Judging at the International Customer Experience Awards 2021

Posted September 20, 2021 by Ronald Rong, Senior Customer Success Manager

The International Customer Experience Awards (ICXA®) celebrates the incredible work done by Customer Experience (CX) professionals all over the world. Awards International – the world’s premier awards event organization with offices in the UK, United Arab Emirates, and Serbia – has been leading the charge on CX since they founded the first event of this kind back in 2010. Awards International founded the UK Customer Experience Awards 12 years ago and has since established other world-class program, including the International Customer Experience Awards, the Gulf Sustainability Awards, and the International Business Excellence Awards.

These awards events connect participants, partners, and judges from around the globe and give them the chance to compete for the highest accolades in the world of customer experience.

The judging and scoring

Few awards programs apply such a high level of scrutiny to the entries, and the rules are clear and apply to all:

  • At least 3-6 judges per category
  • Every entry is scored at least 10 times by the judges in a category (first online and then again at the live online presentations)
  • 6,500 unique scores on the day, plus 5,200 scores from written entries
  • Each entry is scrutinized by independent judges for at least 7.5 hours

The categories

There are 15 categories that individuals and organizations can compete in:

  1. Customers at the Heart of Everything™
  2. Customer Experience in the Crisis
  3. Customer-Centric Culture
  4. Employee Experience in the Crisis
  5. Best Use of Insight and Feedback
  6. Best Digital Customer Experience
  7. Best Digital Transformation
  8. Business Change and Transformation
  9. Contact Centre
  10. Best Customer Service
  11. Best B2B CX Strategy
  12. Best Measurement in Customer Experience
  13. CX Team of the Year
  14. CX Professional of the Year
  15. CX Leader of the Year

The judges

There are more than 70 judges from all over the world from all aspects of Customer Service, Experience, and Success. They are grouped in teams that judge the entries for a specific category. Judges are all acknowledged experts in their field and are selected by invitation only by the organisation.

My involvement

This year will be the fourth time I will take part in the categories Best B2B Strategy as well as the Best Measurement in CX and the fifth time overall that I have judged for Awards International.

The process requires each participant to provide a written document providing the background, scope, and, where possible, the results of the CX strategy they have implemented. Or, in the case of the Best Measurement category, how they measured the effect and success of the adopted strategy.

There are usually between 5 and 8 finalists for each category, and each entry requires at least three to four hours to read, analyze, and judge. Each judge scores the entry on 7 aspects in the first phase of ‘offline’ judging. Each aspect also requires a short comment that forms the rationale for the given score. The second phase used to take place during a live event where teams deliver their presentations and were available to answer questions from the judges. The 2020 event introduced this as a virtual event, and the 2021 event will be exactly the same.

The interactive scoring phase

Each participating team gets 30 minutes to present to the judging panel and will then be scored by each judge independently. Scores are then collated by the Jury committee.

This interactive phase is often a very lively event and can be attended by teams of up to 10 people all excited to tell the judges why they should be the winner! Every year there can only be one winner and, not to pat myself on my back but, every year so far, I have correctly predicted the top 3 in order! Hopefully I will be able to repeat this again.

Winning entries afford strong learning opportunities

A winning entry just has something the others don’t have. It is a combination of creativity, planning, good business results, and passion.

Each and every time I come away from these events believing I have learned more from the participants than they have from the judges. The sheer spectrum of industries, cultures, and approaches to what is essentially the same problem is really astounding and very motivating.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to judge entries from Dubai, Indonesia, Belgium, South Africa, Kenya, UK, Turkey, and other countries. The industries were just as varied: Airlines, Retailers, Utilities, Hospital, Banks, and many more. Each entry brings its own challenges and insights.

This year the event will take place from 10 to 11 November 2021. I can’t wait to see what will be presented to us to judge, and I am sure it will be interesting once again.