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Three CX insights from brands that get it right

Posted November 17, 2021
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The customer experience (CX) is rich with opportunities for differentiation and growth. In fact, leading global professional services network PwC shared that 73% of customers agree that CX helps drive their buying decision. But successfully building a trusted relationship with your customers takes a lot of hard work. It can also be difficult to know where to focus your energy and resources.

To save you time toiling away, we’ve carved out nuggets of wisdom from conversations with some of the top brands leading with CX. Over a series of conversations on the TELUS International Studios podcast with Patagonia, Melio Payments, The Home Depot and Daily Harvest, we unearthed the following three key CX insights:

  1. Hire a CX dream team
  2. Seize the potential of culture-led growth
  3. Implement customer feedback

Take these lessons to the bank and add real value to your CX operation.

1. Hire a CX dream team

To create a brand-defining customer experience, you need the right people on your team. In this way, success really starts at the very beginning with the hiring process.

Don’t just take our word for it; listen to Ingrid Olson, director of CX at Melio Payments, who describes herself as being “hard-wired for service.” For her rapidly growing team, Olson seeks out candidates who fit a particular profile. According to Olson, a gold-standard team member is, “Somebody who just wants to help. Someone who wants to take on the craziest situations.” It may sound obvious, but it’s something that she is adamant about, explaining that some of the most stressful customer situations she has experienced were also the most satisfying because of her ability to untangle the issues at hand, and ultimately, satisfy customers.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Daily Harvest’s vice-president of customer care, Joe Gilgoff. “We want people who truly love customer care,” and who, “don’t look at it as a paycheck or necessarily as a stepping stone to get to another role in the company,” describes Gilgoff. To thrive in today’s digital environment, Daily Harvest looks for team members who are tech-savvy and have an ability to think on their feet.

Of course, it’s not easy to build a team that’s worth its weight in gold. Evelyn Doyle, HR director EMEA at Patagonia refers to a posting that had over 1,800 applicants from all around the world. To maintain focus in the hiring process, Patagonia insists on recruiting the right people for their brand, people who will become “truly passionate brand ambassadors.” In Doyle’s words, “The people we are looking for are inspirational people.” An emphatically environmentally-conscious company, Patagonia knows that their customers care greatly about the planet and want to mirror that back with their team members. “We have a lot of mavericks,” Doyle continues, “people who want to ask questions.”

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2. Seize the potential of culture-led growth

Proud proponents of our own Culture Value Chain, a proven formula for top-line growth, it’s encouraging to see leading brands recognize the powerful impact of corporate culture.

Doyle shares that when hiring at Patagonia, they look for “culture add, not culture fit,” meaning that team members are able to bring their full, authentic selves to work. For a brand like Patagonia, that often involves supporting their employees in environmental activism, something that resonates with their customers and that is at the core of their brand.

For Daily Harvest, culture creates a “virtuous cycle” whereby treating employees the right way elevates the customer experience and “around and around it goes,” says Gilgoff. This enables the brand to hone in on customer-centricity, even to the point where they use the word “conversations” rather than “tickets” as a way to drive home that they think of “every single interaction as a conversation with a valued customer and an opportunity to build [their] relationship with them.”

At The Home Depot, culture-led growth and customer-centricity come from their non-hierarchical organizational model. Mike Jones, senior director of customer care at The Home Depot describes the brand’s inverted pyramid management structure: “The top of the pyramid is our customers and right with them are our frontline associates. All the lower levels of the pyramid are the management structure.” This puts The Home Depot in a position where ideas flow down to management from their customers and those closest to them — associates and the customer care team. What’s more, it goes a long way to ensuring that the brand leads with empathy, keeping the needs of their customers and associates at the forefront.

3. Implement customer feedback

To really hit the jackpot when improving your customer experience, you’ve got to take customer feedback into account. The good news is that your customer care team is likely to receive it in abundance without even having to send a survey. This natural channel helps to reduce customer feedback fatigue.

Take, for example, The Home Depot’s “400,000 orange-blooded associates,” who are able to take agency in solving problems that customers are experiencing. This is the beauty of the inverted pyramid structure at work. According to Jones, those who work in CX can add value by “taking the data that [they] have from any one individual customer experience and extrapolating […] to really weigh and decide where the big pain points are.”

Striving for continuous improvement through customer feedback is also central for Daily Harvest, whose “products can’t be perfect until we get feedback from our customers who are our ‘co-creators’,” states Gilgoff. It’s a brand characteristic that comes from the very top; Daily Harvest’s senior leadership understands the immense value of consumer feedback, and acknowledges that their support team is “the voice of the company when it comes to interacting” with customers.

Finally, for Melio Payments, Olson explains that her team is perfectly placed to receive feedback that “no one else is going to hear or see” and then use it to improve their brand, product and services. In other words, they turn CX into a “brand-defining part of the company” wherein team members become passionate brand ambassadors.

Hear more golden CX insights

Looking to learn more best practices from Patagonia, Melio Payments, The Home Depot, Daily Harvest and other innovative companies?

Check out our podcast page to hear from industry thought leaders and decision makers from the world’s most disruptive brands. A wealth of information awaits you.

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