Over the Christmas break I was sitting in the stands of the University of Toronto pool as a spectator at my daughter’s competitive swimming training camp. A new assistant coach had the team sitting in front of her on the pool deck in a semi-circle. Based on her gestures this coach was telling a very animated story, and based on the still bodies and wide eyes in front of her, she had the team’s attention.
The story being told was how this coach had been studying another swim team years ago, and how she had determined a key factor, a key skill that separated the good from the great. How she had come to be able to pinpoint who would be going on to World Level competition.
After the session my daughter shared with great excitement this “new” skill she was now wholly committed to and would do at every single practice and meet. I smiled to myself because it was not new. This skill had been communicated by her previous coaches, her current coach, her parents (!), and probably others. But, for some reason, on this day and in this way, the message got through. And she has kept it up every day since to great results!
For some, telling them to simply do this skill was enough. For my swimmer, a different form of communication was needed to get her attention and cement her commitment.
Tell me. Tell me again. Okay, maybe one more time.
I’m not sure of the exact number, but you have likely heard that people need to hear something multiple times (at least 6 maybe even 12) before it sinks in, before they really take notice and if you’re lucky remember it.
And we know that everyone takes in information differently. Some need to see it. Others need to hear it. Some need to have the opportunity to talk it through and discuss with others. The one sure thing is that no one approach works for everyone.
As a CX Leader, creating compelling, continuous communication of your CX vision, goals, progress, and next steps is critical.
Why? Because people are busy. And you need these busy people, the great people in your organization, to come together to make your vision a reality every single day. They can’t do that if they don’t know about it. And they won’t do it if they don’t connect with it.
At TELUS we are a 40,000+ employee company. We have Team Members around the world. We speak many different languages and we a have membership card for every generation. As you can probably imagine, “one-size” does not fit all for any of our communication needs, and Customer Experience is no different.
We take an ongoing, multi-vehicle and multi-channel approach to our Customers First message to make sure we are connecting with and engaging our entire team.
Here are some examples of what we do.
1. Start with communicating the “why”
You’ve probably watched Simon Sinek’s TED Talk – How Great Leaders Inspire Action. There he shares the now famous quote:
“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”
Our reason for being — our “why” — is about people. We are committed to improving the lives of Canadians and our communities. And we connect them each and every day to what matters most to them.
Video is often our communication method of choice for talking about why we do what we do. We recently shared this video — “Our Anthem” — with our Team Members and Canadians.
The video threads together what we believe in, what we stand for, and why we do what we do. It is the rallying cry for our organization, and shows how each day, we use technology to better the lives of Canadians.
When people are excited about what your company does and why you do it, they will be more excited to help make it happen. Purpose and meaning are powerful motivators!
2. Clearly communicate the business priority
Our number one Corporate Priority each and every year is “Delivering on our Future Friendly brand promise by putting Customers First”. It is clearly the number one focus for all of us. Customer Experience is not a department. It’s not a program that a select few work on. It is the top business priority and a team sport. We communicate that in no uncertain terms by always putting it at the top of the list.
3. Communicate Often
Each week our leaders receive an email from our CEO reinforcing our CX focus. It starts by reminding us of our commitment to Customers First, and then shares a customer story — an example of “above and beyond” service, or an example where we did not excel and what we are doing to get better.
The ask of Leaders is to share the stories with their teams and discuss what they will do to improve the TELUS customer experience.
4. Communicate visually
In 2012 we reaffirmed our passion and commitment for our customers by coming together and building our Customers First Commitments to clarify how every team member can make a difference in putting our customers first.
- We take ownership of every customer experience.
- We work as a team to deliver on our promises.
- We learn from customer feedback and take action to get better, every day.
- We are friendly, helpful and thoughtful.
Our Customer Commitments are in poster format in meeting rooms, published on our intranet, and embedded in our Performance Management system. They are visible to everyone, providing ongoing reinforcement of how we get things done.
5. Bring people together to communicate face to face
We are a company that has amazing technology that allows people to connect and collaborate no matter where they are. But we still make sure to bring our people together face to face.
- Through our Closer to the Customer (C2C) program, team members are given the opportunity to spend time with a customer-facing team member to get a closer look at the customer experience from another perspective. Participants gain a better understanding of the TELUS customer experience and how the decisions they make in their own role can impact it.
- Each year we bring together our leaders for two to four days in cities across the country for leadership learning forums. Our CEO and senior leaders discuss our corporate goals, share successes and opportunities, and of course where we’re headed. There is time for sharing not only business results and hot topics but the sharing of personal experiences and our commitment to our customers and culture and how we’re making a difference.
- Then there is the Customers First Champions Gala. The Customers First Champions program recognizes Team Members who have gone above and beyond to put our customers first, and shares their stories. The Gala is a red carpet event where the Champions are truly celebrated. Each and every champion is invited on stage during the evening and personally congratulated and recognized by our CEO (there are typically more than 200!).
There is no doubt that Gala attendees feel our commitment to Customer Experience and to Customers First. And we make sure to share a highlights video with the entire organization so everyone can see that dedication to Customers First is not only critical but celebrated at TELUS. Here is a 3 minute video to give you a better feel for the event!
This is just a sampling of our some of our CX communication vehicles that should give you an idea of how we engage and communicate with our team on an ongoing basis.
I can tell you from experience that working in CX roles is that much more interesting and rewarding in a company that has a robust CX communication plan. Instead of having to chase people down or having to convince people to work with you, they are lining up to know how they can help
So if you haven’t already, consider a communications plan to support your CX vision. I guarantee you it will extend your reach, multiply your impact, and build a culture that enables your CX vision instead of eating it for breakfast