Award-winning customer experience programme sets sail
By Jonathan Mohadeb the 15 October 2020
The CMA CGM Group, a world leader in transport and logistics, and Cegos recently won Silver in the prestigious Brandon Hall Excellence Awards for ‘Best Learning Programme Supporting a Change Transformation Business Strategy’. Here, we tell the story of how our Cegos team helped CMA CGM develop customer-centricity across their Sales and Customer Service divisions through their managers.
The CMA CGM Group has experienced significant growth over the last few years and is now one of the major players in the industry. Yet the board knew that they had to differentiate themselves to remain competitive. They decided to focus on improving the quality of their customer service, staying true to a new motto: “Caring beyond Shipping”.
Previously, the company had completed an analysis of the Customer Journey from an operational perspective and designed a framework for improving the process at every step. Despite initial success, however, customer feedback was not as positive as hoped and the effect of initial workshops did not last, so a different approach was called for.
The CMA CGM Group and its Academy engaged Cegos in 2018, with a view to implementing a training programme with a customer-centric theme. They had three operational objectives:
- Simplify the customer journey
- Improve the quality of customer interactions
- Enable country managers, Sales people and Customer Service teams to find ways to improve the customer experience
After much discussion and research, our team designed the ‘Customer Experience Training Programme’ – a blended, multi-modal learning initiative involving virtual, online and face-to-face delivery, with 3 innovative types of e-learning.
There was, however, some complexity in aiming to meet very different goals. Local agencies wanted to train their sales and customer service teams on soft skills, to improve the quality of interactions and customer perception at key touchpoints. On the other hand, the group was keen to raise awareness of the customer experience transformation and equip key players to run Customer Journey workshops with major clients.
In the end, building a balanced programme and achieving the right mix between enhancing customer interaction and developing customer journey mapping was a key success factor.
The programme rapidly evolved into one with a more holistic approach, improving levels of empathy in customer interactions, developing a customer-oriented culture and re-examining the experience directly with customers.
Route to success
We piloted the Customer Experience Programme in four countries initially, involving 764 participants. It was a resounding success, with an average satisfaction rating of 4.5/5.
So, what did we do right?
Firstly, it was important to introduce an element of change management in the programme. We included a specific module to help managers implement change and equip them with the tools to get buy-in from their teams. This was considered the first brick in building a customer-centric culture in the company.
The programme was also designed to promote action-based learning. Managers were trained to develop soft skills and behaviours that would have a direct impact on the customer experience immediately following the course. Each manager was encouraged to apply the customer experience method by practicing it with their team, then testing it with key customers.
Finally, it was vital from the outset to get support from management in the right places. A customer journey mapping workshop took place with one US customer. The success stressed out the importance of placing customers in the center and truly listening to their expectations, even more. However, to ensure lasting changes in everyday practices, the first experience showed that local commitment is key.
This convinced the CMA CGM project sponsor to stress the importance of strong local ownership of the strategy. As such, we worked to convince local senior management of the benefits of improving the customer experience and the quick wins for their sales and service teams.
The next step was to identify a local VIP sponsor to embody the customer experience culture and inspire transformation. In order to create a cultural shift that would last, it was agreed that the programme should be rolled out to all teams worldwide.
A rewarding voyage
Several local managers observed that teams who attended the programme made considerable progress. Customer service staff generated faster responses because they called customers rather than emailed them. This also helped them confirm customer understanding and diffuse any tension or potential dissatisfaction.
As an example, let us share some participants’ feedback. “Such quality training on company and self-transformation is new at CMA CGM and we should cherish this golden opportunity”. “The impact on our employee’s curiosity and interests is vibrant at all levels, and we now have momentum to include each individual in this collaborative journey of transformation”.
By the summer of 2020, the programme was due to be rolled out on a global scale to 160 countries, involving 7000 participants. Unfortunately, however, the Covid-19 pandemic proved to be too disruptive. Nonetheless, a 100% virtual programme is now being trialed and will no doubt play an integral part in future training, even when the pandemic subsides.