Georges Essama, Cameroon Telecommunications

Georges winner

Georges Essama

Head of Customer Relations

Cameroon Telecommunications


Georges is one of four finalists to receive special commendation by our panel, recognising his achievements in the field of customer culture. 

Head of Customer Relations for the Center Regional Division in 2019, Georges started the new role at a time of change for the organisation, with a new CEO heralding a new vision. Part of this vision was to overhaul the extremely negative perception that the company had acquired regarding its customer service, including in Georges' business unit. 

With the goal assigned to the business unit to improve the sales and financial performance by developing customer-centricity in its operations, Georges kickstarted progress with a baseline analysis of the business unit to identify gaps in performance and the various obstacles causing problems, using customer surveys, customer journey mapping, employee surveys and more.

Based on this work it became apparent there were four pillars that the unit's new customer experience strategy would need to focus on: better understanding customers and improving their experience; better managing quality and efficiency in operations; empowering staff with a truly customer-centric culture; and improving CX governance. Significant progress has been made in each of these areas as the unit has dramatically overhauled its customer experience approach. 

To better understand customers and drive CX improvements, the organisation's first full-scale Voice of the Customer programme was built, conducting regular customer surveys, examining customer complaints from all sources, sharing reports on the findings with the 900 staff of the business unit. The first ever Voice of the Employee programme was also created, surveying all staff to solicit feedback about the service they provide to customers, and measuring their engagement and motivation in their daily jobs. 

A key finding from both these initiatives was that while staff were generally engaged, they lacked resources to better serve customers. This led to investments such as a new platform for customer complaints management, the digitisation of internal processes of back-office operations in customer journeys, and a new comprehensive customer management guide for account managers and sales teams to help with training and knowledge. 

To better manage quality and efficiency they adopted a preventive approach to identify and manage issues before the became a problem for customers. With the support of the technical and IT team, they built a new process to identify service shortages before customers complain about them, monitoring 10,000 lines daily. This activity helped the organisation improve the service availability rate considerably. 

To foster a customer-centric culture the organisation created a content programme called “Customer Insights” - a weekly podcast featuring customer interviews as well as advice, CX tips and lessons learned. Employee reward schemes were introduced, tied into metrics that heavily influence customer perception such as service availability, while a training programme was also launched, focusing on the gaps identified by the research, and also the requirements requested by staff. 

And to improve CX governance the organisation has shifted its focus on purely financial metrics to also encompass a variety of customer experience measurements such as NPS and CSAT, we well as adopting a new approach to resource management, with a much greater proportion of resources now allocated to frontline staff and CX improvement activities.

Not only have customer experience metrics demonstrated the impact of this work - with CSAT and NPS scores having dramatically improved, and customer complaints plummeting - but there has also been a noticeable impact on business results. Average monthly revenue in their business unit increased 50% in the six months after the launch of the programme, with contribution to the global results of the company also rising from 30% to 40% last year, and continuing to rise in 2022. 

Employees are more sensitised and open to adopting the customer-centric mindset in their daily operations. The employee engagement of our 900 staff has increased not only because of the commitment the management has for them and the customer but because of the rewarding programmes implemented that recognise their effort to improve company performance.

Judges' praise for Georges:

"To shift a culture from bureaucracy to best-class customer experience is not an easy task, especially across 4,000 employees. While a new CEO had given clear directives, the attitudes of employees were not shifting so Georges put in place a programme with a clear focus on communication and training. Ideas such as a weekly Podcast, “Customer Insights”, which shared live conversations with customers, providing advice, CX tips and lessons learned. This is a great way to bring customers into daily work life and help teams improve and just one example of the hard work and effort put into his programme." - James Scutt

"In an incredibly challenging environment and with a difficult legacy to overcome, George’s story is both impactful and inspiring. As CX continues to evolve across the African continent, it is wonderful to see such a strong case study that brings to life the art of the possible." - Ian Golding

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Cameroon Telecommunications