“The biggest need really, was to ensure that we had a very, very omni experience,” says Aparna Khurjekar, regarding leadership’s approach to humanizing Verizon Consumer’s digital experience. Aparna is Verizon Consumer’s first Chief Customer Officer. Leading the CX front for a little over two years, Aparna has been with Verizon for over 12 years and has seen the company operate through a variety of lenses.
In our recent Linkedin Live conversation, Aparna and I had an in-depth discussion about the holistic approach that she and the C-Suite have taken to better understand and meet the needs of the organization’s various stakeholders. You will really enjoy this conversation as Aparna shares how Verizon is working hard to evolve in a world where human and consumer behaviors constantly shift. Verizon is a global leader in delivering innovative communications and technology solutions that improve the way their customers live, work, learn and play.
If you’re interested in more of Aparna’s insights, she will also be discussing Verizon’s blend of virtual and in-person retail experiences at Digiday’s Brand Summit Live on January 28th.
Grow Through Experience
When first stepping into this role as CCO, Aparna explains during our discussion that you need to have a natural ability to connect with the customer, and an understanding of all that it takes to support that from an operational standpoint. She knows that the customer is looking for value—and because of this, decisions about the customer need to be made from their point of view and less about the ROI.
Rather than focus on ROI first, Aparna says, they decided they were “going to improve our bottom line through experience, and what are the key things we want to be doing to support that? What we did is said, ‘Okay, what do we need to align first?’” She goes on to say that leadership had to ensure that the portfolio would be aligned to this strategy. Since many teams work in silos, it was crucial to rally everyone towards one common goal and mission.
The common goal was to “be as famous for our experiences as we are for the network,” and from there, Aparna and her team would measure the efforts that went into supporting this mission. With the decision to “chase the insights behind the number,” Aparna shares that they increased their NPS score by nine points over the past few years.
“You can’t have customer experience for the sake of customer experience, it’s got to be anchored by the why, and what’s eventually the growth strategy through it, or at the bottom line, the improvements through it,” she tells us.
Give Customers a Choice
Aparna explains that “humanizing digital” is a core leadership and organization priority. They coined this term because the digital and human experience can no longer be looked at in a silo. She shares that all of the teams understand that the digital experience isn’t a separate tool, rather, it’s something that all teams must embrace and view as the front-end enabler for much of the human experience. It is not a standalone.
She also says, “We keep telling everybody, our modus operandi on digital is to give the customer a choice by bringing in the best in class, digital self serve experiences, and the rest, make memorable through human touch.”
As many of our lives and behaviors have been impacted by the pandemic, Aparna shares specific tactics that the organization employed to evolve both the digital and human experience, such as touchless solutions, curbside pickups, app enhancements, policy revisions, and more. In addition, internally, the various teams working on all of these systems have shared their best practices to facilitate the numerous updates and upgrades to Verizon’s technology. It has truly been a team effort across multiple fronts to solidify a foundation that supports stakeholder experience.
Our modus operandi on digital is to give the customer a choice by bringing in the best in class, digital self-serve experiences, and the rest, make it memorable through human touch. —@followaparna, CCO @Verizon Click To Tweet
I urge you to listen to this interview, as Aparna goes into more detail regarding the ways in which the C-Suite has united to have the tough conversations needed to bring together the retail, customer service, and digital sectors of their organization. She also shares how they’re measuring against new KPIs to grow and improve.
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then
“I’m gonna answer it for my current job. First, I think there are two bookends that I know now that I’m going to be investing in further. One is technology and making sure we have technology as a platform and as a core of the disruption and the innovation that we want to build in the space. And the other bookend is amplification. There’s a lot in terms of what we do, little and big. But if the customer doesn’t notice it, if the employee doesn’t notice it, and if you’re not there to tell the story, most of it goes in wane. So you’ve got to learn to tell the story and amplify what you’re doing little or big and I think that’s that’s really key and important. What I know now, as a leader, is to just have fun, learn, lap it all up, fall forward and have a lot of fun as you do that.”
About Aparna KhurjekarPrior to serving as Chief Customer Officer at Verizon Consumer, Aparna Khurjekar held the position of senior vice president of consumer product revenue and innovation. Additionally, she was area vice president of network, and a VP of global strategy. These are just a few of the roles in her diverse career at Verizon.
Trained as an engineer, Aparna has received her MS from Temple University in New Jersey and BS from Savitribai Phule Pune University in Maharashtra, India.
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