Confronting Customer-Centric Approach

Lynn LaRocca, SVP, Chief Experience Officer, The New York Racing Association
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Lynn LaRocca, SVP, Chief Experience Officer, The New York Racing Association

Lynn LaRocca, SVP, Chief Experience Officer, The New York Racing Association

1. In the light of your experience what are the technological trends and challenges you’ve witnessed happening in the customer experience management space?

Customers are increasingly demanding personalized experiences. They are willing to engage with your brand if you make it a seamless and rewarding experience. Making it seamless means having your brand available when and where the customer chooses it. Doing this from the brand side is a constant evolution and the challenges include the aggregation of data and the ability to utilize it to properly engage with consumers.

  It is incumbent upon customer experience professionals to continue to refine and enhance all points of interactions with the customer   

2. Could you talk about your approach to identify the right partnership/ solutions provider from the lot?

We have an ongoing collaborative partnership with our IT colleagues and current vendors which focus around growth and improvement. We’re willing to listening to any solutions provided they work with ones we’ve already implemented. We have to be careful about adopting too many new technologies or solutions at one time because our goals are to enhance the customer experience, not overwhelm it.

3. Could you elaborate on some interesting and impactful project/initiatives that you’re currently overseeing?

We have implemented a number of mobile technologies in the past 24 months to great success but we still do not have one centralized database with all pertinent information. Our goal over the next 12-24 months is to finalize that centralized database and then implement the appropriate CRM tool. We’re excited to learn more about our fans and how we can improve upon their engagement with NYRA with personally relevant messages delivered at the appropriate times.

4. What are some of the points of discussion that go on in your leadership panel? What are the strategic points that you go by to steer the company forward?

We have always been focused on two main objectives: to continually improve the quality of racing and the guest experience. The guest experience covers both online and on tracks (our properties). Everything we do is driven around constant improvement. NYRA has also embarked upon an internal culture initiative. We are very serious about our positions as stewards of these iconic racetrack properties and our pursuit of excellence in the great sport of thoroughbred racing - and that starts with our employees. It’s hard to imagine a more driven or passionate group.

5. Can you draw an analogy between your personality traits, hobbies and reflect on your leadership strategy?

I have a very inclusive leadership style. I empower direct reports and others within my departments to be open, collaborative and supportive. We can never know it all or stop improving, so it’s paramount our relationships are geared towards this. This is the same philosophy I take with me to one of my favorite hobbies: downhill skiing. I started skiing in my late teens, much later than most avid skiers, and therefore constantly battle fear and intimidation from a mountain and conditions perspective. But I continue to improve and push past limitations, even at this stage. 

6. How would you see the evolution a few years from now with regard to disruptions and transformations within the customer experience management arena?

We’ve all discussed the importance of the customer being more in control than ever before – this has become the new normal. It is incumbent upon customer experience professionals to continue to refine and enhance all points of interactions with the customer. Real-time resolution of issues will be the differentiator. Any technology that can assist with that will be a game changer for many companies.