Achieving customer closeness

May 4, 2016

Last week, CDO Derek Eccleston took to the stage at the annual AURA Insight conference and shared the remarkable story witnessed at Yodel where listening to customers and connecting with them has led to a phenomenal turnaround in their business. Here, Derek shares his thoughts from the day and how getting closer to customers is easier than you think.

We were privileged to be invited to speak at the recent AURA Annual Conference at the Insight Show 2016 where 200+ senior Insight professionals representing organisations of various sizes and from across sectors – including many FTSE 100 companies – gathered to discuss issues under the banner of Customer Closeness.

.For me, one message rose above all others, namely the challenge that most of us face in getting the customer into the boardroom. Not fleetingly, not periodically but to such an extent that customer focus is in the DNA of the organisation and delighting customers is simply “what we do”.

There are many practical challenges in realising this nirvana, of course, and the conference surfaced some fantastic, creative solutions that went beyond immersion sessions and into multi-layered campaigns, as at British Gas, which involve a ‘Customer TV channel’, ‘Fact packs’ and numerous other ways of socialising the customer voice throughout the organisation.

In this context, it was highly symbolic that we were joined on stage by Dick Stead, Executive Chairman of Yodel. Dick tells a great story of how Yodel has transformed its business over a 3 year period by using the award winning ‘Have your say’ customer feedback programme to focus the entire business on the customer. Yodel embraces the real time feedback from Have your Say at all levels from individual drivers to depots, regions right through to the senior management team – and Dick’s attendance at the event proves that the customer voice is heard regularly in the Yodel boardroom.

Achieving a Leicester City style turn-around

The Leicester City-style turnaround Dick and his team have achieved is nothing short of remarkable; NPS up by 70 and Positive Experience up 40 percentage points. Yodel now exudes confidence and is more than happy to share unfiltered real time feedback with its growing list of retailer clients. All of this achieved by a relentless focus on the customer in the boardroom (and every other room in the company).

Others planning a turnaround can take inspiration from Sir David Brailsford, the cycling guru, famous for improving performance by aggregated marginal gains and discussed here at AURA. This is a great model for all of us in Customer Experience, as it ties in with the imperative to keep those wins flowing through to maintain forward momentum on the road to best in class customer experiences.

Download the Yodel presentation to understand how getting closer to customers is easier than you think.