Tactics To Implement in Your First Six Months Leading CX in the Telecommunications Industry

Over the past two years, the CX leaders and CCOs that I’ve spoken with have shared great actionable advice and tactics to help you transform the culture of your organization to be customer-driven. In this episode, you’ll hear from two brilliant leaders who’ve led CX work in the telecommunications industry. Charlotte Dunsterville, Chief Customer Officer of Sure International Telecom, and Patricia Pedhom Nono, former general manager of customer service & customer experience at MTN Cameroon, share how they prioritized and assessed the work they needed to do in order to transform CX in their organizations.

The first year as a CCO or CX change agent is a priority year when it comes to understanding your role within the organization, the work that was previously done to manage CX (if any was done at all), and the overall employee experience. Join me, as Charlotte and Patricia share some tactics they’ve employed during their first year leading their organizations to customer-driven growth.

Envision Yourself as a Customer and Take the Journey

Sure International Telecom provides mobile, broadband, fixed line, and enterprise solutions to consumers and public and private sector clients in The Channel Islands and Isle of Man, and the South Atlantic & Diego Garcia. Charlotte leads customer experience within the enterprise sales and retail sales teams, and shares some of the challenges she faced when she first began this work: the board wasn’t completely behind her with support, employees didn’t fully understand what customer experience is about, and the usual operational challenges. We explore some of what she did to begin undertaking this transformation:

  • Listen and Learn: After receiving a brief from her CEO about some challenges she might face and the work he expected of her, she spent the next 3 months as a company sleuth. She spoke with employees, especially those in operational roles, to understand various processes, how things work, and what problems existed. She wanted to get “under the skin” of what employees lived day-in and day-out.
  • Review communications materials: Charlotte looked at the many forms of communications that Sure had with its customers to understand the journey from start to finish. This included going through emails, social media, and reviewing the website.
  • Take the journey yourself: Charlotte brought in the C-Suite to conduct the end-to-end customer lifecycle. This meant acting as a new customer, experiencing the journey, and speaking to a customer service rep on the phone to see what type of support is received. She claims this was really powerful because the C-Suite gained a new respect for the work the frontline does and were eager to develop solutions to help solve some operational issues.
  • Formalize processes: When Charlotte first came onboard, they barely had any customer research on file. She helped formalize a process for customer feedback data collection and set up a customer panel. They started collecting data regularly and talking to customers in real life.
  • Simple journey mapping: Charlotte and her team began a process to understand specific complaints. In an effort to reduce customer complaints and miscommunication, they looked at complaints filed and mapped out the communications journey to tell a clearer and more effective story.

Charlotte sums up the transformation process nicely by stating that this work is an ongoing process. As fast as you catch up with customer expectations, they shift again and customers expect more. Listen to Charlotte’s full interview here.

Understand the Pain Points of your Customers, Employees, and C-Suite

MTN Cameroon is a subsidiary of MTN Group which is based in South Africa and spans 22 countries in Africa. It’s the leader in the telecommunications market for the country, providing voice, mobile, cloud, data and SMS services for both B2B customers and the general public. Patricia became the CCO at MTN Cameroon to help the company become more customer-driven because it was losing revenue and the C-Suite had a new vision to bring a CX leader into the boardroom. Having a “servant” mentality, Patricia was thrilled to represent the voice of the customers and find ways that the company could transform its customer experience. Here’s what she did within the first few months of her role:

  • Learn and be teachable: Patricia stressed to the C-Suite that she needed time to absorb and understand what when on the organization. This time would help her see how everything works together, learn how the employees contribute to the organization, and then be able to bring this information back in a meaningful way to leadership. She asked for a month with no questions and no expectations, so she could process all of this information.
  • Use available data and act on it: MTN Cameroon already knew from NPS Score results that many people were unhappy with the company, and it showed in the loss of revenue. With this data on hand, Patricia made it her job to speak directly to customers. Through ongoing conversations with customers, she developed a focus group that allowed them to engage and provide feedback on new products and services. Understanding the importance of connecting with customers, Patricia apologized on the company’s behalf and emphasized that she’s on their side and planned to take the feedback and build solutions from it.
  • Engage the frontline: Patricia soon discovered that both customers and employees were dissatisfied with MTN Cameroon; she saw that employee experience was going to be another factor in transforming CX. I’m proud to say that Patricia employed my “kill the stupid rule” strategy in order to figure out what was getting in the way of the employees’ success. Like so many other companies, there were internal procedures that prevented them from doing their jobs to the best of their ability.
  • Understand the C-Suite’s pain points: After spending time with customers and employees, Patricia also realized she needed to know what keeps the C-Suite members up at night. She presented a gap analysis report to relate issues to different pain points of the leaders (ex: looking at gaps that related to pain point of the CMO, the CTO, etc), helping them relate to the issues at hand. Patricia presented correlations demonstrating how these gaps ultimately jeopardized the bottom line.
  • Share the Customer Story: While meeting with the C-Suite, Patricia also presented the voice of the customer feedback. It was time for them to understand the customer viewpoint. By combining the NPS Scores and customer interview feedback, she was able to explain why certain scores were low and what could be done to further engage the customers. She also shared the internal oppression that affected the employees and worked with the leaders to change some of the formalities that inhibited the frontline.

When talking about getting customer feedback, Patricia stresses how important it is to be in the room with customers. Being present really helps foster engagement, especially when it comes to focus groups. Customers appreciate seeing higher management involving themselves with the concerns of the people in a direct manner. Listen to Patricia’s full interview here.

I’d love to hear from you! Do you work in a telecommunications organization? What are some CX-related issues you’ve noticed and how did you deal with them?

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