How this GM is bringing Dodo into the digital age

GM of consumer and digital of telco and energy retailer shares the digital transformation journey he's on and the people, process and technology changes it involves

Securing buy-in

Getting buy-in for such a tech overhaul was no mean feat and French approached it in two ways. With stakeholders who’d previously worked in large corporates and seen sizeable investments being made into next-gen platforms, he worked to demonstrate the lower-cost nature of a best-of-breed stack.

“I was spending $2-3 million on tech, which is a fair amount of money, but I showed the calibre of features and execution of CX these tools can drive is comparable to a $15-20m stack that a Telstra or NAB might have put in,” French said. “Building a componentised and customer-facing architecture gave us a lower-cost approach.”

Winning over stakeholders that hadn’t seen such tech investments or didn’t know what good CX looked like has been much harder.

“There’s no way to win that argument on day one. The best thing to do was wrap up how much maintenance costs were involved with keeping legacy tech alive and show that compared to something sitting on cloud, with high service levels and lower operating costs,” French said. “That I didn’t completely win, but I got ears to prick up once I made noise about how buying something off the shelf would costs one-tenth of what we were spending and give us much better CX.

“Then it’s about showing what we can do with CX, as we can make changes more quickly and be more agile in market.”

French pointed out Dodo’s heritage was as an industry disruptor. “I believe one of the reasons we lost our foothold in the market is because there are so many things in the business that stopped us operating in that way anymore,” he said.

“Technology was one, people are another. This [digital transformation] is about bringing people, process and technology that allows the business to resume the foothold it once had.”

Staff investment  

Instituting such technology-led change is nothing without the right staff. French’s response has been to get a lower but higher calibre headcount. The consumer digital team has 12 staff and French aims to build that to 24. 

“We’re very lean, and working hard to deliver outcomes. We had to bring talent in to show throughput and benefit the investment could deliver to the business,” French said.

Key staff attributes included tenacity and a doggedness to not give up. “Change is so hard to drive…That meant strong personalities and communicators who are very articulate, and who can tailor the conversation. The second skill was people who also have technical depth.

“The third was people wanting to drive a true transformation agenda who could see this as an opportunity to do all these things. It’s been the only way to counter the lack of brand position Vocus has.”

Measuring success  

To showcase success, a number of digital metrics laddering up to KPIs are being employed. Key ones include boosting digital registrations, digitally active users, conversion rates online and customer satisfaction.

Already, French said Dodo’s digital services interactions have risen from 8-9 per cent six months ago to 16 per cent. “All our digital marketing leads are still going to lead capture forms, so any growth has just been through delivering better CX through technology and UI improvements,” he said.  

Since converting the legacy self-service portal to responsive design, Dodo has also seen an 80 per cent uplift in digital service. The next step is a self-service relaunch under the 'MyDodo' platform in December.  

At present, Dodo only tracks Net Promoter Score (NPS) across call centre interactions, but French said introducing strategic NPS across service, sales and the buying experience will further help. The new sales funnel and website are showing 25 per cent improvements to experience NPS, with the goal being to double this again once the team has retired the decade-old Dodo digital assets still live, he said.

Overall, French rated his digitisation efforts a 7.5 out of 10. “The reason we haven’t hit the 8 or 8.5 I was aspiring for is we underestimated a couple of key things,” he said.

A big one was how hard it is to replace technology as old as Dodo had. “All businesses have legacy technology, but not at every layer of the experience and that’s what we found here,” French said.

What he’s been pleasantly surprised by is customer take-up of new experiences. Meanwhile, the rebrand has given the digital team a platform to update online creative and user interfaces, going a long way to removing that cheap and nasty feel.

“It’s been the vehicle for getting support to drive change in creativity in digital, but also the tone of voice, language and content,” he said. “Where it’s challenging for us is experience. We’re going to market with a promise of trust, transparency, progressive, digitisation and CX. But the reality for the majority of our customers… is there’s limited trust in the experience because they’re getting harassed to buy stuff. That’s not a brand that talks to customer value.

“The next big brand challenge is a fundamental change in CX so it’s not about selling anything to anyone at any point of day, but about selling at the right point in time, with the right products and for right challenge customer face.”  

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