Five minutes with Guy Mucklow
PCA Predict is a checkout optimisation and data-cleansing specialist, which attributes its success in the customer journey business to its innovative approach to address management.
For Guy Mucklow, good business is all about giving people something to believe in: “If your staff and customers believe in the same vision then it is amazing the passion and commitment you will get from them.”
“One of the most exciting things about business is not knowing what’s around the corner”
When starting any business, what you start out doing and what you end up doing are often completely different. That’s largely because as your business matures new opportunities and ideas present themselves, which lead to a change in direction. The key to good management is to pick the right ones without taking too many risks in the process.
“A vibrant economy is a well-balanced one”
The incredible success of the UK’s finance industry means we have a lot of our eggs in one basket. Personally, I think we have too little invested in manufacturing and the primary goods sectors and that having a more balanced economy could improve the country and provide a better place to live and work and maybe even a more equitable society.
“When going into a new market it is easier to improve the wheel rather than reinvent it altogether”
The biggest, most significant cost to getting into a market is the education part. That holds particularly true for technology because it introduces new ways of doing things, where you have to teach people how to be successful with your product or service. The fact is, if you enter into a market that is already established with a better way of doing things, then you stand a much better chance of being successful.
“Mankind is constantly trying to improve the way we do things”
Technology enables us to do jobs that were previously impossible or to allow us to do them more efficiently. That’s what we humans are designed for and what has helped us to progress as a species. However, the key to our ultimate success is to ensure that we have worthwhile and meaningful jobs to replace those that are being lost through productivity enhancements.
“Learning from our mistakes is the key to progress”
It is important that we develop a culture which doesn’t look to point the finger of blame where things don’t work out. Learning from our mistakes is the key to successful innovation and progress. There’s never a right or a wrong way of doing anything. What there are, however, are lessons learned on the journey about how we could do things better and improvements on what we might try next time. We all make mistakes and nobody’s perfect, from the top down.
“Business has a core role to play in society”
People have a lot of experience of dealing with corporates who don’t work ethically and treat new customers far better than older ones. A classic is having a free phone number for the sales but a paid one for existing customer support. Things like that send out the wrong signals about where their values lie. It is down to businesses to set good ethical boundaries and to think more about what they’re putting back into society.
“The best businesses learn from others”
I have always subscribed to the view that the best businesses learn from others. All companies, even those which may not necessarily be considered good, have ways of doing things that could improve your own business. It’s really important as a business to seek out these ideas and make it your duty to find out what is going on around you. That way, you can constantly be improving. It is also much easier learning from those that have had the experience so that you don’t make their mistakes too.
“If you want to get people to really care about what you do, you need to take them on a journey that is more than one stop”
Creating the vision or story of where you are now and where you want to be, can be exceptionally motivating for both customers and employees. For your customers it helps them to buy in to what you are doing and what it might mean for their own businesses, whilst for your employees it helps to create a consistent thread or journey of opportunity for their own careers. Ultimately, people who care about what you’re doing will be more engaged, more motivated and committed to your cause, than those who can’t follow or don’t understand your vision.
“It’s about strong leadership; it’s about great values; it’s about having the right culture”
There’s a lot of talk about a vibrant economy being about a great talent pool, access to capital and those kinds of things. I actually think there are some other really important building blocks to a vibrant economy. In my view, success starts with setting the right culture and values in our society as other things will typically follow in their wake. Both business and government have an important role to play in this process.
“The standards that business leaders set are the standards that people will follow”
Good honest ethical leadership means setting standards by which you would like others to follow. That’s the starting point – having a really good culture. You will never have everyone on the same page but as a leader in any sector, industry or field you should be doing and saying the same thing, not a ‘do as I say but not as I do’ approach.