Vodafone's Kristin Haynes on Customer Self-Service

Gina Scanlon

Kristin Haynes is currently Head of Customer Experience for Vodafone Australia. She will be speaking at this year’s Customer Self Service Summit in Sydney, where she will be giving a speech entitled, ‘Optimizing Customer Self-Service Processes Inside Your Organization to Drive Service Excellence.’

Below, Kristen gives CMIQ a sneak preview of what she'll be discussing, as well as some expert insight on the topic of Customer Self-Service and where it's headed.

Kristin, what about Customer Operations initially interested you when starting your career in business?

I actually commenced my career in Sales with Coca-Cola Amatil. After various Sales roles, I made the move into Trade Marketing closely followed by a number of Product and Segment Marketing roles. After 5 years in Marketing, I discovered that my true passion lay in enhancing the overall experience for our customers and I was limited in Marketing to the Product experience. Service Operations, and in particular, the Customer Experience function, gave me greater scope to impact the end to end Customer Experience.

What are some of the core challenges for companies when determining how successful their self-service programs are performing?

Obviously success can be determined by the adoption of self service functions by both new and existing customers. If you are able to take existing RFC (reason for call) data and see the % for various call drivers drop as a consequence of customers now being able to source the information on-line or via an IVR, then this is obviously a sign that your self-service capabilities are working by helping customers get the information they need in a way that suits them. If your self-service functions are also enabling customers to upgrade and/or take on additional products/services then you will also be seeing an increase in your revenue per user as a consequence your self-service capabilities.

You were initially appointed at Vodafone to develop a Customer Experience Design function. Can you give our readers some inside information on what you’ve come up with?

My role was to understand the existing experience our customers were having across our key product lines. My team identified what was and was not working across the end to end experience (a 24 month journey for some customers involving numerous interactions) and then work directly with the functional owners to deliver experience improvements. The key focus, in these early days, was to ensure that the team was regularly engaging with customers through our various touch points (specifically contact centre, on-line and retail). The team spent a large portion of time with call centre operators and working in our retail stores so that we had practical experience to draw and often substantiate what the theory and customer insights were telling us.

Why do you think customer self-service has become such a crucial aspect of modern business?

In 2008, Vodafone Australia commissioned a piece of research to understand how we grow our existing self-serve functionality. At this point in time, our Cost to Serve was the 3rd highest across all Vodafone OpCo's with inbound frequency to our contact centre also comparatively higher than other OpCo's. At this point, we knew we needed to refine our approach to servicing customers. The obvious opportunity was to reduce the volume of calls into Customer Care by enhancing the opportunity and capability for Vodafone’s customers to "self-serve". Since the merger of Vodafone Australia and Hutchison in 2009, the above statistics have changed somewhat but the premise remains the same. There continues to exist an enormous opportunity to enhance self-service capabilities in response to the changing service preferences of the market.