I came across a Forbes article that explored how CX is being looked at in the telecoms industry, and it stated that, “more and more, telcos are concerning themselves not just with whether things work from a technical standpoint (“Does my cell phone have a signal?”), but with the emotions of the customer (“Am I having fun watching this video – or feeling impatient and frustrated?”),” and I couldn’t agree more. In this past year alone, I’ve had conversations with quite a few leaders in this industry who are working extremely hard to improve CX within their organizations.
In today’s episode, I chat with Alvin Stokes, Senior VP of Customer Experience at Cable & Wireless Communications (C&W), and we discuss how he began a CX transformation in an international telecommunications industry spanning 17 markets. C&W is a full-service communications and entertainment provider, operating in the Caribbean and Latin America, and Alvin manages the consumer service delivery workforce across 17 Caribbean markets.
Unite the Silos Under a Shared Vision
Within Alvin’s first 90 days in the role, he brought in the top leaders from all of their 17 markets in the Caribbean and Latin America to get everybody on the same page. Through a workshop that lasted a few days, he clarified what CX is and asked them to participate in creating a maturity assessment based on how they felt about the company – looking at product design, networks, internal organization, and more.
With these leaders all representing different countries, Alvin had to find similar factors between the leaders’ maturity assessment so he could start journey mapping. To help the leaders find a unifying theme in the maturity map creation, they looked at the journey from the customer’s perspective and looked at what the company can do to support areas where there were pain points. Following that, Alvin and the leaders looked at the human side of operations. They wanted to see what was happening internally with employees that may have been causing some of the problems, and what was adding to the success.
Next, Alvin outsourced a company to analyze data from behavioral experience and NPS research. He wanted to know how customers were migrating from detractor to passive, passive to promoter, and how many times they called for support. From here, he gathered top issues that everyone in the company could focus on.
Serve Customers with Passion
While Alvin was uniting his team under a common understanding of customer pain points and top issues, he also wanted his teams to have a common language and vision of how they were going to tell C&W’s story. Alvin wanted something that every associate could understand as their mission. C&W’s mission statement is, “serve customers with passion,” and he spent time building out what this could really mean for the employees. With the mission statement in mind, they determined the top seven drivers of NPS and customer satisfaction and built colorful icons to represent the different parts of the business. Alvin and his team conducted some internal research to understand what the agents, field service technicians, and retail teams felt would best illustrate the story.
“There’s a style about the way we serve customers with passion. And it’s very colorful like the Caribbean,” was what Alvin’s team said about their operations. So they came up with Flow Style, which is a simplified version of the customer journey. It’s an organized chart showcasing the various aspects of the business that moves the needle for the customer.
Build the Foundation and Improve Upon it
Alvin shares that the first 90 days was about assessing the situation and building trust. Within the first year, the goal marker was to set aggressive NPS targets, and they’ve had three years of exceeding NPS scores. The first year was about building a foundation and also building a call center team to further support the mission.
Year two was about diving deeper into the analytics. It was about improving the operational foundation of the business. After realizing they had a complex data system with information being compiled in different places, Alvin spent more time working with the outsourced company to unite all of the information to get one story-telling version of the truth, and to understand when issues are beginning to emerge. This way, they could be proactive instead of reactive.
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
- “For me, I would tell you, I think what I did better at this job than what I’ve done in the past was evaluating where the company was and trying to diagnose problems and go and fix them.”
- Don’t be afraid to invest in technology to get the job done more effectively.
- Don’t be afraid to push through with change. I used to be afraid of something changing too fast or thinking there was too much risk involved.
About Alvin Stokes
Alvin Stokes is a global customer experience executive who has applied customer-centric strategies to exceed customer’s expectations, drive revenue/growth and improve NPS across more than 8 industries and 10 major brands (including Accenture, dunnhumby, Sprint, SiriusXM, The Home Depot, Best Buy, DIRECTV, Wyndham RCI) prior to joining Cable and Wireless Communications. He is currently Senior Vice President Customer Experience leading a major experience transformation for Cable &Wireless Communications.
His focus is on creating a new customer first culture, driving change through improved insights and research, and building new teams across his field services and call center divisions throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. Alvin is based in Florida with his wife and five kids. He’s an avid sports fan, whether coaching his kids or cheering for the Alabama Crimson Tide football team.
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