Optimizing Customer Experience: Victoria Graeve-Cunningham Looks to Data

The old axiom “numbers don’t lie” is an apt professional mantra for Victoria Graeve-Cunningham. As strategic solutions consultant with TPG, she leverages data to help companies unlock the secrets to optimizing the customer experience. As co-founder and board member of ThriVinci, she brings the same analytical wizardry to the nonprofit sector.

“I use data and analytics to identify opportunities to apply effective change management practices to move the needle on people and processes,” she said. “I like to say it’s all about taking data and breaking it down to optimize performance.”

Improving Experiences

Graeve-Cunningham applies these skills across a range of clientele including finance, banking, insurance and the transportation industries. Routinely managing a portfolio of clients containing Fortune 100 companies, the improvements she achieves translate directly to the bottom line. In one instance, she advised a major airline on how to increase passenger satisfaction starting in 2019, tactics that allowed the company to maintain high customer ratings throughout the challenges and pressures of COVID-19. 

She said in the new marketplace, where so much business is conducted virtually, delivering an outstanding customer experience is much more difficult. 

“Companies have to bring to life an interpersonal connection, even when they’re not sitting next to you or if we’re on a video conference,” she said. “It’s not the same one-on-one in-person connection, even though that’s even more important now when you can’t rely on the handshake or physical presence you get being face-to-face.”

In addition to delivery systems, consumers’ expectations have changed when it comes to what defines good customer service.

“There’s lots of different metrics,” she said. “You want resolution, No. 1. You want to feel like you’re taken care of. Right now, we’re doing some defusal best practices for airline clients. When customers call, they know it’s not you making that decision, but what they expect when they’re spending a lot of money and time is to feel like they have your strong support.” 

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Effecting Change

Graeve-Cunningham has degrees in sociology, psychology and bioscience, making her an anomaly among her peers in every respect, save the desire to apply her knowledge toward achieving real-world solutions. 

“I spent all this time studying, spent all this time doing an MBA and a little bit of applied doctoral studies, which is very theoretical,” she said. “I wanted to find a place that really uses the science, uses the data to apply it to business and everyday practice. 

“I don’t want to live in academia. I want to find a place where we’re actually taking best practices and bringing them to life. TPG was a great opportunity for me to do that.”

Nonprofits Benefit

Graeve-Cunningham doubled down on this desire to effect change with the founding of ThriVinci in 2015. 

“ThriVinci does similar work, but they do end-to-end client servicing,” she said. “There are organizations here in town that need business optimization. They need some of that data analysis, they need some of that change management and product development best practices.

“The organization uses the data, and they bring best practices to life. Instead of serving huge corporations, we take skills-based volunteers like myself and others around the community who want to bring these talents to serve a nonprofit. We’re really closing that science practitioner gap.”

Graeve-Cunningham earned her undergraduate and doctoral coursework from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and her MBA and Master of Science from Creighton University. Her community service roles include chair elect for the Joslyn Young Art Patrons Leadership Committee and board member of the Omaha Area Youth Orchestra, to name a few.