Citi: ‘Customers are not data points, they're people’

Seth Adler

Customer relationship management

Podcast interview with Citi’s Director of Customer Listening and Engagement on capturing customer’s behaviours to solve a problem before it becomes one.

Customer relationship management


Michelle Brigman is a Director of Customer Listening and Engagement for Citi. She joins host Seth Adler this week for an in-depth podcast in which she shares that we all know that we need to listen to the voice of the customer to understand that we’re bringing the right solutions to them.

Brigman and her team realised that they had an opportunity to not wait for customers to provide information but instead find the problem before it occurred. They’re now tuning into customer’s digital behaviours through the company's real-time listening command center. That means that that they’re able to key into how customers are interacting with digital solutions to understand how the organisation can better serve them.

“Keep moving forward. Get it figured out. And just work really hard.”



1. Find a problem before it’s a problem

With Citi, we recognised that we had an opportunity to not wait for customers to have to tell us how we're doing. We launched what's called our Read-Time Listening Command Center, where we're tuning into customers' real-time digital behaviors. I'm watching what they're doing as they're engaging with our digital solutions and noticing, "Is it taking them longer? Do they seem to be working harder? Are we making it easy?”

If I see something that can potentially hinder their digital success, then we're going to do root cause, investigate it, figure out what's going on because I want to avoid it having to get to critical mass before we realise that there's a problem. In the meantime, we're also listening to them in social to see, again, are we seeing or hearing something that would indicate what the problem is that allows us to diagnose it even faster.

2. Do right by the customers

I respond the strongest if I feel like I really have a connection and believe in something. If I believe it's worth fighting for, then I'm pretty much like a dog with a bone. I don't let go easily because I feel it's the right thing to do, but it's the right thing to do for the customer. I've done some pretty crazy, bold, ballsy things, if you will, in terms of really trying to get support and buy in, both at Dell and Citi.

3. View customers as people

Customers are not data points. They're people. I think that, number one, is you have to make them people to the folks you are depending on to make the decision, write the check, say "Yes" or "No" to the programme. How do you do that? Well, number one, don't talk about it in terms of, "Well, we get it right 99.6 per cent of the time, but .4 per cent, we don't." Customers are not .4. What is that number?