The Customer Confidential Podcast

When an Operator Becomes Chief Customer Officer

Razia Richter explains how a winding career path at Petco helped her win over the C-suite.


When an Operator Becomes Chief Customer Officer

Razia Richter’s path to the executive suite at Petco took her on a wild, winding tour of the company’s operations and back-office functions.

“I never thought I would move through so many different departments and have so many different amazing experiences,” she told me.

She started out in accounting, moved to inventory analytics, moonlighted as a cashier and stocked shelves at a local store, all before taking over management of 130 stores across the Southwest and then Petco’s entire supply chain—“from truck to shelf,” as she says.

By the time Razia took charge of Petco’s customer experience and adopting the Net Promoter System®, she had personally busted through just about every organizational silo imaginable. Because she had so demonstrably walked in the shoes of the company’s line leaders, her early days as chief customer officer were marked by surprisingly little of the resistance often encountered when companies adopt the Net Promoter System. Her practical experience guided her to pursue an approach that earned the trust of business leaders and functional teams. Without that trust, many companies fail to achieve the culture change that the Net Promoter System demands.

Today on The Net Promoter System Podcast, Razia shares just how far you can go when you have executive buy-in from the start. You can listen to my conversation with Razia on iTunes, Stitcher or your podcast provider of choice, or through the audio player below.

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In the following excerpt, Razia explains how she got traction in the C-suite and put the customer at the forefront of every executive meeting.

Razia Richter: The CFO at the time said, "You know, Razia, we need to change this officer meeting. If we want the customer to be the center and the most important thing, we need to start off with the customer. And so he was awesome. He allowed me to kick off the meeting talking about real-time customer examples, talking about what we were doing with our customer experience transitional process around NPS. 

Rob Markey: Can we drill down on this just a teeny bit? I love this. Give me an example of the structure of how you would kick off one of these meetings. What would you review first? And how would you do that?

Razia Richter: So, you know, in retail you tend to focus on a score, right? And it's all metrics.

Rob Markey: In retail, the No. 1 score seems to be sales at the register the day before, right? 

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Razia Richter: Exactly, exactly. One of my lessons learned was I did start off by saying, "Okay, now here's how we're doing with NPS. Here's what our score is saying. Here are the key drivers of the NPS. And are we getting more comments around our pain points? Are we getting less?”

So I started with a dashboard. And then I look around the room and I'm getting some interest, but then I'm [also] getting some people that may not be paying attention.

Then I went into actually sharing some real-life comments of customers—not reading verbatim the customer comment, but sharing some of the things the customers were saying about certain things that we were implementing. So if we put a promotion out there, I would look for both positive and detractor comments, and I would look for specific things where we could have been more clear. Customers were confused about X.

And that would generate a dialogue. Then, after the officer meeting, I would usually get the person in charge of that area, we would huddle up and we'd talk about it. And if it was a lot of detractors, we would end up having a side meeting to resolve the issue. 

So it varied, Rob, but I would say the context around it started with scores and trends, and then I found the most effective way was to really get into the specific things that customers were talking about.

The other thing I started sharing was what our frontline employees were saying about different initiatives that we were rolling out or different things that were getting in their way. So barriers, and talking about what other departments are doing to remove those barriers. So really creating [a sense that] building promoters is not just my job. It's not just your job as an officer. It's everyone's job in the company, and bringing those types of examples to the forefront at the officer meeting was really, really important. And I think that’s where I started to get the most traction in influence ability.

Net Promoter System®, Net Promoter Score®, Net Promoter® and NPS® are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld, and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.


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