Wyndham: How linking voice of employee and voice of customer transformed both
- 04 June, 2019 07:45
When you are dealing with holiday makers who expect exceptional customer service, ‘gut feel’ isn’t going to cut it.
It was this realisation, along with challenges in proposing and substantiating business strategy to the executive, that prompted Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific to start transforming its customer data strategy. But to do this, the team quickly realised it needed to transform its employee experiences.
Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific, part of the Wyndham Worldwide group of companies, is the region’s largest vacation ownership business with more than 2000 staff and a network of 32 resorts across Asia-Pacific. The business knew had already figured out its customer experience was in need of a refresh – indeed CX is vital in the travel space – so it established a CX team in 2015. Yet it was hampered by a lack of insight.
Steering effective customer-led change required a system to not only collect and analyse all customer data available, it also had to deliver comprehensive insights about their members, Wyndham senior VP human resources and customer experience Asia-Pacific, Bruce Harkness, said. Analysing information collected from customer touchpoints - such as call centres, resort operations and post-stay surveys - was also made more complex due to the six different countries and cultures involved.
This resulted in ineffective CX and little scope for improvement.
For the CX team, capturing feedback at both a strategic relationship level via Net Promoter Score (NPS) and tactical operational touchpoints (OSAT) throughout the customer journey was crucial. Advanced analytical features to uncover richer insights so management could make smarter decisions and respond rapidly to issues would also be advantageous.
But before Wyndham could achieve all that, Harkness told CMO it needed to bring customer, employee and owner experience and voice into the one function.
“Our business in the Asia-Pacific region has evolved a lot in the last few years and we needed a solution that could change and evolve with us,” he said. “We were looking for a platform that was agile, which we could have a lot of control over and that gave us full access to all of our data so we could use it any way we wanted.
“This has been wonderfully beneficial; however, understanding between the two functions [employee experience and customer experience] and how they work together has been the biggest step and the biggest improvement for us so far. The importance of recruitment, selection and training, plus the engagement of employees, and how that spills over into overall customer satisfaction, has been amazing.”
CX and EX alignment
As Harness described it, the journey started about four years ago, and reflected a two-part change. "We needed to move our HR model from process orientated, to service/experience orientated. And we knew we didn’t have any customer centricity in the business,” he explained.
Sixteen months ago, the VP of CX left, providing an opportunity to align the two functions. Harkness now oversees the CX, EX, and owners services, but was quick to stress it is the business teams kicking all the goals.
Wyndham started the CX transformation plan with journey mapping. The team identified the key touchpoints that mattered most for both employees and customers.
“For employees, it was the on boarding process in the first 90 days. On the customer side, it was the same process; we identified key touchpoints for guests and owners, and where we could make the biggest difference. We found it was those first impressions that counted there,” Harkness said.
Once Wyndham reviewed the processes, it needed platforms to help managing it all. Confirmit was chosen for the customer side, and OnBoarder for the HR side. Harkness said Wyndham chose Confirmit Horizons for its survey design features, customisable dashboards and action management capabilities, as well as the flexibility to tailor specifically to requirements.
Off the back of the Confirmit Horizons platform, Wyndham built its Customer Hub, a tailored voice of the customer program. This has empowered the CX team to find the true voice of customers and inspire customer-led transformation programs via data dashboards, Harkness said.
“We launched a program called CARE, which is: Communication, appreciation, respect, and educate. That’s our service philosophy, and it applies to all stakeholders in the business," he continued. "In parallel, we created dashboards, as well as measuring NPS, and resort-level OSAT scores for the first time. So each function has a dashboard.
“We are looking for common dashboard metrics, cross over between teams, and joint projects. We now have a customer insights function as well, which helps to collate the data into presentation format and reports back to stakeholders, and executives who get a monthly deep dive pack.”
The Hub has quickly become a powerful medium to connect with guests through transactional touchpoints and annual relationship surveys. The solution also includes advanced analytical features, so the CX team can generate authoritative recommendations from the customer feedback.
The Hub creates a single-view platform that collects every piece of feedback a customer gives them, whether it comes from a complaint, a survey, social media or comments made at a hotel.
Up next: The results
Not only does the CX team feel more empowered, within the first year of operation, Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific saw guest satisfaction rise 6.6 per cent, and significantly fewer complaints, with up to 87 per cent year-on-year reduction in some customer touchpoints.
The business also saw an 8 per cent reduction in escalated resort complaints, and a 13 per cent reduction in retention costs month-on-month for every one per cent increase in resort satisfaction. It now enjoys an average response rate from surveys sent to the full customer list of a record 27 per cent.
In an added bonus, Wyndham starred in 2019 Confirmit ACE Awards, taking out the international Judges Choice Award for Customer Experience program, as well as awards for Voice of Customer, and Innovation.
“We can now translate the true voice of customers, provide insights-driven business recommendations and implement innovative projects to enhance the customer experience for our guests every time they visit,” Harkness said. "Now, teams can walk into an executive meeting and say ‘here is what customers are saying and this is what we need to do’, because it is no longer a guess or a ‘gut feel’.
“Having access to customer insights has provided an abundance of opportunities to understand our customers better by identifying key trends, analysing and measuring the gap, designing and proposing business cases and implementing solutions."
What's more, Wyndham has seen steady OSAT level increases, since combining the two employee and customer functions.
“NPS has also increased, particularly with top tier owners. Are we perfect? No, we’ve still got a lot of work to do, but we are getting there and seeing the improvements,” Harkness said.
In the future, Wyndham hopes to do more work on dashboarding so it can hang metrics on particular programs, and create great cross pollination between teams.