Develop a CX Transformation Strategy by Focusing on Root Issues

How can we practically put measures in place to improve customer experience for organizations in which the internal and external stakeholders see results? In today’s podcast episode, I revisit two interviews with leaders guiding CX transformation within their organizations: Michelle Musgrove, former Senior VP and VP of Customer Experience Strategy & Governance at AARP, and Kathy Tobiasen, former VP of Customer Experience at The Nature’s Bounty Co.

Both women share tactical advice on how to unite different departments and teams within an organization to be on the same page when it comes to transforming CX that leads to customer success.

Know Your CX Vision

Michelle Musgrove shares that during the beginning stages of her CX implementation at AARP, she had to work with her team to understand what the vision is. The vision involved looking at the CX transformation of AARP within the next 3-5 years and how could they optimally structure themselves to get it done. 

In order to get the work done, Michelle and her team landed on three tracks of work. The first track was about enablement, in which they go from business unit to business unit, to understand their goals and then embed CX tools, practices, and mindsets into their day to day operations. The second track was about metrics, which involves agreeing on how to define success for the organization at the highest level and at the operations level. The last track was about design, where there’s an understanding that there will need to be new experiences, new enhancements and capabilities that make things easy and effortless for the customers.

Michelle shares tells us that: to get folks aligned to viewing CX transformation through these tracks, it was important to understand what each department within the organization needs to accomplish. You really need to know what are your colleagues worried about? What do they want to accomplish? What are they worried about getting done?

As the leader of the CX work, you need to provide the various tools to help alleviate some of your colleagues concerns so they can see the big picture of what they’re working towards. For Michelle, this involved offering training programs around NPS, journey mapping, and how to establish CX metrics. Michelle has been able to conduct this program in a way where what she and her team does is very personalized and customized for each business unit. She share that this has been successful.

As the leader of the CX work, you need to provide the various tools to help alleviate some of your colleagues concerns so they can see the big picture of what they're working towards. #CX Share on X

Show Proof of the Wins

When doing this work, you have to be able to show proof of progress. Michelle explains that as her CX work was coming along, she learned how to show the appropriate measures of success to each stakeholder. Some stakeholders were impressed with success as shown via emotional stories of the positive impact that was had on the lives of the AARP members, but some stakeholders, like the CEO, needed more ROI-driven results.

Michelle was able to demonstrate that there were reduced calls to the call center, which meant a reduction in confusion and sentiment from members, and she built a scorecard in a way that the stakeholders understood what was happening and how programs were being measured against. Overall, knowing how to share the right wins with the right teams is important for accelerating your CX program.

Knowing how to share the right wins with the right teams is important for accelerating your CX program. #customerexperience #leadership Share on X

You can find the full episode here.

Your Customer Experience Needs to be Intentional

“We need to know our customers, and treat them appropriately,” says Kathy Tobiasen, describing the customer service and experience at Nature’s Bounty. 

When Kathy stepped into her role as the (now former) VP of Customer Experience at The Nature’s Bounty Co., she realized that the customer experience was just “happening” rather than being intentionally created. Once she started digging into the work, she realized that work was operating within silos and that she needed to align the experience across their functional groups.

Kathy explains that The Nature’s Bounty Co. is a $250 million business with a wide range of customers, so she needed to improve communications with the supply-chain side, distribution and warehouse teams, marketing, merchandising, customer care teams, and technology and operations. “Really, we work across all those functions to make sure that we’re bringing together a great customer experience,” says Kathy.

With this realization, like many other leaders in the CX space, she had to listen and speak with customers. She took customer calls, read emails and chat transcripts, in order to better understand customer sentiments and how to leverage these insights. Kathy also mentions that she would speak with the frontline staff so that she could understand their challenges and create a better experience for them as well.

Do you KNOW who your customers are? Do you treat them appropriately? #customerexperience #CX Share on X

Understand the Root Cause of Internal CX Issues

In our interview, Kathy explains, “It’s about going back internally, and understanding the root causes of everything. A lot of the times, it’s not any one group or any one function that’s trying to cause a problem. It’s the fact that people are not working together to create the experience.”

Kathy started to align the various departments to work towards the CX transformation and she did so by figuring out who were the right people that she needed to get in the room. Similar to Michelle’s experience, Kathy shares that she needed to unify everyone under the same definitions, metrics, and vision. She mentions that they ultimately aligned to improve three strategies: customer retention, loyalty programs, and the apology/win-back journey. Kathy was able to work with her colleagues to develop a winning strategy because she spent time getting to know them as individuals, understanding their work struggles, and determining how to create solutions that would bring teams together.

When it comes to CX work, are you unifying everyone in your team under the same definitions, metrics, and vision? #customerexperience #CX #leadership Share on X

You can find the full episode here.

About Michelle Musgrove

MichelleMusgrove Michelle Musgrove has more than 15 years of specialized marketing experience including strategy, product development, segmentation, multi-cultural marketing, loyalty program management, relationship management and customer experience management.

Prior to joining AARP, Michelle led successful engagement and loyalty programs at AOL, American Express and JP Morgan Chase. Michelle graduated with a MBA and concentration in Marketing from the University of California at Berkeley as well as a BA in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.


About Kathy Tobiasen

JonPicoult 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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