Seventy-seven percent of organizations do not engage employees in the customer experience design process. Seventy-six percent do not provide customer experience training. That means less than a quarter of companies are collaborating with their people to develop and execute their customer experience strategies. Unfortunately, in most organizations, the leaders are handing fully baked plans to managers and frontline employees, but not regarding them as part of the process – looking right through them, straight to the customer.
The truth is that the customer experience will never exceed the employee experience. Leaders should be investing in what matters most to impact the customer experience – their employees.
To differentiate your brand and the associated customer experience and drive higher levels of loyalty and satisfaction, your people need to be part of the strategy conversation.
Here’s how you do it:
Gather your team around the visual: The Complexity of Creating Customers for Life. This graphic offers you the opportunity to take an introspective look at what challenges you may be facing – perhaps even some you don’t even realize are barriers to success. Spend a moment taking in the entire visual. Describe what you see in this scene. Have someone read all of the data points aloud and then discuss the following as a group.
Section 1: Sixty-one percent of customers use their smartphones to compare prices and products. Surely, the customer is in control here. What are you doing today to support your customers in their mobile quest for information? How are you making it easy (or not so easy) to interact with you via their mobile device? What two or three things could you change or improve to make the mobile customer experience you deliver more personalized, more seamless, and more profitable?
Section 2: Fifty-eight percent of customer experience professionals drive customer experience innovation by watching what their direct competitors are doing. The result is all of the experiences blend in to one another. The goal is to uncover what you offer that no one else does. What can you claim that no one else can? What is consistent with your brand identity? Why should your customers choose you over the other guys?
Section 3: Eighty-six percent of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. This tells us we need to know our customers and forge personal relationships with them. Customers are not loyal to us; they expect us to be loyal to them. Customers know that their return trips are important to the brand and that they have options. They expect us to work for them at every interaction and help them get the most value for their money. What are you doing to make every interaction personal? Will it cost you more to staff properly? Maybe. Is it worth it? The numbers say yes.
Section 4: These discounts are great, but there’s nothing special about being a member of this loyalty program. How do you cut through the clutter of the loyalty programs out there? Your customers’ wallets are bursting with cards, codes, and coupons. How do you keep people wanting to shop with you again and again? What personally keeps you involved in the loyalty programs that you belong to? How can you up the loyalty ante with your customers?
There are many answers to these questions, and all organizations are in different places in their life cycles. The common thread is if you sit with this visual and discuss its realities, you will undoubtedly learn something about yourself, your team, your organization, or your customers that you did not know before. Knowledge is power!