World Vision Australia is a humanitarian aid and development organisation that aims to elevate children and the communities they are part of out of poverty. People can donate to the organisation or sponsor a child. Elisa Iurato is the Chief of Community, Retail and Supporter Experience at World Vision Australia. Mark Atterby talks to Elisa about working for a brand that is committed to making a difference in the world.
Mark Atterby (MA): Elisa, can you please provide a background to your career and an explanation of your role at World Vision Australia?
Elisa Iurato (EL): I’ve got quite a mixed background. I’m a marketer by trade, but I have worked for a variety of retail brands in telecommunications, luxury and automotive with support or customer experience areas as part of that. In my role at World Vision, I look after their mass market channels that do fundraising and support our donors. This includes our contact centre, our retail outlets, telemarketing church, schools and youth groups for our 40 Hour Famine program. The predominant thing my team works on every day is child sponsorship around Australia.
I have to say that there’s nothing more fulfilling than what I’m currently doing. Helping to grow child sponsorship as well as bringing in a new generation of supporters I find very rewarding. Teaching people how to give and how to they change the world, is a privilege you don’t get to experience by working with a lot of other brands.
MA: What is the most important thing you’ve learnt about customer experience in your current role?
EL: The biggest things that I’ve learnt is that people are generous and want to do good in the world and help where they can. Customers choose you for a reason and they love to tell you the story as to why. Whether that’s a sponsor deciding to sponsor a child or why someone decides to buy a car I always love to hear the story as to why. Understanding that really helps you to continue to evolve and to ensure that you are getting better as well as being able to use that to attract new people to the brand.
At World Vision Australia we have our teams bring some of those stories each week to our meetings so we can keep the support at the heart of everything we do. The other thing I’ve always believed is that feedback is never negative. Feedback is people telling you to do better. ‘Hey, we would like to see this, or can we really like this feature”. The most important thing is that they want this to be proactively managed so it’s not a surprise in their journey.
When I started working at one place, I won’t mention who that was, there was a high rate of complaints leading to a certain level of dissatisfaction. I asked if I could listen to ten calls and after I got through three, I asked, have we done what they asked, and I was told no. I said if we did what they asked I’m sure the complaints on some of these issues will actually just go away. That’s what we did over the next eight months and yes the results improved dramatically. Sometimes there are system restraints, but explaining tosupporters what these restraints are and managing their expectations is very, very important.
MA: What do you think is required to be successful in your role?
EL: I’m passionate about the brand and what it is that we do. There are children and communities, because of the work my team does, that will have clean water, will have food, and be able to go to school. That’s not something that we take lightly. It’s an incredible privilege to be able to do that every day.
I’ve got a little sign on my desk that says, ‘Remember why you do this’ with a picture of my sponsor children as a reminder that we do change lives every day in what we do
MA: What are your top priorities for 2023?
EL: We are moments away from having a major upgrade to our CRM system where we’ll be on the Dynamics 365 platform. This is a very big strategic priority across the business. As part of this upgrade, we are updating a lot of our processes to improve the experiences for our donors and our staff. We’re quite excited about what it will mean for our speed to market.
The other thing we’ve got coming up is a range of enhancements for our mobile portal. We will be launching a new mobile app as well, that will really bring the field where the children live to lifefor donors and really drive that connection between a child and their sponsor. The feedback we received from supporters was that they wanted to view the world of the child they were sponsoring. So, we’re using technology to bring that to life. They’ll be able to see what’s happening in the community, videos from the child, and other content directly on their phones.
I think that the rate at which technology is going means as you are building for new things you have to build for the future as well. I’m a big believer that AI and technology make things more efficient and effective, however, if you really want to enhance the experience you’ve always got to have a humans as well. I think that’s important to remember with any technological gains that come.
My team and I really need to be storytellers. How you tell the story of a child and show what’s happening in their community is important for supporters. World Vision is an incredible way for people to do good, every day.
Elisa is presenting at the Customer Show in Melbourne 3 – 4 May, Fireside Chat – Handling a Crisis: How to Ensure that as Digital Contact Centres Gear Up, We Still Have Physical Call Centre Agents in the Wake of Catastrophe.