Office Depot, the leading supplier of office equipment in Europe, has been through a major period of change following its acquisition by AURELIUS Equity Opportunities in early 2017.
Neil Sturrock joined the company as Customer Services Director for Europe at the end of last year, with the challenge of refocusing the company’s customer engagement strategy from its previous, overly-corporate structure to a more disruptive approach. SabioSense interviewed Neil to learn more about Office Depot Europe’s evolving CX plans.
Office Depot Europe is on record about its commitment to placing customers at the heart of everything you do – what impact is this having on your customer engagement strategy?
Office Depot has a great history and reputation, but we’re now very much about widening out our business strategy – particularly when it comes to the provision of office services and solutions to our base of over 1.2 million small and mid-size companies. From my perspective, the company’s refocus provides a great opportunity to get involved in a complete refresh of our customer engagement approach – enabling us to develop the kind of customer journeys that allow us to deliver a best practice experience for all of our customers regardless of the channels involved.
Was the opportunity to get involved in a major CX refresh what attracted you to the Office Depot Europe role?
Definitely. I’ve spent the last 20 years working in the customer services sector for a range of leading organisations, from major financial services businesses such as NatWest Bank and Citi, telecoms providers like Orange, and major outsourcers including Sitel. More recently I spent two years with Apple, where I was focused on customer retention, before spending time in the Caribbean running customer contact operations for Unique Vacations – the engagement arm of the organisation that runs Sandals and Beaches Resorts.
Joining Office Depot Europe is a great opportunity for me, as it will involve bringing together different strands in my career to help build really great experiences for our online, mail order service and call centre customers.
So how do you set about developing a new customer engagement strategy for Office Depot Europe?
We’re busy looking at how our end-to-end processes impact customers right across the business, so that – before we embark on any significant CX changes – we’ve got a true understanding and benchmark of where we’re starting from. It’s essential that we get the details right. Indeed, having worked at Apple, I’m always aware that it’s the relentless focus on keeping processes simple that translates into a consistent, positive experience for customers.
How important are digital channels for Office Depot?
Digital is obviously central to the overall Office Depot customer experience, but we’ve also got to ensure we offer high quality engagement across all our operations. We’ve always been strong at supporting our traditional office supplies business through our contact centre operation – indeed we’ve worked closely with organisations such as Sabio to support our customer contact operations with Workforce Optimisation solutions such as speech analytics.
However, the next step is to make sure that we’re supporting non-voice channels with the same high-quality approach. We also believe it’s important to see channels such as web and chat as part of a broader customer journey. Increasingly, customers that are contacting our website have already been online, so we need to make sure that our offer takes account not just of who the customer is, but also their recent interactions with Office Depot and what they’re likely to be contacting us about.
What are your goals for customer engagement at Office Depot?
Enabling a disruptive customer engagement strategy isn’t just about adding more channels and innovative technology. At Office Depot we’re determined to measure ourselves against customer service leaders across all sectors – not just our immediate rivals in the office equipment space.
This means building on those areas of customer journey that are already working well, while also unlocking further value by aligning customer satisfaction, our employee engagement as well as operational efficiencies across our end-to-end customer contact infrastructure. It’s central to everything we do at Office Depot.