Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Modern Organizational Models for Customer Experience Excellence



Rick Russell
Director, Programs
Planning & Analytics


Jeffrey Laird, Director, Small Business and Accountant Customer Care, Intuit

Annie Tsai, Chief Customer Officer, DoubleDutch

Mary Tucker, Chief Executive Officer, UPIC Health

Gregory Wayland Manager, Global Customer Experience, Strategy & Transformation, Western Union

Paul Woods, Director, Global Customer Experience, TE Connectivity

Is your customer care operation aligned with your companies brand strategy, or are you constantly pressed to “do more with less” while still being expected to deliver exceptional service, which is causing confusion and conflicts? Is your support center falling behind your competition or struggling to keep pace with customer demands? Are you struggling to gain alignment within your organization, which leads to under-investment in key areas such as technology? The key to a modern organizational model is having a strategy, alignment and above all support - but when that is not present, how do you influence up?


  • Insight on the stages of modern organizational models
  • Guide to recognizing the challenges leaders face
  • Proven strategies and tools to get you going
Through our electronic devices such as phones, tablets, etc., consumers are connected in more ways than ever before. We also have more choices in how we interact with various organizations. This new reality means that more and more companies need to listen to consumers and change how they are delivering products and services. In order to be a modern organization, an evolution from cost center to profit center is a journey that must be undertaken.

This session featured a panel of experts discussing the challenges of modernization in delivering a great customer experience, and providing strategies to help organizations transition into more customer-focused care.


  • Customer experience as a driver to operations is still a relatively new concept, so building good relationships with others in your organization and engaging key stakeholders early on is crucial to influencing others
  • The emotional component to call center interactions is extremely important. Find ways to communicate a customer’s emotional experience (whether good or bad) to leadership by finding data to support it, recording and presenting it, or by exposing leadership to the customer experience directly
  • Listen to and gather information from the front-line people in your organization, who typically possess the most knowledge about the customer experience

What does a modern organization look like as you’re trying to keep pace with consumers?

Paul Woods: Our contact center has been centralized for several years, but we’re currently going through a process of de-centralizing our customer care divisions, and distributing representatives into their regional areas.  We believe that by placing those folks out closer to the end users, that they will help to increase responsibility for customer care throughout the organization. 

Our challenge is to continue to drive a consistent experience throughout our different organizations.  Even though our organizations are different, the customer focus is still the same.

Annie Tsai: Our organization focuses on the customer experience as a holistic process, from first engagement with the customer to interacting with a YouTube ad on one of our videos. We’ve structured our organization to focus on the key touch points for success, such as engaging our sales organizations and collaborating with our technical resources.

Gregory Wayland: We’re in our third year of a 5-10 year re-organization. Our role as the customer strategy group has been to put ourselves out of a job by embedding the concepts and design practices in the organization, through learning labs and other methods.  Our goal is to teach individuals in the organization how to care for the customer as a first priority.

Mary Tucker: We serve patients in the Medicaid space, and the Affordable Care Act has hurtled the medical care industry into modernization, without really understanding what that means. Our focus is on the very basic start of identifying, for example, if we made a technology investment, is it being used, is it accessible and understood in the communities we are serving?

We are also looking at data collection on what the customer is calling about and what they need, as well as priorities for receiving care. We’re also demonstrating how removing the script and focusing on continuous training has helped our clients start to understand how they’re missing billable conversations. Rather than being a “customer service rep,” our representatives are basically RN’s in a virtual environment.

Jeffrey Laird: Several years ago we had 12 different business units, all focused on six sigma, so we were very isolated, and each unit operated very much as its own cost center. Over the past 9 years, we’ve been able to develop our voice and show the value of customer care. As we transition from software to cloud, showing the role we’ve played in retention has been key to our success. Today we have integrated teams, we’ve done away with the core processes, and we’re focusing much more on customer care.

Take Away: We’re all over the spectrum, from a younger company that might seem like it’s easier to mold, as well as some older companies with deeper roots that are still making great progress in adapting to the current and future environment.

What are the challenges that you experience in attempting to make changes driven by customer experience, and what can you share that has helped you move forward in the journey?

Answers as follows, not attributed to specific panelists:

If you look at the heart of a company, and then grow from there, it can be very straightforward, and very useful.  By actually listening to what the customers say, and seeking feedback from the contact center team, you learn what needs are and aren’t being met. You can then begin to focus on areas for process improvement. One phone call that you listen in on can influence the strategy that you have for the next few years.  When you listen to emotion, you can find data to support it, and hard numbers to bring to the rest of the organization to influence your future strategy.

The emotional component to call center interactions is extremely important. It’s often difficult to get leadership to understand the value of the emotional component of a customer experience. What can help is to run your leaders and managers through something like a customer experience boot camp.  It puts your leaders in a position to interact with your company from the perspective of customers.

We also invited customers to sit down with us, on video, and give us responses on what we’re good at, what we’re not good at, and what could be improved.  When leadership heard out of the mouths of their customers how our company impacted them in a negative way that made a huge impact. Communicate the value of those emotional experiences across your organization to begin conversations that will make a difference and produce results.

If there was one tip that you could give our audience, that would be the most impactful thing on your journey in your organization, what would that one thing be?

Jeffrey Laird: Build a connection to the customer at all levels throughout the organization, and remember that relationships are key. Building relationships with stakeholders that have a vested interest in your organization will establish rapport

Mary Tucker: Have humility. If you’re new in the organization and your mission is to transform the customer experience, listening is going to be your greatest tool.  Listen to your peers, their issues and challenges. Listen to the CEO, the front-line, and customer experience, and let your strategies develop from there.

Gregory Wayland: Relationship is the most important thing, and selecting the right stakeholders to be involved. Customer experience as a driver to operations is still a relatively new concept, so you’ll need to have the right team around you to interface with the rest of the organization.

Annie Tsai: Quick wins are very helpful in developing relationships, so look for them early on. The relationship between the sales organization and the customer organization is tremendously important. Focus early on building a strong relationship with your sales department.

Paul Woods: When customer care is the primary motivating factor for your organization, you have to drive the change not just through the contact centers, but throughout the entire organization.  We continue to drive that through over-communicating about the customer experience, to get and keep people focused on the customer throughout their role, even if they never interact with a customer in the course of their specific job duties.

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