In the mood for improving customer experience

In the final profile of Data Summit speakers, Orange’s Peter Crayfourd explains how business transformation needs to include understanding customer mood at an operational level. As David Reed discovers, that is a complicated task.

If you want to know the difference between customer loyalty gained through pricing and loyalty embedded in a customer’s emotions, then Peter Crayfourd is the man to ask. As head of customer lifestyle strategy, group marketing at Orange, he is developing a customer engagement strategy called “Mood”.

Unlike other attitudinal and needs-based approaches to customer segmentation, which are often hard to operationalise, Crayfourd is “putting the customer at the heart of the organisation, leveraging a cross-silo approach. The idea is to help prevent “in-life” churn, improve revenues and Net Promoter Scores while also reducing non-value adding contacts.

Those are significant objectives. But then Orange has set itself some major goals. “At a strategic brand level, the ambition of the organisation is to become the ’best loved communications brand’, which obviously is a key aspect of defining and delivering a differentiated lifecycle customer experience,” says Crayfourd.

His task is to define what that would look like and then work out how Orange can deliver it Europe-wide. A number of pilots have already been run, validating Crayfourd’s initial insights and providing a framework around which to build that delivery model.

“My role allows me to be strategic on one hand, with the development of the ’Mood’ customer engagement and transformation strategy, through to being very ’hands-on’ in delivering with a country one of the transformation initiatives,” he says.

“Due to the nature of a group role and the projects I work on, I tend to work in large virtual local teams, and try to act as a facilitator of the project, allowing for an earlier transfer of ownership of the project,” says Crayfourd. Depending on the country and the maturity of its market, as well as Orange’s competitive ranking, a lot of that work will be with both marketing and operations or channel units.

Says Crayfourd/ “As you would imagine, the more mature markets are fairly sophisticated with a plethora of capabilities to ensure we extract every ounce of value out of the data. That’s not to say that you need a lot of technology to be good at delivering a successful data strategy – I’ve seen many excellent examples where a country’s passion and tenacity makes up for a lack of advanced solutions.”

Crayfourd joined Orange three years ago after being headhunted. During seven years working previously at 3, he learned a lot about blending traditional printed media with cutting-edge digital media.

“During this time, I quickly appreciated the power of the data we had at our disposal and over time, my data needs evolved from leveraging data to target customers from a communication point of view through to large-scale analytical insight studies to understanding the end-to-end customer experience,” he recalls.

His early career did not suggest a future wrestling with the complexities of operationalising soft values like mood. Fresh out of school he started work in a small print firm in his home town. It is a sign of Crayfourd’s outlook that he describes it as a “very liberating experience”.

He says: “It was an excellent experience in understanding the needs of the customer in the front of the shop and being empowered to follow and own the job all the way through the process, from making the plates, printing and finishing the job to handing the finished product back to the customer.”

Complex organisations like Orange are constantly trying to sew their multiple operational units together in a way that replicates this corner store experience. Crayfourd will no doubt draw on his early working life to help build the customer lifecycle experience at his current company.

Working with outsourced services providers has helped him to get pilots up and running quickly without drawing heavily on Orange’s IT resources. Careful business cases are developed for each one in order to define “what success looks like” and ensure it will suppor the group’s local country objectives.

“My next biggest challenge is cross-silo stakeholder buy-in. I find it always pays to invest a lot of time upfront to ensure the right senior people and their support structure are bought into the initiative to ensure a smooth as possible roll out,” he says.

When not working out how to transform the way customers experience Orange, Crayfourd can be found spending time with his family, walking the dog, taking his son to football matches, or playing golf. Some of those are even good for his mood.

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