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Why culture is key, from a Customer Experience Manager

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Hi I’m Anthony and I’m the Customer Experience Manager at AO. I first joined AO about nine and half years ago now. Back then we were on the cusp of becoming the business we are today, and throughout my time I’ve managed to build a career at the same time as the company developed into what is now. When I look back to the Customer Experience team when I started, we were just one half of a single floor; and to look where we are now with thousands of employees and multiple offices, it’s incredible to have been a part of that in what is a relatively short space of time.

My first role was in the Sales Team and since then I’ve worked in pretty much every arm of the Customer Service and Sales Contact Centre. Now as a Customer Experience Manager, I look after the entire customer experience operation, so that’s about 270 heads all in, and we’re always growing. Above all else, my main responsibility is to make sure all the guys give an exceptional experience to our customers.

In my department specifically, and the whole company for that matter, our customers are our lifeblood. Without them we wouldn’ be in a job and caring for our customers and doing the right thing is what we’ve always stood for. We have a saying, an ethos if you like; ‘Treat your customers as if they were your gran’. My nan is an AO customer, and when I talk to new starters, I always say irrespective of whether someone’s buying a £50 toaster or a £1000 range cooker; that person deserves the best experience, just like you would if you were on the phone to your own nan. So it’s vital that whoever comes through the door really buys into that.

This feeds nicely into the AO culture, which is absolutely massive. For me, a great culture is fundamental in any team, whether that’s in business, sports or any walk of life. But in a Contact Centre that’s got north of 250 people, it’s huge. We’re really proud of the culture we’ve created, and when we look for new people, we specifically look for those who will buy into and enhance that culture. We can teach skills and we have great training programmes. But what’s absolutely key is that the people that come into this business truly care and embrace our values and culture in everything that they do. We want to protect that culture by always employing the right character.

The people make up the business, and I think when you’re surrounded by great people, a lot of pieces tend to fall into place. Building a career for yourself becomes a lot easier, because you know you’ve got people around who will help, support and shape you to become the best version of yourself. This is exactly what we have at AO, and exactly why I’m still here almost 10 years later.

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