Five Leadership Steps to Help You Navigate CX Transformation at a Global Organization

Are you leading customer experience in a global organization? There’s such a range of considerations when you’re transforming customer experience on a large scale — but actually, there are many skills and techniques that you may have gained from your previous experience at a smaller organization, that can be translated to your role at a bigger company.

In this episode, I speak with Troy Barnes, the CCO of Pizza Hut for the Asia Pacific region. This is Troy’s second CCO role, and his background is in Lean Six Sigma and change management. Our conversation around change management and leadership is valuable, and you’ll especially find Troy’s advice helpful if you’re in the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry and work with franchises.

The following points have been pulled from our interview and slightly edited for clarity.

1. Get into the Groundwork to Understand the Bigger Picture

As a CCO, how did Troy assess the work that needed to be done?

“I think that one of the first things that I was pretty excited about when I joined Pizza Hut was to go out and earn my stripes in the stores. So I’d spent more or less the first 12 weeks in the UK, Singapore, and Malaysia, in the restaurants doing everything from making dough, cooking pizzas, cleaning, ordered-in cooking, serving, you name it. And the first three certificates, I guess, that you typically get if you’re a shift supervisor, a restaurant manager, or what we call an area coach, or someone that might oversee a few restaurants as part of their role, to really be grounded in what is happening. Be at that I’m new to the industry and really get a good sense of what’s on the ground.”

“It was one of those things to come back and say ‘Ah, now I’ve seen it and I know’, again, with the strength and the breadth of the brand, I was able to see it in a few different markets. So being able to aggregate all that insight and pull it together into some early actions, ideas, and thoughts on how we could move forward.”

As a leader, it's important to do the groundwork (dirty work), aggregate all that insight and pull it together into some early actions, ideas, and thoughts on how we could move forward. Click To Tweet

2. Figure out the Details and Incorporate Them Into the Bigger Picture

After spending time on the ground, in the restaurants and delivery stores, Troy took his learnings to understand how it played into the bigger picture.

“Yeah, so I spent quite a bit of time with the digital teams. So not looking just at the physical elements of a store which I spent a lot of time on, but also meeting with some of the digital and technology teams in the UK and also in Asia to understand where we were in the broader spectrum of things, and how we were offering those types of experience to customers outside of the physical aspects and the product of the business.

And then I guess also just taking a seat back, just getting a good landscape of the environment because the sort of QSR industry, is hyper-competitive. So there’s a wealth of competitors, there are some big brand names and in the pizza space, particularly it’s quite unique in the sense that only about 25% of global sales worldwide are covered by big brands. The other 75% is non-branded.”

Troy’s comment about competition leads to our next point about the importance of level-setting.

3. Level-Set Experience Expectations

Given there are so many types of pizza experiences one can have, it was important for Troy to level-set the expectations for the organization.

“It was good to understand where we were in the broader spectrum of things. And that’s where I think straight away, we saw the wealth of insights from the customer feedback. We have a global platform where we get like 1.8 million feedback points. So it’s exhaustive and it’s easy to get lost in the data.

But it’s also quite good in the sense of picking out some of those gold nuggets and looking at how and where you can leverage them with the respective markets that you work with — purely based on what can we do that’s more and better for our customers, that gets them to come back and come back more often. And that’s been a bit of a tagline for us. Oh, come back and come back often.”

4. Don’t Underestimate the Value of Quick Wins

When it comes to getting the customer experience work to move forward, Troy shares that “it’s the momentum of the quick wins and those early successes that open a lot more doors down the road and at the end. I can’t emphasize enough to get those early credits onboard and use those micro wins as I refer to them as, as ways of taking the biggest pieces on the journey as you go forward.”

5. Learn the Company’s Capacity, Ability, and Understanding of Change

Jeanne: “Okay, so a couple of things you just said that is really critical. Number one, understand the company’s capacity, ability, and understanding of change and to get the quick wins. And know who the early critics are right? I call them advocates or outliers, they exist in every organization.”

Troy: “Yeah, I think one is, it’s an ongoing journey. So you continue to learn and get richer insights as you spend more time with people, particularly in a role that I’m in, where it’s sort of a regional, more of an influencing role. So there’s not really a command and control or an ownership perspective in markets.

So the time that we spend with the various countries is trying to learn to understand where they are and where their appetite is, and play with that or play inside that so that you can bring the best of you to the role, and hopefully bring some value to them. I think even today I’m still learning, so I’m still trying to find out with some of our key markets where that line in the sand is. So you start early, start small, and you collaborate. You work with bring some smaller new stuff or strengthening some of the existing until you start to get a lens of an understanding that there’s an appetite.”

Understand the company's capacity, ability, and understanding of change and to get the quick wins. Troy Barnes, #CCO, @PizzaHut_SG Click To Tweet

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?

Troy says:

“Learning how absolutely everything in this whole customer space has to be a lifelong journey. And I probably undervalued that, and I think it’s grown as I’ve become more aware of the nuances, working in different cultures, different countries, etc. But every micro-moment piece of work creates a learning opportunity. I think what I’ve learned specifically around the CX or CTO role is being patient to understand that the education piece, the mindset change requires a lot of investment.”

About Troy Barnes

Troy Barnes is an entrepreneurial Customer Experience executive, currently leading the effort as Chief Customer Officer at Pizza Hut Restaurants Asia Pacific since January 2018 and prior as Chief Customer Experience Officer at AIA Berhad since 2014.

Troy’s roles cover the overall customer experience and includes both the digital and physical journeys, and customer interactions across all channels. His passion is delivering transformational and cultural change building capability around customer-driven innovation to provide unique and differentiated products and services to customers across all journeys.

Get more resources to help lead your transformation, your experience evolution:

The 5 Leadership Competencies form the backbone for earning the right to customer-driven growth. They embed “experience” into the operating plan of your business.
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