Three times this week I've had conversations that all touched on the importance of Customer Experience.
It's the new customer service, a way for companies to differentiate themselves in an increasingly commoditised world. It's that feeling we have when we walk away from an interaction with a business with a little bounce in our step - they got a result, we got a result and all is good in the world.
People buy people
But, for me, it's rarely about the product or service I just bought - it's about how I feel coming away from that interaction.
And often that can be swayed by the tiniest little thing. By way of example, when I walk into the coffee shop and there's a queue, having to stand in that queue is made easier if I get a nod of acknowledgement, a smile and an 'I'll be with you in just a minute'. It almost makes the queue part of the experience and creates a connection.
I'll say it again - It creates a connection.
And for me that's what business is all about - the connection between people. It's why I always go to the same coffee shop - is it the best coffee? No. but the staff make the experience memorable -always a smile, always a chat.
EX = CX
So for me, key to a great customer experience is a great employee experience. As Richard Branson said a while back 'Don't put customers first, put your staff first and let them look after your customers'
So how do some of the world's best companies do that?
Create emotional attachments to their organisations - Through how you communicate with customers, face to face and in your advertising. By way of example, the Head of Mortgages in a previous employer of mine once said, ‘We don’t sell mortgages, we help people to buy homes’. It's the same thing but positioned in a MUCH more compelling way that makes staff want to do that extra bit for customers.
Move beyond just satisfaction – You don't want customers to be 'satisfied', you want them to be AMAZED in every interaction with your businesses. To do that you need to get your staff to go the extra mile and feel empowered to be able do so
Focus on key touch points – Where can you make magic happen for customers and what has the biggest impact? Think back to the coffee queue example above. If one of that company's values was 'We make our customers feel welcome' then they've set their expectations of staff but also empowered them to decide what that means day to day from customer to customer
Brand Alignment – It's critical to align the brand promise internally and externally and empower staff to bring your promise to life. If not, you risk setting high expectations of your brand through your marketing effort but then you create a massive gap if that isn't reflected in how those customers feel when they interact with your people
Empower staff to manage relationships locally – This is a biggie. You need to trust your people to manage relationships and fix issues locally for customers. Only they can truly see what's going on from interaction to interaction, day to day. So set out your stall - your purpose, (why you exist) and your values (how we do tings around here) and leave your staff to bring that to life for your customers
One to think about as we head into 2020 maybe?
About Inspiring Change
Based in Dublin, we help organisations to drive sustainable change and business performance through the power of internal communications, engagement and leadership. If you want to have a chat please get in touch