Conveying the Customer Experience through Storytelling

2014 Customer Champion Tom Mueller, vice president of client experience at ADP, makes data meaningful by mapping the customer's journey.
Customer Experience

Collecting and analyzing your customers' feedback is crucial for delivering an excellent customer experience. But it is also easy to get lost in the data, making it difficult to identify insights and act on them. As the vice president of client experience at ADP, Tom Mueller has spearheaded processes to help executives and other senior leaders better understand their clients' needs and include customer feedback in company decisions.

Mueller works with clients in ADP's small business market. His team listens to recorded service calls, reads client comments, analyzes CRM cases, and leverages text analytics to identify specific areas that are important to clients.

Under Mueller's direction, ADP has implemented processes and technology to integrate and pull key learnings from CRM data, call center notes, survey responses, and social media. Armed with this information, ADP employees can close the loop with unhappy customers, identify problems, and make recommendations on products and communications by analyzing aggregated data.

There is a common misconception, however, that the team's main role is to "crunch data," Mueller notes. "Some people assume that we're just data collectors and we slice and dice the data and then move on," he says. "We had to get away from simply presenting numbers and stats and do more storytelling."

Over the past year, Mueller and his team focused on conveying customer insights through "a journey mapping experience." To help their colleagues better understand their clients' needs, Mueller and his team presented information about the challenges small business owners face by sharing stories interspersed with data points, client interviews, and recorded calls.

Supporting the data analyses with interviews and customers' comments helped illustrate the insights Mueller and his team were trying to convey. "We'll present the data and say, 'this is what our customers are saying, and now I want you to hear what it sounds like,'" Mueller explains. "We'll play multiple calls so that the data becomes real to them."

In addition, Mueller led efforts to help employees who don't directly interact with the company's clients feel more engaged with them. One of Mueller's initiatives was to have ADP executives including general managers, the company's president, and members of the senior leadership team call clients twice a year to gather feedback ADP has also begun inviting clients to participate in company meetings, such as brain-storming sessions.

As a result, ADP has begun to incorporate customer feedback into more of its decisions and communications with customers. For example, during a forced migration to a new platform, ADPwas able to mitigate disruptions through a comprehensive client service and communications process.

"Storytelling is critical," Mueller notes. "While the data and the insights we're providing are important, we also have to come up with an effective way of conveying that data in a way that reflects the customer experience and leads to actions."