Customer Engagement
Creating a Customer-Centric Company Culture

Focus on the Customer: Papa John’s, Cigna, KidZania, Unique Photo & J. Crew Explain Why Customers Are Key

January 03, 2015


CMOs are rarely responsible for the entire customer experience yet a break-down at any contact point, whether it be online, in-store or via customer service, can drag down the effectiveness of even the best of marketing campaigns. Since savvy CMOs inherently understand this, most have figured out ways to assess the impact of the customer experience on the overall brand and work with the responsible departments to make sure that it is constantly being improved. Here are 5 ways current CMOs are having a major impact on the customer experience.

1. Make It Measurable—Lisa Bacus, Cigna:

“I believe that CX is everyone’s responsibility, though it is in my accountabilities. We have a team that is dedicated to CX to ensure that we understand what the most critical levers are that we can pull to have the greatest impact on the customer experience. We measure NPS across all of our businesses and all of our markets, and it makes the short list of most critical KPIs at the enterprise level. By identifying the top 3 parts of the customer journey that are creating the least amount of joy for our customers, we can be focused, and somewhat surgical, in our approach to improve key processes and customer impacts. The other interesting thing we do is match these up again our employee engagement survey results, to see where we have common areas of opportunity and can reshape key processes that directly impact customer and employee satisfaction.”

2. Speak to Their Needs—Cammie Dunaway, KidZania:

“As a CMO you have to spend a tremendous amount of time partnering with your peers. You really need to find a way to bring the voice of your customer into the conversation so that you can impact parts of the experience that lie outside your direct control. I sometimes have to remind people internally that we don’t need to just rely on our own perspectives. If in doubt, ask the kids. We have a kid’s CongreZZ in each KidZania. It is essentially a group of children chosen annually that help us stay current and  feedback on our experience. As long as I am channeling them, I am usually able to move us in the right direction.”

3. “Happy Employees Equal Happy Customers”—Bob Kraut, Papa John’s:

“For us, the consumer is at the center of all we do. We always ‘keep our eye on the pie,’ so that the ultimate customer experience is bringing people together to eat great pizza at a great price with an exceptional ordering and service experience. As for marketing’s role in the customer experience, we do the heaving lifting in creating emotional connections with our customers in our branding, online experience and social media and engagement. The pizza business is dominated by heavy price promotion which I don’t think contributes to a sustainable customer proposition. At Papa John’s, we have incredibly loyal customers and they love the brand experience– the American Customer Satisfaction Index has ranked us the #1 pizza brand in satisfaction 13 of the past 15 years.

“When I came to Papa John’s a little over a year ago, my biggest surprise was how happy the people are and how aligned people are against our vision and positioning. Simply put, when you are in the service and delivery business, ‘happy employees equal happy customers.’ So I think we count all of them to be great customer ambassadors. One of the ways that our employees feel like an owner of the business, is through our “open innovation” culture. We solicit and source product ideas and ways to make things better for our customers and I think it shows up in customer ratings and in our business results.”

4. Keep Them In the Know—Shannon Smith, J. Crew:

“J. Crew is constantly working to improve the customer experience, from the design and fit of the clothes to the services offered in stores to the website functionality. My role in this endeavor was constantly striving deliver more relevant, personalized marketing communications to our customers, providing them with information about the products that would be of interest to them, whether it was our women’s new arrivals, a new men’s suiting line with a different fit, or great children’s clothes. I worked towards this in our email marketing program, our catalog versioning and our rewards program, the J. Crew credit card.”

5. Keep It Personal—Matt Sweetwood, Unique Photo:

“At Unique Photo, I manage customer service in the role of CMO and President. One of the success stories of our company has been our photo industry best customer service. I believe that how you treat and view customers starts from the top. I personally answer customers who contact us on social media and monitor our customer service queues frequently. It sets the standard for your staff when they see the person at top of the marketing department interact with customers. In marketing you need to know what the customers are thinking and saying. In the past year we have added live online chat and dedicated personnel to monitor social media for customer interaction. We also engage in dedicated campaigns on social media to engage the customer. Not only can this drive brand awareness and sales but many times is fosters customer interaction in a way they feel comfortable telling you what’s on their mind. When you are close to your customers they give you great marketing ideas.”

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