Nathalie Schooling is an experienced customer service strategist, trainer, and improvement specialist with more than 25 years’ experience in the customer service and experience industry. She founded nlightencx in 2005, which she has grown into a multiple award-winning customer experience company, recognised as one of South Africa’s leading CX enterprises. Her extensive experience in the South African corporate environment translates into a unique understanding of the challenges facing modern businesses and the increasingly competitive environment in which they have to operate – which allows her to apply proven customer service principles to help them overcome those challenges. In 2020, Nathalie was recognized as a top 150 global thought leader by the International Customer Experience Management Platform, Survey Sensum. In 2021, she was selected one of the top Global CX influencers to follow by the international publication, The Awards Magazine, and was also featured in the CX Hall of Fame.
Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far.
I’m officially part of the 50’s club. I’m a single Mom with 2 amazing humans. I love to laugh… even through menopause and a really horrible divorce 🤣. I am VERY pleased COVID is “over” as I love exploring new countries/cultures etc., and I hope to get back to being able to plan trips abroad, very soon!!
Being your own boss and running your own show is possibly the hardest, scariest thing I have ever done. I call it “my Everest”. I had absolutely no clue what I was letting myself in for… (a bit like having a baby). There were so many times I wanted to turn back (as in getting another corporate gig), but I hung in. Folks, owning your own business is super lonely and tough, but the rewards and the feeling of accomplishment along the way… well there is nothing like it.
Please tell us a little more about how your company came about.
I did not see “eye-to-eye” with the newly appointed CEO when I was in corporate. I had been brewing this business idea for about 12 months, prior to me taking the leap. I developed a business plan when I was still working for corporate, setting out the steps I would have to take in terms of starting out on my own. I knew how much I had saved and carefully put together a budget in terms of how much I would need to invest in starting up my business and what I would need to allocate to my living expenses. I knew that I would have to stick to it as I had no idea as to when I would start generating any kind of an income. nlightencx opened its doors in 2005 when I identified a gap in the SA market for using enhanced customer experiences as a key business differentiator. Now a multiple award-winning company, we are recognised as South Africa’s leading multidisciplinary CX specialists.
Should you be busy with any interesting initiatives, please tell us a little more about it.
Next year we are going to spend some of our time “giving back” at no cost to communities especially in the tourism and retail sector – empowering entrepreneurs and job seekers on the power of delivering great customer experiences and how that will set them apart, providing them with the knowledge on tools on how to go about this.
What is it that you are passionate about?
Personal Growth – Continuous Learning. I find the Vinyasa yoga practice, so therapeutic (mind and body). Long walks alone, just me and my Air pods. Entertaining Friends.
Who or What has been the biggest influence in your life and why?
Failure. I have really learned so much about life and growth when things did not go my way.
What is your personal “motto”?
It’s never no… it’s just no, not now.
What advice would you give a woman wanting to follow her dreams?
Firstly, always look at a challenge as an opportunity. And remember that you only grow from challenges.
Who or what is your inspiration and why?
My ex–boss Tracey Ellison. She reinvented herself, from working in corporate for many, many years ago, she started the IG page called thediamondsgirl! She has over a million followers that she built up over 7 years. She travels the globe, sharing amazing content and she taught herself how to be an “influencer”.
What advice would you give your younger self?
You can absolutely do this! Believe in yourself… and those days you doubt yourself…. Stop that immediately. “Thoughts are real forces.”
Your favourite daily affirmation:
Opportunities are everywhere.
Your favourite quote:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it’s the courage to continue that counts.” ~Winston Churchill
Which book are you currently reading?
I am reading Lincoln Mali’s book called Blazing a Trail.
What are your top business tips?
Never burn your bridges…. Be kind and be a good person. Karma is real.
Be very clear as to what makes doing business with you unique. Why should people buy from you?
Surround yourself with “smart” people.
And don’t forget to document your win’s and your journey. It’s so empowering.
What would you say literary success looks like for you?
That the reader A) enjoys the read B) can use the information and tools in the book to make a real positive difference both in their personal lives as a customer/client as well as their businesses.
One piece of general advice that you’d like to share:
Nothing happens overnight! You have to have that absolute belief in yourself and what you’re offering. Your value proposition needs to be well articulated and you need to be and remain authentic.
Submitted by Tinkwe Communications