Jennifer Ramirez, Vice President, Global Product Enhancements, Money Transfer, Western Union, explored what it takes for a company to connect with its customers and develop a successful customer experience (CX) strategy in her keynote presentation to Argyle's CX membership at the 2016 Chief Experience Forum in Denver on Oct. 20. In her presentation, "Unifying Customers with the Business," Ramirez described how companies can blend the CX strategy, journey mapping and data science to optimize CX and drive business results.
According to Ramirez, understanding a business' customers is essential to develop a successful CX strategy.
At Western Union, the company began to create customer segments based on customer revenues to identify market opportunities. By doing so, the business was able to find unique ways to interact with a broad range of customers and ensure its customers were fully supported.
"When you start your customer experience journey, you've got to first focus on the customer and who your customer is at the end of the day," Ramirez stated. "By starting to segment, we're able to see how much each of these [groups] is worth and how we're going to build customer service capabilities for each of those segments."
In addition, Ramirez noted there are many "levers of change" in CX transformation, and how a company approaches CX transformation may dictate its long-term success.
If a company is open to new ideas, it may be able to discover innovative ways to build a successful CX strategy. Comparatively, a business that takes a traditional approach to creating a CX plan may miss out on opportunities to connect with customers and fall behind its rivals.
"If you can get [CX] measurement right at the highest level within the organization and trickle it down through all the different scorecards, it will get the entire organization rallied behind and aligned behind driving and improving the customer experience."
With a traditional CX strategy, a company could struggle to identify opportunities and challenges in today's global marketplace. Conversely, a business that devotes the necessary time and resources to learn about its customers may be better equipped to develop a CX strategy that delivers consistent results.
"For customer experience transformation, you need to know what your strategy is," Ramirez noted. "To what extent is your customer experience embedded into the corporation's strategy, and to what extent do you have a customer experience strategy function?"
Today, a wide array of customer data is available to businesses as well.
The sheer volume of customer data can be overwhelming for many companies. However, a business that implements a strategy to collect and evaluate customer information can maximize the value of this data.
It also is important to note that customer data should be shared across a business, and giving employees and managers the data they need to foster collaboration could make a world of difference for a company that wants to improve its CX strategy.
"Every owner [at Western Union] who had a data set was only looking at their data," Ramirez said. "They weren't stepping back and saying, 'What does all the data together say?'"
Furthermore, establishing design initiatives may play an important role in a company's ability to enhance its customer interactions.
Today's customers can connect with a business across multiple touch points, including blog posts, social media and websites. For companies, it is essential to make it quick and simple for customers to connect with them from any location, at any time. This could help a business gain a long-lasting competitive advantage over its rivals too.
"For customer experience transformation, you need to know what your strategy is."
Lastly, how a company measures its CX efforts is important for a number of reasons.
A top-down approach may prove to be exceedingly valuable for a company to assess CX metrics, as business leaders who deploy a CX strategy can set a positive example for employees across a business. Meanwhile, workers who are engaged may take a proactive approach to helping a company achieve its CX goals both now and in the future.
"If you can get [CX] measurement right at the highest level within the organization and trickle it down through all the different scorecards, it will get the entire organization rallied behind and aligned behind driving and improving the customer experience," Ramirez said.
Ultimately, CX must remain a key tenet of a business' culture for a company to enjoy long-lasting success.
A business must prioritize building relationships with both customers and employees, guaranteeing that both parties are engaged and satisfied with the support that they receive. Plus, if a company is able to partner with customers and employees successfully, it may be able to bolster its customer and employee retention levels for years to come.
CX improvements require a company-wide focus, and business officials who drive CX transformation may be able to help an ordinary company become a CX leader.
Jennifer Ramirez leads Global Customer Experience Transformation for The Western Union Company. In this role, Jennifer oversees the charge in building stronger relationships with the hundreds of millions of people and businesses that use Western Union’s services every day. She is responsible for developing the organization's multi-year customer experience strategy and transformation initiatives, and driving the optimal customer and Agent experience across all channels and touchpoints in 200 countries and territories.
Based at Western Union’s global headquarters in Englewood, Colorado, Ramirez has held various leadership roles with the company over 15 years, serving Western Union's unique customer base of global citizens who travel across borders seeking better lives for themselves and their families and businesses making payments across international borders. Key leadership roles included product management & development, channel management, strategy, and large-scale program management.
Prior to joining Western Union, Jennifer spent five years in management consulting and several years in the nonprofit sector.
In addition to her professional career, Ramirez is passionate about volunteering and giving back to her community. She currently serves as Vice Chair for Upwardly Global’s Board of Directors, is co-founder of 501c3 Kids Giving 365, and is an ambassador for the Western Union Foundation.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Florida State University and a master’s degree in Behavioral Psychology from the University of Kansas.