For many organizations, the digital journey is full of potential roadblocks. Successful organizations excel at overcoming traditional operational practices, approaches, and mindsets to enable change.

For a well-known global brand like Avon, embracing an omnichannel approach to customer engagement was essential to continue thriving in a digital world. We’re therefore pleased to have Carl Mogridge speak at Forrester’s Summit For Marketing & Strategy Professionals: Australia. Carl is head of digital at Avon Products, leading the company’s initiatives to implement systematic, measurable change on the path to digital disruption.

Carl was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about what he’s doing. Those of you who’ll be with us in Sydney this Wednesday, August 13, can hear even more from Carl. I hope to see you there!

Q: When did your company first begin focusing on the customer experience? Why?

Avon is 127 years old and from day one we’ve focused on creating customer-centric conversations based on personalized service and innovative products. At Avon, we want to be helpful, safe, and reliable to our customers — so our entire customer experience strategy revolves around these simple criteria.

Q: How do you determine which aspects of the customer experience you must try to excel at?

The aspects are always determined by which platforms your customers are communicating with you through. For example, the noticeable move to digital communication makes playing in the social media space absolutely critical. Our social channels are proving a fantastic way of monitoring and contributing to a positive customer experience; connecting, sharing, and responding online allows Avon to continue conversations with our customers in real time. 

More traditional means of communication like phone and email still play a vital role in driving a positive customer experience and act, in some instances, as a complementary channel to our digital platforms.

Q: What, if anything, is different about what you’re doing now to improve the customer experience versus what you did when you were starting out? Why did you change? 

Avon is often referred to as “the original social network.” We’ve always been about connecting people and supporting our community. The level of service to our customers has always remained high, but we are now hungrier than ever to help them. We are more able than ever to listen to and stay connected with our customers. This new level of engagement has helped nearly 6 million people worldwide become an Avon representative and enabled us to reach more than 48 million customers globally. 

Avon’s business model is niche, so we’re excited to extend our customer experience focus to our new eCommerce platform, Avon Online. Digital has helped remove any perceived barriers to Avon; our world-class online shopping experience encourages choice. Products are delivered to your door, along with ongoing customized beauty advice.

Q: How do you measure the success of your customer experience improvement efforts (e.g., higher customer satisfaction, increased revenue, lower costs)? And have you seen progress over time?

As a base, we monitor metrics like overall customer satisfaction, revenue, returns, and operating costs. But we also measure success by the number of smiles we see, the positive stories we hear, and the amount of support we get for philanthropic causes like our Breast Cancer Crusade, which has donated more than $780 million worldwide. Avon is and always will be a people business. We are 100% focused on empowering women and having a positive effect on their lives, relationships, and communities. That’s the real measure of our success.

Q: What would be your advice to companies who are about to embark on their journey to customer experience transformation?

Customer experience is a conversation — it’s two-way communication. A good company listens to the needs of its customers, but a great company acts on that feedback.