Is CX Directly Linked to Business Strategy? CX Strategy Series, Blogpost 2

In our second blog of the series we will be looking at the importance of linking customer experience (CX) to overall business strategy and how it can drive ROI. 

VIA Rail as a best practice case study

In the case of VIA Rail, the organization connected CX to their overall business goals from the start and they saw some amazing results.

VIA Rail was challenged to increase its call centre revenue generating opportunities significantly.  They understood the importance of enhancing the customer experience and expertise of their agents in order to drive incremental revenues.  Importantly, what became obvious was that the agents were treating the customers as a transaction and not someone with specific needs and wants.  They typically would only sell the cheapest ticket without considering whether or not the customer would prefer another option that was more appropriate to their situation. The organization invested in a change management process to help the call centre simultaneously tackle sales and improve customer experience.

VIA Rail developed a comprehensive training program that covered all aspects required to enable the call centre success including product knowledge, problem resolution training, agent coaching, and customer management techniques.  The organization empowered the agents to make decisions on the call that would address client issues, for example around refunds;  enabling swifter problem resolution and greater customer satisfaction.  This program was communicated and embedded at all levels of the organization to ensure buy-in.  In addition, coaching with VIA management enabled them to better support the agents as they implemented the new enhanced customer experience business model.

VIA also simplified their product offering into a five-tier pricing model.  The old and complicated product offering confused customers who were trying to self-serve and when they reached out to the call centre for assistance the agent often offered the lowest fare option rather than the one that best addressed the customer’s need.  The simplification of the product offering helped the agents find the best solution for their clients more easily and quickly.  By focusing on better CX, the call centre was given the tools to better identify customers' needs which enabled better product solutions for customers.  This also empowered the agents to more effectively cross-sell and upsell to customers based on their specific situation.  This led to higher revenue/sales and more satisfied customers.

Finally, VIA Rail implemented a robust reporting framework to aid in the quick identification of what was working in the new business model and what areas needed to be further optimized.  There was additional training provided for any areas that needed to be adjusted so that they could ensure that the new program’s success continued.

VIA transformed their call centre from a transactional model into a revenue optimization model by focusing on improved customer experience.  They linked CX to their business goals from the start and ensured that this linkage was embraced by all levels of the organization.  Their efforts paid off.  VIA has seen an increase in revenues of 40% since 2014 and an increase in the number of travelers of 25%.

By: Michelle Perez, Member of CMA’s CX Council.

Read CX Strategy Series: Council Blog Post 1.

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