“I really, truly pride myself in surrounding myself with a team of super talented people and letting them shine and be their best selves,” says Carolyne Matseshe-Crawford, Head of Fan Experience at Fanatics. Fanatics is the world’s largest provider of officially licensed sports gear. In this episode, Carolyne speaks about the importance of employee experience at Fanatics and how that translates to a better customer experience for dedicated sports fans.
Carolyne has spent her career leading work in the customer service and experience industry. She started off doing customer service work for CUC Travel before it became Cendant Travel, and loved the work. She was interested in moving up within the company and ultimately became responsible for the contact center technologies under the Cendant Umbrella. She later ran a global training organization, and became the VP of customer experience for Orbitz worldwide, managing BtoB and BtoC customer experience.
Be Authentic and Inspire Your Team
With advice that she says she followed from my book, “I Love You More Than My Dog: 5 Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad,” Carolyne says that she truly believes in the importance of connecting your personal self with business self. She mentions that one of the strengths of a good leader is to be authentic and inspire teams to be the best versions of themselves – whether they may be more right or left-brained, help cultivate their talents. When you can do this, you get an internal culture of excitement, innovation, and happy employees which result in happy customers.
As an experienced leader with proven success of managing significant challenges of rapid growth at a company, Carolyne was recruited to lead the work at Fanatics. Here’s how she assessed the work that needed to be done to transform customer and employee experience:
- Similar to the experience of many other newly hired CCOs, Carolyne spent a lot of time observing, and discovered Fanatics had a group of talented people, but a lot of the work was done in silos.
- She paid attention to the teachings from her leadership teams so she could encourage teammates to work together better since they hadn’t really worked closely before.
- As any CCO who’s leading an e-commerce platform should do, she assessed the current fan experience on the website. What was it like to make a purchase? What happens in between the flow of website to delivery? How is the site experience? What does the communication look like? What can be done to improve the “click to porch” experience (from order to delivery).
- Carolyne quickly realized the importance of anticipation. In a company like hers that relies heavily on specific sports events, she had to prepare her employees for handling the work-flow based on predictable seasons and adjust(Thanksgiving, super bowl, NBA playoffs, etc.).
Prioritize Needs Then Tackle
Another important part of Carolyne’s work in her new role was the employee experience. It was extremely important that they had talent that would be passionate about the fans, especially for a sports-driven culture. Carolyne began to present her findings to leadership through weekly team meetings. They prioritized their needs and decided to tackle the following:
- People: if you get the right people, you have an opportunity to reduce attrition, improve quality and customer experience. Carolyne partnered with the HR dept. to determine their employee ROI. She asked for data to understand the employee churn. They also paid more attention to job descriptions and the words they used so they could hire people who would be well-suited for the job.
- Process: some changes needed to be made in order to get enterprise buy-in. Carolyne involved the C-Suite to get approval on the changes needed to be made in each ares. Some process improvements referred to how communication changes could help them understand how to react to customers faster.
- Technology: Needed to improve the tools that athletes use in order to take care of fans efficiently and effectively.
- Cost saving vs. revenue generating: she spent time connecting the dots between the data and abandoned contacts – phone call, chat, e-mail. If we have high abandons in these channels, that means repeat calls of people who are angry.
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
- I wish I knew how critical your culture and employees are in the way that you lead in terms of delivering world class experiences. You have to start with your employees in order to get the experience for your customers.
- I also believe that as a customer experience leader, in order to inspire people, you have to be your authentic self, and you have to let your employees be their authentic selves also. And let those different characteristics that are beneficial to your organization and to your customers shine. Don’t stifle them.
About Carolyn Matseshe-Crawford
Carolyne Matseshe-Crawford, Fanatics, Inc’s Global Head of Fan Experience, is a passionate customer experience enthusiast, with over 25 years leading global B2B and B2C Customer Service Organizations in the eCommerce and legal industry spaces.
Carolyne is recognized as an industry executive, who drives low customer effort strategies and builds brand loyalty by leveraging technology, process re-engineering, and the development of high-performing teams.
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