You want a new job? Ensure you excel at your current one
What you need to know:
- Alex started off as a regular tech guy. “I looked like the typical IT guy: Skinny build, nerdy spectacles, eccentric dress code.
- But that didn’t last long. Two years into my working life, I discovered an emerging sector called e-marketing, which has since evolved to what we call digital marketing today.”
- Alex spent a decent number of years helping all kinds of businesses find their place in the growing world of the internet, while at the same time honing his marketing skills.
Alex Muriu is the Head of Customer Experience at Absa Bank. His job is to ensure that Absa’s customers are delighted by every interaction they have with the bank.
“I am a creative problem solver, always seeking to generate more value in any sphere I find myself in,” he starts. Alex is a boy from the countryside, sent to the big city to pursue that Nairobi dream that promises prosperity. He was born in Kapenguria, West Pokot County, and attended early school there.
“The 1992 tribal clashes pushed my family from the region and we relocated to Gilgil, where I spent the latter part of my childhood,” the 35-year-old remembers.
“Over the last 15 years, I have built my expertise as a business executive through various specialised programmes. I have gained skills in marketing, digital product development, and customer experience,” he notes with a distant look.
Alex started off as a regular tech guy. “I looked like the typical IT guy: Skinny build, nerdy spectacles, eccentric dress code. But that didn’t last long. Two years into my working life, I discovered an emerging sector called e-marketing, which has since evolved to what we call digital marketing today.”
Alex spent a decent number of years helping all kinds of businesses find their place in the growing world of the internet, while at the same time honing his marketing skills.
“Somewhere along the way he stumbled into a 50-year-old concept called Design Thinking, which he says changed his life for good.
“At the time, the concept was a big deal in the West and was just getting introduced in Kenyan. Absa Bank gave me an opportunity to explore this human-centred approach to business problem solving. I set up an Innovation Lab and ran tens of design sprints that cumulatively unlocked many new businesses.
I am quite proud of that phase of my life. I even found my way into a leadership role as the Head of Customer Experience, where I am using all these skills to deliver on my mandate.”
Alex boasts of a number of accomplishments. He was among those who built the KCB digital brand which became the best on the continent. His other highlight was the launch of Timiza Mobile Banking App for Absa Bank.He was also involved in the launch of Absa’s WhatsApp Banking platform dubbed Abby, in 2021.
“Standing with our MD on stage to let the world in on this advancement was quite fulfilling,” notes the husband and father of two.
Alex notes that it is his proactive nature that has propelled him this far.
“Failure, or the possibility of it, doesn’t faze me. I have got my fingers burnt several times, so I’ve learnt to take calculated risks so that I don’t fail fatally. Secondly, I ask. If I want something, I will ask for it. The worst response I can get when I do that is a No. And if I get a No, I ask, why not? That way I learn what I need to work on so that I get a favourable response next time.”
Alex notes that somewhere along his journey, he realised that the way to keep moving up the ladder was to stay open to new opportunities, including those outside his initial field of study.
“I have worked in three totally different industries, and because of that I have learnt a lot. The shift to Customer Experience was one such move, but I’m so glad I took the leap as it has helped me grow into the leader I am today.”
His advice to the youth is, “Live a life your mother would be proud of. You won’t always get to do what you love, so learn to love what you do. And lastly, when taking risks, always take the two-way door option, just in case you fail and need to try again.
On his future career plans, the outdoor junkie says, “Wherever my career takes me, I want to be known as an excellent leader, one who can see the bigger picture and inspire others to do more than they ever thought possible.
“A mentor of mine once told me that the best way to earn your next job is to be really good at your current one. That’s my plan.”
On the future of customer service, Alex thinks it stopped being a department long ago, and organisations that still view it from a departmental lens will find themselves playing catch up as more customer-savvy competitors eat their cake.
“They say that if you’re not listening to your customers, your competitors are. The great organisations of our time are those that not only actively listen, but also invest heavily in being able to predict and adapt to the needs of their customers. The world of tech has made it much easier for organisations to be customer-centric. The future is here already, where purposeful, technology driven, customer-led organisations are emerging as leaders in their respective arenas,” he concludes.