Optus CX chief: What it takes to build a customer-obsessed culture

Head of customer experience management and CX innovation lab, Charles Weiser, shares the data, technology, content and brand strategies that enable Optus to increasingly anticipate customer needs


What metrics and measurements are helping guide your CX approach?

Firstly, we have both market and touchpoint NPS. Along with that, we spend a lot of time looking at the verbatims that go along with it. We match that to usage activity statistics of customers in terms of what they do on the Optus network. It’s less about numbers, but how we are exceeding needs. We have customer groups monthly on different topics, plus as much market research and insight as any world-class company.

We try not to chase a number; we want to get to the root cause and understand the overall shape of performance. That even gets into how products are being consumed, what satisfaction rates are. We know quite quickly through that basket of information how well we are performing and where we need to focus.

Where do you still see a gap in your CX capabilities and areas for improvement?

One is we are trying to be far more personalised in our contact. That is us getting the data in the right shape, so we can be more tailored. We have done a lot of work in personalisation so we can deliver services, products and information that’s relevant.

In addition, our strategy for content and entertainment has been hugely successful and we’re building on that to create better on-boarding digital experiences. We want every interaction with us to be as intuitive and frictionless as possible, which itself is married to personalisation and anticipating the needs of customers even before they know them themselves.

Everyone has questions about their first bill, for instance. We have patterns we recognise on the types of questions people ask so if they have the same type of spending or activity pattern, we can be proactive and create a communication to say here’s how to read your first bill and anticipate those challenges and add value. 

Are there emerging technologies you think will change the CX game further?

There’s a lot of innovation around data analytics, which is still in its infancy and we’re nowhere near climbing the curve of maturity in terms of technology. It keeps getting better and better. I find that really exciting, as we can then start understanding patterns we can use to develop new and emerging products and services and information provisioning we wouldn't have thought of before.

What are the key attributes required to lead customer experience?

In terms of behaviour, the first is to suspend judgement and be a vessel for your customers. Secondly, there’s no compromise. Design for the very best and do not waiver. In any business, it’s easy to be expedient and get it out. You have to resist that. Thirdly, you have to risk being somewhat unpopular. Being uncompromising means you have to be the customer advocate.

As to leadership, you have to be an enterprise thinker. Everyone is the head of customer experience, not just the person with the formal title. The point of that is you have to take an enterprise lens on how to deliver, and be able to manoeuvre through service, technology, digital, finance to deliver an outcome for the customer.

And own the outcome. If it’s a bad experience, I take it personally.

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