Opinion

What does a strategic consulting director actually do?

In this feature, we take a look inside the working lives of people whose job titles often warrant the question: 'but what do you actually do?' This week, we speak to Gillian Mackay, strategic consulting director at MaritzCX.

A strategic consulting director can be lots of different things, but I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to work in one of the fastest growing areas in the business world, customer experience. I’ll try my best to share a bit about what I do without using too much consulting jargon.

What do you actually do on a day to day basis?

My job is to help Australian and New Zealand companies transform their customer experience. This involves leading customer journey mapping initiatives, building out strategic roadmaps, CX maturity assessments and designing voice of customer and voice of employee programs.

Almost all of my time is spent with clients, so I’m constantly on the move workshopping (is that a verb?), presenting and planning. It’s unusual to find me at my desk, as the relationship I have with so many of our clients is that I’m more of an extension of their team.

One of the things I love about my role is that it’s pretty broad ranging. Naturally (given my title) I look at the big picture, strategic journey but I also get to roll my sleeves up and get involved in things like survey design, program governance and recommending CX improvements to clients based on insights from their customer and employee feedback programs.

What does a good working day look like?

Most days are good days as I’m always working with our clients, and they are awesome. I think this is because the kind of people who are tasked with improving customer experience tend to be change-makers who aren’t afraid of being bold (and are consequently fantastic to work with and learn from).

A great day is when clients share with me what they’ve implemented off the back of my recommendations and share the results they see for their business and their end customers. And it’s made better by the inclusion of an after-work drink (I’m Scottish after all) and lunch or dinner with the team.

What does a bad working day look like?

A bad working day will kind of look like a good working day but will start earlier, end later and involve too much of the inside of taxis or airports (and no after-work drink…again).

Our company is growing pretty rapidly and we have a lot of new clients so keeping up with the pace can sometimes be tricky, although I guess as problems go, this is a good one to have.

I’m seven months into my role and can honestly say that I’ve yet to have a really bad day (I’ve probably just tempted fate by saying that out loud).

What are your KPIs and how do you ensure you meet them? 

Just as almost all my time is spent with clients, my KPIs are similarly client focused. My client’s success is my success – I’m judged on how successful the voice of customer and voice of employee programs I devise for clients are. This will often mean improvements in Net Promoter Score (NPS), which is an index that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services, but there are a range of other measures of success too; it varies from client to client.

I’ve got extensive research experience and have worked client-side for a large brand running the voice of customer program. This means that I have the war stories and understand the pitfalls in running a program and know the things to be mindful of. It’s great to be able to share this experience and everything I’ve learned along the way with our clients.

What’s the most stressful part of your job?

As we work with the biggest brands in Australia and New Zealand, and some of the sharpest brains in the industry, it can sometimes be daunting to be the “expert” in everything related to customer and employee experience; it means constantly learning, analysing and synthesising global trends to make sure I remain at the top of my game.

Gillian Mackay is strategic consulting director at MaritzCX.

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