Socializing customer sentiment across the organization and making it a regular part of the conversation is an important ingredient for any successful customer experience program. It can help Sales understand the value drivers that resonate most with customers and it can help Product Development prioritize roadmap initiatives. We go more into the topic in this post.
Still, how can you make the process more meaningful for employees as well as improve their understanding of how they affect the customer experience?
Recently, I found myself reading a popular Net Promoter Score forum that covered this topic. The original poster was soliciting ideas for improving organizational-wide understanding of Net Promoter Score. While she hoped the activity would help increase the company’s Net Promoter Score, her true end goal was to encourage employees to think about ways they could positively influence the customer experience.
Aligning Employees Through “Line of Sight”
One of the suggestions shared was to conduct a “line of sight” role-playing activity to help all employees (customer facing or not) realize the impact they personally have on customers.
The process could include asking employees to work together to identify all customer touchpoints – and defining who is accountable, assessing success, etc. To illustrate further, you would then ask employees to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and see the world from their perspective. How well did they understand the experiences and challenges your customers face each day? Is your organization effectively meeting their needs?
What I liked about this idea is that regardless of the employee’s role within the organization, everyone can benefit from identifying what behaviors each employee can demonstrate or change that could lead to a better customer experience (which should ultimately result in higher NPS). It also reminded me of the activities our clients perform to get everyone rowing the same direction – read our interview with Parchment for more ideas.
Before we continue, let us identify what is line of sight. In simple terms, line of sight is an employee’s connection between their goals and the organization’s goals. If we drill it down to our industry – it is about employees having both ownership and understanding of the customer experience. For the person who asked the question, how do you improve organizational-wide understanding of Net Promoter Score, this would entail educating employees about Net Promoter Score so they (1) know what it is, (2) why the company has adopted it, and (3) how they influence it.
Establishing that line of sight into what influences Net Promoter Score helps employees form a greater appreciation for how their work contributes to the customer experience. Furthermore, it gives them a sense of pride in their work and leads them to deliver exceptional experiences relentlessly and consistently throughout the customer journey.
Customer Journey Mapping Exercise
How else could your organization go about establishing a clear line of sight between employee behavior and customer experience? One idea is to conduct a Customer Journey Mapping exercise.
As a more formal approach, a Customer Journey Mapping exercise highlights opportunities for improvement and can identify where to smooth out the process to reduce any friction customers may experience.
When we hosted a leadership lunch for Phoenix-area executives, one attendee shared a story about how their organization gained a new appreciation of the customer experience by conducting this exercise. Sure, the output was valuable, but it was the process of identifying every customer interaction that helped employees to become more aware of customer needs and expectations, resulting in improved satisfaction and retention.
Outlining the Customer Experience
While I thought all of the suggestions shared in that discussion thread were valuable, one point really stood out: Have fun.
Keep in mind, the role-playing exercise is not a time to point fingers. Instead, offer other opportunities, such as an Employee Opinion Survey, for people to share specific feedback, such as obstacles prohibiting them from delivering a memorable service experience.
Lastly, don’t get caught up in your company’s Net Promoter Score. Spend your efforts on improving your culture and you’ll see improvements in customer retention, greater share-of-wallet, increased customer loyalty, and many other benefits in no time.