Ladbrokes Coral is the UK’s biggest betting shop, with 3,500 shops as well as an online betting offering. “But bringing all that together and giving customers a decent experience is a bloody hard job,” said the retailer's chief customer officer, Kristof Fahy.

When Fahy first set about improving Ladbroke Coral’s customer experience, he learned the business had 71 different customer touchpoints which were managed by 20 different teams across the business.

“It’s a bit cheesy, but we needed a map,” he explained.

Fahy and his team began mapping the customer journey, which he said did not involve technology.

“Forget about the technology,” he said, describing how the retailer got representatives from all parts of the business in one room – store staff, technologists and everyone in between – to criticise the customer journey and tell him where it was going wrong.

“And if you’re really smart and have loads of money, you then go and speak to your customers,” he added.

By narrowing down the touchpoints, he said retailers could put millions of pounds back into the business. “Then the CFO likes you, and your CEO thinks you’re amazing.”

He said after mapping out the journey and making everyone happy, that’s when retailers should approach the CFO and “go and ask for the big dollars” to make a technology investment.

“If you want to [map the journey] consistently with a proper framework you have to have a piece of technology, but if you have the technology conversation at the beginning, you invest loads of money in Salesforce or another organisation and you open the box and there’s nothing in the box.”

He said retailers who don’t do their research prior to buying a new technology solution will have to go back to the CFO to ask to buy hundreds of consultancy hours to find out information which is already in the business.

“Work out what you’re trying to achieve and then go and find the solution – not the other way around,” said Fahy, who is leaving Ladbrokes Coral at the end of this month. He stepped up from CMO at Ladbrokes to become chief customer officer of Ladbrokes Coral following the £2.2 billion merger of the two companies a year ago. 

Speaking openly at eCommerce Expo in London, Fahy also said businesses are bad at taking those customer journeys and managing them, often creating silos internally.

“No one wakes up and says for the first 20 minutes ‘I’m having a mobile experience’. And then they don’t walk out of their front door and buy a newspaper and say ‘I’m having a retail experience’. And then they’re on the desktop, and they might buy something they pick up later and they don’t think that they’re having an omnichannel experience.”

He adds: “If we genuinely put the customer in the middle we can’t silo the business. You have to put the customer in the middle because they don’t give a shit about how they are structured in your business.”