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Indiana University Bloomington

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Fortune Small Business magazine listed Kelley’s MBA and undergraduate programs in entrepreneurship No. 1 among all public universities in the nation in 2009.

Keeping the Customer Happy

Stacey DeVore MBA'00

Manager, Alvarez & Marsal Business Consulting

Chicago, Illinois
Stacey DeVore

“Kelley designed the curriculum to ensure that we each mastered the ability to juggle many priorities and work within a team to manage these responsibilities.”

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Stacey DeVore understands the value of customer satisfaction. As a manager with the Customer Solutions group of Alvarez & Marsal Business Consulting, she works with companies to improve the customer experience and address inefficiencies across all channels through which a company “touches” its customer—from marketing and sales to service and retention.

“We work with clients to take a step back and assess the current situation prior to jumping into a one-off project,” she says. For example, if the client wants to develop self-service capabilities, rather than just design and develop them, DeVore and her team ask, “How does the addition of self-service fit within the overall customer strategy? What needs do the customers have today? Of those needs, what would make sense for the client to offer through self-service? And, based on those facts, what is the critical success factors ensure the expected returns are achieved? Based on what is learned through this exercise, the plan (or decision to exit from the investment) for developing self-service capabilities will be shaped by the proper drivers and aligned with the businesses goals and objectives."

“Our client’s end goal is usually to lower costs, increase revenues, and/or improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention,” she says. It’s her job to ensure that these interactions support the overarching business and customer strategies, while achieving what she calls the “delicate balance between customer experience delivery and cost management.”

To meet the end goal, DeVore spends time “listening and watching”—from “side-by-side” observations in call centers, listening to the conversations between customers and service representatives, reviewing client customer studies and operational performance data, to studying the latest market research. “We work with clients to define the key issues impacting their customer operations and identify the gaps that need to be addressed,” she says.

DeVore has spent the majority of her 14-year career working with professional services firms to advise client’s customer service organizations, but she began her career in Washington, D.C., as an economics correspondent newswire reporter. She interned with PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting in 1999 and joined the firm full-time in 2000 after finishing her MBA. In 2005, she joined the Customer Solutions practice of Alvarez & Marsal (A&M), a leading global professional services firm, where she works with a group of seasoned consultants and industry professionals.

To be successful as a consultant and meet the complex and diverse challenges clients face, DeVore says it’s critical to work well within a team. “In a small firm, where we’re in the midst of fast-paced growth and place high expectations on ourselves to achieve results for our clients, working as a high performance team is mandatory to succeed,” she says.

DeVore perfected her “team philosophy” as a Kelley MBA student, where she first became enthused about a career in management consulting while earning a degree focused in management and strategy. “The program required that I develop functional team skills and know when to step up as the leader, as well as how to be an effective follower,” she says. ‘The focus on team development helped me to learn how to share differing opinions in an effective manner, and basically developed my interpersonal skills overall.”

In addition to learning to be a great teammate, as an MBA student, DeVore had to master multitasking—a crucial skill to consulting. “The ability to keep many different activities moving forward at the same time is key to my professional success and the success of the firm,” she says. “In consulting, especially at a smaller firm such as A&M, we wear many hats—practice and business developer, mentor, recruiter, and community service volunteer. Kelley designed the curriculum to ensure that we each mastered the ability to juggle many priorities and work within a team to manage these responsibilities.”

Published April 15, 2011