Denise Williams: The customer experience enthusiast
Denise Williams, manager, group customer experience, VM Group.

HER work ethic is underpinned by grit, mettle and an innate commitment to excellence. For Denise Williams, her accomplishments over the past five years as manager of group customer experience at the VM Group bear witness to her sound leadership and tell a powerful narrative about the VM Group's continuous evolution.

She was instrumental in developing and implementing VM's governance structure for service, pioneered several of the critical customer experience journey mapping initiatives at VM and has been integral to the development of standards, policies and procedures to manage service delivery across the business.

As VM's lead on customer experience, Williams works diligently to develop strategic initiatives that engage with the customers; helps remove any obstacle that may impact service delivery; strategises with teams across the group to ensure they act on customer feedback; and ensures that the service culture is embedded in the organisation. What stands out for her from her daily job functions is the ability to help transform the everyday customer experience at VM. This fuels her desire to do much more in presenting the organisation as 'customer obsessed', which isn't a hard task as she believes that VM continually moves with intelligence, vision and creativity, towards ensuring the transformation in customer service delivery.

"VM Group has a strong culture of ensuring that business decisions are guided by customer feedback. We've embedded the practice of recognising team members for excellence in service delivery within our culture. We also ensure that customer-centricity is evident in the structure of the organisation by having top leaders drive key activities, including our president and CEO Courtney Campbell being chair of our customer experience steering committee, and the involvement of other executives across VM," Williams said.

She looks on with pride at the solid building blocks that have been laid to boost customer experience at VM.

"We're currently working to ensure all VM members understand the suite of 'member benefits' available to them by virtue of being a member of the VM Group, which includes a 25 per cent discount on valuation reports, no fees at any bank's ABMs or point of sale machines, and scholarship programmes just to name a few."

The St Andrew High School for Girls alum holds a first-class honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Technology, Jamaica and an MBA, earned with distinction from the Mona School of Business and Management. The solid parenting of Gwendolyn Walters, the single mother who raised her, takes most of the credit for Williams' success.

"My mother always told us that we are not limited to anything in life. From a very young age, our mother would tell us how beautiful our skin was and praised us for being smart. She was building self-confidence. These positive reinforcements played a huge role in my life as a youngster and now as an adult," Williams said.

WILLIAMS... I believe that anything is possible. I've cultivated the courage to stand up and make my voice heard.

Buoyed by her excitement to continue to help strengthen the customer experience culture of the organisation, Williams believes that the confidence imbued by her mother has allowed her to meaningfully take up space as a female leader in the group.

"I believe that anything is possible. I've cultivated the courage to stand up and make my voice heard, and I understand and I'm guided by the tenets of resilience and perseverance. I also have the unique ability to manage ambiguity, which has been shaped by both my personal and professional spaces," she said.

She encourages other women who may feel disempowered to lead in their personal and professional lives as empowerment comes from within.

"Believe in yourself first and the rest will follow," she said, adding, "I have a personal commitment to excellence and I believe in giving my all to everything that I embark on."

Williams consistently applies her own advice in her position as chair of the customer experience council at VM.

"I represent the voice of the customer in these meetings and advocate on their behalf through dialogue with key support units across the group. I work hard to ensure that the voice of the customer is at the core of anything that we seek to embark on that is likely to impact the customers."

She added: "Serving others is a mindset and so to do this job you have to recognise that you are in it to serve."

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