A CMO’s View: DHL’s Focus On Its Customer Drives The Brand’s Marketing Strategy
As the Chief Customer Officer, Christine Nashick oversees DHL's marketing, customer service and customer experience teams.
Leading logistics company DHL has built its brand by focusing on the customer experience.
“It allows us to be a more agile company, even though we’re a large, global enterprise,” says Christine Nashick, the company’s Chief Customer Officer.
“All employees know that at the heart of our marketing efforts and customer strategies is the understanding that they can take ownership of helping find solutions to customer problems. This underscores our Insanely Customer Centric culture.”
[pullquote]”It allows us to be a more agile company, even though we’re a large, global enterprise.”[/pullquote]
In her role, Nashick drives the strategic direction of DHL’s marketing, pricing, customer service and customer experience efforts. She says her marketing and customer service teams are interdependent, each relying on the other.
“Marketing relies on the valuable Voice of Customer (VOC) feedback that Customer Service collects,” says Nashick, “Customer Service, in turn, depends on marketing to address that customer feedback via our shipping systems, customer and sales tools, website content and service enhancements.”
The first-appointed Chief Customer Officer for DHL US, Nashick has more than 12 years’ tenure with the brand, holding leadership roles in various departments, including operations programs, compliance and IT. Today, she shares how her brand’s customer experience strategy drives the company’s marketing efforts.
1. Customer-centricity must be a focus for all levels of the organization.
2. High levels of customer empathy and employee empowerment to react immediately to change a customer experience.
3. Ongoing analytics to track performance on all customer touchpoints.
Amy Gesenhues: How does DHL’s customer experience strategy impact its marketing strategy?
Christine Nashick: Because customer experience is central to our brand, our marketing tactics are purposely designed to support that.
Our digital efforts are designed as portals to provide our customers with relevant and useful information when they need it, as well as channels by which they can communicate back to us. It’s all part of the fabric that helps us serve as a business partner and trusted resource.
The marketing analytics that we derive from Voice of Customer (VOC) feedback sources also help us understand how to update web content and other tools to make them more customer-friendly and functional.
Amy Gesenhues: What analytics do you use to gain insight into DHL’s customer experience efforts?
Christine Nashick: Insight into our customer experience comes from our ongoing NPA (Net Promoter Approach) projects and Customer Service reporting, which includes social media reporting, as well as our quarterly Insanely Customer Centric Market Research and annual Customer Satisfaction research.
Customer insights have helped us tap into what is important to our customers, and then we in turn try to ensure our brand and service delivers on those attributes. It makes customers not only loyal but also advocates.
Amy Gesenhues: Can you give me an example of where your marketing and customer service teams’ efforts overlap?
Christine Nashick: The two teams work together closely on our social channels and offer real-time support to address questions or concerns.
For example, our Go Global website aggregates all kinds of information about international shipping and business that is directly relevant to our customers. The site features regularly updated information from many government and third-party sources, not just DHL’s information. It really is a one-stop shop for doing business overseas.
Our DHL customer experience must support our brand positioning as international shipping specialists. Marketing stays very close to customer feedback and helps drive programs that support our desired customer experience of ease of use and one-stop shopping for international shipping.
Multifaceted customer engagement has replaced the one-dimensional idea of customer service, and customer engagement must strive to be meaningful and continually improved.
Amy Gesenhues: Tell me more about DHL’s process for building and maintaining its customer experience.
Christine Nashick: The process begins with the idea that we aren’t here to push our messages forward. We’re engaging with businesses by providing them with great content and support.
To ensure we’re on the right track with customers, we utilize NPA (Net Promoter Approach). Through NPA, our management teams are making calls weekly, listening to customers and understanding their points of view. This input helps us fix immediate individual issues [in] real time, as well as create longer-term projects to address any customer experience opportunities identified in the open-ended feedback we receive via NPA.
Tracking of our project, as well as overall NPA scores, helps us stay close to our commitment to deliver a high-quality customer experience.
We also have a program called Straight to the Top, where customers can go onto our public website and send a message directly to our CEO — No gatekeepers bar the way or dilute the messages which are seen by our CEO, our Customer Service leader and myself.
Amy Gesenhues: What are your biggest challenges when it comes to being a “customer-centric” brand?
Christine Nashick: You must have a mindset and behavior at all levels of the organization to put the customer at the center of everything you do, so your strategy must not only touch but engage employees of all levels.
It cannot be just connecting to the senior leadership; you must also know how to engage back-office employees who may not meet customers but who are important contributors to customers’ experiences.
Everyone must understand specific ways they can keep the customer at the center of everything they do and really believe in the approach.
Amy Gesenhues: Where do you see most brands missing the boat when it comes to the customer experience?
Christine Nashick: To deliver on customer experience, a company must understand all touch points it has with a customer. It would be missing the boat to believe that it is only necessary to have a good product or service without ensuring items around the product or service, such as the customer service, warranty or billing, also create a good customer experience.
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