Interview

Voice of the Customer (VoC) Interview Series: Vanja Mlaco, Global Head of Digital Performance at AkzoNobel 

Published October 26, 2021·Written by Halle Dang, Lucia Manetti

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In this edition of our Voice of the Customer (VoC) Interview series, Ranvish Vir, Client Success Director at Wonderflow, welcomes Vanja Mlaco, the Global Head of Digital Performance at AkzoNobel.

AkzoNobel is a Dutch multinational company that produces paints and performance coatings for both customers and the industry. In his role, Vanja mainly oversees digital performance aspects of the firm’s digital strategy or IT projects that involve multiple brands. Before AkzoNobel, he worked at Transavia, a Dutch airline brand, where he held several leadership positions, including Digital Experience Lead. Vanja worked there for nearly nine years.  

It’s no surprise that we decided to approach Vanja regarding the immense value he brings to helping transform the customer experience world. His shared insights can inspire other thought leaders and newcomers.  

 

1. Ranvish, Client Success Director at Wonderflow: Vanja, first of all, thank you for taking some time to share your thoughts. To start, on a scale of 1 to 10, how important is your customers’ opinion of your company?

10.  There’s simply no other way to describe how important the opinion of our customers is.

2. Ranvish: Why did your company want to understand its customers better? 

We wanted to make sure we’d capture the feedback of our customers on our physical and digital products. Doing this by hand would be pretty much impossible and would leave room for human error. 

Having an aggregated, actionable overview of our strengths and weaknesses through the eyes of our customers gives us direct input for our roadmap while speeding up the process as a “side effect.”

3. Ranvish: Can you describe the challenges you faced when transforming your company into more customer-centric? 

Being customer-centric comes with a lot of challenges, which we are glad and proud to take on. One of the most significant ones is the overwhelming amount of feedback, with numbers that are hard to digest manually. 

Having a solution that automates this process saves us valuable time – which can be used for other activities, both relating to business or personal welfare, and provides us with instant and easy-to-digest insights.

4. Ranvish: Can you tell us a Eureka moment related to when you learned something extraordinary, thanks to customer feedback?

We always knew that specific markets, countries, cultures have specific digital needs, but it’s amazing how Wonderflow is able to present the differences to us in one simple, powerful overview. To have data showing how customers approach products differently based on their market is definitely something all companies should strive to have.

5. Ranvish: What is your vision for the future of customer feedback at your company? What is your next idea/future/technology to become more customer-centric?

As value is in the eye of the beholder, measuring the added value towards all of our stakeholders is very important to us. The problem is, it’s hard to quantify this value. 

Wonderflow helps us to turn qualitative feedback into actionable, quantitative insights, regardless of the source. Within a single dashboard, we can now have both public and internal data, reducing silos and making sure all insights can reach the right stakeholders. As we are moving towards creating memorable experiences, the importance of these insights will be bigger by the day.

Sometimes customer feedback is seen as an additional, sub-metric that is getting less priority than some of the traditional hard KPI’s. More and more organizations will realize very soon that there often is a direct connection between what the customers say, do and the so-called hard KPI’s. Influence the first, and you will influence the latter.

 

Ranvish: All very well-said. We appreciate what you’ve shared and the chance to continue to collaborate with your teams. Till next time! 

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