B2B International
 

March 19, 2018

Our Journey to CX Excellence: an Interview with…David Ward, Yodel

Find more examples, case studies and stories in our upcoming book

Having conducted hundreds of customer satisfaction and loyalty surveys over the last 20 years, we know first-hand what it takes to deliver CX excellence in b2b markets. Unfortunately, exceptional customer experiences are not as common as they should be, and it is this that drove us to write ‘B2B Customer Experience – A Practical Guide To Delivering Exceptional CX’.

The book is published in June 2018 and is available to pre-order here. In the run up to the book launch we will be sharing a selection of different interviews with CX professionals, each talking about their own journey towards CX excellence. The first of which, with Yodel’s David Ward, is below.

Our Journey to CX Excellence: an Interview with…David Ward, Yodel

David Ward – Director of Marketing, Yodel

How long have you been measuring customer experience?

Our journey started back in 2014. Our motivation was to “own” what customers really thought. We were not short of feedback via social channels and our aim was to start on the journey of listening to real customers about their real experiences.

We thought, ‘let’s ask real customers what they think about us’. Our hunch was that we were delivering a better experience than what was necessarily being played out and offering customers the opportunity to “have their say” could help us demonstrate that.

We initially tried a few ideas to generate customer feedback, issuing fliers and adding options onto our tracking site. What we found from this was that we could generate channels for customers to feedback how things were, but these were dominated by customers who were in need of additional support and in the main pretty negative.

I wanted to start conversing with a much wider customer sample and we unlocked this by putting a simple link onto our delivery notifications (both SMS and email). After all we were communicating to millions of online shoppers each week via these channels.

The results were immediate – having put the survey link onto these communication channels, we started getting tens of thousands of responses every week. This was fascinating, as we had previously held the belief that shoppers wouldn’t be bothered in telling about their individual experiences – except of course, if they need additional help or had a reason to complain. We couldn’t have been more wrong.

Our Journey to CX Excellence

We scratched at that little opportunity and we saw it develop quickly. The volume of responses meant that we could generate data from end customers that we could track through to the region, the local service centre and ultimately to the deliver driver. This was a game changing point.

We then asked ourselves the question – “if we can drill customer satisfaction right down to the individual delivery driver, how could we use this to drive the voice of customers into our daily operational DNA?” Traditionally we and all delivery companies were obsessed with “attempt delivery on-time”, “right-first-time” logistical service levels. We then thought – “what if we can give our whole business the customer satisfaction and net promoter scores of real online shoppers – real-time?” How could this drive our performance?

This was the tipping point – and from that day, the first measure that everyone looks at at the beginning of each day is CSAT and NPS. This fundamental change is driving the cultural agenda towards being a customer-obsessed organisation with insights that can lead our business.

 

“The first measure that everyone looks at at the beginning of each day is CSAT and NPS. This fundamental change is driving the cultural agenda towards being a customer-obsessed organisation with insights that can lead our business.”

 

After the first million reviews, we asked ourselves a critical question: “What does it take to get 100% CSAT?” With the rich data that we had, we were able to boil it down to 4 key aspects that customers were looking for. We call these the 4 “whats”. These are the 4 critical things that gets us to a 99% CSAT level – we are still looking for the missing 1%! The 4 critical things are: Customers are looking for their delivery to be delivered on-time, with their parcel in a good condition, with a good attitude whilst being kept informed throughout. That is:

  • On-time
  • In good condition
  • With a good attitude
  • Whilst being kept informed

From the day this insight came back – we cascaded this insight throughout our whole business – both operationally and in every support area. The 4 whats were born.

Critically, we now had a simple and clear way of explaining our mission to get to 100% CSAT.

Interestingly, we now also knew what happened to CSAT when you got one of them “wrong” and the other three right. This is priceless insight.

The other piece of the puzzle was to start measuring the experience from the retailer’s perspective. We started our client experience research programme in January 2015, and every 6 months we get feedback from our clients on how we are performing, where we have improved and what still requires focus.

And so how has customer experience evolved over time?

In the last 12 months we’ve worked hard to develop the next level of insight. We are working with individual retailers to understand what is driving their customer’s NPS scores, identify areas for improvement, put actions in place and monitor the impact.

We are also starting to segment our clients based on their needs – this has enabled us to get really close to our retail partners and support them in the way that they need us to.

This has really started to pay dividends and in our most recent client experience survey we have started to get real traction. Our client NPS score rose 21 points between July 2017 and February 2018, driven by significant improvements in satisfaction with the Yodel/retailer business relationship.

Our Journey to CX Excellence

What challenges have you faced with implementing customer experience?

A lot of people in our organisation define themselves by how long they’ve been with us. People say I’ve been here since last year, or only three months. It is an ever-changing human dynamic within our leadership. What this means is you can get a lot of stop start initiatives and the key challenge is keeping the CX momentum going within the organisation. I’m pleased to say that the HYS initiative has truly lasted the test of time with us passing the 5 millionth review mark in February 2018.

I think there is a collective view that comes from the bottom whereby we all want to deliver a seamless customer experience. It is my job to understand customers and clients intimately and then share this widely within the company. The key to being customer and client focused is making sure everyone works across job functions to make it easy to do business for the client and customer.

 

“The key to being customer and client focused is making sure everyone works across job functions to make it easy to do business for the client and customer.”

 

What investment do you need to do in the back office that delivers the client intimacy?

We’ve started to immerse the organisation in this. The people closest to this piece of work are the most passionate about it. My role is being the advocate, lighting the fire and being passionate about it. We’ve invested millions in back-office systems, in people and operational infrastructure. The customer and client experience is developing our distinctiveness – helping us stand out in the crowd – providing insightful and helpful data to our retailers.

Do you have other internal metrics you use other than customer interviews?

We measure our own colleague engagement levels and that’s now in year three. We are reaching out into the different metrics to get a balanced scorecard to understand how we are performing.

We’ve got client NPS targets; end customer satisfaction targets. What this shows is that we are changing the culture of the business and using the insight from clients and end customers to help us invest in the right things in the right way.

Our Journey to CX Excellence

It will make the cultural direction of customer experience sustainable if we can make the link between customer intimacy, retailer satisfaction, and profitability. That’s because there’s no point in only focusing on end shoppers and hoping that the retailers will be happy. We’ve got to keep the retailers happy as well. These are all measurable points in the b2b2c supply chain.

What about the brand and its role in customer experience?

We want to be open. We want to be collaborative. You walk into a meeting and you can feel the previous experience about the brand in the room. We are looking to acknowledge and reflect and quickly move the brand forward into the future. Using the client and customer insight means we can show movement away from previous experiences and perceptions.

 

“We are looking to acknowledge and reflect and quickly move the brand forward into the future. Using the client and customer insight means we can show movement away from previous experiences and perceptions.”

 

Our client NPS research is in its 7th wave and the brand perception of clients has changed massively over the years when they experience the service we deliver. The main goal for us now is to change the wider market perception of the Yodel brand but we realise that this will take time.

What aspects are delivering a greater client experience?

We are not where we want or need to be. However if you look at different segments, we are making a real difference. In some segments we are way behind with the basics. We are making some decisions about not working with people who are buying purely on price. We are making decisions based on insight and not gut feel and starting to work with clients where there is a strategic fit and where we can deliver value; especially related to our client intimacy strategy.

Does your strategy affect your recruitment policy?

We are working with our training function directly. We are overlaying cultural training with segmentation insights. We have training with IT, operations as well as sales. We are asking people to put their mind in the mind of the retailer. All the time we are asking ourselves “what do they want?”. It’s a different strategy and therefore it takes time but we are getting there.

What sort of headache does it create for the final mile of delivery?

Is it a perfect game? No it’s not. You’re only as good as your last experience with the retailer. There is always a point of weakness. You could do every single thing perfectly and then something could go wrong at the point of delivery and it all goes awry.

That shouldn’t stop us. We can’t manage every single person on every single day to the point that we are telling them what to do. You’ve got to recruit, engage, inform, empower and motivate our teams.

Our Journey to CX Excellence

If you were to give one tip to anybody going on a journey with customer experience, what would be the one piece of advice you would give?

I think it’s insight. Ask the right questions and get the right information back. Don’t assume, don’t jump to conclusions. We shouldn’t guess what things mean; we should find out what they really mean to customers and clients.

This has been the biggest differentiator for Yodel whereby we’ve been able to share with clients how well we are delivering against end customer needs rather than them just using anecdotal feedback from internal colleagues.

How do you keep things fresh and the organisation?

Because of where we are, it still feels like it is in its infancy (we are only 4 years in). I’m not so worried about keeping it fresh, it’s more about how we sustain it. Keeping things sustainably in place is a really important thing for the business. It’s about embedding it, immersing people in it and getting other people to tell their stories about it. We don’t want necessarily to take a new angle on it every six months, it’s just got to become a part of the way we do things. I’m talking about embedding this by 2020 to really turn this business around.

 

“Keeping things sustainably in place is a really important thing for the business. It’s about embedding it, immersing people in it and getting other people to tell their stories about it.”

 

We have seen from our most recent NPS research that the changes we have made are making a real difference to clients and end customers experiences but we know we still have a long way to go.

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