Sue Atkins



Sue has had extensive knowledge in customer experience transformation and has demonstrated the power of its methodologies to both increase revenue and reduce costs. Sue has extensive knowledge of customer research and insight, service design, digital channels, contact centres, retail stores and customer proposition design.

Sue is renowned for her strategic foresight and being a catalyst for change. She is quick to discern key facts to frame business problems, in order to develop and implement innovative customer-centric and commercially astute solutions.
Over recent years, Sue has focused on customer experience transformation, particularly in channel interactions. She has led programmes that have included cultural change and knowledge transformation. This work has been profiled in best practice case studies globally.

Prior to this, Sue held management roles across Telecom including training, channel strategy, sales planning, service design and segment marketing.

Recent Project Experience

SKY Television

Sue is providing leadership guidance and coaching to improve important aspects of the SKY customer experience. Initially focused on improving the quality of their customer knowledge base, she has now been asked to extend her focus to other aspects of the customer experience in contact centres, including the quality framework and leadership change initiative to support the new framework.

Auckland Council
Customer Experience Programme Lead & @speed Digital Project Lead

Sue established a digital initiative to rapidly create more digital functionality for customers. This initiative has completed customer research, established a new digital scorecard, implemented a content continuous improvement rhythm, and implemented multiple mobile apps and a customer knowledge base – all in 5 months which is significantly quicker than the standard with Auckland Council.
Sue has also initiated and leads a number of key customer experience initiatives to take the existing Council Transformation programme to the next level.

Ministry of Justice – Collections Department

Sue assisted a team to create a tool-kit to enable the Collections team to implement best practice management of their internal knowledge base. The tool-kit was designed to include all aspects of operating knowledge bases, from design, technical viability, content standards, metrics to internal processes.

Telecom NZ Ltd
Customer Experience Strategy Development

Sue led development of customer experience strategy for Telecom. This work included extensive customer research to better understand customer needs throughout the end to end customer journey for telco services. Sue also visited the US to immerse herself in human-centred design practices as it pertains to customer experience, working with a Consulting Professor at Stanford’s d-School and a Customer Experience Strategy expert. Sue led Telecom’s pilot customer experience improvement projects – including establishing a lab store to test and measure improvement.

Service Strategy and Transformation

Sue led the development of a service blueprint to clearly translate strategy into action; ensuring alignment across the business. This was supported by an eight workstream change programme to fully set up the business for transformational change. This included a leadership and cultural change programme that was profiled in 2013 as a best practice case study by the Corporate Executive Board (USA).

Knowledge Strategy and Transformation

Sue led the development of a knowledge strategy for Telecom and led the knowledge base team to successfully migrate 13 legacy knowledge bases to a cloud-based platform. This created one version of the truth, used by customers (via online), contact centre teams and retail stores. A new operating model was implemented focusing on continuous improvement. Internal knowledge usage increased by over 500% and customer usage increased by 225% in 18 months. Sue presented this work as a case study at Oracle OpenWorld, San Francisco in September 2012.

Call Volume Reduction

Sue led the development of a call volume game plan that clarified the key drivers of inbound calls, as well as defined initiatives to improve customer experience and reduce cost to serve. This programme achieved annualized savings of 15%.

Personalising Customer Conversations

Sue developed a programme to implement and embed the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) as a key tool to help contact centre agents better tailor their customer conversations to customer preferences. As well as resulting in a significant drop in repeat calls, this initiative was seen as a major driver of increased employee engagement. Ann Herrmann-Nehdi awarded Telecom for the contribution made to advancing the application of the HBDI model through this programme. Ann has only made two other such awards to IBM and Microsoft Kinect. This is the first award to be made outside the US.

Channel Design

Sue led a team to articulate the customer journeys for all sales and service events for a new digital-centric business model. This included all channels – online, agents, IVR, notifications via email and sms, online and paper bill. These journeys were translated into wireframes and style guides to enable the technology build. The bill design was implemented as the new Telecom billing format in August 2013.

Skills & Experience

Customer experience transformation
Transformation programme design & development
Cultural change
Multi-channel operating models
Change management


University of Auckland – Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing)
NZ Direct Marketing Assoc – Certificate in Direct Marketing
Practitioner of Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument

Additional Team Members

  • Sachin Jain
  • Mark Macdonald
  • Anthony Smith
  • Anna Hunt
  • Annette Hamilton