Professor Merlin Stone
Merlin is Head of Research at The Customer Framework, one of the UK’s leading specialist consultancies in customer relationship management (CRM). Projects are generally for large companies in industries such as airlines, banking, insurance, telecommunications, media, pharmaceutical companies, retailing and packaged consumer goods.
Merlin is also an Associate of Valcon Consulting in Denmark, where he works on projects in the environmental, financial services and telecommunications industries.
Merlin is well known for his work on thought leadership and public relations – improving clients’ communications to the media and customers, including explaining complex propositions and conducting media interviews. This includes conference speaking (especially for client events) and thought leadership research, which focuses on clients’ customers and prospects, the issues they face, how they handle them, and where they need help. Most of his work in this area has been for financial services companies.
Author and co-author of many articles and thirty books on CRM. Merlin is also on the editorial advisory boards of several academic journals.
In parallel to his business career, Merlin has pursued a full academic career, holding senior posts at various universities, such as Kingston University, Surrey University and Henley Management College. Now a visiting professor at De Montfort, Oxford Brookes and Portsmouth Universities, he also teaches economics for the Open University. Merlin joined Exeter University in 2011 to work on various marketing teaching projects.
Merlin has known and worked with Jamie for over 10 years
Professor Bryan Foss
Working independently from mid 2005, Bryan previously led an IBM business providing and integrating Customer Insight and Front Office Customer Management solutions for Financial Services companies globally, also leading the development and adoption of IBM’s new business solutions strategies for hyper-growth which would later be deployed across all other industry sectors and throughout all geographies.
Bryan is currently a board NED and Audit Chair with Motive Television PLC , has recently completed a 3 year role as a non executive director of The UK Government Department for Work & Pensions and has started another with the Government Office for the South East (GOSE, NED and Audit & Risk Chair). He retains his ongoing board advisory roles with the social investment fund www.thewellnessfund.eu, customer management consultancy Customer Essential and online market research company The Halo Works
Professor Yuksel Ekinci
Yuksel (MSc, MSc, MA, PhD) is a Professor of Marketing at Oxford Brookes University. As an international academic with a strong interest in the practical side of marketing, he is passionate about finding answers to new marketing problems and challenges.
Yuksel believes that practitioners need academic input for improving business performance in an ever increasingly competitive business environment. His key research interests are customer satisfaction, services branding, scale development and the dynamic interaction between front line staff and consumers.
Yuksel's career – incorporating two Masters' degrees and a PhD from the University of Surrey, all in services marketing – has been in the academic world, in both Turkey and England. Yuksel's practical experience is derived from working in the hotel and tourism sector, and through his consultancy work. This has broadened to cover other service sectors, such as telecommunications, call centres, banking and public sector services.
In an even earlier existence he sold books to help finance his undergraduate business studies and worked in sales and marketing for international companies. It was this very direct experience of personal selling that first interested him in the whole issue of how companies interact with their customers and that in some sense is becoming his life's work.
He has a strong track record of working with companies on market – oriented solutions and also of publishing the results – both in academic papers and in more practitioner-focused journals. He suggests that this adds more value – both by helping businesses to solve market research problems, and by promoting them through appropriate trade publications.
Throughout his career Jamie Lywood has displayed one very obvious and distinctive desire - that is to search out alternative solutions to age old problems. During his five years in the Army he says ‘I found that my soldiers followed me not so much because of my leadership skills but more out of simple curiosity'.
In the 1980's and early 90's he established a very successful art business whose motto was ‘no pre-conceived ideas' and displayed only blank canvasses on its walls.
In 1994 he joined Harding & Yorke - then a fledgling company with an idea that many current measures adopted by businesses were at best irrelevant and, at worst, irresponsible. Over the next decade, much of it spent as Managing Director and CEO of the business, he launched new initiatives for Harding & Yorke including consultancy and benchmarking services - all dealing with the measurement and development of Empathy in the corporate environment.
In early 2008, the data and findings from the ERIC Benchmarking™ Programme were examined by Jamie Lywood and Professors Merlin Stone and Yuksel Ekinci. Together they were able to declare it as the world’s first service-related metric to directly correlate with profit and at the same time judged the methodology to be 98.9% reliable.
Under both his vision and guidance, the business embraced relationships with technology partners, consultancies and media agencies the world over and In 2011, Jamie set up and now runs Compathy Limited. Jamie is well known on the international speaker circuit and publishes numerous Whitepapers and was the key author on an Academic Journal 'Customer Experience and Profitability' - (2009 Palgrave Macmillan 1741-2439 Database Marketing & Customer Strategy Management Vol. 16, 3, 207-214 - www.palgrave-journals.com/dbm/)