Vice President, Customer Experience Strategy
Ultimate Kronos Group
United States of America
When Roxie Strohmenger was recruited by human capital management software firm Ultimate (now rebranded UKG), her key goals were to define a CX North Star tethered to the company’s brand promise of ‘People First’ and to establish a CX centre of excellence.
While some foundational CX elements were in place, her initial work identified some blind spots that would need to be rectified in order to achieve her goals.
These included if/how Ultimate’s CX performance differentiated from other HCM vendors, what they needed to focus their CX improvements on, where inconsistent or unacceptable experiences were occurring, and what best practices and future trends could be used to innovate their experiences.
To assist her in identifying the gaps that needed plugging and the foundational/innovative work required, Roxie utilised a CX transformation framework that she had developed and refined over several years, which consists of a “Launch – Discover – Plan – Act – and Optimize” phased approach.
The launch and discover stages saw Roxie working to understand and anticipate Ultimate’s customers and getting a firm knowledge of the HCM ecosystem and Ultimate’s comparative capabilities within it. With this work in place, Roxie set about developing an 18-month transformation programme and then fostering buy-in within Ultimate, showcasing the plans to business unit leaders to solicit their feedback. With a final agreement and investment commitment obtained from the c-suite for the strategy, she then closed the loop and conducted a second round of roadshows to detail the CX plans and create groundswell and excitement for the future ahead for CX and Ultimate.
During the next 18 months, Roxie undertook a variety of projects including extensive interviews with employees to understand their perspective of the end-to-end customer journey; journey mapping to interview customers and understand their pain points and moments of truth; the building of a robust measurement architecture programme; the establishment of a competitive benchmarking assessment of Ultimate’s performance relative to the rest of the sector; and the recruitment of key CX talent to build an in-house CX team, and the delivery of an internal marketing campaign to educate teams and secure buy-in for each enhancement identified and ensure successful change management.
A further significant endeavour was broadening Ultimate’s measurement approach. Previously focused on tracking CSAT alone, Roxie convinced the organisation to adopt a three-part CX story approach to measurement that entailed capturing high-level CX insights (such as overall satisfaction with the company - OSAT); capturing CX quality (e.g. effort or the role of emotion); and measuring the key CX drivers for the particular experience measured.
To keep the initiative embedded and keep the organisation informed, the organisation invested in both customer feedback management and customer journey mapping tools to ensure that individuals across the organisation had a clear line of sight into how it was performing. This includes the “USpeak” customer feedback management solution, providing one primary, comprehensive viewpoint of how customers perceive the quality of the experiences Ultimate delivers.
Additionally, once set up, the in-house CX consultancy worked with specific business units across the organisation, making each business unit leader feel like they have their own dedicated CX consultant. Finally, Roxie also established a CX steering committee of all the c-suite executives that meets monthly to discuss CX initiatives and identify ways to overcome any roadblocks or challenges.
Modernisation of the look and feel of the Ultimate feedback collection requests to customers has seen response rates increase dramatically, while enhanced reach-out protocols and targeting means that they now engage with more customers who historically didn’t provide feedback – a shift from 25% to 42% of the customers it reaches out to.
A new streamlined and structured close-loop programme has created a 20% decrease in time spent for managers and a 9% increase in adherence to conducting close-loop conversations.
Collaboration with service leaders to drive a complete redesign of the Ultimate Community has resulted in a 60% decrease in support cases opened. And overall, the organisation has realised 2-4% improvements on its transactional experiences and 4-19% improvements on its relationship experiences, as a result of these new initiatives.
Overall, my CX journey has been immensely rewarding. In my short amount of time at UKG, I feel I have been able to significantly embed the Voice of the Customer in our decision-making, as well as gain the confidence of executive leadership, with whom I have forged effective partnerships. I am a fortunate CX professional!