Unhappy customers bring smaller bonuses at Citi, says head of global experience

Major companies are starting to incentivise staff with bonuses based around customer experience, as they seek to improve the performance of their brands.

With firms stressing the importance of customer experience and satisfaction, Tanya Smith, head of global experience team at Citi said a failure to produce “happy customers” may lead to reduced bonuses, irrespective of the amount of revenue staff generate.

“We’ve embedded (the customer) in all of our score cards, and it really factors into people’s bonuses, for the front line staff as well,” she told a session at Mumbrella’s Finance Marketing Summit.

“Even when they’ve driven a lot of revenue for the organisation, if they’re not resulting in happy customers they’re not getting nice bonuses.”

Creating Connected Customers - Mumbrella Finance Summit

The panel (l-r): Jane Merrick (IAG); Jenny Williams (HCF); Kareene Koh (Deloitte); Tanya Smith (Citi)

Insurance Australia Group (IAG) also revealed it has built in customer advocacy goals for senior staff.

“It’s a really big part of our balance score card across the organisation both for our CEO, and all of our senior leaders”, said Jane Merrick, general manager, marketing and customer experience.

“Once you actually spend the time actually connecting with the customer, having the emotional engagement, and understanding what they want, and being able to address that problem or address that need, it results in much higher sales or conversions”, she said.

Merrick also revealed she had heard former Telstra CEO David Thodey say no-one received a bonus when the telco did not meet advocacy goals.

During the session the panel discussed the difficulty of getting to the real customer problem before executing a solution.

Kareene Koh, strategy partner in Deloitte customer service practice, said: “Clients will undertake grand visions around customer experience and sometimes in the urgency to get there, the customer actually gets left out of the process.”


Jenny Williams: ‘There’s so many different channels through which complaints come, and some of them get artificially amplified’

Smith added: “Pull it back, and check your knowledge before you start building a solution. That’s kind of a change for the way we think about things in banking.”

Jenny Williams, chief marketing officer, HCF said that centralising information complaints was an effective way to get to the customer problem.

She added: “There’s so many different channels through which complaints come, and some of them get artificially amplified.”

Speaking on the most effective ways of getting ‘customer wins’ Merrick said that phoning customers and listening to them was a great start.

Koh said: “You can quickly build empathy by having conversations with customers, and there’s no technology boundary to doing that. And once that’s empathy is there you can create so many different things.”


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