Experts thrash out the importance of top-line support when it comes to shifting customer service up a gear
Customer Service experts must speak the language of business if they want their bosses to take more than a passing interest in the customer experience, according to Maria McCann, director of customer services at Spotify.
“You have to latch on to what they find sexy,” McCann told the The Customer Experience Strategy Summit. “With the chief financial officer, it’s numbers. So I started talking about customer experience as a potential profit centre rather than a cost.” This changed the board’s outlook and customer experience became part of bigger discussions around strategy. “The key thing has been using data to prove the point and always talking about profit,” McCann said.
Profit isn’t such a useful concept at local authorities for senior officers to buy into the idea of a customer – or citizen – centric culture. This could be why Barry Ibbetson, head of corporate contact centre at Leeds City Council, hasn’t seen the assistant chief executive in the contact centre for 12 months.
Ibbetson joined the council three years ago to bring six contact centres together as one; dealing with everything from cutting the grass to housing the homeless.
He claimed the secret to the success of the merger has not come throughgetting chief executive support, but through appointing his own people as team leaders. “The team who report to me have been hand-picked. Many of them worked for the council already but I personally chose the people who answer to me.”
Meanwhile, Alex Loach, head of customer services at IT business Serif, said his bosses were fully engaged in the customer journey. “The advantage is around 20 per cent of senior management came up through the call centre,” he said.
It’s a well-trodden career route within Serif. “Most people come to work for our call centre as a stepping stone to a job in testing or development or information systems. And why not begin a career with us like that?” Loach said.