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8 Habits of a Highly-Effective Customer-Focused Culture (Part 1 of 2)

By on Sep 18, 2012 Editor's Pick No Comments

The passing of Stephen Covey in July was one of those moments that caused a lot of people to reflect on their lives and on how effective they are, both personally and professionally. I was moved to reread his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s amazing that it has been on USA Today’s bestseller list for 10 years! And it has been named the #1 most influential business book of the 20th Century. It’s not hard to see why.

While he’s best known for The 7 Habits, Mr. Covey also published The 8th Habit. More on that in a bit. I know I’m not the only blogger out there to pay homage to him by taking his wildly popular 7 Habits and repurposing them for the topic at hand. Unfortunately, with his passing, it was a great reminder to revisit those eight habits to see how they are being applied to life in general today.

As I did just that, I couldn’t help but apply them to the customer experience discipline, as well. How do they relate to creating an effective customer-focused culture? I think it’s a no-brainer; I’ll take a look at all eight this week.

Before I do that, let’s first review how Mr. Covey defines habit. He states that a habit is “the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire.”

  • Knowledge is the what to do and why.
  • Skill is the how to do it.
  • Desire is the motivation or the want to do.

Think about your employees. Think about these principles aligned with hiring the right employees. Think about these principles as they relate to the employee experience. Think about how effective your employees would be if they came wired with all of these principles!

Not only do they apply to your employees, the core of your business, but also to the business, in general. Start with your why. What’s your purpose? It sets you apart and tells us where your passions lie.

Let’s dive into the eight habits. I’ll cover four today and the rest later this week.

1. Be proactive

I’ve written about proactive service a few times. Take responsibility. Own the problem or the issue. Own the experience. Think about how you interact with customers. If there’s a known problem with your product, do you get out in front of it? Or do you wait for your customers to call you about it? Being proactive is definitely a delighter in the customer experience world. Don’t dwell on what you can’t do; focus on what you can do, instead.
In The 7 Habits book, Mr. Covey compares reactive with proactive language. I modified some of
what he provided to be relevant to frontline staff responses to the customer.
2. Begin with the end in mind
I don’t think anyone can dispute that your customer experience efforts must begin with the end in mind. Define your objectives. Know your goals. Communicate your goals. Create a roadmap. Outline a plan to accomplish what you are trying to achieve. In yesterday’s CXO chat, we talked about the virtues of customer journey mapping. This is a great place to start on your CX Journey; it takes into account where you are trying to go and what you are trying to achieve. Ensure that everyone knows what you are working toward.
3. Put first things first

Prioritize. Simple as that. First things first… employees are the priority in your business. I keep referring back to this blog post, which includes a quote from Tom Peters.

CEO Hal Rosenbluth chronicled the incredible success of his travel-services firm, Rosenbluth International, in The Customer Comes Second. Love that title! Who comes first? Don’t be silly, says King Hal; it’s employees. That is — and this dear Watson, is elementary — if you genuinely want to put customers first, you must put employees more first.

Employees are critical to delivering a superior customer experience. Make sure you put them first. Make sure you focus on the the employee experience. This includes thinking about your: culture, approach to recruiting and onboarding, training, recognition, and communication, to name just a few items. Hire the right employees to ensure you their passion fits with your culture and translates to an awesome customer experience.

4. Think “win-win”

Win-win refers to a mutually-beneficial or mutually-satisfying situation. Think about a culture that is a win-win for employees and the company in general. Consider solutions that are mutually beneficial for the customers and the business.

Win-win means that all parties feel good about the situation and are committed to the situation at hand. Win-win in my mind actually looks more like a win-win-win in the customer experience world. A win for employees means a win for customers means a win for the business. Treat employees as you would treat customers, and vice versa. That’s a win-win.

I’ll take a look at habits 5 – 8 in my next post later this week.
Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. -Goethe

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