Image: Paris Presents LinkedIn
Paris Presents is the fastest growing beauty product company worth under $1 billion in the US. As Chief Customer Officer, Bob Wiltz is leading an organisation-wide focus on the customer. In this interview, we asked Bob about their secret to enabling rapid growth through a shift from a transactional to a strategic approach.
TotalCustomer: How did the Chief Customer Officer role come about in Paris Presents?
BW: It started with a recognition that the only way we could grow was through a focus on our customers. We set a vision and three-year plan that centred on embracing customers, treating them as our brand and galvanising the entire organisation to do the same.
The challenge was that no-one could define the role of the Chief Customer Officer and part of the process was promoting why the role was needed. Ultimately, the difference I make as a CCO is enabling an organisation-wide recognition of the importance of the customer.
TotalCustomer: How did you enable the company-wide transformation towards customer-centric growth?
BW: By collaborating across project teams or “subject-matter experts” to embrace this plan of growth – from sales and marketing through to operations and finance. We focused on breaking down an organisational structure based on departmental silos. We wanted to manage horizontally and this ultimately creates a seamless experience for the customer. It creates a single point of accountability and the speed and flexibility to drive change that benefits the customer.
TotalCustomer: What lessons would you share with those who are just starting their journey as CCOs?
BW: There have been plenty of lessons along the way – it’s what I would call “good scar tissue”! Fundamentally, you need a deep understanding of your customer and how they think. My passion is retail and I’ve always seen myself as a frustrated retailer. For our CEO, it’s all about the brand, but for me, it’s all about understanding the customers’ challenges. If you don’t understand their challenges, you can’t provide their solutions. You can’t help them reach their goals or add value through your products and people. I’ve taken this approach to the extent that my customers have said they never know if I’m selling to them or not!
TotalCustomer: How important is customer data and analytics in improving the customer experience?
BW: I’ve always said that the numbers tell the story and you need to be clear on what story you’re trying to tell. We started with “grandma research” and gathering what women thought of our products through focus groups. So our first step was qualitative and next, we distilled this into quantitative research. We developed a preference score that provided internal focus.
We also looked at the household penetration of our beauty tools. Current penetration is 4% and we convey to our customers the $ value that is possible if we grow penetration from 4% to 10%. To provide external focus, we examine our customers’ shareholders reports. Without these figures, we just sound like any sales person pulled off the street. All retailers face the challenge of managing their fixed store assets and our story is all about demonstrating how they can maximise the return on those assets and secure competitive advantage.
TotalCustomer: What future challenges does Paris Presents face?
BW: Internally, the challenge is supporting employees to understand the growth potential of the company. Last year, we enabled one of our key clients to grow by 140% and naturally, this client wants to anniversarise this volume. However, our teams’ concern is that we can’t sustain this level of growth and they tend to be conservative in their forecasts. We need to engender a belief that we can realise this growth – and it is possible.
Externally, we are focusing on building a master brand and exploring the adjacencies into which we can develop. Colour cosmetics, make-up implements, bags, tool cleaners – these are all ways that we can innovate and continue to deliver value-added growth for our customers.
Bob Wiltz will be speaking at the Chief Customer Officer Connect on June 17th, 4:20pm taking place on 15th-17th June 2015 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami.
To request an invitation to attend, email: firstname.lastname@example.org