Brand Spotlights

The Brand Spotlight Series showcases innovations and solutions to CX challenges, from today’s leading brands.


An interview with Carlos Castano, Senior Director, Customer Experience & Success at Microsoft

Execs In The Know (EITK): Please share a little about your background and how you came to be at Microsoft, and describe the day-to-day focus of your current role regarding customer experience.

Carlos Castano: In 2021, I transitioned from a 20-year tenure at Cisco to join Microsoft’s Customer Experience & Success (CE&S) organization. This decision was shaped by three key factors that deeply resonated with me:

Firstly, during my previous role in High Touch Services, I had the privilege of Microsoft being one of my customers. Later, as the leader of Cisco IT’s global end-user computing and employee support experience, I closely collaborated with Microsoft as one of our strategic suppliers. In both experiences, I was genuinely impressed by Microsoft’s customer focus, integrity, and eagerness to establish strong partnerships.

Secondly, I was inspired by Microsoft’s inclusive, customer-focused, and growth mindset culture. After conversing with various Microsoft colleagues, it became clear that this was a company I wanted to be a part of.

Lastly, I found myself inspired by Microsoft’s CE&S charter, responsible for the strategy, design, and implementation of the Microsoft end-to-end customer experience. This charter reflects our collective ambition to delight customers and exceed their expectations in every interaction.

As for my current role, I have the privilege of leading our Business Excellence & Experience (BE&E) team within CE&S Business Operations & Programs. In this role, my team and I are entrusted with shaping the strategy and execution of analytics solutions, continuous improvement initiatives, and customer experience programs. We aim to empower our support professionals, enabling them to deliver their best work and consistently provide exceptional customer experiences.

EITK: What are some of the most important experiences and insights you’ve gained throughout your career, and how are they shaping your work for Microsoft?

Carlos: Here are three experiences that come to mind that have shaped me as a Customer Experience (CX) leader:

  • Great CX Starts with Employee Experience (EX). I firmly believe that creating great customer experiences begins with employee experience. Here at Microsoft, one of our key leadership principles is “People First: We take care of our people, so our people can take care of our customers.” Additionally, when thinking EX, I like to approach it in three dimensions:
  • Reducing Friction/Effort: Our goal is to make things as easy as possible for our employees to enable them to excel in their roles. We continuously work on eliminating friction from our processes, systems, and tools.
  • Trust and Empowering Our People: Empowered employees are more likely to be engaged and contribute to creating exceptional experiences. Plus, it’s the right thing to do.
  • Fostering Employee Engagement: Engagement promotes passion, commitment, and productivity. Engaged employees genuinely care about their work and their impact on the company’s success.
  • Walk in Your Customer’s Shoes. To truly understand and improve the customer experience, putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes is crucial. This seemingly simple practice can yield transformational insights. For instance, when was the last time you personally opened a case with your support team to experience the process or spent a day reviewing customer survey feedback verbatims? I guarantee that you will get multiple great improvement ideas when you do. This approach is particularly important in larger corporations where many team members primarily interact with internal colleagues. A guiding principle to stay customer-focused is to consider “Our most important customer as the next person downstream in our value chain.”
  • Cultivate a Culture of Continuous Improvement. Operational excellence doesn’t mean achieving perfection but maintaining discipline, focus, and passion for continuous improvement, always with the customer at the forefront. I once had a leader who instilled in me the importance of persistently addressing problems at their root. Looking back, this has been one of the most valuable lessons in my career. In today’s world of services and support, it’s easy to move on once a situation is mitigated. However, truly delving into rootcauses demands discipline. Neglecting this can lead to issues resurfacing in different regions or with different clients.


The Microsoft Brand Spotlight is featured in the January 2024 issue of CX Insight magazine.

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