MyCustomer.com caught up with Paul Sands, head of customer experience at Virgin Atlantic, at the recent European Customer Experience World event in London. Paul shares his thoughts about Virgin's customer experience vision, what its key tenets are, and how the business uses insight to compete on customer touchpoints that other airlines don't think about.
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Interesting video post, which highlights how strongly employee engagement is valued within Virgin Atlantic.
(you can really here the passion in Paul's voice too!)
I would take one point he makes though with a large pinch of salt, when he says that customer-facing colleagues "are like having an army of qualitative reseachers out there"
There is certainly heaps of insight one can get from employees, and this is a key source of information for companies and CX designers alike. But employees are not researchers, and their feedback should be used within the context of an employee-customer interaction - their primary role is to serve the customer's needs and deliver the brand promise. Are they trained to ask open-ended questions, capture the context of the customer's issue, codify it, integrate it with other customers, both similar and different? Good qualitative researchers will also use external reference points to triangulate their findings perhaps with market or competitor data, or even longitudinal information to spot trends.
Most of all, there are plenty of things that a customer will say to an independent researcher that they won't say to an employee. having said that, understanding CX is founded on bringing together multiple perspectives, and in fairness, Paul does highlight the variety of other insight sources Virgin use.
-- Rick Harris Owner, Customer Faithful