Volkswagen Group Australia Pty Ltd (VGA) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the parent company, Volkswagen AG. It is the importer, wholesaler and distributor of Volkswagen Passenger Vehicles, Commercial Vehicles and Škoda Passenger Vehicles in the Australian market. Headquartered in NSW in a purpose built facility, Volkswagen has a team of approximately 200 people.
Volkswagen had attempted to develop its customer experience capability prior to our partnership with them, however they had done so at a ‘lower’ level and without sponsorship at board level – as a result, customer experience did not get the traction it deserves.
Thereafter, "Volkswagen decided to put customer experience at the heart of everything it does."
To support this philosophy and as a statement of intent to the business and market, a director level role was created with a direct line report to the Managing Director.
The term ‘Customer Experience’ was not new to businesses, but the addition of a senior appointment with exclusive focus, particularly in Australia, was a major change in strategy. Many organisations have been slow to add customer experience to their structure through fear of failure, lack of resource and lack of skilled talent but those that have, noticed increased opportunities in customer retention, customer loyalty and customer satisfaction.
The trend within larger organisations within the retail and services sectors has been to transition heads of marketing into customer experience. The success of changing these structures has largely been through securing funding, budget and the resources, usually through a global directive.
Ivor Lloyd-Rees, Six Degrees’ Manager – Sales & Marketing Recruitment Division in Sydney, worked closely with Volkswagen’s HR Director to identify and secure a Director of Customer Experience. Specifically, we were looking to identify talent able to engage with and influence senior stakeholders, whilst taking teams (generally unfamiliar with the true concept of customer experience) on a change journey to ensure maximum integration across all business units and brands.
We were able to leverage our talent engagement team to map the entire Customer Experience market in Australia. The market in Australia varies from having Customer Experience as part of a Marketing Director’s job title to having a single authority on it in some companies to teams of 10+ in the large telcos and financial institutions. With extensive telephone screening, background research and thorough rigorous competency based assessment, we were able to present a detailed market map (with a full insights report) and ultimately a shortlist of the best customer experience talent in the market.
The Director of Customer Experience’s mandate was to embed customer experience at all levels of Volkswagen, leading a change management program starting at Board level. Deep dive analysis was required to chart customer journey across all of Volkswagen’s touch points to ensure the customer experience was integrated.
Six Degrees is very proud to have assisted VGA to add Customer Experience into everything they do across all touchpoints from dealers to call centres, marketing to finance. This has allowed VGA to remain ahead of the curve in the automotive industry. The board level representation will be key to instilling an ethos of Customer Experience across the business with a candidate that has successfully achieved great results in previous organisations. With much publicity surrounding some brand issues the organisation were having at the time, the successful Director of Customer Experience has had a busy start to their career!