Head of Customer Experience Strategy and Deployment
Having worked at the Post Office for well over a decade in various customer-focused roles, two years ago James Scutt seized the initiative and drew up a proposal for the creation of a dedicated customer experience role.
Boasting a full job description and the objectives that the position would need to achieve for it to have a positive impact and be a success, the proposal was greeted with enthusiasm, and James was subsequently appointed as the first Head of Customer Experience Strategy & Deployment in the Retail branch network of Post Office Ltd.
With over 11,500 branches across the UK, as well as 13,400 branches of its bill payments network subsidiary Payzone, overhauling customer experiences at Post Office was a monumental project. But with the key objective of making Post Office easier to do business with in mind, James started work by researching through five years of customer data to identify the things that were important to customers. This exhaustive work allowed James to define a set of six customer drivers: friendly, professional, knowledge, understanding, efficiency and expectations.
With the research surfacing how emotive many of the verbatim customer comments were, it also became clear that emotion measurement needed to be baked into the programme, with James subsequently identifying an emotion scale that could be easily articulated by teams, with a KPI that allowed customers to choose from being: delighted, satisfied, neutral, disappointed or irritated. Together, the customer drivers and emotion measurement provided a robust picture of the experience that customers were having when visiting a Post Office.
Working with a team of advisors including Kantar, Qualtrics and the Institute of Customer Service, James developed a five year strategy, encompassing a set of actions to drive CX maturity forward. This strategy was shared across the central support centre environment, while James travelled across the UK to run sessions for all the regional and area managers to embed it in the branch network. Following this a series of large scale events for 100+ attendees were held to bring postmasters up to date with the new CX focus and the vital roles they would have to play. A set of pages were also set up on the company-wide communications platform so that postmasters can easily find help and advice to support them to improve experiences in their branches.
Some of the process and tools that have since been rolled out by James include Customer Experience University (a targeted CX training programme); dynamic, actionable CX dashboards; online CX FAQs to give area managers quick access to up-to-date support; and a closed-loop ticketing system that sends notifications to area managers if feedback has shown that something needs closer attention, with dashboards enabling the resolution of these issues to be tracked to ensure closure.
James also launched a ‘Love Your Customers Week’ around Valentine’s Day to highlight important aspects of CX, with each day having a different theme. Customer survey responses were up 71% that week against the average, while the main CX metric used by Post Office - ease score - improved by 0.6% during that week.
Since his appointment, James has seen the programme have a huge impact on customer focus at Post Office. And the results are backing this up. After two years in his role, Post Office’s customer experience to be ranked number one in the Institute of Customer Service’s UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKSCI) Public Services category, up from number three the previous year. And Post Office maintained its top position in the most recent UKCSI research.
I am really very proud of the impact I have had on customer experience at the Post Office. It’s a very large organisation and I have had to form strategies, tools and processes that work for all areas of the organisation.