Interview With CX Ambassador Nicole Sult

Interview with Nicole Sult, senior director of customer experience at Lippert Components—the world’s leading supplier of high-quality RV products—about her career in the customer experience space.

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Sara Staffaroni

August 3, 2020

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This month's CX Ambassador is Nicole Sult, senior director of customer experience at Lippert Components, the world’s leading supplier of high-quality RV products.

We recently partnered with Nicole to release a webinar on how to bridge the customer experience gap across the organization. In the webinar, Nicole shared how she established a collaborative CX program that leverages customer feedback and enforces customer-centric strategies across departments.

Q: Why are you in the customer experience industry? 

I can’t say that I’ve ever thought about “why” I’m in the CX industry, but looking back, I can see that I’ve always been aware of customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX)

My roots are grounded in improving processes and efficiency for all users. As I wove my career throughout customer service, field service, and technologies, there was an evolution into CX that felt like home. 

I love customer experience because it’s applicable everywhere and when you’ve had a great experience you can feel it. It’s a dream job to hang out with Campers, listen to their stories, and create something special from those interactions.

Q: How would you describe your customer experience program? 

Our customer experience program is in its infancy as a stand-alone department. While it may be small at the moment, the impact of the program is quite large. 

Today our CX program includes three pillars: Brand Ambassadors, Lippert Scouts, and “everything else.”  In all three categories, we are connecting with Campers and customers to hear their feedback on a variety of topics. 

We’ve structured our team and program to range from personal relationships with our Ambassadors to a robust research community (Lippert Scouts) where we can leverage insight from our many active and passionate Campers.

Q: How is your CX team structured?

Our CX team consists of a few versatile team members who have unique experiences from one another. Our diversity is part of the secret sauce to bring customer feedback forward in a meaningful way. 

We sit smack dab in the middle of many teams and have the privilege to serve as team members across the organization. Today our team of four includes me, a CX coordinator, a relationship manager, and another customer experience architect. We’re fortunate enough to have other departmental hands to help us create and monitor activity.

Q: What is a typical day in the life for your team?

Our team has the supreme pleasure of connecting with Campers daily. In terms of a typical day, we’ve yet to land on typical. Each day we’re taking what we hear from Campers and our internal partners to create platforms and conversations where the two pieces of the puzzle can connect. It has created an always-thinking mindset that allows us to be both creative and tactical as we move through our day.

Q: What are you most proud of in your customer experience career? 

As I reflect on my career, the moments that stand out the most are those where someone said “it’s not possible” and then the team made it possible—with style. Those moments are precious to me because it has propelled not only my career but also the careers of my teammates. 

I am especially proud of the work we did to transform our Contact Center from a transactional processing site to a full-service support center where customers enjoyed contacting us and employees enjoyed serving them. When we felt the significance of what we had created, Salesforce took notice as well and awarded us with a Trailblazer Award for Growth.  

I am also proud to have traveled the world with my company and with Salesforce sharing the power of CX and EX, helping people see it’s tangible, it’s possible, and it’s necessary. 

With Salesforce, we created Trailblazers for the Future, and I had the opportunity to speak in amazing cities to fantastic people. Never in my dreams did I expect to be standing in Paris or London or San Francisco talking about customer experience. And yet, I did it. 

Q: What has been your biggest customer experience challenge? 

At the moment, our biggest challenge is around data. We have data but we haven’t yet leveraged it to create the personalized experiences and deep learning we know exists between the lines of information.

We’re tackling this challenge by understanding what’s most important to our internal partners and where they anticipate leveraging said data. We intend to first deliver for our partners and empower their daily work, and then find a tool that will allow us to bring together the insights and details about our Campers to make their stories come to life.

Q: Is there anything about your work that keeps you up at night?

Capturing customer feedback is an always-on activity and it’s occurring in so many channels. My mind is always thinking about how to best leverage and collate the feedback of our customers for our stakeholders. It’s such an important piece of the innovation cycle and I want everyone to get everything they need. So while I’m lying awake thinking about data streams, I remind myself not to have analysis paralysis and go with the flow. 

Q: What are some best practices that you would recommend to other CX professionals?

Keep an open mind with your mouth shut and your ears listening. I have found that when speaking with your customers and your internal partners, the words they use aren’t necessarily representing what they are looking to achieve. 

By keeping your mind open to receive feedback, the translation and impact of follow-up action can be powerful beyond solving the initial “complaint.” Without active listening, many valuable details and intents can be lost.

Q: How would you define great customer experience?

I define a great customer experience as an experience with a brand that felt right. Experience is about being in the moment, and as a customer, I don’t want to think about what happened, I want to feel like that moment was personal. As a CX professional, we have the opportunity to design those moments to feel natural and “just right.” How cool is that?

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