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Interview

Neil Gregory, Head of Customer Happiness, Naked Wines and speaker at our 2019 Customer Engagement Summit, gives insight into his case study and role …

Can you give us an introduction to your organisation?

Naked Wines is an online wine retailer that exists to bring wine drinkers together with the world’s best winemakers, and to give everyone a better deal. Since 2008, we’ve challenged the status quo of the wine industry by asking our customers, who we call Angels, to help us invest directly into independent winemakers by saving money in their account each month. We use this money to cut out the ‘middle men’ and fund winemakers’ production of new blends and vintages without subjecting them to additional marketing and merchandising costs they’d normally incur working for large wineries and supermarkets. It works a bit like a piggy bank for wine, and in return for their investment, we give our Angels better-than-market prices, plus other perks like free samples and invitations to our tasting tours where they can meet their winemakers. Angels can also use our website to interact directly with the people responsible for the wine on their dinner table, and even to help them shape future blends.

Can you provide an insight into a ‘day in the life’ of your role?

As Head of Customer Happiness, I’m responsible for around 70 customer-facing team members, all tasked with giving our customers the best possible service. I spend most of my time looking at the reasons our customers get in touch with us, and working with my team and other departments to use these insights to give everyone – our customers, our team and our suppliers – a better experience. Oh, and I make sure to have a game of ping pong every lunchtime.

What motivates you?

Change. I’m passionate about challenging convention and finding ways to do better business that puts a smile on the faces of our customers and our team. I come from a sports coaching background, so I love seeing our people develop and grow, too.

How have customers changed?

Expectations are high, and getting higher. Customers expect quality products and personalised services, delivered quickly and at low cost. At the same time, there’s growing interest in sustainability and options for customers to reduce their impact on the environment. Exciting and very worthwhile challenges to meet!

What has been your biggest success?

I’m going to sidestep this question a little bit as my experience and my belief are that consistently high achievement outweighs one-off success, but putting our Customer Happiness Team’s focus on 5* customer feedback (not 4 and 5) a few years back was definitely a turning point that’s enabled us to deliver better and better service ever since.

Can you give an overview of your case study from the Customer Engagement Summit?

I’m passionate about treating colleagues as customers. It’s a simple concept – treat the people you work with, your ‘internal’ customers with the same approach you use with ‘external’ customers and you’ll form stronger working relationships, communicate more quickly and effectively, and promote a truly customer-centric culture.

At Naked we already had an established and successful structure for our interactions with customers who buy wine from us – all the ingredients you’d expect: empathy, attention, promptness etc. To take our service to the next level, and to keep a high-performing Customer Happiness team motivated, we looked to bring this same approach inside the business. We now work on the principle that the people who work with us deserve and benefit from the same approach we give to the people who buy from us.

This has strengthened communication between team members and teams, and helped drive improvements in our NPS, customer satisfaction and first contact resolution scores.

What did you enjoy most about the event?

The genuinely interesting array of speakers. I felt spoilt for choice on the schedule throughout.

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