Customer Experience and Marketing Director
Louise Durnin is one of six finalists to be commended by our expert judging panel.
When Louise was recruited as head of customer experience at industrial tool manufacturer Cromwell last year, the company was in the midst of a concerning downturn in customer performance, scoring disappointingly on the likes of NPS, CSAT and CES.
Louise decided that in order to change the company’s culture to put the focus firmly on the customer and rectify these results, the organisation would need to improve its ability to listen to and respond to customers. At the time of her recruitment, there was no active, real-time link to customer feedback, and any that was collected via a link in customer emails was passive, limited in size and not specific to a particular transaction, customer journey or touchpoint. It was therefore difficult to create and share meaningful customer-led insight that could recommend clear actions to relevant business areas.
To remedy this, last year the business set itself the ambitious strategic target of becoming ‘the easiest company to do business with’, sharing the new strategy with its 1,600 colleagues across the entire organisation – from leaders to the teams in the vast branch network. And just five months after joining Cromwell, Louise had overseen the launch of a key element of the new strategy - the Voice of the Customer programme. To support its launch, the company created its first ever Customer Service Week, providing staff with training on the new VoC platform with face-to-face and WebEx session, interactive film clips, and written help guides to help them not only learn about the tool but also understand results and bring customer feedback to life.
Three months later, text analytics was added, contextualising feedback for those colleagues who are not analytically minded, and enabling them to see, per customer journey stage, and customer type, how actions translate into customer experience, so they can respond appropriately to customer verbatim recommendations. Earlier this year, surveys were introduced across nine different touchpoints, and key internal/business-focused and external/customer-focused metrics have now been set at every stage of the customer journey.
The most important process that Louise has introduced during her tenure so far, however, has been customer journey mapping, which has helped the organisation to shape digital work streams, identify where it needs to be most agile, define deliverables, identify customer pain points, and better understand what customers are feeling at key moments of truth.
Accountability and visibility have also been at the forefront of Louise’s work, establishing a fortnightly Fix Service Forum for business leaders, with the managing director as the sponsor, to identify and solve issues, and regular CX calls (hosted by Louise) where every function and regions of the business are encouraged to share and learn from customer sentiment and each other.
The combination of these initiatives has led to dramatic improvements in NPS, CES and CSAT, but also driven positive changes elsewhere, including: 11% positive increase in customer orders - and increased customer retention - due to close the loop action management and individual accountability for customer relationships; 45% decrease in calls to the customer service centre about matters now proactively addressed by the resolution team; projected annualised savings of £60k by removing external ad hoc research costs; 86% reduction in customer complaints, with engagement scores higher than previous periods.
The executive team’s commitment to change has also been demonstrated by the recent recruitment of a Chief Customer Officer, Chief Digital Officer, centralised CX team and the creation of a functional customer champion network across the business. Furthermore, Louise herself has had a promotion to Customer Experience & Marketing Director as recognition for her achievements over the past 14 months.
I am very proud to say that we have been able to make a step change in our company culture by including customer centricity at the heart of our business strategy and principles. Customer feedback is no longer viewed simply as a collection of ad hoc complaints, but as constructive, informative opportunities that can make a difference to the overall customer experience.
Judges' praise for Louise:
"Louise had a mammoth task in front of her when she started off in Cromwell. She has shown true leadership and drive to turn that around. Her unrelenting drive and focus to improve CX is second to none and is clearly visible in the remarkable results she has been able to achieve, making her a true CX pioneer." - Sandra de Zoysa
"The success of CX in Cromwell was not certain. Louise has carefully constructed a special combination of activities, relevant for the sector, and developed a cohesive and clear plan with meaningful outcomes. This has been a contributing factor towards support and commitment from the many functions to the change needed. Keeping agile in thought and practice has ensured her CX Strategy has stayed relevant and aligned to digital transformations. A focus on ROI across the business has ensured CX has continued to be seen as a contributory business activity; both in terms of savings delivered and contribution towards growth." - Christopher Brooks