This week I am attending the IQPC Customer Experience Management Conference in Sydney. I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a guest speaker during the Focus Day on Monday and presented on the subject of ‘Building Customer Experience Frameworks From The Inside Out’.
The comments and quotes highlight some of my key themes and concepts that I feel are most important when developing a Customer Experience philosophy and strategy:
- Unless your business sees Customer Experience as a culture, not a tool, then your customers will feel the pain of what is not being provided by your customer-facing employees.
- Leaders should create a culture of employee engagement, empowerment and buy-in that ensures your customers benefit. When we get our leadership mantra right…our employees care about their roles and our customers ‘feel’ the difference.
- The so-called soft-skills that differentiate management from leadership are most commonly the key to driving the change in our employees that we are looking for. Leadership is not a tick-the-box exercise. Effective leadership, relationship-building, coaching, connecting, understanding employee motivations, empowerment are all possible – but they take considerable strategy, effort and application.
- Foundation values such as empowerment and employee satisfaction cannot be given to an individual but creating an environment that has a higher likelihood towards meeting these needs is possible.
- Assumptions are regularly made regarding leaders capability to enact change and employees willingness to make it stick. It is a mistake to assume that employees can and will automatically apply change just because they are asked to.
- Businesses exist primarily to provide a product or service that ultimately maximises profit. We, as leaders and business owners have an obligation to our employees greater than simply using them as tools to increase profit.
- Employee engagement, buy-in, effective leadership and an ability to coach can be the difference between a transactional, short-term outcome and real, sustained transformational change.
- There is a gap between intent and behaviour when it comes to leadership, development, employee engagement, empowerment and related activities in many organisations.
- In my experience too often a business runs a workshop, sends an employee to a training session or takes some other well-intentioned step to rectify a perceived or real gap. In itself, attendance at a session such as this will make little difference in behaviour or output for most people. People generally do not have the ability to interpret all of this information and make meaningful change. An employee may also not be working in a culture that reinforces or drives change as a result of this ‘new knowledge’. Post-training follow up and reinforcement through coaching are key.
- A bottom-up approach for providing a great customer experience only takes you so far. A genuinely effective customer experience approach requires a top-down strategy based on broad and extensive cultural change.
- Leaders often focus on the tangible process, systems and technology aspects of business. The challenge is to ensure we provide more than a cursory input into our employees and the link between engagement and customer service.
…and the presentation was sealed by elements from Ken Blanchard’s recent blog, worth repeating:
It all starts with the leaders of the organization creating a motivating environment for their people to work in. When that happens, it’s no surprise when the workers go out of their way to serve their customers…and the good word gets around. The organization’s best salespeople are the customers they’re already serving. The end result of all of this good news is that the organization becomes sound financially.
So often we think business is all about making money and that customers are the most important thing. But if you don’t treat your employees well and give them a reason to come to work, they aren’t going to be motivated to give excellent service to your customers, and customers who aren’t treated well have lots of other places they can go.
Think of your organization as a stagecoach. Upper management might be the drivers of the stagecoach, but your people are the horses—the ones who create the forward movement. If the leaders get knocked out of the stagecoach, it keeps moving. But if something happens to the horses, everything comes to a screeching halt. So serve and help each other, and then reach out to your customers with the enthusiasm and desire and fabulous service that will make them raving fans…
Don’t forget that without your people, you’re nothing.
- Customer Experience Reading List For Senior Execs (experiencematters.wordpress.com)
- Happy Employees = Happy Customers (Ken Blanchard: How We Lead)
- Delivering the right customer experience (eptica.wordpress.com)
- Practice Customer Experience Management by Focusing on the Employee Experience (mysteryshoppingexperience.wordpress.com)