Communications is a significant driver of human connections. HOW messages are delivered is as important as WHAT is shared. Talking in person is ideal. However, sometimes it is not possible given physical location and related factors. Seth Godin talks about using the appropriate medium. His words resonate with me a lot. I believe that lack of communication is the number one source of customer and employee dissatisfaction. The good news is that communication is in our control and easy to fix when issues arise.
There’s an increasing amount of conversations about Women and Leadership, and I love it! I believe that the next generation, including my own daughter, will have more opportunities to share their voice, without judgments, and pursue jobs that had been traditionally filled by men.
I’m writing this article for two reasons:
1. To encourage people, especially women, to build their skills and focus on a career in the Customer Experience field.
CX is not a fad. It’s here to stay and reputable companies are seeking expertise. Voxpro interviewed five women leaders who talk about the need for females in high-level customer-focused roles. I couldn’t agree more. You can read about what the ladies had to say in an informative article: “Why We Need More Women Leaders in CX.”
2. To Inspire women to pursue their passions.
I’ve learned a lot over the past 20 years working in large and small companies. I know first hand the challenges in pursuing a career while balancing parenthood. I am elated that more companies are committed to creating a culture where women matter and employee diversity is valued. Below is a recap of a recent interview of me in honor of International Women’s History month. I hope it serves as inspiration for all my readers.
Q: Explain what you do in your role.
A: I’m currently the Director of Customer Experience, leading a team focussed on delivering best-in-class Customer Excellence and Employee Engagement that serves as a brand differentiator. My role includes establishing & implementing innovative Voice of Customer (VOC) initiatives that provide a deep understanding of how customers interact & feel across all touch points. I’m also leveraging data, including Voice of Employee (VOE) feedback, to enhance customer journeys, and collaborating with cross-team to “close the loop” resulting in record high customer Net Promoter (NPS) scores.
Q: Why is gender equality important?
A: Gender equality is important because all people deserve access to the same resources and opportunities. If two individuals with similar skills & education apply for the same job or promotion, there should be no difference in the evaluation process. Unfortunately, equality has not been the case over time and I’ve witnessed this. I am very glad there is now a cultural shift so that my kids benefit in positive ways.
Q: What have you overcome to get where you are today?
A: I have overcome “inclusion” situations in past workplaces. For example, there’s been a multitude of times that I was not invited to all male meetings, even when my level or related positions were in the room and topics pertained to my job. I’ve overcome challenges by communicating tactfully with people and articulating the value I bring, so they’d understand my perspective and need for inclusion. While self-advocacy is not easy, it is essential and a contributing factor for my success.
Q: What would your advice be to the next generation of women aspiring to get advance their careers?
A: I encourage everyone, especially women, to communicate openly and honestly, and deal with uncomfortable situations head-on versus an avoidance approach. Be impeccable with your words and choose the right moments to contribute. You have 2 ears and 1 mouth. Use them accordingly. Also, always be learning and advancing your skills through formal and informal education. I obtained my MBA years ago but continue to get certifications from prestigious institutions to sustain my position as a credible thought leader. (Read more about my Rutgers CX Course)
Q: What has been the most pivotal piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
A: There will ALWAYS be obstacles. Know what you can control and focus your time and effort on those things. People often say “No” without even thinking about situations, but there IS a path to “Yes!” Be creative and figure it out!
Q: Do you have a female role model that helped you get to where you are today?
A: Executive Director Stacey Aaron-Domanico from my former job at Verizon, taught me about leadership and authenticity through her actions and words. We are still connected, and she inspires me to be amazing and genuine in everything I do.
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*Opinions expressed are Stacy’s alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.
There’s a common phrase, “Happy Employees Bring Happy Customers.” It is so true! When people feel valued and enjoy their workplace, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to delighting customers and maximizing their satisfaction and loyalty.
So, how does a company apply this principle to achieve business growth? The following are 5 effective ways that apply to all industries:
Create a Customer-Centric Organization
A centralized customer experience organization is able to monitor the quality of the experiences they deliver.
This kind of organizational setup enables teams to take action on Voice of Customer (VOC) feedback, including structured data (i.e. surveys) and unstructured sources (i.e. social media.). It helps ensure there are clear actions and ownership in the company, plus a champion of customer-first culture at the top.
Empower Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is essential to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Collecting customer feedback is great. However, this is a wasted effort if employees don’t execute on improvement plans.
Employees have a direct impact on customer experiences. In an environment with low employee engagement, success metrics like NPS scores inevitably decline. If you think about the most successful brands, they trust their employees and routinely measure their level of job happiness.
Again, if you want to delight customers, make sure employee satisfaction is included in the overall strategy.
Train Employees on CX
Every level of the organization must be educated about the importance of customer experience and how they can make a difference! This includes front line employees, managers, and executives.
Furthermore, every employee must be held accountable for delivering customer excellence. To promote accountability, I highly recommend including CX metrics in everyone’s annual objectives. Include the ability to get bonuses when employees achieve goals, similar to other key performance indicators (KPIs). I have tested this theory throughout my career and can unequivocally say that, when CX is a shared goal among all employees (not just a few) business results are significantly better.
Emphasize the importance of humanizing customer experiences throughout your organization. This starts with meeting customer needs without over-complicating processes.
Often, small things mean the most. For instance, using simple “please” and “thank you” statements help make customers feel like they matter. It is actually the secret to Chick-fil-A’s success. Also, “eye contact and smiling go a long way in the drive-thru experience.”
When customers feel appreciated, they are more satisfied. And they are more likely to recommend brands to others. The concept is obvious. Yet, it’s surprising how often employees forget the human element when they interact with customers.
Leverage Technology The Right Way
Many companies use tools and platforms to fully understand what customers are saying across channels and touchpoints. However, they don’t always incorporate the Voice of Employee (VOE), which is a key element in building a successful customer-centric program.
Employees need to know their opinions count. When that happens, they become better performers who are more motivated to serve customers, fix their issues (“Close The Loop”), and do the right thing even when their boss isn’t looking.
If you want to drive accountability and a CX culture, focus first on employees. Then look at technology. Not the other way around.
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*All opinions expressed are Stacy Sherman’s views and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.
Have you put the spotlight on the employee experience at your company?
I’ve written many times about the importance of the employee experience, both on its own with regard to retention and performance and with regard to the impact of the employee experience on the customer experience.
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Over the past year, I have written dozens of articles about VOC, otherwise known in the business world as “Voice of Customer.” I share why getting VOC is important, sources of VOC measurement, and best practices to drive company success. I am passionate about this topic because I know that Customer Experience (CX) provides a competitive advantage.
It’s not a hunch. It’s a fact! Today, however, I am writing about VOC from a different perspective. I am speaking as “Voice of Citizen.” Continue Reading →
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