From chemical engineer to Experience Maker of the Year— Victoria Xiao follows her passion

For Victoria Xiao, the 2022 Experience Maker of the Year winner for APAC, her career has seen a shift from traditional marketing to digital excellence, but it began with a master’s degree in chemical engineering.

As the digital optimization capability lead at Transurban, Victoria drove the digital transformation enabled by the adoption of the Adobe Experience Cloud suite to improve how customers engaged with one of the world’s largest toll road operators during the pandemic.

I sat down with Victoria shortly after our virtual Adobe Experience Maker Awards gala event to learn more about the ingredients leading to her win—and her career advice for anyone looking to pursue their passion.

Congratulations, Experience Maker of the Year for APAC is a huge achievement. Tell me about your journey to this well-deserved win.

During COVID, our call center in Manila was hit hard. Manpower was down by 30%, and our customers saw an increase in wait time. My role was to find out how to move them from an offline channel to a digital channel unimpacted by COVID. We started by testing a chatbot with Adobe Launch script embedded, so I was able to see the full customer journey and when customers would abandon the flow and try to call our centers directly.

We rewrote content tailored to this specific customer type, and saw amazing results — 7.6% increase in NPS (net promoter score), a 10% decrease in the number of people calling the call center directly, and 15% increase in digital self-service success rates via chatbot.

We were most proud of the NPS increase as it’s a direct score from our customers as to whether they’re satisfied and willing to recommend us to friends and family. Now there are plans to roll out the chatbot across our website and app. It was a huge achievement, awesome results, with a huge plan ahead.

Those numbers are fantastic. What advice would you give others faced with a similar challenge?

Start small, get endorsement, then roll out big — you don’t need to be too ambitious from the very start. For me, the chatbot was something small that we could showcase to senior management and the wider team as a small win.

We share small successes every day and week to celebrate the positive impact we made. Once we got an endorsement from the senior management team, it’s much easier to roll out the projects across the whole digital platform.

Do you have any tips regarding the use of the Adobe Experience Cloud suite? (But I understand if you don’t want to give away your secret sauce.)

It’s all about sharing. I believe when integrated together, these tools function the best. For example, we embedded Adobe Experience Platform Launch into our chatbot and use Adobe Analytics to analyze the full customer journey between the chatbot and website (and in the future, the app). Then we expand that further to use Adobe Audience Manager to create segments from Adobe Analytics data, and then use Adobe Target to target this specific customer segment.

They all work and link together, and that’s how we could achieve this huge, positive uplift. I’m a huge advocate of the suite as a whole.

Tell me about that process of convincing other stakeholders to see your vision and understand the value of these tools and digital journey.

I’m definitely a people person, and one of the core skills I’ve learned along the way in my career is to be patient. It’s normal that people are afraid of change, but you need to be patient and help them along the way. When they approach me, I want to make them feel like I’m always here to help them.

At first, others were a little bit scared and resistant of these new tools. I have weekly catchups and run workshops to showcase the dashboard with Adobe and the results we have with the Adobe Analytics Cloud. Now, they all think of the Adobe stack first when they implement new projects, because they can see how I’ve leveraged it to gain tangible results for my projects.

Did you always want to be in marketing?

So, I actually got my bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in chemical engineering. My father is a chemical engineer back in China, and I’m an only child. He wanted me to follow his path, but after I got my degree, I started exploring my own interests — and I felt like my true passion was in marketing.

I started as a traditional marketer and embraced new technology as a digital marketing specialist before fully transitioning into a technical role in this martech space. Being a traditional marketer trained me to have strategic thinking. Having a master’s of chemical engineering degree trained my logical thinking. All my past experiences shaped me to be who I am today — and I can’t wait to see how my current experience in marketing technology will shape me in the future.

For younger people who are similar to me, maybe you started a major that you’re not that passionate about, and to that I would say, “Don’t be afraid. You’ve got all these opportunities waiting for you. Don’t be afraid to make a change to something you’re really passionate about.”

What advice would you give future Adobe Experience Maker award nominees?

I’d like to echo the slogan for this year’s awards, “Behold the bold.” Some people may hesitate to apply, thinking their work is too small to showcase. My advice is this: Don’t overthink it. Every success is worth showcasing.

For me, winning is amazing, but it’s about the process — looking back to see what we achieved, what challenges we faced, and how we overcame them. Don’t be afraid to share. You’ll be sharing your experience with your wider peers and learning from them as well. It’s a win either way.

Such wonderful advice. We’re so excited to see what you do next. What do you do outside of groundbreaking digital experiences?

I can play with LEGOs for the whole weekend. And I love water sports — surfing, paddle boarding, and kayaking. I have a water dog, a three-year-old lab named Mocha who surfs and does paddle boarding with me all the time. She’s even better than I am!