For the last 25 years, Danny Maher has been working in senior management positions, falling mainly in the social work and mental health fields. As CEO of Cricklewood Homeless Concern in North West London, Danny has witnessed many great changes in the voluntary and community sector and has been instrumental in ensuring his own organisation is able to respond effectively to a changing environment. Danny’s strengths lie in fundraising, people management, service development quality management and latterly building networks with the business community. In his spare time Danny is a keen runner, enjoys reading and is involved in a number of community activities.
What makes you laugh? This question! Don’t often have time to have these kinds of questions chucked at me. However, my customers make me laugh sometimes. Despite their often tragic stories they can be positive and amusing. Then , my staff and volunteers who despite being really busy all the time are a gregarious and even sometime hilarious bunch. And of course Just a Minute
What was your first ever job? Shop assistant in an electrical store
What is your greatest achievement and why? Getting my current job. I work with great staff, volunteers and customers and totally enjoy my job. Oh, and my family are pretty special too!
Name an organisation, (other than your own!) that you see as the perfect one and why? Kith & Kids http://www.kithandkids.org.uk/ a learning disabilities charity that support the whole family. They provide an excellent service but one that is personable and genuine
Why are you passionate about improving customer service standards? It’s good for the customer, good for my charity and good for all of us. Why wouldn’t we be? It makes sense. None of us should be that arrogant to think we know the answer to a customer’s request. We need to work together for each other and just because someone is homeless doesn’t mean they do not have knowledge, experience and talent to contribute to decisions about their lifestyle.
In your opinion what are the biggest customer service challenges your industry faces today? It must be our ability to offer value for money and services that lead to sustainable solutions for our customers. And also the challenge to train staff to value the contribution that customers can bring to our work with them.
What advice would you give to overcome those challenges? Build up a solid credible customer advisory group, at least in our sector and resource it to offer valuable and relevant information to us as providers. Encourage a programme where customers make presentations to our staff about the former’s experience and views of being our customer.
What’s been your best customer service experience? BT. Recently I phoned up regarding an internet problem. I got courtesy, plain English advice and patience. Didn’t cost them anything but I remember it. Good result
What is the one characteristic that you think a leader should possess and why? Lead from the front and demonstrate a ‘sleeves rolled up’ approach but also ensure your staff and volunteers feel that they are listened to, respected and are a part of your team.
What drives you and your people to “Be the Best”? Customers coming back to us to thank staff and volunteers for the support that they had received. Plus, we are all customers and if we don’t do it right then we shouldn’t complain if someone else doesn’t do it right.
Danny Maher will be sharing his experience of Putting the Customer First at the first complimentary “Customer First Intro Session”, Wedneday 22nd May in London. For More Information on the event and how to register, please visit: http://www.customerfirst.org/Events.aspx?categoryId=1