Customer Experience Leadership Survival Guide – Part 5


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Installment 5 of 5

5 Reality based actions to make customer experience work inside your operation.

“One Company” Customer Experience Culture

This part of the work is about leadership and organizational dynamics and about communication.  The companies that are most successful at the customer experience work address the work across the silos as well as how leaders enable the organization to work together. 

This is where we address the human issues that are so critical to continuing to hold a place in customers’ hearts. How are leaders enabling the organization to work? How are decisions made? What are people rewarded and recognized for?

This begins with creating simple and clear actions for Leaders, the middle and the frontline for working together.  For Leaders: how do they get rid of the roadblocks?  For the Middle, how do they work together across the silos and get rid of some of their own policies and procedures that they “own” but that get in the way of a united experience. And how do they make decisions as they do their work?  For the front: how do we hire folks congruent with our core values, how do we enable and train them to bring the best version of themselves to work. And how do we involve them in the customer experience work? 

There’s a lot here and this part of the work is frequently the “heavy lifting” of getting traction.  Often I lead workshops for the organization to help them get on the same page. Then as usual, pass on the materials and slides so that these conversations can be continued throughout the organization. 

To get started, I suggest these simple action items you can go do tomorrow without spending much money. All it takes is passion, commitment and making this a priority:

  • Call lost customers. Play those calls for everyone.

Have your execs call at least five customers who have left you every month.  No script required, just the ability to really listen.  Start the call by telling the customer how sorry they left your company, and then ask if they could explain what happened.  Then, stop talking…just listen.  These calls will get the voice of your customer into the ear of the people who can make change.  And there is nothing like these calls to bust through how we usually think of customers, as survey data or retention rates.  Get customers’ permission to record those calls and play them and talk about each experience that customers were disappointed in. 

These will get you fast traction and a culture boost as folks in your organization will see that execs are committed and talking about customers personally and the experiences they are having. 

  • Be a customer.

Commit everyone in your organization to do one thing that you require customers to do once a month.  Buy a product on your site as customers do.  File a claim as they do, redeem a coupon, etc.  Then talk about the process.  Fix what doesn’t make sense and makes you wonder why a company would treat customers in that manner.

  • Connect with the frontline.

At Lands’ End every few months, we brought in about twenty people from all the frontline operations; the phone folks, pickers and packers from the warehouse, etc. and had them sit in a circle around our President.  They talked, and we listened and took notes.  We believed their version of how they were treated and how customers were treated and we made changes based on what they said.  Try this.  You don’t have to do exactly this, but make sure that you actively listen to the frontline, and most importantly believe what they have to say – and take action.

  • Do customer math, and talk about lost and gained customers in every meeting.

Initiate your version of the bowl of customer marbles and talk about it at every meeting.  Relate that gain or loss of customers to what has been heard in those lost customer calls, to what the frontline is saying and to what you are experiencing as a customer of your company.  Then talk about it all as experiences – and start driving accountability in cross functional teams to fix experiences – not silo problems. 

Click here to read Installment 1.

Click here to read Installment 2.

Click here to read Installment 3.

Click here to read Installment 4.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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