I was desperately sad to hear of the passing of Customer Service legend Don Hales last Friday. The word legend is often overused, but when it comes to the impact and legacy Don leaves on the world of Customer Service, it barely does him justice.
A tear was shed, the gap he leaves in our professional world, and personal lives of many, will be huge.
Don always had time for everyone. Always ready, happy and willing to give some advice or guidance, and crucially, it was good advice, as it came from many years of experience, which he was always willing to share. When he talked, you listened.
Don made the most impact on my professional career in 2007, when I had just launched my consultancy and had written my 1st book on customer service. Don picked up on it, and was intrigued to get to know me.
A lunch and a few coffees at the IOD followed, and a few weeks later, I received an invitation to judge for him at the National Customer Service Awards, and he introduced me to Claudia who was then Editor of Call Centre Focus and Chair of Judges for the European Call Centre Awards, and I was invited to be judge on both programme for many years thereafter.
The opportunities this afforded me were incredible, the network it opened up for me I have been forever thankful for. It is not an exaggeration to say that without Don, and his support, encouragement and introductions, I may never have had or still have the career and success I have had.
And the most incredible thing? Speak to anyone else who knew Don. He did exactly the same for them too. This was not a one off. He did this for everyone.
The energy, enthusiasm and passion he had, not just for customer service but for living life in general, was just incredible to behold. Truly an example to live by.
I believe it’s true to say, there is hardly a person working at a senior level in CX today who has not in some way been impacted by Don’s influence, be it as a mentor, awards programme, writer, speaker, judge, or publisher. He was an influencer long before that become a thing.
Farewell friend and legend, may you forever rest in peace.