How the world's best CX leaders are making customer experience a company-wide concernby
Evidence from CX Leader of the Year applications demonstrates how customer experience leaders are working to involve staff from other departments in their CX programmes.
In a previous look at some of the commonalities shared by some of the strongest candidates in the CX Leader of the Year application process, we examined how some applicants had restructured their customer experience teams to improve the impact they had on the rest of the organisation.
A big incentive of these often ambitious projects is to avoid customer experience teams becoming siloed departments that fail to influence the rest of the business. But in addition to restructuring parts of the organisation to ensure that the customer experience team has greater impact, another way of ensuring that the CX programme has influence is to directly involve wider parts of the business.
This kind of cross-departmental collaboration not only ensures that there is a greater appreciation of the challenges and opportunities related to the CX strategy, but it also enables stakeholders from all corners of the business to contribute their own departments’ insights and advice.
CX Leader of the Year 2022 finalist Philip Joseph, senior vice president - customer experience and service operations at telco Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison, explains how he fostered cross-departmental collaboration.
“In order for Indosat to realise its vision as a customer-centric organisation, the vision and CX transformation plan I’ve implemented required the entire organisation to internalise, reflect and revamp the way it views customer experience.
“Since then, everything that the organisation undertakes is formed with the foundation of knowing and better serving its customers’ needs. The involvement of every single department under the ‘Customer Champion 360 Charter’ programme I have introduced enabled various stakeholders across to work holistically and collectively to deliver a customer-obsessed telco brand in Indonesia.
“We started by looking into our entire product portfolio - identifying areas of communication where we can simplify the process to make it transparent, straightforward, and easy to understand; providing worry and hassle-free products and services; simplifying our product catalogue and customer journeys across every touchpoint.”
Fellow finalist Bettina Papirio-Faerber, VP - strategy & CX at agency One & All, decided that it was a particular priority to ensure that leaders across her organisation had a personal stake in the success of the transformation, and could hold others accountable.
“As I developed the CX process and workflow for the organisation, I designed it in such a way that departments across the organisation are key stakeholders in the inputs and outcomes of each phase. No step in the process can work on its own, and we all are successful or all fail.
“A senior department head was assigned as the lead for his/her work stream. As the work stream lead they are responsible for understanding the process, defining gaps and areas of improvement, as well as holding their team accountable.
“Utilising the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) in a slightly modified way, each work stream lead sets quarterly goals for CX process improvements. These are based on previous customer feedback or self-analysis, and get discussed with all leads at the beginning of the quarter to analyse impact on the entire process and customer experience. As all steps are interconnected: changes in one need to be considered for all the others.”
Involving senior management in CX
At Latvian insurance firm Balta, part of the PZU Group, a senior management team customer committee has been established in addition to a cross-functional customer experience team.
Explaining how the cross-functional team works, CX manager Laura Sinka, another finalist of CX Leader of the Year 2022, says: “The team unites representatives from all departments, which in turn provides an opportunity to look at customers from various perspectives and allows them to understand customer needs better.
“Instead of creating a heavy structure by hiring new employees in a separate department, we put CX as a priority across all departments. Department directors nominated their representatives, thus we made sure that directors were aware of the additional workload participation in this group might bring.”
The senior management team customer committee was then established over and above the CX team to act as a steering committee. Sinka explains: “They meet once per month providing an opportunity of open discussion, buy-in and alignment across the company. There has been frequent communication in the intranet about CX initiatives. For example, colleagues have been invited to participate in pilot projects and join focus groups, they were informed about the quarterly customer satisfaction results and updates of CX projects. Ever since then, the Voice of the Customer and similar customer research programmes have become an integral part of other projects that are not led by the CX team, which is a sign of a great example being set for other fields as well.”
She adds: “Every month the CX manager meets with the senior management team's nominated Customer committee to update and align on what the CX team is working on, to present customer satisfaction results and discuss further development of customer initiatives. It allows us to discuss all the latest updates on CX projects and opens a floor for discussion and adds the customer in every director's agenda.”
Another big incentive for collaboration with the rest of the organisation is to embed a customer-centric culture throughout the company. Some CX leaders use the CX team as a training ground to foster customer-centricity in new staff when their first start, to ensure that customer focus is nurtured from the outset, no matter what part of the business they will ultimately work in.
As finalist Ana Marantes, head of customer service at online gaming firm Estoril Sol Digital SA, explains: “To foster a customer-centric culture, I found that the easiest way would be to involve everyone in customer experience. For this reason, a training plan for all newbies was created. A simple but effective measure that would be the baseline of our customer-centricity.
“So, all new members that come to work for our company, regardless of their position or future department, always start their training in the CX department where they stay for two weeks. During these two weeks, the most important contents of the business and overview reports about our customers are presented. Meetings are held to discuss customer’s needs, what they expect from us, what are the results of the team's objectives, where we must improve and, mainly, what is the impact of each area of the company on customer satisfaction. In this way, the CX team plays a central role in the training and sharing of experiences.”
Similarly, Anwanauyi Henry Ibok, senior manager, customer experience and insights at lending platform Migo, told us about how the organisation uses the service team as an incubator for customer-focused talent that then spreads the gospel to other parts of the business.
“I got the approval of the managing director for customer service agents to be considered for internship roles/permanent transfers to other departments, like engineering, human resources, marketing, finance, administration, etc. The internship roles and permanent transfers have helped them to gain the necessary skills in their areas of interest (outside customer service) and made them the first choice for vacant positions in the various departments across the company.
“Currently, members of our team have moved to other departments and have become customer service ambassadors and are actively driving the customer-centric culture across the company. Some departments in the company have a significant number of their headcount being ex-customer service staff. For example, our operations team (in our engineering department) has 40% of their staff coming from our call centre. The company’s growth trajectory has been impressive because we now have people with customer service backgrounds driving processes across the business.”
Neil Davey is the managing editor of MyCustomer. An experienced business journalist and editor, Neil has worked on a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites over the past 20 years, including Internet Works, CXO magazine and Business Management. He joined MyCustomer in 2007.