improve cx in organization

Want Happy Customers? Focus On Employees First.

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.

Humanize Experiences

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.

WANT TO INCREASE YOUR CX SKILLS & TRANSFORM YOUR ORGANIZATION?

DoingCXRight by Stacy Sherman

 

 

*All opinions expressed are Stacy Sherman’s views and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

customer-centric culture

Why You Need Culture Not Call Center Training for Customer-Centric CX

You have some serious work to do before your customers experience your CX vision. First, you need to educate your organization on the core principles of customer experience. If the organization does not understand what customer experience is, you will not get the funding or organizational support you need to build customer-centric experiences.

This realization is particularly painful for those of us who see the inefficiencies that cause bad journeys and want to make the experience better for our customers. At this stage, though, the best advice I can give you is to wait before you move. Measure three times and cut one time.

Educate the C-Suite on CX Fundamentals

First, you need to educate your C-Suite on the concept and discipline of customer experience. Your C-Suite may or may not know what NPS is. They may use NPS already. Or, they may use NPS only for one touch point rather than the whole journey. They may identify NPS as a corporate goal that signals that CX should be a priority for the entire organization. Or not.

You need time to assess your particular scenario and start building awareness to reach the next level of understanding and organizational buy-in. This may take months or a year. However long the expected turnaround is, you need to endure it before you start solving customer problems.

Get Buy-In for Measurement

Why can’t you (or the C-Suite) expect an immediate turnaround? Because of our good old friend measurement. You do not want to do all the work and not get credit for it when it does not directly (or immediately) impact revenues or costs. You need NPS (or another CX measurement) to evaluate your work. It is important to have a CX measure so you can correlate it and tie it to productivity, to savings, or to another benchmark that is part of your current corporate measurement structure.

Go Beyond CX Training

The first part requires heavy lifting: getting your executive team to accept that you will measure NPS across the customer journey within the organization. This includes looking at cross-functionally that risks revealing some inefficiencies in their departments.

Now, you are ready to educate the teams of employees who will deliver the personalized experience you have envisioned.

How do you do that? The easy answer is training. That works for those who want to influence the culture of one division. Or, if all you are doing is running a Call Center.

However, if your organization is more complex, training alone will not help you achieve your CX goals. The entire organization needs to buy into your customer experience vision.

Don’t Limit Your CX Vision to Customer Service Providers

Imagine you want to help your customers complete an interaction with you early so they are not forced to wait later. This could be to check in for a flight or to advance register for an expo.

When you think of CX vision, this is probably not the first example that comes to mind. But remember what we spoke about last year: you may have a CX job already and not know it. So, back to our example. To remind an app user to check in early, you need your digital team to prioritize this feature on the app before other features that are on the list from other departments. To send a tailored email campaign to all your exhibitors, you need the marketing team to schedule your campaign on the right date to meet your CX needs. This could push other company messaging to a later date.

If all you do to initiate customer-centric CX in your organization is hold a customer service training, the digital and marketing teams you need to buy in will be excluded. They will not hear or understand the CX vision you are trying to implement and the value it has for the organization as a whole.

Create Customer-Centric Culture Across Departments

This is why CX professionals need to start educating everyone in the organization. And I mean everyone, from the front desk greeter, to the marketing manager, to the IT staff. To do this you need a lot of time and patience. You also need to inspire the teams and explain why it really matters to do what you want them to do when you want them to do it.

The trouble with building journeys is that you cannot do it only with one touch point. You need more in order to connect those points and build the seamless experience that truly puts the customer at the center. Educating all departments on customer-centric culture helps to do that.

Walk the Talk

So, be the brand ambassador for customer-centric culture and infuse that in every conversation you have with every person in your company. Try to customize your messaging so you do not come across as self-serving, but rather as someone who genuinely cares about the customer (as you do!).

If you need help strategizing how to put the customer at the center of your organization or if you need help getting started with CX, talk to us!

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone. They do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

 

customer experience culture

Why you need a defined culture to do CX right?

When designed and built correctly, customer experience expresses an organization’s brand. So, if your brand identity is playful and your copy has a witty voice, your space design is less formal.  In other words, your brand and marketing promises serve as a guiding light to your experience team. Similarly, organizational culture serves as a goalpost for the service side of customer experience.

What Role Does Culture Play in Customer Experience?

The texture of organizational culture is made of the behaviors and ways your employees communicate with customers. Without it as a guide, employees are left to their own devices. And the delivery of good customer experiences is left to luck. Without a defined culture, your employees tend to be more transactional. They do not create interactions that grow into relationships.

Think about it. If nobody tells you HOW to do something, you will think that the most important thing is just to get the thing done. The how is not even part of your thought process. The result of this is customer experiences that feel cold – experiences that do not make a connection with the customer.

Without that connection, there is no emotion. And without emotion, there is no memorable customer experience. You need to consider how you want your customers to feel when they interact with your brand. Now determine how you deliver those feelings.  You don’t! Your employees do.

Now, how do you make sure your employees deliver the right feelings? By making them feel the SAME feelings. That is culture! When your employees feel cared for, they care for your customers. When they feel integrity is nonnegotiable, they hold the highest moral standards. And when your organization has a defined culture, you trigger this positive domino effect that reaches employees and customers.

All Memorable Brands Have a Defined Culture

Organizational culture is the factory for the feelings you want your customers to have when they interact with your brand. It is not possible to do CX right without a defined culture in place. All memorable brands have defined cultures that are over-communicated to their employees and customers. Disney, JetBlue, Ritz Carlton, Zappos, and other hospitality-driven brands all have vibrant, recognizable cultures. So, if you want to join those brands and make your customers happy, you need to start by defining yours. Mission statements are not enough.

If your organization lacks a defined culture, it seeps into every department, at every level. Without a defined culture, there are no hiring standards for culture. When people are hired primarily for their hard skills, and culture is not part of the decision process, it is impossible to drive certain culture-connected behaviors. For example, if you have a defined culture and CARING is one of your values, then, as part of the hiring process, you assess how your candidate’s score against that.

If INNOVATION is one of your guiding principles, you look for risk takers and for people who are comfortable making decisions with limited information. If HR does not know what to hire for, there can be no active belief system in the organization.

The Culture Communication Problem

Last, but definitely not least, without defined culture your communications department risks demoralizing employees without knowing it. Culture shapes the language your organization uses to explain who and what you are, and how you want customers to feel. Note the difference between simple terms like “support center” and “headquarters,” or “staff” and “employees” vs. “team members” or “brand ambassadors.” Look more closely at terms like “agent” vs. “happiness engineer” or “concierge.”

A defined culture brings a vocabulary with it. Words matter. They are the tissue of culture and they need to be used with intent.

Unfortunately, like customer experience, culture is hard to implement in a sustainable way. The good news is we are here for that! If you aspire to build a brand that delivers exceptional customer experience, reach out to us. We will be happy to guide you through the maze of culture building!

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

Outside-In vs. Inside Out Thinking

Outside-In vs. Inside-Out Thinking

Today, we’re pleased to share a guest post by Annette Franz, CCXP of CX Journey. This article originally appeared on her site on August 11, 2015.

In the world of customer experience, what’s the difference between outside-in and inside-out? Continue Reading →

Why The Best CEOs Invest In Customer Experience

Why The Best CEOs Invest In Customer Experience

Some companies invest in Customer Experience (CX) as an afterthought. Other brands dedicate resources to creating customer excellence. They purposely allocate budgets to build and expand a CX team. They measure customer satisfaction and related KPIs daily. Then they close the loop to fix identified customer pain points. Continue Reading →

call center tips cx

3 Call Center Mistakes You Are Making

Before we dive into this post, I urge all of us to stop using the term call center. 2018 brands should not have call centers. Instead, engaged brands of today need Contact Centers.

If you are still responding to your customers only by phone, you are failing to provide efficient, relevant and timely customer support. Even worse, you are abandoning people who sought your help and never got it. Their tweets are floating unanswered in cyber space. After more than an hour of holding time, they hung up on you. Now that this caveat is out of the way, here are the 3 most common questions I get about call center management.

How Do You keep call center agents motivated and engaged?

The call center agent role is daunting. This leads to high turnover and low employee engagement scores. If you are managing a call center, you are likely struggling to keep up employee morale, before you can even hope to offer exceptional customer service.

The solution to employee engagement and ultimately, exception customer experience starts with the hiring process. Motivation and mission-driven service begins with hiring the right people. If your call center is staffed with people who see their jobs as temporary or transition positions, those people will not stay. They also will not give the job – and your customers – all they have.

Design profile of WHO you want in your contact center. Be ruthless about your selection process. Hire based on values and attitudes, not on skills. Hire with CULTURE in mind.

I appreciate that this is easier said than done, but it is not impossible. You can do it. If brands like Zappos and Ritz Carlton can do it, so can you. We all read about the incentive games and payment for performance. These are tactics that help maintain a culture of caring. But if you do not hire the right people, these tools will not make an impactful difference.

What vendor do you recommend for automating call centers using AI?

It is amazing that no matter how often my peers and I say that technology is not the answer, call center managers still ask this question expecting a silver bullet in the shape of a vendor name.

I will say it again here: you can use any type of vendor and still fail. You can also build a chat bot solution internally and succeed. The key here is recognizing two things that get overlooked all the time: aggregating and cleaning data.

Aggregating and cleaning your data is the foundation of any AI solution. Without this step, no vendor can save you. Garbage in, garbage out is exactly the logic here. So pause the vendor conversation and call your IT partner to discuss how ready your organization is for a chat bot solution. Do you have unique customer IDs? Do you have a relatively accurate matching tools and algorithms that can be transformed into a dashboard that can either help your contact center agents, or can be fed into a chat bot to answer basic questions?

Then, gather your call agents. Ask them what they need to provide memorable service. Empower them to help by LISTENING to them and by co-creating THEIR solution, not the vendor’s.  If Fedex asked the call agent who could not change my delivery address what she requires to satisfy customers needs, I am sure that the ability to change addresses in real time would be on her list.

What locations for outsourcing call centers are best?

This is another great example of the quest for the silver bullet. If you can remember one thing from this post , remember this – location is not everything in contact center management – culture is. Yes, you can outsource your contact centers, but the more money you save on the hourly wages, the more your brand erosion is going to increase.

When you realize that your contact center agents are an extension of your brand, you will be able to convert call center agents into brand ambassadors. This is when you are leveraging this touch point into a retention vehicle. For that business transformation to happen, you do not need to relocate the team to “the best location for call centers.” You need to look for the cradle of your brand and hire the right people in that location. That way, you will have the right ingredients to build a solid support center staffed with passionate people who genuinely want to help. From there, the Wow Moments pop up organically.

Sign up for our newsletter to continue learning how to increase your skills and transform your organization! When you register now, you will get access to our whitepaper on how to go from CX Novice to CX Expert.

 

*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

cx pyramid failure mta doingcxright

NYC Subway CX Kills Chivalry in the City

Brands with values inspire customers who interact with them. Nike encourages us to be brave and embrace our differences. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation urges us to be kind and care for others. Brands like this use the CX Pyramid to promote their values and deliver the reliable experiences customers want. Continue Reading →

Your Company Culture Is Your Brand

How To Infuse CX Into Your Company Culture​

What is company culture, why is it important and how does customer experience play a role? According to Webster, it is “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.” Culture is very important because it impacts Continue Reading →

CX design brand goals JetBlue Liliana Petrova CX

CX Design – How Do You Want Customers To Feel?

Last week, we talked about CX Design in terms of space and function. Today, we continue our CX design journey to talk about the design of emotions and feelings. The new look of the JetBlue T5 lobby created customer experience interactions in more open spaces for the benefit of both customers and crewmembers.
The next element of the design, connecting to the feelings of customers, drives that make-or-break goal, ROI. While designing for a customer’s feelings is critically important, it is often overlooked.  Meeting the functional needs of customers is only the base of the experience pyramid. Most brands stop there. They believe that meeting those basic functional customer needs is enough to deliver great customer experience. It is not. In his book Outside In, Harley Manning revisits the three levels of the CX Pyramid: “meet needs,” “easy,” “enjoyable.”
To design great customer experience like we did with the T5 project, we jump right to the top of the pyramid, working on making our customers say “I feel [blank] about this experience.” How you fill in that blank depends on your brand and culture values.

 

How do you want customers to feel?

It is important to think through the emotions you are designing, since those emotions will trigger repeat business. As Maya Angelou said “…people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
That memory of a feeling is both a risk and an opportunity to create a long lasting relationship with your customers. When we were designing the lobbies, the customer experience team wanted our customers to feel efficient, taken care of, empowered and smart enough to do things themselves without help. We knew the goal: create simple, personal and helpful customer experience. All we had to do was think about what that meant in terms of emotion.

Manage Change 

How big is the change you are introducing? Are you adding enough new customer experience elements to compensate for the discomfort of those you are removing?
 

Start with change management. When we removed the podiums from the lobby, we essentially took away our crewmembers’ comfort zone – their anchor, their place to hold personal items. This change was disruptive to their daily lives. It was important that, as we took away tools, we also gave crewmembers new tools to make them feel heard and understood. So we designed a hospitality training, a CX soft training with standards and tips on how to interact with customers and keep the brand promises we made.

With the hospitality training, JetBlue crewmembers had the cultural/brand guidelines of service delivery that perfectly complemented the new space we built. One of the 5 Whys informed us that the only thing a “Bag Drop” position should do is check IDs and scan boarding passes and bag tags. Podiums and computers were replaced with Blackberries to do just that, and the transaction times at Bag Drop dropped in half.  Customers spent 30 seconds dropping their bags and continuing on their (CX) journey. The lines disappeared. The negative comments about long lines in our VOC surveys also disappeared. We had a drop of 65% of any mention of “long queues”.
 

Does your corporate culture support the internal disruption you are creating?

Since we completely disrupted our crewmembers’ work space, we needed to think about the soft side of this innovation. At the time, we were the first airline in North America to remove podiums at Bag Drop. This is where JetBlue’s culture is a true differentiator. The CX design did not stop with the Ccustomer. It included the crewmember.
We treated our employees as customers.
We spent equal time deliberating how to design (and pay for) the new Bag Drop positions to minimize the functional changes in the lives our crewmembers. For example, where would they leave their phones, purses, wallets, when they worked? We built drawers in the blue arcs above the intake bag belts to meet that need. The thinner design better matched the overall open space approach of the lobbies. Despite that, we built them thicker, making the trade-off between brand look and function to manage the customer experience of our crewmembers and their acceptance of change.
The design of exceptional (and memorable) customer experience requires empathy. To connect to your customer, you need to go beyond meeting the customer’s functional needs. Making an experience like this easy for customers is very hard for CX professionals. There is no doubt about that. But ease only connects with the rational side of your customers. To generate more ROI through CX, you need to also create a positive emotion that will trigger the irrational decisions to (hopefully) pay for your product or service at a premium next time.
They will come back to you, even at a higher price, not only because they had a seamless customer experience, but because they want to relive the feeling you gave them. You will be one of the few brands that is not just offering a product or a service.  You are offering amazing customer experience – you are a well oiled machine for feelings.
 
Image courtesy of JetBlue
*All opinions expressed on the DoingCXRight Blog and site pages are the authors’ alone and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.
Loyalty Program Success Depends On Great CX

An Important Lesson In Retaining Customers

Loyalty programs are a great way for companies to motivate people to return and buy again and again. Customers continue to subscribe and purchase when they can earn points that are redeemable for products and services they perceive as Continue reading “An Important Lesson In Retaining Customers”