Speaker in Focus Interview – Rachel Carrell
With the Customer Engagement Transformation Conference less than 3 months away, we want to give you a sneak preview of just some of the content you will expect to hear from our Topic Streams and Case Studies. Today, Rachel Carrell, CEO and Founder of KoruKids joins us to discuss customer engagement approaches, key trends in employee engagement and customer engagement within a service design framework…
1) Please tell us more about the Customer Engagement approach that Koru Kids has adopted:
Koru Kids has multiple customers: our parents, our nannies, and the children they look after. We think about what each of these quite different customer groups needs.
We are constantly learning about our customers via our three main sources of insight: structured surveys such as Net Promoter Score, unstructured opportunistic feedback, and deep dive ‘ethnography’ which takes place in users’ homes. All three of these combine to give us a really rich picture of what’s going on.
We have a platform which instantly shares customer insights with the whole team, and we often take action on things within minutes of receiving the feedback or gaining the insights. That’s a wonderful thing about working in a small startup team – if we become aware of anything that could be better, we can often fix it for everyone almost immediately.
2) How do you maintain that culture throughout the whole organisation?
Having a customer-centric organisation starts with hiring the right people. We put a lot of time and effort into making sure that everyone in the team shares our core values and attitudes, which include things like client service. We make it clear in our job ads and in every recruitment interaction that we really value qualities like friendliness, willingness to take feedback and accept responsibility, and diligent follow-through. When you create a team in which everyone shares these qualities, it’s natural that you’re going to be customer-centric. The systems that you then establish just reinforce the natural tendencies of the team.
The very first question we ask everyone is, ‘Why Koru Kids?’ We want to see a real connection with the mission of the company, which is to build the world’s best childcare service. Some team members identify most strongly with working parents, and love the idea that they’re working to make parents’ lives easier. Others identify most strongly with the nannies, and love the idea that we’re giving nannies fantastic jobs and supporting them in their careers. Still others love the way that great childcare can be transformative for the kids, and our plans to make this even better. These three different lenses on ‘the customer’ make us a well rounded team.
3) What do you think the key trends are in employee engagement?
I’m really interested in the trend towards ‘radical candour’, or ‘radical transparency’, the idea . that employers should make as much information as possible transparent to all employees—including things like performance reviews and salary data. I’ve worked in traditional corporate environments and I know how crazy that sounds—but I also have some founder friends who are building their companies this way from the very start. A popular book at the moment among founders is Ray Dalio’s book Principles, which outlines radical transparency he has applied it in his hugely successful company, Bridgewater Associates. It’s a really provocative read.
As we know, employees need three fundamental things to feel engaged in their work: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Transparency helps with the autonomy because it gives people more context within which to make decisions. While we haven’t gone all the way on it, at Koru Kids we have been influenced by this trend and we do try to be transparent by default.
4) What does Customer Engagement mean within a service design framework?
For us, service design means understanding how what we do fits into the broader context of our users’ lives. That’s one of the reasons that we’ve invested heavily in ethnography – to really understand deeply what our users need from us. We’re not a company that designs cool tech or digital products and then figures out what to do with them. Instead we work really hard to figure out what our users’ main problems are, and then solve them.