While there are many ways to create positive emotions to fuel brand trust, loyalty, and referrals, customer satisfaction starts with employees first. When employees are genuinely happy, it transfers to customers regardless of industry or location in the world. I know this first hand having worked at Global companies for over 20 years and from interviewing people during my business and personal travels. There are few individuals that stand out from my recent trip as they reinforce what I always say: People make the difference and serve as a brand differentiator.
Meet Sherry & Tyrese. Hire & retain employees like them.
In December 2019, I visited Mallihouna in Anguilla. Because I am in the Customer Experience field, I couldn’t help but observe how the staff creates and manages guest experiences. While ALL the employees are top-notch, few people made my visit extra memorable, and it had nothing to do with price. I am highlighting their views because I consider them CX role models and teachers in their own way for others to learn from.
The first person is Sherry. She genuinely enjoys making people happy and demonstrates a favorite quote of mine: “If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” (Ray Croc). I asked Sherry what customer experience means to her. She explained that she “loves her job and cares about customers first no matter what.” If a hotel visitor has a problem, she owns resolving it even if it had nothing to do with her or area of responsibilities. Listen to what Sherry told me:
The second person is Tyrese, a new employee at the hotel. I would never have known he’s only been in his job for a month and still “training” at the time of my visit. What impressed me about Tyrese is his ability to effectively LISTEN to customers and then proactively deliver what guests like before they ask. He personally made my visit extra special by personalizing my experiences. Nothing felt like a “cookie-cutter” approach. Listen to what Tyrese says about what customer experience means to him.
10 Easy Ways To Deliver Great Experiences That Fuel Success
Creating a customer-centric culture is not a new topic but I write about it often because as Simon Sinek says so eloquently: “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first. Creating a great company culture does not happen automatically or overnight. It requires intentional design and ongoing focus. When done right, the return on investment becomes a reality. The key is to set realistic expectations, and then exceed them.
There are numerous ways to create Wow moments for employees and customers. The following are some of my favorite techniques:
- Send hand-written thank-you notes. Recognize your staff for delighting customers. “69% of employees work harder when they feel appreciated.” (Work.com). Reinforce to employees to send thank you messages to customers too.
- Invite teams to an Executive meal based on NPS scores and positive customer feedback. One of the best gifts leaders can give employees is their time. The same holds true for customers too. Human connections and relationships matter. People buy from people they like.
- Publicize awesome work. Brag about individuals & teams on the company website. “79% feel motivated when recognized.” (Work.com). Publicize customer advocates too (with their permission).
- Enable employees to recognize each other. Gamify experiences. Tie prizes to customer value.
- Send cake and balloons to top-performing sales offices and those with Y/Y improvements. Send a token gift to customers too as a thank you for their continued loyalty on service anniversary dates.
- Buy lunch for people resolving customer issues daily i.e. call center reps.
- Create a personalized video message from CEO and other business leaders. Learn a creative way to do this in my article “How To Create WOW Moments For CX Success”
- Celebrate Global CX Day each year and create your own reasons to bring people together. Get ideas from my article: 14 Ways To Celebrate CX Day
- Offer employees a bonus or day off to those who routinely demonstrate customer excellence.
- Feed employees and show up. My employer demonstrated this perfectly. Company Executives literally served happiness at an employee Thanksgiving lunch in the cafeteria.(See photo)
Doing CX Right Reminders:
- Don’t wait for formal end of year reviews. If you’re not appreciating employees throughout the year, your competitors will. They’re searching for great talent.
- “51% of workers are recognized only once a quarter” (Salesforce study). Some places it’s more like once per year. You have the power to change that.
- “Your mission statement may be on the wall, but your core values are displayed in the attitudes of your employees.” (Elle Clarke)
- Small acts of kindness go a long way. “People may forget what you said or did, but never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
- Don’t overthink. Thank employees everywhere i.e. meetings, cafeteria, parking lot.
- Be empathetic and sincere. Employees know when managers are “checking a box.”
- “Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us.” Earl Nightingale
- “If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand” (Howard Schultz)
- “If you’re not connecting with the people in your organization, you’ll never deliver the experience that you want for your customers.” (Lynn Skoczelas)
- “Surprise and delight employees and customers. It’s in your control.” (Stacy Sherman)