Creating a Customer Experience Culture (Part 2)
In part one of our article, we offered five recommendations to strengthen your service culture. In part two, we cover additional best practices for creating a customer experience culture that will foster delivery of a “WOW” service experience your customers will appreciate.
Systematic Customer Experience Measurement is Vital
Developing a process for systematic listening is a real struggle for many businesses. That’s because their programs are sometimes run by departments or people with responsibilities outside this important initiative. This can have a ripple effect through the organization.
Of course, there are many resources available on the internet to help your team realize the impact and ROI of these efforts. In fact, we’ve developed this EBook on Net Promoter Score® best practices to get you started.
But the truth is, there is no substitute for partnering with a third-party expert who can ensure your customer feedback program provides your team with relevant and actionable insights that will drive continuous improvement.
Cultivate Engaged and Empowered Employees to Drive Customer Loyalty
Some of you may be familiar with the service-profit chain, which is a concept related to the relationship (or “links in the chain”) between employee loyalty and customer loyalty. Simply put, the research shows that engaged employees are more likely to deliver better service and ultimately drive higher customer loyalty and profits. If you have a moment, a great resource on this topic is this Harvard Business Review article.
Empowering employees is also very important. One of the most well-known examples of this is The Ritz-Carlton. Their employees are empowered to spend up to a certain amount of money to fix any customer experience issues without going through a chain of command. They have the authority to take action, which is the truest sense of empowerment. Research shows that companies able to quickly and effectively overcome negative service experiences can engender even more brand loyalty.
Consider Tying Rewards and Recognition to Customer Experience
We are often asked about the right way to tie compensation to metrics such as Net Promoter Score. In fact, the question arises so frequently that we wrote an article on this topic. While there’s no easy answer for this question, compensation is not the only way to reward or recognize employees for supporting your customer experience culture.
Recognizing employees in any form (i.e. personal notes, call-outs in staff meetings, distribution of gift cards or other “spot” bonuses) is an effective way to continually reinforce the importance of your “customer first” culture. By acknowledging your employees and showing appreciation for the impact they are having on organizational success, you confirm their work is valued and they are behaving in a manner that’s consistent with your corporate values. This in turn raises productivity and satisfaction.
Continue the Customer Experience Conversation with Employees Year-Round
We talk about this often – regular socialization with employees is critical, even if you’re only conducting relationship surveys with customers every six months. And storytelling is a great way to keep communication ongoing.
We have clients (us included) who hold regular meetings with employees to share client successes and use it as an opportunity to instill a sense of pride in the company. In the process, employees become impressed with the accomplishments of their peers and renew their commitment to the corporate values and mission.
When it Comes to Strong Service Culture – Hire for Attitude and Train for Skill
Fostering a customer-centric culture starts with the people you hire. That’s because at the heart of every customer-centric organization are its people.
Look for individuals with high emotional intelligence or EQ. Potential employees with high EQ display many behaviors necessary for fostering a strong service culture as they have strong listening skills, routinely follow through on tasks, and remain positive in the face of stress.
You’ve likely heard us say this before: “Every member of the team has an opportunity to contribute to creating a compelling customer experience, or one that fails to deliver on your brand promise.” So if employees are not behaving in accordance with your mission and values – you’re jeopardizing the goodwill you have developed over time. For that reason, voice of the customer must be infused in your hiring, development, and training of employees.
A Strong Customer Experience Culture Doesn’t Just Happen
Creating a customer experience culture is something you must cultivate and actively manage, just as you would with any other initiative at your company. To be successful, your customer experience mission can’t just be words on a paper. You must be committed to the effort and encourage everyone around you to do the same. And make customer experience metrics visible.
Finally, recognize people for their good work. In return, you’ll reap the business benefits of a strong customer experience culture.
If you would like help on creating a customer experience culture in your organization, contact us today.