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CX Strategy – learning from Siobhan Hennessy at Musgraves

Siobhan Hennessy speaking at CXPA Ireland Siobhan Hennessy, Head of Customer Experience at Musgrave speaking at a recent CXPA event shared the alarming statistic put forward by Bain that eight out of nine global customer experience programmes fail. Working as a consultants in the Irish context we at W5 see significantly better rates of success than one in nine but anecdotally there certainly are companies wasting a lot of time and a lot of money on something that isn’t working here also. What’s worse, given how these failures typically play out, companies can end up losing more than just their investment in a better customer experience. They lose credibility – in the eyes of their employees, and potentially even their customers.

Siobhan has a wealth of real world experience in the CX space and she shared generously the highs and lows of her CX work to date to allow others to learn from her experience and succeed with customer centric strategies.  Prior to Siobhan’s current role at Musgraves she coordinated the CX strategy and programme implementation for Bank of Ireland in the Irish market and her experience during the previous 10 years related to setting up green field customer experience programmes in telcos, namely eir, Vodafone Ireland and AOL therefore the audience was treated to a smorgasbord of tips and tricks from a number of different fields.

Siobhan’s speech found a strong resonance in the room full of practitioners when she spoke of the enormity of the challenge facing CX leaders and she offered her advice to attempt to eat the CX elephant one bite at a time by keeping focus on four key aspects of CX strategy: Voice of the customer, Delivery (Fix), Design (Build), Culture.

Voice of the Customer

Siobhan is a strong believer in the power of really understanding customers. She offered the view that there is no one single metric that will deliver all the information needed. Rather to really understand customers the successful CX strategy will be informed by a multifaceted, sophisticated VOC programme capturing transactional plus relationship metrics as well as operational metrics in real time. She recommended strong driver analysis to identify what matters most for customers and that the programme should be made available to all via an accessible dashboard to drive employee engagement.


Siobhan shared a number of tips in terms of acting on the customer intelligence that has been collected. She recommended finding willing owners to drive improvements, using customer journey mapping to identify how to make the improvements customers want and finally identifying clear KPIs with linkage to revenue so that the business is kept focussed. She shared with us her experience of the importance of governance for CX and making delivering on improvements integrated to the day job so that momentum is sustained.


In the area of culture Siobhan shared some strong examples of working to inspire rather than insist on customer centricity. In her time in Bank of Ireland she noted a really strong practice of recognising good work and ‘catching’ people when they are working strongly. She also strongly recommended ‘eating your own dogfood’ so in her time in Vodafone colleagues would have signed up for prepaid phone and used that exclusively so they  had the complete customer experience. Other suggestions relate to speed dating with relevant customers for Csuite executives and delivering strong internal comms to highlight really successful initiatives.


Siobhan was probably most evangelical here with her strong belief that successful organisations need to move from

  • Customer focus: where the company thinks like a business and thinks the customer into the business process, to
  • Customer centric: where the organisation thinks like a customer.

She shared with us her strong belief that designing to elicit a strong positive emotional response is key and used as an example her recent experience of eating at the Shebeen at Dunbrody where the experience was designed to elicit strong positive memories with inexpensively priced ice cream wafers for dessert delivering on VFM cues but also nostalgia and novelty. This design needs to be delivered via successful application of either Service Design or Design thinking methodology.

In the panel discussion after Siobhan’s talk the focus with Paul Allen, Consultant, Strategy Professor and Board member of Fighting Blindness and Aisling Dearle, Executive Coach and Financial Services &  Information Technology Manager in Hewlett Packard  was on the challenges of culture change and delivering real belief in the possibilities of Customer experience change. Paul Allen noted tongue in cheek that in his experience, belief in customer experience at this stage in Ireland can be seen as analogous to belief in religion. Organisations tend not to believe unless at point of crisis that the programmes deliver. Thankfully programmes are delivering and Siobhan shared strong examples of where they have under her guidance.

Siobhan Hennessey, Musgraves was speaking at a CXPA Ireland event. CXPA (Customer Experience Professionals Association) Ireland is the Irish chapter of the global CXPA organisation that comes together to promote and develop Customer Experience best practice.  As a rapidly growing organisation we are keen to welcome new members and anyone with an interest in CX to become involved. Please contact the CXPA here at cxpaireland@gmail.com to join.

W5 works with leading organisations to transform their customer experience, enabling them to deliver their brand promise every day, in every way.

If you are interested to learn more about how we can help you deliver consistently excellent customer experience, contact our team at (+353) 1 4973400info@W5.ie or Managing Director Tim Farmer at tfarmer@w5.ie

John Doe

John Doe

We are in a dynamic time. Change is rapid and exponential. This can create a widening gap between your business and the market, impacting growth and future success. Customer centricity is a constant process of anticipation, design, and implementation. That’s where we come in.

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