NAB, Time Warner Cable on tackling digital disruption

Australian bank and US media company talk about the staff and operational changes they've made to better orientate around customers and drive digital strategy

Time is the currency of customer experience and brands must adopt a more agile approach to product development and make significant cultural change if they want to meet modern expectations.

That’s the view of NAB’s general managing of digital, Todd Copeland, who joined Time Warner Cable on stage at the Adobe Summit to discuss the cultural and operational changes necessary to meet modern customer expectations.

Copeland described the digital shift within NAB as a “BAU challenge”, and said his team uses two approaches to customer experience: Effortless consistency, and velocity and speed to market. He pointed out 90 per cent of NAB’s 13 million customers interact via digital channels today, and 65 per cent through mobile.

“We have to adjust the way we build relationships with customers – connectivity and trust is very different digitally,” Copeland told attendees. “We have multiple touchpoints for customers to interact with us.

“For example, of those 65 per cent of mobile users, only 10 per cent only use mobile. When we look at those multiple paths to engagement, we have to ensure we have consistency. And our customers tell us through social or call centre channels when we make it hard.

“The second point is velocity and speed – time is the currency of experience. If you can’t operate and deliver speed at which customers expect, you lose.”

Rob Roy joined Time Warner Cable (TWC) as head of ecommerce and digital marketing after running a startup for three-and-a-half years. He said the role was both risky and an opportunity and required a startup approach.

Like NAB, digital performance is the ultimate measure for TWC when it comes to its customer strategy, Roy said.

“We start with the concept of an always connected customer,” he said. “In 2011, we started thinking about mobile also, and as we moved into 2012/13 it became mobile first. Now we’re getting close to mobile only, so we need to build experiences where customers need us to be.”

That required a change in how the organisations thought. One big step was pulling down the wall between the business and development team. “We wanted to figure this out together,” Roy said.

Roy sits under the marketing organisation but spans across six development teams and helps fund sprints and initiatives with those teams. He also works with customer experience managers.

“We focus a lot on product and development teams to drive the experience, then that gives our marketing folks opportunity to put great content on top of those experiences,” he said.

TWC has hard KPIs around sales, upsell and customers not calling the call centre, but the true ROI is customer satisfaction, Roy said. “Are we surprising and delighting customers... are we creating a journey they will flow through and spend more time with us?”

NAB simplified its organisation structure 18 months ago. Copeland’s team sits in the customer management layer, which is part of digital and direct banking.

“While a lot of it is about digital, we have a complementary relationship with our contact centres, and we work closely with marketing, product and technology teams, so it’s a four-way linkage,” he said.

“Then I and a few others run sprint teams and An agile development model. You need a mix of skills for that to happen. We have 100 people and we’re trying to create smaller sprint teams that execute very fast.

“It’s how you make sure you have laser focus – you have to have that focus to drive the outcome.”

Copeland admitted digital transformation has been a hard challenge culturally. “There are behavioural and mindset changes required to drive at the velocity customer expect,” he said.

“One of the ways we tried to approach it is to lead with the customer – we’re looking at less detailed specifications to justify business cases and more iterative, customer testing. It’s adopting minimum viable product and prototyping before PowerPoint.

“You have to put the customer first – it’s about delivering the right experience, put structure aside and look at the operating model. If you can’t collaborate, you can’t get engage and you won’t get there.”

Roy said his team has worked to create lots of wins in customer experience and putting data around those experiences and wins. Thanks to Agile development and its partnerships with functions, cross-functional collaboration starts to naturally occur, he added.

“Now have traditional dev teams thinking about agile and running at a similar pace,” he said. “The good thing with digital is you can metric almost anything. We allow data to tell the story for us.

Staff and skillset

When it comes to the skills required on his team, Roy looks for people willing to wear multiple hats, and avoids people with cable TV experience.

“You’ll be a product manager one day, focus on cus65+tomer experience the next day, and think about marketing day after that,” he said. “You need a general understanding of how business runs end-to-end – that gives you an appreciation of the specific function you work on and makes you more well rounded.”

Over the past 6-12 months, the people NAB has brought into the business from telco, retail and media sectors, not our competitors. “They’ve not been in the traditional mould,” he said.

Copeland called it mindset over skillset and said he hires for aptitude. “We also look for people who can live our values.

“Creativity and passion is out there, you have to create space for people to operate.”

While change is not easy, Roy claimed pushback is a reflection that you’re doing a good job.

“Being a counter culture is where you make the biggest impact,” he said. “Keep customers first and in your sights and you’ll do well.”

More from Adobe Summit 2015

Nadia Cameron travelled to Adobe Summit 2015 as a guest of Adobe.

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