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10 Inspirational and Innovative CX Leaders

Customer experience (CX) is perhaps the most important factor to business success today. Delighting customers by meeting and exceeding their expectations drives repeat business from loyal customers, who also become staunch brand advocates.

The business leaders who understand this dynamic have created some of the most successful businesses in history. These are 10 of the most prolific CX leaders in the modern business era:

Retail

Amazon stock has surged during the global COVID-19 pandemic as e-commerce becomes a part of the social fabric amid the world’s ‘new normal’. But the e-commerce giant’s success is about more than simple demand and supply.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is a customer experience pioneer. In a 1999 interview, Bezos stated that “Amazon.com pays an obsessive attention to the customer experience, end-to-end.” And it is a strategy that has paid significant dividends to both the company and investors.

In what he terms a “customer-obsessed” organization, Bezos’ fundamental business principle is that every employee must know how to work in a contact centre.

Travel

Virgin Atlantic wasn’t a run-of-the-mill commercial airline operation. Instead, it sold travelers an experience as part of founder Richard Branson’s business philosophy that “simplicity and good customer service will win every time.”

Branson launched the business in response to the poor customer service he received from British Airways as he has always seen opportunity in challenging the status quo and meeting a real need in a sector.

According to a Forbes feature, Branson believes that “superior customer experience is the key ingredient to success in a competitive global economy, regardless of what business you’re in.”

Branson also makes business decisions based on a basic principle: “Is this how I would want to be treated if I were the customer?”

Automotive

After falling to 26th place in the J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Index in 2008, Porsche Cars North America, under President and CEO Klaus Zellmer, has now become a global CX leader.

In response to falling customer satisfaction levels, Porsche implemented a world-class, always-on, and dynamic CX program for sales and after sales customer service.

The strategy aims to strengthen relations with stakeholders through personal interaction and open dialogue. New apps, expanded social media channels, integrated chat functions and the overarching, personalized “My Porsche” customer portal all simplify and accelerate digital communications between the company and its customers.

This CX initiative also included developing the $100-million Porsche Experience Centre (PEC) and headquarters in Atlanta. The 27-acre complex was the brand’s largest investment outside Germany and accommodates roughly 30,000 customers a year.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the 192 dealerships in North America initiated a contactless home service, delivering newly purchased or leased cars to customers where they live, and offering pick-up and delivery for service appointments. This offering was already part of the ‘Porsche At Your Service’ (PAYS) program but was accelerated due to the pandemic.

The result? Porsche Cars North America’s May results for sales experience were the highest ever, even beating levels attained before the pandemic started. Porsche customers also rated the brand better than last year, when it topped both the J.D. Power Sales Satisfaction Index and Customer Service Index.

Banking

As consumer behavior continues to shift and customers compare service to companies outside the financial services sector, banks will increasingly require innovative approaches to nurture the customer relationship, believes Andy Cecere, chairman, president and CEO of U.S. Bancorp (US Bank).

With 65-70% of customer transactions happening on digital devices, including smartphones, US Bank has invested significantly into digitalization initiatives that meet expectations around CX.

The bank is also shifting toward rapid, agile development to bring new solutions to market faster, as the legacy development cycle within banks is too slow and cumbersome. In this regard, the bank is approaching innovation from the customer’s perspective.

A key strategic focus for the bank has been its Real-Time Payments (RTP) system. In November 2017, the first new payment on the real-time system was initiated between U.S. Bank and BNY.

Healthcare

While working as MD at MSD UK and Ireland, Louise Houson, who is now Global Commercial Leader for HPV Vaccines at Merck, led the research-intensive company’s efforts to realize its vision and mission of improving patients’ lives, with particular focus on ensuring that every patient in the UK gets access to the right medicine at the right time.

Digitalization formed a key component in this strategy, with a significant focus on customer engagement. Houson carefully considered how the company interfaces with customers across channels to create the best possible customer experience.

Education

At a time when educational institutions are resorting to postponing examinations or making changes to learning plans, Mercer | Mettl is offering a range of digital platform solutions for education and learning continuity.

Mercer | Mettl, which provides an Online Assessment Platform that delivers efficient, cost effective and technology-driven skill assessments, is using the platform to conduct examinations and assessments. Over 150 institutions now make use of these services.

According to Siddhartha Gupta, CEO at Mercer | Mettl, the education sector is grappling with enormous challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is committed to delivering “continuous learning and education and coming up with new solutions to bring back on track its examination processes and schedule. This comes as a huge opportunity and great learning for the industry to explore virtual platforms and digital solutions to overcome such contingencies and make a positive impact going into the future.”

Insurance

Bob DiMuccio, CEO at Nelms and Amica Insurance, believes that great customer experience starts by “doing the right thing” for clients, no matter the potential cost to the business. This principle is a central tenet of the culture at Nelms and Amica Insurance.

In a Forbes interview, DiMuccio explained that doing the right thing stems from a key “Amica skill,” which is empathy for the client.

“If it’s the right thing to do for our customers we want to provide that service and not trick them into something,” he shared.

Technology

Under the dynamic leadership of former CEO Ursula Burbs, VEON created a better future for customers by providing essential communications and digital services.

The company continues to expand its mobile network infrastructure and is rolling out new customer engagement platforms and uses technology to improve customer experience by making its support systems more efficient. With customers using more data than ever before, VEON is accelerating the introduction of local digital services to improve access and engagement for all.

Telecoms

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, Vodafone believes that customer experience excellence (CXX) is the only source of sustainable differentiation. CXX is about making customer experiences – the sum of every individual interaction a person has with an organization – count and making them positive.

In this regard, Serpil Timuray, CEO Europe Cluster; Vodafone explains that Vodafone UK has launched a Customer Experience Excellence program to significantly improve the brand’s customer experience.

Vodafone Business also launched a service operations digital transformation program known as EVE. It’s a revolutionary new way of providing a better service to Vodafone’s enterprise customers through a blend of digital workplace, human interaction and AI.

Outsourcing

With over twenty years of experience in the BPO space, Paula Kennedy Garcia, Vice President at Concentrix, is championing the company’s digital transformation strategy as it embraces new technologies and workflows to meet shifting consumer preferences and meet customers where they are. This includes Solv Gig CX, Concentrix’ Lingualab, a suite of automated language operations products, and Moderation which has become a standalone Practice for Content Moderation that is driven by innovation in tech, wellness and industry leader best practices.

The company’s innovation toolkit includes automation and self-service capabilities as adoption rises among companies that want to make support more readily available to customers in a way and time that is convenient to them. Kennedy Garcia’s leadership in bringing the Concentrix Solv™ GigCX solution to market has resulted in 16 awards for innovation in two years. The Solv platform leverages flexible crowd-sourcing to offer truly global 24/7 coverage to address the always-on needs of modern consumers who demand responses in real-time, at their convenience.  

Solv connects companies to a global talent pool of researchers, tech fans and customer advocates who have a passion for brands. Solvers are like-minded consumers and customers of the same products and services used by the customers who need help. They engage asynchronously via messaging to find answers to customer issues and, once solved, they get rewarded for their success in a model that is ripe for scale adoption following the normalised shift to remote work across the industry.

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