In a Fireside Chat, Tamar Cohen, Vice President of Customer Excellence and Business Innovation at Zoetis, discussed with Deserie Dulaney, Senior Director of Customer Service Operations for Walmart eCommerce, the challenges of moving from a B2C to a B2B environment.
Cohen began the Fireside Chat at the 2017 Customer Experience Leadership Forum held on April 20 in New York by asking Dulaney to talk about Walmart’s shift from the traditional Walmart experience to a more marketplace environment.
Dulaney responded that, in the past year, Walmart’s marketplace seller network has grown exponentially. “We started with less than ten and, within the year, we’ve grown to over 600. A big change for us is how we support our customers to be able to engage with the sellers. The Walmart model is, if a customer has an issue with the seller, they contact the seller directly instead of contacting Walmart.com. We want to support those customers better so they won’t have to go to a third party to get a resolution. We need to support the sellers as well.”
Dulaney then asked Cohen what her challenges have been following her recent move from a B2C to a B2B experience.
Cohen replied, “It’s an interesting learning after spending so much time in B2C where we knew who the customer was, where the loyalty play was. It was a lot more clear. In B2B, there’s almost an abstraction that occurs when you’re a business dealing with another business. In business, the customer is the contract-sourcing manager, the inventory manager, the front-desk receptionist. One of the challenges we have is that our customers range from a two-person veterinary clinic—say, a husband and wife who do everything from end to end—to the large megafarms where we’re dealing with a corporation. The work we’re doing now is looking at the customer in terms of their behaviors.”
“In B2B, there’s almost an abstraction that occurs when you’re a business dealing with another business.”
Cohen asked Dulaney, “I’d be interested to hear how you’re integrating B2B into traditional Walmart.com support. How do you envision that partnership and engagement working?”
“That’s one of my struggles,” admitted Dulaney. “When I think about B2B versus B2C, I need different individuals, different hiring profiles, different expectations, and different tools. My challenge is finding the best solution so I can service both customers in a single environment to maximize my resources to keep costs low for those customers. I make sure my utilization is high and we maximize our internal resources to support that. Today, sellers are supported through a different set of tools, policies, and procedures, but as it expands, I want to migrate that to our larger customer database to support them more efficiently.”
“When you think about hiring for your team, what are your challenges in shifting from a B2C to a B2B mentality?” Dulaney asked Cohen.
“Customer experience is brand new to my organization,” Cohen replied. “When Zoetis spun off from Pfizer three years ago, the company took a very strong stand about wanting to be known as customer obsessed. A year ago, Zoetis decided it wanted to build out a true customer-experience organization, and they’re dedicated to building out the discipline. It’s up to me to help with that process. The challenge for hiring is that veterinary pharma isn’t a common skill set,” she observed, “so we’re looking for people who know what it means to deliver a top-line customer experience. We need people who can disrupt their own thinking about what works. If we know something works in B2C, what are some of those best practices that we can apply to B2B?”
“We’re looking for people who know what it means to deliver a top-line customer experience. We need people who can disrupt their own thinking about what works. If we know something works in B2C, what are some of those best practices that we can apply to B2B?”
Cohen asked Dulaney, “When you look toward the future of this intersection between B2C and B2B for Walmart, do you see more challenges or opportunities?”
“At the end of the day, I think there are more opportunities,” responded Dulaney. “We have to make sure our sellers are successful and keep their own identities while making sure our customers have a great experience with those sellers.”
“How do you get out of the internal mindset that wants to provide the customer with all these different touchpoints—reps, digital, call center, etc.—which can often overwhelm them?” asked Dulaney.
“That’s been my biggest challenge in the last six weeks,” Cohen admitted. “There are two things—senior leadership and data. This has to be a senior-level-driven exercise—that there’s this mission to break down the silos and look at data and journeys to piece together a story of where customers are dropping off and where there’s revenue impact.”
An audience member asked, “How do you navigate between finding out what a customer wants and the customer who doesn’t know what they want?”
Cohen replied, “One of the first conversations I had at Zoetis was about how our customers only care about the pharmaceutical and the price. My argument has been that focusing on price is a short-term game that nobody can win. That’s why adding value as a trusted advisor is so important for getting the pulse of what’s out there in the industry and tailoring the customer experience to that.”
“My argument has been that focusing on price is a short-term game that nobody can win. That’s why adding value as a trusted advisor is so important for getting the pulse of what’s out there in the industry and tailoring the customer experience to that.”
ABOUT TAMAR COHEN:
Tamar Cohen is the VP of Customer Excellence and Business Innovation, leading the CX, Digital and Loyalty programs for Zoetis, a leader in animal health services. Coming to Zoetis after over 15 years leading digital and CX design in financial services, she’s leading the organization to develop CX strategies and methodologies to rethink how the company interacts with its customers. Looking at everything from feedback management to customer journey mapping and Voice of the Customer programs through customer segmentation and metric design and development, Tamar is bringing forward a new way of helping Zoetis’s core customers—veterinarians—get back to doing what they love, which is helping animals. Tamar holds a BA from New York University in Art Administration.
ABOUT DESERIE DULANEY:
Deserie joined Walmart eCommerce in February 2015 and is responsible for the management of the in-house and outsourced operations providing support for Walmart.com US customers. She also manages the customer service technology relationships and system administration, and workforce management teams. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from Texas A&M-Commerce and resides in Dallas, Texas.