How the world's best CX leaders are restructuring their teamsby
Evidence from CX Leader of the Year applications demonstrates how customer experience leaders are restructuring their teams to drive efficiency and impact.
When MyCustomer asked customer experience leaders about the biggest obstacles to their CX programme’s success as part of our 2022 CX leadership survey, organisational structures ranked top of the list. Over half (55%) of customer experience leaders surveyed told us that organisational silos were one of the biggest obstacles in 2022.
Furthermore, the indications are that it is an issue that is only becoming more problematic, because when the same survey was conducted in 2020, while it was still the biggest obstacle, it was reported by slightly less than half of respondents (49%).
Unsurprising, then, that when asked about their objectives for the coming 18 months, nearly a third (32%) of our 2022 respondents told us that removing corporate silos was one of their main priorities.
And perhaps equally unsurprising that when CX Leader of the Year 2022 applications were being submitted, organisational restructure was a common thread. The 2022 winner herself, Maneesha Bhusal, CX director at JD.ID, was among those that told us that internal structure was something that had been worked on.
In recent years, company structure has been something that has been experimented with by a growing number of organisations as they look to sweat more influence and impact from customer experience leaders.
18 months ago, McDonald’s reorganised part of its business, pulling its global marketing, global restaurant development and restaurant solutions, data analytics and digital customer engagement departments together as a CX team. Around the same time, both General Motors and Volkswagen also restructured their operations in the name of customer experience.
But not all restructures have to be as dramatic or fundamental, and many of the reorganisations that our CX Leader of the Year applicants told us about have been less disruptive - yet still enormously effective.
Restructuring to remove silos
Oliver Metcalfe, head of global hosting support at THG Ingenuity Cloud Services, for instance, tweaked his support team structure and shape, to address his concerns about siloed operations.
"I worked to refine the global jhosting function, creating two main services: service operations which focused on the service desk and cloud hosting aspects of the business, and customer success to focus on service management and providing the best for our customers. This separation allowed our team members to focus on their workload, whether that be working with support cases or building longstanding relationships with our clients.
"The repurposed operation model meant we could present employees with a clear route of progression, which in turn helped them to better understand what the next steps were in their careers and increased morale. From this work, we have seen an increase in customer satisfaction, represented in our Trust Pilot scores which now sit between four and five stars."
Elsewhere, two-time CX Leader of the Year finalist Philippe Mesritz, has delivered enormous benefits by merging the Khoros customer experience team and customer success teams.
He explains: “We partnered with a large cross-functional group to understand where the pain was. Teams we interviewed and spoke with include global sales leadership, customer success leadership, professional services, technical support, sales operations, finance operations, and even customers. During these conversations, it quickly became evident that there wasn’t a single area of failure nor was there a centralised foundation that could be built from.
“The first action that we took was to rebuild an internal account framework. This design was influenced and guided by the customer journey map that we had built previously within our CX team. We’ve been able to align significantly greater between CX and customer success by combining the teams into one and really ensuring that the end result has the best interest in mind for both the employee and the customer. The alignment is around a multi-stage “account journey” in which we have been able to devise accountability for each role within the journey. This gives clarity for the employees when they speak with the customers.”
Restructuring to deliver more value
Other CX Leader of the Year applicants told us about some fascinating innovative ways to restructure their CX and support teams. Erin Poserina, who was guest care lead at Burger King, explained how she restructured her team to bring more value to the rest of the company by creative “pods” of support agents.
In part fueled by a rapid shift to support caused by the pandemic, over the course of two years, Erin’s internal customer support agent team grew from 3 to more than 70. This was accompanied by an equally rapid growth in leveraging outsourced BPOs for customer service.
Erin established what she called “pods'' of support agents whose job was to team with other departments internally to identify ways in which customer support data and insights can be better leveraged for the benefit of the company.
She explained: “These pods have had a profound impact in raising awareness for the CX team internally at RBI [owner of Burger King]. Since the launch of the pod system, seven participating agents have been promoted to roles within other teams at RBI.”
Restructuring to improve CX impact
But sometimes, larger restructure projects are unavoidable. And CX Leader of the Year 2022 finalist Samantha Statham, head of customer experience at Fulfilmentcrowd, talked us through how she came to the conclusion that re-engineering of the customer operations team was required, and what was involved.
“From the discovery phase it was identified the ‘shared services team' were seen as a ‘frustration’ and were slow at responding to live chat and tickets with little ‘added value’,” she explains. “It was also clear that the team had no clear roles or responsibilities (hybrid roles and responsibilities) which caused confusion and frustration for both client and employees. There were also no metrics in place to ensure we were providing a great customer experience and no objectives aligned to the business/CX.
“With this in mind, in Jan 2022 the shared services team were restructured to the customer operations team with clearly defined structures and objectives (to support the business proposition) as well as clear roles and responsibilities. Each team also had a clear understanding of how each team member directly impacted the client experience.
“With this restructure a wider CX team was created, which encompasses all client-facing teams. To help support the CX strategy and objectives, managers were recruited with the right experience and skills to help support the continuous development and improvement of the teams.”
And Samantha believes that the restructure of the customer operations team has delivered multiple benefits, placing the client at the heart of what they do.
“We are continuously evolving. We do this by measuring and reviewing our client’s experience, ensuring it’s as seamless and pain free as possible creating a continuous improvement culture that leads to client growth and loyalty.
“We have clear roles and responsibilities. Each professional in the CX team now understands what they're responsible for, increasing efficiency, and are less likely to repeat tasks or have miscommunications. We now have more job opportunities with clear progression paths. We encourage and empower our teams to be responsible for specific tasks, which creates an environment of collaboration and accountability.”
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.