“I have a passion for customer service and customer care, and I know that I have high expectations.” says Kathy Tobiasen, VP of Customer Experience at The Nature’s Bounty Company. “When I give a company my money. I expect to be treated a certain way when I’m buying their products and services, and that’s my goal as I approach this work.”
In this episode, Kathy talks to me about her path to the role of leader of customer experience. We chat about the interesting application of “CX” inside both the packaged goods business operation, and the customer experience delivered.
Be Deliberate About Crafting the Customer Experience
Kathy is responsible for managing and creating good customer experiences from end to end for The Nature’s Bounty Company, which is a global manufacturer of vitamins and supplements. During Kathy’s CX implementation process, she realized that as an organization, they were allowing the customer experience to happen versus being deliberate in facilitating the overall experience; it was time to change that.
Their customer experience was happening in silos, so the journey was broken. To begin the process, Kathy and her team aligned silos across functional groups, which included understanding inventory and supply levels, distribution and warehouse teams, marketing, merchandising, customer care, and tech and operations.
How Kathy and her team assessed the work to be done:
- Customers first – Start with listening and talking to customers. Read emails and chat transcripts. Assess the experience and what customers are saying
- Frontline – Talk to staff and get their feedback. Understand their challenges. Provide a great example for them as well so they can serve the customers.
- Ongoing listening – Listening to customers is constant, it never stops. When you gather feedback from customers and frontline staff, you have to identify what challenges are. Digest this information internally and figure out the root cause of the challenge. A lot of the times, it’s not one problem, it’s that people aren’t working together to create the experience.
Listening to customers is constant, it never stops. When you gather feedback from customers and frontline staff, you have to identify what the challenges are and get to the root of the problem. Click To Tweet
Know Your Customer Growth, Loss, and Retention
Kathy mentioned that a major takeaway she got from my book, Chief Customer Officer 2.0, is the importance of understanding your customer growth. You need to know: is it going up, is it going down? Where are you losing/gaining customers? Kathy was able to compile this data and create a customer health dashboard. It’s critical for her to know which customers are new, lost, lapsed, reactivated.
Once this information has been gathered, Kathy had to get all of the right people in the room to define who these different customers are. She had to unite leadership and teams in understanding the term definitions, the source of the information, and implications of the data.
Define the Customer Journeys and Their Business Impact
During the first year of implementation, Kathy had to translate the customer experience into the language of business. This is where you leverage the data so you can learn how to manage customers as assets. She and her team had to explain to executive leadership what was happening from a customer point of view and have them care about it. Once they got past this stage, they were able to set clear KPIs for customer growth to be measured across the organization.
Of course, there were some first year challenges. This included gaining alignment around what the CX role is and what they actually do. Her team got a few wins under their belt in the beginning by solving some organizational problems as a cross-functional team to help define their position.
Kathy and her team positioned themselves as a group that’s there to help the functional groups create great customer and employee experiences. In efforts to unite all teams and improve CX, they’re there to help with heavy lifting on driving decisions, research, and documentation.
During this implementation process, they were able to define 3 primary journeys and their business impact:
- Retain new customers and look at the challenges faced here.
- Launch a loyalty program – Recognize their purchase behavior and automatically reward them for it. Our way of saying thank you for being a customer without them having to do work. I expect the company I’m buying from consistently to know me. That’s the key. We need to know our customers and treat them appropriately.
I expect the company I’m buying from consistently to know me. That's the key. We need to know our customers and treat them appropriately. #CX Click To Tweet
- Apology win-back journey – When vitamins and supplements aren’t available, customers lose trust and they go someplace else to get them. Start developing consumer insights: why did you leave and how can we earn their trust back?
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
- You really need to know your audience when you step into a role like this. Know all of the people including the executive leadership team and know them as individuals. Know your frontline staff and involve them as much as possible in creating these stories.
- Understand the data and the numbers behind everything. Really listen to your customers and figure out how to craft the story with your data and customer stories.
Understand the data and the numbers behind everything. Really listen to your customers and figure out how to craft the story with your data and customer stories. Click To Tweet
About Kathy Tobiasen
Kathy Tobiasen has spent her career serving customers in both B2B and B2C organizations including Computer Associates, Kaplan Inc., and The Nature’s Bounty Co. Her career started on the frontlines working on helpdesks, customer service, inside sales and has grown into leading customer-facing organizations. She has a passion for delivering thoughtful, caring experiences and building teams with the same focus. Kathy earned a bachelors in business administration from Concordia College in Bronxville, New York.
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