Welcome back to the XI Café Podcast! In order to continue Experience Improvement, the XI Café Podcast was created so that CX program owners around the world could join the conversation and learn from global businesses and industry experts about the latest experience improvement innovations in technology and research services, industry and market expertise, and customer (CX) and employee (EX) engagement best practices.
In the latest episode of the XI Café Podcast, we interviewed Marina Strbac, who leads the Membership Experience Team at the New Zealand Automobile Association (NZAA). Marina is a people-focused, data-informed professional with a passion for customer-centric marketing.
Here are some of the questions and answers we covered:
Q: What is the structure of the membership experience team at NZAA?
A: Marina leads a small team of four diverse humans from vastly different backgrounds—UX/UI design, math, and marketing all combined together to create optimized experiences for NZAA members. When it came to pitching and embedding an insights-to-action VoC program, the whole team worked together to implement an experience improvement program that would eventually support 1 million+ New Zealanders!
Q: How did you get the NZAA Voice of Customer Program off the ground and what were the bumps on the way?
A: The team leveraged all their skill sets and adapted as they progressed.
The initiative changed as business circumstances changed. Originally, the team aimed to set up a company-wide VoC program, and eventually, the team pivoted toward a membership-only, journey focused VoC program that was approved by the wider business. Three months later, the program went live!
Q: You now have a VoC program in place with a large volume of data flowing in. Marketers are somewhat overwhelmed with the vast array of data points already available (website, emails,…) how do you integrate VoC data for marketing purposes?
A: From Marina’s perspective, there’s no need to be overwhelmed by data—instead, ask yourself a few questions. Which insights/data points matter the most? Why do they matter the most? Qualify both of these against your business strategy and business goals. Take your own perception out of it, and instead re-focus on the wider business strategy.
Once you have the answers, data and insights are pretty straightforward. Measure the baseline of the data points you’re interested in, set up a test and learn matrix, and keep going with reiteration— remove things that don’t work, and keep those that do. Remember that context is important, so do what you can to be data and insight INFORMED, not merely data driven.
In practice, NZAA identified that the “onboarding” member journey was important to track. The team knew engagement was dropping—and with membership retention as a key metric for the business, this was an important challenge to tackle. There were a lot of hypotheses from different people in the business, but ultimately the team needed to understand the “why” behind the onboarding challenge. With that in mind, the team pushed beyond open rates and click through rates, and set key metrics for customer intelligence. NPS, CSAT, and sentiment measures were set and with verbatims on top, understanding the WHY behind engagement drop became easier. Now, the team has the business data overlaid with VoC data, and they can see a fuller picture—they learned it’s a whole lot more complex than the original hypothesis. Through a test-and-learn approach, the membership team is driving optimisations based around justified prioritization.
Q: What was the “aha” moment that made you realise the potential of adding customer data to your marketing decision making process?
A: With 15+ years of experience, and over ten years in direct-to-customer, Marina has always integrated insights into communications and campaigns, and she acknowledges that customer data points at our disposal have evolved. You now need to overlay business data, operational data, and customer insights to get a full picture. The entire business capability needs to be lifted to enable customer centric marketing endeavors. Marketers need propensity models, a well-oiled marketing automation platform, and prioritized test-and-learn matrics just to name a few. As a marketer, you can’t build these alone.
The aha moments happen when you’re working with other parts of the business, connecting the dots and asking questions like, “is it correlation or causation?” With a focus on customer actions and the passion for creating better experiences, you’ll constantly have those ‘aha’ moments. Curiosity tangents should be encouraged as that is usually where the magic happens.
Q: How are you planning to further grow your VoC program to improve the effectiveness of your marketing?
A: Next up for NZAA is strategic customer journey mapping! The business will identify key pain points and validate these with operational data. Of course, all different business units will have varying opinions, but NZAA will use business and VoC data to validate these.
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