“The caliber of the team here is remarkable, and I’ve never seen anything like it. So, that was the reason why I decided to join them. Now it’s been a little under two years, and I still feel the same way,” says Aurelia Pollet, the Vice President of Customer Experience at Exemplis. Exemplis is a B2B2C, which makes custom chairs and lounges for offices.
In this episode, Aurelia tells us about the impressive company culture at Exemplis, and how she’s been supported in her role to lead the company’s CX into the future. Aurelia shares different approaches and strategies that she implemented in order to improve processes and better understand their customers (the furniture dealers), and ultimately, the end consumer.
Commit to Developing Your Company’s Culture
When Aurelia interviewed for her position, she was told that the first step of the process was to ensure she would be a cultural fit. Exemplis, a company whose motto is, “being easy to do business with,” was looking for employees who had the personality to fit within the organization. Aurelia was impressed by their commitment to the culture and she wanted to know how that translated to day-to-day behaviors.
The Exemplis team shared with Aurelia that their core values guide their day-to-day decisions. These values impacted the behavior of employees; she mentioned one of them was selflessness. Employees are eager to help and work together to get the job done.
In addition to meeting her executive team, Aurelia also met with her direct team. Aurelia shares that she received a lot of feedback about the transparency of the company, which was impressive. Every day, the company’s main focus is to make sure they give customers what they want, and her role is to continue moving the work forward.
Understand the People and Process
When Aurelia first took the role, she explains that she wanted to understand the people processes from a qualitative and quantitative perspective. She spent time in the boardroom with the CEO and with the executives who presented a high-level overview of the department. This allowed her to learn more about their customers and consumers.
Similar to many other leaders who embark on this journey, Aurelia shadowed her team members to understand the work from their perspective. She shares that she started looking at the customer processes; what was the website experience like? How do you place an order? How do you get an invoice? After assessing these experiences, she created the first draft of a customer journey. She wanted the company to have a clearer view of what things looked like from the customer’s standpoint.
Additionally, Aurelia noticed a CRM system wasn’t in place. With a desire to scale the business, they soon implemented Salesforce and developed relevant KPIs to measure for daily, weekly, and monthly performance. “We can only improve what we can measure,” was a phrase that stuck with Aurelia from a former boss. With this thought in mind, she focused on scaling the business and addressed some of the gaps she found in the customer journey.
Is it Good for the Customer?
As Aurelia increased awareness of the CX work across the company, she presented a new concept to her monthly management meeting. She shares that whenever someone on the team wants to change a process, add a service, or make a decision—there are two questions to ask: is it good for the brand and is it good for the customer?
Team members started using the questions on each other and executives used these questions in presentations, says Aurelia. When employees and leaders start incorporating CX language into their own work, it’s powerful and keeps the momentum going.
What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?
“I really focused on the customer part of the journey at the beginning and I think that the employee part of the journey is as important as the customer and so it’s really looking at it from both ends and not just mapping the customer journey, but understanding, how does that look like for the people in the organization?
And usually when we look at customer journeys, or how to improve processes, we think the CS Team, the Customer Service Team, the people on the phone, the people answering emails or chat, but it is necessary to look at everybody in the organization because if you say you can deliver a product in a certain amount of time, is it true from a manufacturing standpoint? Do you have the tools to tell you that it is deliverable? […] So, not only customer-facing teams are important, but the entire organization when you’re building a customer experience strategy.”
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