation, Six Sigma.
- Creative skills in writing, graphic design, web design and programming, photography, music composition, recording and production, video, computing.