Who would your customers rather enlist when it comes to tackling a major new project or simply troubleshooting smaller issues – a team player that comes with a positive outlook, can do attitude and creative ideas or someone who’s just phoning it in? It’s not a difficult question. Yet sometimes we can’t immediately tell when someone’s bringing less than their “A” game. It can be easy to overlook that not everybody on your team has a winning mindset, especially when business is good. Your judgment could be clouded by an underperformer’s brilliance and pedigree, until customers voice dissatisfaction. You can get ahead of this by working with your teams to ensure they are bringing a winning mindset to every customer engagement. What exactly is a winning mindset?
It’s based on a simple premise that people either have a fixed mindset or a winning mindset, a.k.a. growth mindset. A fixed mindset believes that intelligence and/or talent are fixed traits. People with a fixed mindset tend to spend their time documenting these traits as opposed to developing them. In a growth mindset, people continue to develop their abilities through dedication and hard work. Sure, brains and talent are a great head start but they’re not enough. Success comes from developing your talents and constantly improving.
There are countless examples of the impact of a winning mindset. Most notable is the New England Patriots’ epic comeback in the 2017 Super Bowl. Not to mention Steve Jobs’ return to Apple after being fired and then reviving the company to unprecedented stock valuation based on a relentless commitment to creating products that customers love. Applying a winning mindset to customer engagement can make all the difference between a company that’s built to last and one that’s simply built.
Key to creating a winning mindset is anticipating a positive outcome. This fires up our brains as we feel a renewed sense of energy and drive. This isn’t a pop culture myth. Psychologist Michael Scheier, through his groundbreaking research in the power of optimism, proved that optimists do better than pessimists. Why? Because they’re problem solvers who try to improve the situation.
Here are three ways to apply a winning mindset to customer engagement.
1. Evaluate the way you engage customers. Assess not only your products and services, but also speaking to your front-line people who spend the most time with your clients every day. Are they empowered to go off script to deliver superior customer service? Is your business structure oriented toward change? How quickly do your customer service pros move into fight or flight mode? Are they encouraged or incentivized to bring forward new ideas and thinking?
2. Simplify and focus. Simplify each challenge down to its root cause. Then, focus on breaking down the goals of each step in the process. This helps your client to understand what will be done and it allows the entire team to rally around achieving the smaller goals, which leads to conquering the overall challenge.
3. Elevate expertise. From a B2B perspective, most clients want to know the company’s big thinkers when it comes to topics that relate to their business challenges. Make these subject matter experts available from time to time, not just when a project is veering off course. From a B2C perspective, the need to elevate expertise or reroute a customer question should be determined within the first 15-30 seconds of the conversation. Too often, the first line response team tries to troubleshoot the issue, only calling in the second line reinforcements after they’ve been stumped and the customer is frustrated. Knowing when to bring in the experts is critical to customer satisfaction.
By embracing a winning mindset, you can more effectively meet the needs of your customers that, in turn, foster more meaningful customer engagements. After all, successful customer engagement is ultimately about people wanting to connect with people. As a marketer, your role is to facilitate those connections by making those connections happen in the easiest and most effective ways possible.
Thought provoking – nice piece, Jane. And in self-reflection and for the work of our team, we are forced to admit we aren’t perfect which aligns with and also reinforces your premise of what should be our mindset of continuous improvement/learning.