Our team at Customer Experience Magazine is honoured to host an interview with Corinne, the trailblazing CEO of Capita Experience. This conversation will delve into her remarkable journey and insights as a female leader.
Corinne, the newly appointed CEO of Capita Experience, accepted the role in October 2022 after serving as the CEO of the Americas at the Adecco Group. With a distinguished career marked by major business transformations and leadership roles across Europe and the Americas, Corinne is not only a seasoned executive but also a passionate advocate for diversity, inclusion, and female empowerment.
As the intentional leader steering Capita, Corinne actively mentors HR technology startups and serves as the executive sponsor of the Capita Gender Equality Network. She leverages her expertise to support underrepresented groups, emphasising her commitment to fostering a more inclusive workplace.
Corinne, take us on your journey and experiences as a female business leader. What are the key lessons or insights you’ve gained from your past roles, and what motivated you to take on the role of CEO at Capita last year?
At the beginning of my career, the narrative around female empowerment and equality did not exist. Very quickly you learn the art of self-reliance and resilience. You surround yourself with people who will support you as friends, colleagues, promoters and ambassadors and create a constellation around you to continuously learn as a collective and find and create opportunities for each other. This is often the advice I give to women coming up in their careers today. Though the landscape has changed, there is still much that needs to be done.
I have always worked in organisations where people are the greatest asset and there is a strong purpose at the core. This is the reason I joined Capita.
Customer experience is a sector that impacts billions of people from every corner of society. Multiple backgrounds, various professions, and nationalities – it is an ultimate equaliser. Our goal is always to create a positive impact on our clients and their customers. The more responsive we are to this, the more we will grow as a business.
In one of the recent articles published for CXM, we wrote about traits of new leadership, and some of them are trust, empathy, and relationship building. Through your work, you focus on building a female equality network and practising business activism. What does it mean to be an Activist Leader, and why is it important to be familiar with this concept if you are a CEO?
For me, this is fundamentally about authenticity and influence and to be successful you have to forget your own ego and workplace politics. To be in a position of such influence is a huge privilege and responsibility and provides an incredible opportunity to make a difference to people and society in what we do and how we do it.
The role of the CEO, of all leaders, has evolved from what was expected 20 years ago. The need to clearly understand what drives employees, to listen and understand has never been more important. People are demanding action from their leaders and leaders in turn must be prepared to execute on their commitments and ensure the readiness of their organisation to embrace change.
The year behind us was challenging for most businesses. Companies feel pressure to innovate, integrate new AI solutions, serve their employees, cut costs, and keep customers satisfied. What was it like becoming a CEO during the cost of living crisis? What were the business priorities during this first year of your leadership?
The ultimate priority this year has been to bring a vision, provide clarity and set expectations. This started with getting to know the organisation from top to bottom – in particular the people interacting with the customers of our clients every day. One year later, I have met more than 4000 colleagues globally. The key to really getting under the skin of the business is to not only ask questions but to truly listen to the answers. Some of my most insightful conversations within the business have been with our front-line customer experience advisers. I see feedback as an absolute necessity and taking direct recommendations from our people and implementing it in our operations has in many cases positively changed how we fulfil the needs of our clients. This clearly indicates that we have the foundations as a business to grow and deliver better outcomes for our clients in 2024 and beyond.
Some recent predictions by McKinsey say that generative AI could add between $2.4 trillion and $4.4. trillion worth of annual productivity worldwide. What will be Capita’s strategic direction when investing in the AI revolution?
Generative AI is at the forefront of Capita Experience’s growth strategy. We use technology to enable our people to best meet the needs of our clients and we are partnering with leaders in the tech industry.
In our recent AI paper ‘The Age of the Augmented Agent’ we highlight the reality, the value, the risk and the responsibility of AI in our industry and fundamentally how it must be embraced as a tool to elevate our people. But change readiness is key. To keep pace with the developments in AI we must prepare our people with the appropriate skills and training to maximise their potential and the functionality of the tools at their disposal.
We are working in collaboration with key clients on generative AI use cases that will be key differentiators for their customers, including increasing rates of single contact resolution and improved empathy in customer interactions.
We see aggressive competition in the CX space for customers’ attention. Companies are using technology and marketing tools to offer diverse and holistic experiences for people. What would you say sets Capita apart from other companies offering similar solutions?
You are right that customer experience is a fiercely competitive sector. It is my drive to provide the best solutions in the market that first attracted me to Capita Experience. Our USP is our relentless focus on putting the right combination of people, data, and technology around our clients to create something transformational. We believe that our highly trained and multi-lingual colleagues are the best in the world when it comes to meeting the disparate needs of clients. As a company, we do not strive to be a ‘jack of all trades’. We exist to deliver exceptional customer experience, and that will remain our focus.
With a year’s Capita experience now in your pocket, what are your next steps?
We will continue to build a strong company culture that provides our people the space and opportunity to grow andinnovate. Our people are everything. Our clients must feel confident that we will continue to deliver the best experience for their customers. In fostering a culture of giving back to our communities, sharing best practice and continuous learning, I am confident that we will have an exciting year ahead.