Thomas Fairbairn, Author at Awards International ⋆ Page 2 of 10


Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnApril 15, 20203min3830

We’ve seen some extraordinary examples of digital excellence over the past few weeks.

In recent years, there’s been an increasing shift towards flexible and remote working; now, that process has been sped up. Although many things will return to normal in the coming months, several changes will be here to stay – and greater amounts of remote, digital work will be one of them.

For many companies, UX and CX are even more synonymous than they once were. Companies that once blended online and real-world experiences are now forced to make their website and apps the entirety of the experience. Necessity, they say, is the mother of all invention – and we’re seeing countless examples of companies innovating in these times and becoming true digital natives.

We want to honour these achievements, which is why the UK Digital Experience Awards will be extra special this year. Held entirely online on 16th July, the UK’s top companies will be explaining how they’ve achieved outstanding digital results.

Whether you’re looking to enter or simply hoping to learn from the best, it’s time to get involved! Although the lockdown is likely to end within the next few weeks, people have become much more accustomed to conducting their whole business and personal lives online, so standards are rising as a result. In such a fast-moving environment, it’s more important than ever to know how you’re performing relative to others.

Our customers always learn from their awards experience: every finalist receives a detailed feedback report, and finalists and guests have the chance to watch open presentations at the Awards. And with networking taking place throughout the day, it’s a fantastic chance to learn from each other about creating great digital experiences.

If you’ve been doing great work in this space, recognition is also more important than ever. Your customers deserve to know if you’re one of the country’s top digital performers, and it’s a fantastic morale boost for your staff as well. Plus, if you enter before May 22nd, you can get an early bird discount! 

This is the perfect time to see how far you’ve come, and learn how to take your digital experience to the highest possible level. It’s never been more important.


Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnApril 15, 20204min2580

This lockdown has certainly had its challenges, and the global struggle against COVID-19 continues apace. We salute all the key workers who are doing their utmost to keep the economy moving and the people of this country safe.

At times, one can feel inundated by grisly daily figures and dire predictions from certain commentators. Whilst it’s essential to take the threat of coronavirus seriously, it’s also vital to remind ourselves of the goodness and kindness that surrounds us every day. And to laugh!

In that spirit, we’re sharing a couple of stories of truly winning attitudes – and one that will get you roaring with laughter.


1. Hold on to that feeling

At New York’s Presbyterian Queens Hospital, they blast out 80’s classic “Don’t Stop Believin” whenever a COVID-19 patient is discharged. This is for the patient, to lift their spirits after a tough stay in the hospital, but it’s also for the hospital staff. It reminds them that people can recover, do recover and that hope very much remains.

It’s also a reminder of the power of music to inspire. If Journey is just what you need right now, take a listen below.


2. Over £5m raised by 99 year-old war veteran

Captain Tom Moore, a veteran of the second world war, has captured the hearts of the nation. He is aiming to complete 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday, and is raising money for the NHS. At the time of writing, donations had topped £5 million – you can donate to his NHS Charities Together fundraiser here. 

In Tom’s own words:

It just shows that people have such high regard for matters of our National Health Service and it’s really amazing that people have paid so much money. It’s unbelievable, isn’t it?


3. And finally, the boss who led a Zoom meeting – as a potato!

The past few weeks have brought about some classic videoconferencing stories, but in our opinion, this is the best of the bunch. The title says it all – have a look at the image below!



If you’ve displayed a winning attitude in these times, we’d love to hear from you. Share your story at the UK Business Awards and the UK Digital Experience Awards. Now is the time for recognition! 



Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnApril 15, 20203min3040

Adaptability, flexibility and creativity are some of the things we recognise at our Awards. So it only makes sense that we show those same qualities at a time like this. If we’re celebrating the successes of organisations who’ve responded innovatively to the present situation, we should be innovative too!

That’s why we’ve taken the decision to make three of our upcoming awards – The UK Business Awards, UK Digital Experience Awards and South East Europe Customer Experience Awards – fully online from start to finish.

The essential structure of the Awards will stay the same: finalists will present their initiatives in the morning, network with other guests, and enjoy the Awards ceremony in the afternoon.

But we’re also bringing you a few new features. At the UK Business Awards, we’re launching FastHelp. Companies will give three-minute pitches on how they can assist your business in the current climate, with the emphasis on ‘help’ more than ‘sales’.

For the UK Digital Experience Awards, there will be FutureofDigital presentations running in parallel with the finalists presentations, and for our South East Europe Customer Experience Awards, we’re launching the very first of our CXTrendTalks. These will make the Awards much more than just a competition, but an unrivalled chance to learn about the industries and topics that matter most to you.

These changes haven’t come out of nowhere: in fact, we’ve been developing our bespoke Awards Manager software for years now. This allows you to write, edit and submit your entries on one online platform, and it gives us a firm foundation to take the rest of the awards experience online.

People up and down the country have become videoconferencing experts over the last few weeks, united by the fact that present restrictions shouldn’t limit our human contact. This applies on a business level as much as an individual one: the need to share your story, learn from the expertise of others and celebrate your team’s success is as vital as ever. We hope you can join us online!


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Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnApril 1, 20203min2560

In partnership with world-renowned CX specialist Ian Golding, we have an exciting announcement to make.

Ian will be running a series of Online Masterclasses, giving you CX tips of the highest quality, all from the comfort of your own home!

The two-day course will cover all the core CX competencies:

  • CX Strategy
  • Brand proposition
  • The role of employees in delivering the strategy
  • Customer journey mapping
  • CX measurement (VOC, VOE and VOP)
  • CX improvement
  • CX culture

For those taking the CCXP exam, there is the option of staying another day for an Exam Preparation Workshop, where you will receive advice on exam technique and any problem areas you might have.

Ian is offering Online Masterclasses in three different time zones: BST, PST and EDT. These classes take place on different days, so find out which one is best for you.

The next class will be for the UK timezone, and will be taking place on 6th and 7th April. Book your place now!

For those in the Benelux region, CCXP experts Marleen van Wijk and Gayana Helder will be sharing their CX knowledge. They are running two online courses, the first of which is on 14th and 15th May, with a further class held in June. These classes will be held in the Dutch language – find out more!

We’re also looking forward to launching Online Masterclasses in the Gulf and Singapore time zones – so watch this space.

If you’re currently working from home full-time, this is the perfect opportunity to sharpen your CX knowledge before returning to the office. We hope you can join us!


Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnApril 1, 20205min6330

With so many people now working from home full-time, new routines are emerging. And although there have been serious economic issues, many companies are displaying great ingenuity in their Employee Experience responses. This technology has been with us for a while – and it’s now being put to the test on its largest ever scale.

Today, we want to do something fun: a multiple choice quiz about your work-from-home habits. Each question covers a key aspect of home working: some of the options are sensible, and some not so much! Check your answers at the end to see if you’re a work-from-home winner.


Work Station

Having the right space in your home for working is essential – but where do you base yourself?

A – My bed is my most comfortable piece of furniture, so of course I work there. 

B – I set myself up on a good-sized table away from my bedroom and sit on a chair that provides good back support. 

C – I sit at my custom-made 18th century writing desk and polish it regularly with beeswax 



When working from home, you’re your own canteen. What kind of meals do you prepare?

A – Nothing too fancy. Yesterday I had a potato sandwich. 

B – A rich variety of healthy meals with plenty of green vegetables. 

C – Roast pheasant and brandy.



This is essential to physical and mental wellbeing. How do you stay active?

A – Does looking for the TV remote count as exercise?

B – I do a run, cycle or home workout several days a week, and make sure to take regular walks as well.

C – Ultramarathons every other day.


Conference Calls

Staying in touch with your teammates and communicating well is critical, but do you approach a call?

A – As long as the small square in shot looks good, that’s all the matters really.

B – As if I was in the office, prepped and ready a few minutes before the call begins.

C – My office is normally too informal; conference calls are a great chance for me to put on my tuxedo!



Without the same structure as an office job, it’s important to keep some work-life balance. How do you relax at the end of a day?

A – Playing Call of Duty: Warzone until the early hours of the morning.

B – Catching up with friends and family, cooking, reading, watching a box set.

C – Reading Proust’s “À la recherche du temps perdu” in the original French.



What do my answers say about me?

Mostly A’s – you’re probably not giving yourself the structure to thrive as a home worker. It’s important to keep your routine and set some standards for yourself.

Mostly B’s – you’re getting the balance right. You’re staying active, working effectively, keeping in touch with friends and giving yourself the best chance of success!

Mostly C’s – you might be overdoing it a bit. 


We’d love to hear how you’re getting on working from home. If you’ve got any EX stories to share, email thomas@awardsinternational.com and we’d be delighted to feature them on the website.



Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnMarch 19, 20203min5831

Even those living under rocks have heard the news.

We’re still monitoring developments about the virus, and will put out a full statement in the coming days. But for now, I want to share something about our values.

For us, winning is about much more than finishing first in a competition; it’s a mindset, a mentality that gives you the confidence and strength to succeed. The real winners, as we always say, are those who truly learned something at our Awards.

As we move into more uncertain times, that same mindset is what will see us through. A belief that problems can be overcome, if only we work together. That our ingenuity is never fully known until it is fully tested, and that we keep rising to meet our challenges: this is what defines a winning mentality.

Our new Global Ambassador, Luke Murfitt, exemplifies these traits. In his view, positivity is an essential part of any winning mentality. With the world seeming a more chaotic place, that positive can seem harder to find. You might not even want to find a positive spin, and that’s ok too. But I do agree with Luke: seeing the good in things, focusing on the affirmative things you can do, and accepting what you cannot change, is essential to personal growth.

This situation is certainly serious, but we’ve already seen it bring out some of the finer portions of the human spirit. Whether it’s Italians serenading each other from balconies, the immense bravery of medical staff, or merely those at home making mountains of irreverent memes, there are countless examples of this winning attitude around the world right now.

Our sincere hope is that this situation will increase our appreciation for what it means to gather together, something that may feel stifled in the coming weeks. If that is to be the case, let’s never take it for granted again – and throw one hell of a party when this thing blows over!








Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnMarch 19, 20202min4220

At the UK Customer Experience Awards, we’ve brought together some extraordinary people over the years. And they’ve shared some extraordinary stories of CX success.

Now, we’re making our most comprehensive resource ever: all our best case studies from the country’s top CX organisations, all in one volume.

This will be your ultimate tool for success, both in awards and in your customer experience work. We’re in a unique position, with such a fantastic network of winners – and we want to share those insights with you!

More details will follow shortly, but it will include an interview with DeAnna Avis, head of CX at Solus, who were the Overall Winner at last year’s Awards. With an in-depth interview about Solus’ CX journey and extensive advice about preparing for a successful Awards presentation, this case study alone gives golden advice. And that’s just the start!

At the moment, many professionals are working from home or facing other disruption. Although this is certainly a challenge, it does present the chance to catch up on things that we’re often too busy to do in the office. So if, by the time this all blows over, you’re a CX expert with a clear idea of what it takes to win, we’ll have done our job!


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Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnMarch 19, 20203min5661

We’re delighted to announce that Luke Murfitt, founder of Integrity Cleaning and UK Business Awards Gold Winner, is our new Global Ambassador.

He will be sharing our values of fairness, transparency, innovation – and positivity!

After a successful career working for a FTSE 100 company, Luke was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015. But this wasn’t the end of his business career: on the contrary, it gave him the drive and determination to found his own successful business. 

As he puts it, “Parkinson’s can only take your strength. Your state of mind is up to you.” And Luke’s mind has remained resolutely positive. 

Two years ago, he founded Integrity Cleaning. Beyond providing great cleaning services, the company looks to employ those looking to get back into work, especially mothers. 

They’ve seen incredible growth in recent years, helping dozens of mothers back to work in the process. And integrity is at the company’s core: every employee receives a living wage.

At the UK Business Awards last year, Luke was entered into the Entrepreneur of the Year category, speaking with real eloquence about his experiences and business success. This made a lasting impression on the judges, and led to him becoming the Gold Winner in that category. 

Luke is a true winner and the perfect person to share our values around the world. Having spoken recently at the UK Complaint Handling Awards, he’s looking forward to speaking on our behalf much more in the future!


Enter the UK Digital Experience Awards today!

For more stories from Awards International, click here.





Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnMarch 4, 20203min3860

The UK Complaint Handling Awards are coming up on Thursday. We’re looking forward to welcoming finalists from all over the country, who will compete across 15 different categories.

With the event so close, now is the perfect time to share some tips on getting the most out of the Awards, both on Thursday and at future events.

1. Attend open presentations

You have your own presentation to give, and of course that takes priority. But that only takes half an hour, and presentations will be running all morning (or all day in some cases).

That means there’s plenty of time to watch others present. And we always have a fascinating range of companies on display, doing their utmost to wow the judges with their stories of organisational success.

Many presentations are open to spectators, making this the perfect chance to pick up pearls of business wisdom, effective presentation techniques, and more!



2. Network with fellow professionals

With so many leading professionals under one roof, the networking opportunities are second-to-none. And because we organise our Awards by theme, rather than industry, you’ll meet a diverse range of people from lots of different sectors.

This is a perfect opportunity for you to make new connections, get new perspectives and learn how other companies are approaching their work.


3. Bring your team with you!

Of course, groups of any size can have a great Awards experience. But in our experience, organisations that bring their whole team often have a fuller experience. You can cover more ground in the open presentations by splitting up and watching different ones, and the winning feeling can be more special when you’re surrounded by those that made it possible.

At Awards International, we pack a lot into our events. To make the most of them, read the programme carefully and plan out your day. That way, the Awards are so much more than a competition; they’re a brilliant opportunity to learn and connect.



The UK Complaint Handling Awards will be held on Thursday at Park Plaza Victoria.

Enter the UK Customer Experience Awards

For more stories from Awards International, click here.