How to Launch a Customer Experience Program in a Big Company

Ben Easaw, Sr. Director, Customer Experience at Thomson Reuters, on how to tackle a big company customer experience program

Ben Easaw, Sr. Director, Customer Experience at Thomson Reuters, discusses how to tackle a big company customer experience program

Customer Experience Program Challenges

Big and small companies have different challenges when it comes to implementing a customer experience program, but there are things each can learn from the other.

That’s why this podcast and blog range from last week’s episode with small business owner, Marie Soprovich, whose company has 20 employees, to today’s interview with Benjamin Easaw, Senior Director, Customer Experience at Thomson Reuters, which has about 50,000 employees in 100 countries.

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Thomson started as a holding company, which had acquired hundreds of different companies. A few years ago it decided to try bringing them all into a common brand: no easy task!

Just think of all the different systems, attitudes, and customer expectations! How the heck do you bring all that together?

Should You Even Take the Job?

There’s not much hope of developing a successful customer experience program in that situation if you don’t have some pretty serious commitment from management. So if you are considering taking a position like Easaw’s, before you accept it, ask some tough questions to find out how committed the company really is.

Where to start with your customer experience program?Where to Start With the New Customer Experience Program?

You’ve accepted the job. Now what?

To start on the right foot, you need to do a few key things:

  1. Get to know the players. Who’s who in the various departments, and what are their goals and objectives. (We discussed this a bit in episode 16, with Reginald Chatman on how to win internal support for a customer experience program. You may want to go back and listen to that one.)
  2. Develop common terminology. Easaw found that “everybody seems to have a different definition of customer experience.” Depending on what your department does, you’ll see it in different ways. So you need to develop a common definition and vocabulary to work with.
  3. Assemble a team. No customer experience program succeeds in a vacuum. You need representation from across the organization, and you’ll need an executive level sponsor or champion. While some people assigned to such a team will start off skeptical, Easaw found that one on one conversations to understand what underlies their negativity can often turn them around. And having some skeptics on your team is actually a good thing: it provides a reality check as you develop plans.
  4. Dig for data. Find out what data exists, and start drilling into it for insights. Try connecting different sources of data across the organization to help you get a view of the overall customer experience, not just one department’s part of it. Often there are plenty of people within the organization who know the key problems customers experience, but without the data assembled and organized to tell a convincing story, there is no way for them to prove their hunches.

Next Steps?

Hang in there. In a company that large, customer experience improvement is a marathon, not a sprint.

In Other News – Upcoming Events

Hope I’ll see you at some of these!

September 7, 2016, Edmonton, AB – PeopleShock Book Launch Party. Please RSVP.

September 13-14, Chicago – Digital Customer Experience Conference. Tema will be speaking on the 13th. Get a 20% discount using VIP CODE: TFRANK20

September 27, Edmonton – MRIA talk by Tema: If Customer Experience is King, Market Research is the Power Behind the Throne

September 29, Calgary – MRIA talk by Tema: If Customer Experience is King, Market Research is the Power Behind the Throne

September 30, Calgary – PeopleShock Book Signing at Indigo Signal Hill, starting at 11:00 a.m. till mid-afternoon

Tell your friends and colleagues!

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