Karen Gately (pictured below) is founder of HR Consultancy Ryan Gately and author of The People Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical guide to getting the best from people (Wiley) and The Corporate Dojo: Driving extraordinary results through spirited people. In this guest post, Gately says it’s still a brand’s staff that remains the key to great CX…
What’s it like doing business with your team? Do your customers come away feeling confident in your organisation and happy with the service they received? Contemplate for a moment the extent to which certain members of your team influence the quality of those experiences.
The simple reality is customer experience is directly tied to the depth of talent your team offers and ultimately how they choose to behave. No matter how capable your people are, if they behave badly, your customers are unlikely to return.
Among the most important steps you can take to bring your customer experience vision to life through the attitudes and behaviours of the people on your team include these.
- Define what success looks like. Clearly articulate the behaviours needed to create the quality of customer experience you want. Work with leaders across your business to build a clear view of what customer service excellence means in your organisation and how the team can collectively deliver on those outcomes.
- Get it right from the start. Take a planned, disciplined and somewhat uncompromising approach when looking for new members of your team. All too often leaders hire people for their technical strengths alone, with little priority placed on culture fit. Look for people who bring values aligned to those of your organisation, irrespective of whether they are in a client facing role or not.
- Build awareness. Don’t assume everyone on your team understands how they impact on customer experience and loyalty. While it may be plainly obvious for teams such as customer service or sales, others may find it harder to recognise the extent of the impact they can and do have.
Build understanding of the touch points between your customers and business, and the opportunities people have to make a positive difference. Create awareness of not only who your customers are, but also why they come to you and the expectations they hold.
- Enable collaboration. Help people to understand the role they are expected to play, both directly as well as in support of the rest of the team. Expect that they work in partnership to deliver on the total customer experience you want.
Take deliberate steps to break down silos by bringing teams together to agree areas of collective accountability for success. Focus on the interdependencies between roles and teams in the delivery of the best possible outcomes for your customers.
- Ask for and share Listening to the voice of your customer is essential to your ability to continuously improve and ultimately achieve excellence. Don’t wait for things to go spectacularly well or indeed wrong to find out what your customers feel about dealing with your team.
Encourage your team to ask for feedback at every opportunity and establish formal processes to regularly tap into the insights of your customers. Share feedback received with not only those directly involved but also other people across your business who can benefit from the information gained.
- Address issues. It’s unfortunately common for leaders to set behavioral expectations and yet do little to hold people accountable to them. Creating a customer centric culture demands that decisive steps be taken to address misalignment. Put simply, if you observe behaviour that is a threat to customer experience or relationships, you need to do something about it.
Engage in honest conversations that allow people to see how their mindset or actions have a flow through impact to what your customers experience. Be fair and respectful, but equally firm in delivering the feedback people need to hear.