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A Day in the Life of... Yvonne Kiely, Director at EY

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 27 September 2017
Updated: Tuesday 26 September 2017

 The Marketing Institute: What does a Director of EY Ireland do?

Y.K: EY Ireland has a number of Service Lines but specifically I am a Director in EY’s Performance Improvement Advisory practice, specialising in Customer and Digital.

My role involves helping clients cultivate actionable customer insights and be first-to-market with differential customer experiences. Typically I will lead programmes and teams across utilities, retail, technology and financial services sectors, which aim to increase customer lifetime value. We work with our clients to identify a customer need or behaviour, co-create a tailored solution, and build the customer experience, operating model and technology platform to suit. Our research and experience shows that by focusing on making customers happy, businesses become more profitable – improving loyalty, attracting new customers, getting them to spend more and reducing costs.


MII: What were your key career moves to get to your current role?

Y.K: I believe that having worked in both professional services and industry roles has made me a stronger advisor today. Joining EY has also given me access to an enormous global network of experienced colleagues which allows me to continue to grow and also to build engagement teams that have deep knowledge and experience across all facets of any type of project.


MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

Y.K: So many businesses have historically designed their products and services based on technology, processes and structure, resulting in fragmented and frustrating experiences for the customer. This usually has created a great deal of “legacy” infrastructure and entrenched behaviours that need to be worked around or sometimes radically changed in order to adopt a truly customer-centric approach. In addition, delivering end to end effective customer experience involves many functions across an organisation This type of change is difficult to progress at an accelerated pace without  highly empowered front line employees and C-level sponsorship. Securing these for a particular project is often where I invest my own time in order to make a project successful.


MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?

Y.K: Leadership skills and the ability to prioritise are critical. Every day, I need to make sure that our team members are making the best use of their time, for the benefit of our clients, to grow our Customer & Digital business and to develop their own capabilities. I also need to be able to inspire a delivery team made up of individuals motivated by very different objectives, from different companies and backgrounds, to come together and achieve a common goal, rooted in customer insight.  As part of that, I must balance strong advocacy and listening skills in order to help define problems and opportunities accurately, as well as champion the client, customer and consumer perspectives.


MII: Describe a typical working day?

Y.K: A typical working day is very rarely the same – I may be on a client site delivering a service design workshop one day and the next could involve meeting with clients to help identify their key customer objectives for the next three to five years. When I am in the office, I might be overseeing activity in our Customer Lab, counselling members of my team on their longer-term career progression, or recruiting new team members to help fuel our growth.


MII: What do you love most about your role?

Y.K: Immersing myself in the challenge of exceeding client expectations on a daily basis which requires a focus on customer data and trends, commercial insights and building meaningful relationships. I love the culture of our team and of EY Ireland. It is genuinely exciting to see such rapid growth as it continues to open up new opportunities for people across the team to share in the journey as we help clients build more profitable relationships with their customers.


MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?

Y.K: We operate in a very dynamic and exciting area of business often leading the charge around digital integration, pioneering insights to action, accelerating organisational redesign to drive customer centricity, and advocating for continuous improvement. That means we too continue to improve, challenge and champion as the team grows. As such we are continuing to expand our Customer and Digital strength in Ireland with additional service offerings and capabilities. With that comes further opportunity to enable our clients accelerate their own growth in truly innovative and differentiated ways that drive sustained firm value. I look forward to leading that next stage in our evolution and expanding our relationships so that we can continue to help our clients meet their objectives and work together in achieving these successes.

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