Build Your Customer Room: Drive Customer Experience Focus & Accountability

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The Customer Room a very tangible depiction of your customers’ journey with you. The power of the customer room is the visual story telling. That is because it is set up as an experience – a way for your leaders and organization to step through the customer life.

Here is the power of engaging leaders regularly in the Customer Room:

a. Connect to ROI: “Did We Earn the Right to Customer Growth?” This is where you present the visual depiction of customer growth or loss. The outcome of the growth or loss of your customers and their few key behavioral actions showing growth or diminishment of engagement and bond. This is where leaders prove that they care about the “why” behind the growth or loss of the customer asset. It connects customer experience to ROI.

b. Care about customers’ lives. Create Empathy. Do this by walking through the current experience to know what customers are going through. By stage of the experience, show the story visually with what they experience, what they hear, and how customers react. Here you assemble information built from multiple sources of listening organized by stage of the Customer Experience. Make this active and visual by also showing screenshots, paperwork customers have to fill out, play calls, video – make executives try to do what you require customers to do so they step through the life of the customer.

c. Focus, Prioritize, And Commit: Unite leaders to pick one-company experience opportunities to improve or innovate. Once you walk through the stages of the customer experience and pick emerging priorities, leaders collectively and in a united manner select which experiences they will add to the roster of company-wide commitments. This is critical so that you focus on the few experiences in total versus every silo chipping away at a problem from their corner of the world.

d. Drive Accountability and Reward the Middle. Get rid of ‘volunteer fatigue.’ We have exhausted the middle of nearly every organization I work with due to the volunteer task forces that are assembled to work on customer experiences. This is along with every other special project that has already been layered onto what has already been planned for the year. Instead establish a reliable cycle of accountability for the teams you task as a leadership team to improve customer experiences. Use your customer room to have the teams report back each month following this simple path:

  • Month one: current customer experience for the selected experience.
  • Month two: identify root cause issues and current measures.
  • Month three: recommendations for actions and budget.
  • Month four: begin actions.
  • When complaints begin to descend, give a team reward.

This cycle can be accelerated or lengthened depending on experience complexity. The power here is the clear path you give these teams in the middle. This gives them a path to success. And it gives your executive team rigor to give people the time to find the right solution and to earn glory. Many times these teams don’t have regular access to the senior level of the organization. And we find that if this process is managed and leaders will stick to it…the teams feel great reward with this exposure.

Mike Bennett is the Senior Vice President of Operations at the Irvine Company Office Properties, where they recently put their Customer Room into place. According to Mike:

“We built out our Customer Room for a combination of reasons. It plays a role as war room where we work as a team to focus on our customer experience challenges and present ideas to leadership for improvement, it plays a key role in how we onboard new employees and exemplify our culture around the customer, and it is a place where we recognize achievement for individuals, teams and our overall key customer loyalty metrics. We have each stage of the customer experience on the walls in writeable surface so we can identify issues and opportunities. Teams work in this room cross-functionally on a regular basis as we identify priorities. Although focus is for internal process, customers, consultants and service partners who visit can see the efforts currently on the table that we are working on.”

Rendering of the Irvine Company Customer Room reprinted with their permission
Rendering of the Irvine Company Customer Room reprinted with their permission

3 COMMENTS

  1. Involvement of all levels of the company from the manager and HR to marketing director is that now lacks the client. Of course our situation can not be compared with those that were 5-10 years ago, but the constant improvement – this is what is expected of us by our customers.

  2. Jeanne: I also believe that architecture and office design can be a strategic enabler for improving customer experience. Last year, I visited CapitalOne Digital in Virginia, and saw a similar setup to what you described. Theirs had screens around the room with live Twitter feeds of what people were saying on social media about them and their competitors. One thing the company made very clear: they don’t filter the commentary. It’s all out there for employees and visitors to see – the good, the bad, and the obscene.

    I think any company that develops this resource must face up to the reality that they might not like everything that they learn, and they must be committed to addressing the issues.

  3. Hi Andrew,
    Glad you jumped in here. The idea of a customer room is really starting to take hold now. Many of my clients use smart boards, in addition to twitter feeds, etc. so that engagement can be done globally.

    We find the greatest value in using the room in a regular cadence: monthly, quarterly and annually before annual planning. This gets leaders used to having to see how the company is truly impacting customers’ lives, and it moves them to act in unison!

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