Delivering an outstanding customer experience – a case study

Client confidential stamp grainy“Customers will never love a company until employees love it first”

Customer and employee experience expert, Christina Dolding, couldn’t agree more with Simon Sinek’s famous quote and she’s spent the best part of two decades perfecting practical ways to help businesses make it happen and proving it’s true.

Recently Christina was approached by a household name in the financial services sector looking to differentiate their offer through exceptional customer service.

For Christina there was only one place to start: Listening to colleagues on the front line… all of them.

“These are the people who deliver customer experience, these are the people who know where the pinch points are, and these are the people who best know how to put things right. Create positive experiences for them and they will create positive experiences for their customers,” she advised the business, who loved her passion for this inside-out approach.

Their objective was clear: To transform customer service by uniting disparate operational teams and empowering them to own customer experiences and make them exceptional. And this was accompanied by five indicative measurable targets:

  1. Improve customer response times.
  2. Reduce customer complaints.
  3. Improve complaint resolution times.
  4. Improve colleague engagement.
  5. Lower colleague attrition.

It starts with listening to understand

Christina began by organising listening events throughout the business. This helped spotlight where there were problems with the customer experience.

“Done well, the listening process is far more powerful than that,” says Christina. “What happens is it starts to shift colleague mindset that positive change is afoot. In this instance, it laid the foundations for an open dialogue with colleagues built upon candour and trust.”

By listening to understand, not listening to respond, Christina helped her client uncover an issue negatively impacting colleague morale and attrition – the way the business supported colleagues with medical issues.

Mapping and acting upon moments of truth

Partnering the client, Christina then mapped every moment of truth – from colleagues joining the organisation, to their exit interview. It was an illuminating process, which the business acted upon – including introducing a new absence policy. This policy’s introduction had a two-fold effect. Firstly, it resolved an area of concern for colleagues, but most importantly it let colleagues know their voices were being heard and acted upon.

‘Dragons’ Den’

Not every issue identified was a ‘quick win’. Some needed budget allocation, so Christina then worked with the business to host “Dragons’ Den” style sessions where colleagues could come and pitch their ‘customer focused’ ideas to ‘internal dragons’ (senior leaders holding the purse strings).

“This was fun and really helped bridge the silo mentality,” says Christina. “There’s something about ‘thinking customer’ that has a magical way of unifying a room.”

More than 40 ideas came to life in one such session. And, within the year, 30 secured the buy-in of a dragon and moved from being an idea to implementation.

Unifying teams

Once enthusiasm for the transformation began building, it took on a momentum of its own. Operational leaders from different teams did something they’d never done – got together for daily breakfast and drivetime calls.

This new unified way of working enabled these leaders to reflect on the day’s performance and plan for the day ahead. They were quickly able to share resources between them, so people were working wherever they could be most effective.

This smarter management approach eventually freed up enough resource to create new roles to support other business activities – such as risk, quality, coaching, and better supporting vulnerable customers. All those new roles were in high demand, with one having 40 applicants.


The results were remarkable. In under a year and with no additional resource:

With these performance improvements the business also:

  • Saved more than 10% in operational costs, and
  • Retained 10% more financial assets than the actuarial predictions.

What the Chief Operational Officer (COO) says

“The levels of innovation from the team astounded me. The ideas raised and delivered, with customers and colleagues at the heart of the thinking, were like nothing I’ve seen before in my career. No matter what obstacles came their way, the team pushed to do, and be, the very best. I was blown away by the speed and scale of change and the benefits achieved. Simply breath-taking.”

And what about the COO’s thoughts on Christina?

“Quite simply she’s the best at what she does. She’s a true champion for customer outcomes and cares passionately about service. Her natural leadership, combined with her commitment to ensure colleagues and culture comes first, is outstanding.”

“Christina’s ability to transform underperforming teams and create award-winning ones, that are passionate about service, is second to none. Christina is an outstanding customer and colleague experience professional.”

Christina’s work and the customer and employee experience methodologies she uses are sector agnostic and work with any team. She’s even had success with employers looking to better understand colleagues from different demographic groups or experiencing life events, such as menopause.

For further information contact Axiom.

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