Meet the CX Leader of the Year finalistsby
With great pride, we announce the finalists for CX Leader of the Year 2023.
This year, we received a large number of entries from all over the world. After careful review, our panel selected the top 20 finalists who have shown excellence in their profession.
We are pleased to announce the 2023 CX Leader of the Year cohort, a group that is exceptionally dedicated to creating outstanding customer experiences. These finalists come from a variety of industries, backgrounds, and approaches.
As we now share the finalists, it's important to note that they are all potential winners. On November 2nd, we will reveal not one but four leaders who will be recognised as the best in their respective categories. In addition to the overall CX Leader of the Year winner, we have three additional awards celebrating exceptional accomplishments in customer insight, culture, and technology. In the spirit of anticipation, we are, therefore, introducing the finalists in no particular order.
CX Leader of the Year finalists 2023
In no particular order:
Deputy Director and Group Head of Customer Experience
When Elizabeth Okomba joined NCBA Bank, it was recently formed through the merger of two Kenyan banks, NIC Bank and Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA), making it the most extensive banking merger in sub-Saharan Africa. Mergers of such magnitude present significant challenges, including coordinating diverse cultures, merging products and processes, and establishing unified systems.
Elizabeth aimed to establish NCBA Bank as a brand renowned for great customer experience. She developed a CX strategy that aligned with the corporate plan and set up a robust governance structure, including committees for customer satisfaction, engagement, behaviour change, and service culture. Her work yielded measurable impacts, including impressive improvements in NPS scores, reduced call volumes, and increased contact centre service levels.
Head of Customer Experience
In her role at the digital-only bank, Joey Tan’s mission was to revolutionise banking for underserved consumers, focusing on millennials, gig economy workers, and micro-small businesses. She aimed to create a customer-centric culture that pursued excellent customer experiences, recognising it as the key differentiator in the industry. She instilled a culture centred on superior CX and sought to scale customer support operations while preserving quality and the human touch.
CX became integral to the organisation's culture, ensuring customer requirements remained central to all teams' efforts. Joey steered CX enhancements, fostered a customer-centric mindset, promoted CX improvements, and actively engaged with customers to gain valuable insights.
Vice President of Customer Experience Strategy
Roxie Strohmenger’s aim was to define a CX North Star aligned with the brand promise of “Our Purpose is People” and establish a CX Center of Excellence. Over time, she achieved important milestones, such as assembling a dedicated CX team from scratch, comprising seven professionals who diagnosed CX quality, optimised customer journeys, and championed CX best practices across the organisation.
She architected a VoC program that streamlined prioritisation efforts by capturing high-level CX insights, CX quality, and key CX drivers. She also expanded the CX team, designed an enhanced experience journey and achieved impressive results, exceeding revenue targets.
Head of CX Transformation, Analytics, and Adoption
When assuming his role, Dinara Wagawatte’s task was to assess, measure and report on the CX provided across all customer touchpoints. He emphasised the importance of stakeholder collaboration to ensure everyone was aligned and actively involved in achieving exceptional CX outcomes.
CX metrics were essential for tracking progress, including Relative Market NPS (rNPS), Transactional Net Easy Score (tNES), Transactional NPS (tNPS), Customer Experience Index (CXI), Employee Experience Score (EEX), and overall cost reduction targets. Dinara implemented automated daily, weekly, and monthly reporting mechanisms to facilitate performance reviews. These initiatives had a tangible impact with a substantial increase in digital care. The organisation also achieved considerable annual savings through simplification and digitisation.
Chief Experience Officer
American Medical Association (AMA)
Todd Unger had a clear goal: drive membership growth and retention. Under his leadership, the AMA's CX program, referred to as "CXOne," was built from the ground up, aligning customer experience with the seamless integration of marketing, product, commerce, and service.
The vision was clear: identify and eliminate obstacles hindering members' and customers' seamless access to AMA member value. The focus was removing friction in website usage, digital content, product access, authentication processes, and customer account management. The impact of this shift from "break-fix" to solving root causes resulted in a reduction in calls to the customer service centre, allowing resource reallocation, more CX projects, and the addition of a full-time CX manager.
General Manager of Digital Customer Experience and Omni Channel
Imdaad Naguib is dedicated to delivering exceptional digital customer experiences to 17 million customers, driving the organisation's purpose of leading the customer experience transformation towards a digital future. The vision set forth by Imdaad and his team is to humanise digital care to create consumer value by fulfilling the needs of exploration, self-expression, consumption, and emotional engagement through personalised, ubiquitous, life-enriching experiences. Within this framework, the objectives of Group Service Delivery (GSD) include becoming the No. 1 Digital Customer Experience provider and achieving service leadership and operational excellence.
Imdaad's initiatives have brought about a significant shift towards digital channels, resulting in an improved customer experience and contributing to the growth of Dialog Axiata. With the majority of transactions now conducted digitally, the adoption of self-service digital channels has proven to be effective in enhancing accessibility, convenience, and efficiency for customers.
Senior CX Strategist
When Vaishali Dialani joined Konabos, there was no established CX team within the organisation. She was tasked with setting the foundation for CX. Vaishali worked closely with her team to bring about a cultural shift towards prioritising customer experience. Together, they identified areas of improvement and created a shared business vision. This vision was communicated throughout the organisation to gain support from stakeholders and foster a customer-centric culture.
To measure progress and success, Vaishali established specific KPIs, including Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer retention rates, conversion rates, and more. These metrics allowed her to track improvements over time and make data-driven decisions to enhance the customer experience continually. The impact of Vaishali's work is evident in the cultural shift within the organisation, with a transformation towards a customer-centric culture in the last 12 months.
Senior General Manager of User Experience Design and People Development, Dialog Axiata
Waruni Algama was responsible for leading the redesign of digital touchpoints at Dialog Axiata, specifically the MyDialog App, as part of her role in the organisation's digital transformation strategy. She worked to improve the app's user interface, simplify user journeys, and enhance the overall user experience.
Waruni's approach included extensive research, user interviews, mobile analytics data analysis, and stakeholder discussions. She implemented design thinking practices, journey mapping, and user testing to reshape the content structure and navigation hierarchy for improved user journeys. This ensured that content was contextually relevant, enhancing engagement. She also introduced a governance structure, regular stand-up and scrum master meetings, and cross-functional teams to facilitate agile project management. By incorporating CX into the organisation's New Product Development Policy, she emphasised the importance of seamless customer journeys from the outset of product and service design.
Vice President of Customer Experience
As Vice President of CX, Lee Roquet was charged with transitioning Finch from a performance marketing agency to a SaaS software company. He developed and executed a CX plan which identified where improvements were needed and implemented a large number of strategies to bring them about. In order to achieve this, he utilised a combination of two CX models: Qualtrics Experience Management and CXChronicles – enabling him to evaluate the effectiveness of the team, tools, processes, and feedback mechanisms.
These changes allowed Lee to bring customer success to the forefront of the company, to a point where it is now evident across marketing and sales. It has also had a positive impact on customer retention, renewal rates, and churn.
Senior Vice President of Digital Customer Relationship
When taking on her role, Audrey Hazak set forth a visionary CX agenda at Schneider Electric, transitioning from fragmented to end-to-end digital experiences. She worked to accelerate the digitalisation of customer journeys and adapt customer coverage for the digital age. She leveraged data to drive revenue growth and deliver best-in-class digital experiences to customers and employees.
Audrey has taken several measures to advance these objectives, including implementing an innovative digital ecosystem of tools, applications, and solutions to provide top-tier digital experiences to customers and frontline employees. To ensure accountability and ownership of CX improvements, Audrey introduced the "Power Couple" approach, pairing domain leaders responsible for end-to-end business processes with digital leaders responsible for technology applications. Audrey and her team's efforts gave measurable results, such as improved commercial performance metrics, including increased monthly active users, e-commerce readiness, and marketing-influenced orders.
Senior Group Vice President
Motilal Oswal Financial Services Limited
Kumud Upadhyay’s vision and key objectives were focused on cultivating a customer-centric culture, optimising processes, nurturing long-term customer relationships, fostering a skilled team, and driving digital transformation. These objectives aimed to enhance customer experiences at all touchpoints.
Kumud and her team used VoC insights, customer understanding, and data analysis to implement a feedback loop and communicate action plans to address customer concerns. The initiatives resulted in significant improvements, with most of the call centre volumes handled by bots.
Vice President of Customer Experience
When she joined Luxion, Melissa Henley’s first goal was the fairly sizable one of developing an overarching global customer experience strategy in order to gain a clear view of the customer. She sought to achieve this through the implementation of a five-year strategy focused on customer journey mapping, process optimisation, technology investment, investments in support, and a broader customer education program. Another key aspect of Melissa’s CX vision was to embed a customer-centric culture within the organisation's overall strategy and decision-making processes by encouraging employees to prioritise customer needs and think from the customer's perspective.
The work of Melissa and her team has led to improvements in customer satisfaction, lower churn and increased customer retention rates, and positive changes in Luxion’s employee NPS.
Head of the Customer Experience Performance Centre
Ben Phillips established a framework aimed to make Fujitsu's account teams more customer-centric through a process involving interactive workshops and thematic sessions such as "CX Fundamentals," "Good Customer Communication," and "Building a CX Vision." He took several steps towards achieving his CX vision and objectives, including collaborative whiteboarding sessions, workshops, calls with guest speakers from various departments to share CX success stories, as well as interviews and video recordings with real end-users.
Ben's projects impacted Fujitsu's CX culture, making the organisation more CX-focused, with top executives regularly incorporating customer experience into their agendas. Fujitsu's NPS scores improved significantly over three years, reflecting growing customer satisfaction. Ben also increased his influence in the wider CX community by participating in events, guest-speaking on webcasts, and growing his presence on LinkedIn.
Head of Santam Experience
Khwathelani Tshikovhi has successfully led Santam's customer-centric transformation. Her responsibilities include developing a coherent end-to-end value proposition and experience vision, formalising strategic planning processes, driving the development of integrated value propositions, creating client-centric and intermediary/agent-centric strategies, ensuring an aligned employee experience, fostering organisational agility, and articulating a transformational journey for the business.
Since Khwathelani took the helm, Santam has made significant progress in areas such as customer satisfaction and loyalty. Metrics like NPS, CSI/CSAT, and CES have all improved thanks to the company's more customer-centric culture. Khwathelani's focus on collaboration has helped create synergies within the company, leading to growth.
Having worked in the customer experience sector for almost 20 years, Deepa Venkatrao joined healthcare organisation IQVIA in 2018, looking to enhance not only the client experience but also to elevate the quality of care provided. During her time in the role, Deepa and her team have established industry-leading SLAs, introduced a customised service approach aimed at personalising the CX, and leveraged advanced technology to monitor performance.
Deepa’s actions have resulted in improved CSAT and NPS scores, increased customer retention rates, reduced resolution time, enhanced efficiency, and an uptick in positive customer feedback – highlighting her commitment to delivering exceptional customer service and continuous efforts to elevate the quality of healthcare delivery.
Global Director of Customer Experience
As part of a 40-strong customer experience team, the core object of Anuradha Sathe’s CX program was to create a customer-centric culture where every employee has shared responsibility and accountability for helping Lenovo achieve its CX objectives. To embed this culture, Anuradha’s team focused on building a robust customer feedback system, as well as improving employee experience through a dedicated training program.
The risk analytics tool that was brought in as part of the customer feedback program has been particularly successful, identifying over 36000 at-risk customers and helping leaders to drive interventions and repair relationships. The team has also managed to improve the customer-centricity and inclusivity of the company year-on-year since 2020.
Customer Experience Strategy Director
On joining Reputation, Chris Sparling was given carte blanche to shape the company’s customer experience strategy. His key mission was to show how scaling up the CX team could improve the organisation’s bottom line, taking their turnover from £1.5m to £5m in only two years.
Chris achieved this by upskilling his staff through the introduction of a training team that focuses specifically on CX and VoC. He also implemented a culture change, ensuring that customer experience is now at the forefront of every employee’s mind when they speak to customers and prospects or represent the business at events and webinars.
Senior Director of Global Customer Experience
With a focus on human interactions, Susanna Baqué has always sought to champion CX as a means to gain an advantage over SCIEX’s competitors. Having been the leader of the CX team for almost a decade, Susanna has grown the influence of CX within the company by aligning the vision with key yearly milestones. This has enabled her and the team to position the CX strategy as part of the overall SCIEX strategy, ensuring that it is communicated widely within the company by the company leadership.
As well as adopting CX as part of the company culture, Susanna’s other significant achievements have been sustained revenue growth and lifetime value and major improvements in KPIs.
Head of Customer Experience
Having joined Metro Bank’s newly formed customer experience team, Lauren Dalglish was able to have a hand in building the department from the ground up. In order to outline the CX vision to the rest of the company, the team developed ‘Customer Promises’: pillars that gave guidance and motivation for delivering great CX.
Lauren was also essential in the development of the bank’s first-ever innovation lab to develop new initiatives and technology to help address customer needs. The innovation labs also empowered employees to feel like they could improve things, playing a large part in embedding a customer-centric culture. Lauren’s innovations have also led to tMetro Bank being named the highest-rated high street bank for overall service quality for personal customers.
Head of Customer Success
Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK
Starting her role in 2018, Elaine Roche outlined the need for an operational transformation of the existing customer support and service function. She achieved this through embracing the advantages that technology can bring without losing sight of the importance of keeping humans in the loop. This included vast improvements to both the digital customer support portal and the e-learning platform, as well as making a transition to create more cloud and SaaS products.
Implementing effective tools has allowed the CX team to show its commercial potential. Despite the company's growth, the cost of support hasn’t increased, and they have managed to retain the CX team size. Elaine’s changes have also led to improvements in both NPS and CSAT scores.
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