I recently had the honor to join Cynthia James on her well-known inspiring show called, Women Awake. I admire Cynthia as a leader and champion for change who awakens others to express their full potential.
Creating a great customer experience is a top priority for many companies, but HOW TO DO THAT is often the tricky part. I had the honor of joining a LinkedIn Live session hosted by Gabe Larsen, VP at Kustomer. I believe you will find much value from listing to our discussion, which includes great insights from Vikas Bhambri. I guarantee you’ll learn something that you can apply to your business right away.
The coronavirus outbreak has changed the way we live. It’s impacting people very differently, which fascinates me. I decided to take my passion for understanding and studying human behaviors to the next level for a greater purpose. As the pandemic spreads, I’ve been interviewing people around the world to learn about their experiences and how they are coping, staying calm and productive. My goal for publishing a collection of stories is to spread great ideas and inspire others to achieve happiness at a time we need it most.
My first article was about silver linings and what people are personally accomplishing that they may not have if the pandemic never happened. My second article was more business focussed, which featured a Doctor who transitioned his NY psychiatric practice from in-person therapy to ONLINE in ONE WEEK! We spoke about how technology has helped him pivot while still humanizing business, and much more.
Today, I’m featuring another successful entrepreneur who is surviving the economic downturn by shifting his strategies while sustaining a customer-first company culture.
Meet Sam Brenner
Sam is the CEO of CRB Workforce, who specializes in building large scale technical project-based teams as well as individual targeted recruitment efforts. I especially admire how CRB personalizes employee experiences and meets the needs of clients based on their unique needs versus taking a “cookie-cutter” approach.
1. How are you pivoting your business during COVID-19?
SAM: Our pivot is twofold. First, we evaluated all clients and determined which ones are active so that we divert all our resources towards a select and exclusive group. Second, we expanded our primary industry to include healthcare and distribution/warehouse. This allows us to provide solutions to new market segments while further deepening our relationship with select clients. (Stacy’s note: This makes sense. Companies need to be flexible and agile. It’s the only way to have a competitive edge).
2. How is technology helping you to humanize business?
SAM: Technology has helped us solve problems. We’ve automated processes to create better content, deliver results and reports faster, and more to enhance communications. With that being said, more automation is enabling us to focus on person to person relationships at a deeper level. We have increased the capacity to be empathetic and listen to our customers and employees. (Stacy’s note: I love this, and doing even just the CX basics goes a long way).
3. What’s your greatest challenge in continuing to humanize business?
SAM: I think the biggest challenge will be weighing the revenue needs versus human needs. Companies need revenue right now – sales are slowing. Humans need jobs yet without revenue, companies can’t hire. It will be a constant and difficult challenge to keep business humanized while also driving the bottom line out of survival. (Stacy’s note: I understand what you are saying as others are balancing the same dilemmas everywhere. We need to remain optimistic that will survive this together similar to generations before us who have endured other pandemics)
4. What’s your next steps to ensure customer satisfaction?
SAM: We are getting organized. This downtime has allowed us to get to know our customers better and to be more responsive. Ultimately, we are a service to our customers and their satisfaction determines our future success. (Stacy’s note: I agree. Customer experience is a brand differentiator and it’s smart business to apply CX best pracitces now and always!)
5. What are some ways you are or plan to keep staff engaged and satisfied to deliver customer excellence?
SAM: Our management team has been conducting daily touches with every employee. We are doing 3 separate video meetings per division throughout the day. 1 AM, 1 Lunch, and 1 PM overview call. We discuss the current status of our business, roadblocks, issues, as well as successes. At the end of the day, we want our employees to know we care and to in turn – show our customers that they care. Communication and organization drive it all. (Stacy’s note: I couldn’t agree more with this last statement. Communication is what drives loyalty. Even if a company makes a mistake, customers are more forgiving when they are updated and feel cared for. Transparency goes a long way.)
how are you pivoting your business during covad-19 without impacting CX?
- Subscribe to my newsletter to receive actionable tips.
- Increase your skills. Listen to podcasts
- Join conversations on Instagram, LinkedIn & Twitter
Happy employees lead to happy customers. That’s what Simon Sinek says, and it is very true! I’ve seen first hand throughout my corporate career how much employee satisfaction impacts company culture and overall results. As we live through uncertain times, employee happiness and inclusion are extra important and require creativity to achieve an engaged workforce who delivers customer excellence.
How To Create Meaningful Connections with employees Today
Form a workplace book club (virtually during a pandemic). The idea is more than just reading the same book, although that is a bonding experience. I’m suggesting to join Simon Sinek’s online community and read “Start with the why.” Each Friday at 3pm EST, he will be discussing a chapter and answering questions submitted by his fans.
My Customer Experience team and I are joining Simon’s sessions and also planning to get together on Mondays. WHY? To discuss key takeaways, learn from diverse perspectives, and become a better conversationalist.
Book Club Details:
Here’s How It Works:
Step 1: Find at least one other person and read the book together. Be it with friends or colleagues, the goal is that we are doing something as a community.
Step 2: Send your book club’s questions for each of the six parts of Start with Why to firstname.lastname@example.org, include the name of your book club and the names of its members.
Step 3: Tune in to YouTube.com/simonsinek where he will answer your questions live. If you can’t make it live, worry not, he will keep the videos posted on YouTube.
What Are YOU Doing to Engage Your Employees?
I recommend a book club as it’s great for the mind, awesome for leadership, and excellent for business as work teams unite and break silos.I’d love to hear your stories and I will continue to share lessons learned from Simon’s book club and related experiences.
Special thank you to my entire rockstar CX work family (not everyone shown below). You inspire me every day to show up as my best self.
More photos and articles to follow.
Increase your skills & Transform your business by DoingCXRight®
- Sign Up for my newsletter. You’ll get instant access to my free whitepaper about going from CX Novice to CX Expert.
- Listen to podcasts and read CX articles.
- Contact Stacy for mentorship and collaboration ideas at Stacy@DoingCXRight.com
*All views expressed are mine & do not reflect opinions of or imply endorsement of employers or other organizations
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.
It’s no secret that happy employees yield better business results. There’s a lot of research indicating customer satisfaction and loyalty rises when employees enjoy their jobs and workplace. They go hand-in-hand. As leadership expert Simon Sinek says, “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first. I agree, and also know that creating a great company culture does not happen automatically or overnight. It requires intentional design and ongoing focus. As Thanksgiving approaches, take time out to show gratitude at work (not just in your personal life). Walk the talk and keep the momentum going.
10 Authentic Ways To Thank Employees:
- Send hand-written thank-you notes. Recognize employees for delighting customers.
- Send newsletters to each department. Personalize messages. No “cookie-cutter” approach.
- Invite teams to an Executive meal based on NPS scores and positive customer feedback.
- Publicize awesome work. Brag about individuals & teams on the company website.
- Enable people 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.
- Buy lunch for people resolving customer issues daily i.e. call center reps.
- Create a CEO video message thanking employees for creating customer promoters.
- Offer a bonus or day off to those who routinely demonstrate customer excellence.
- Feed employees and show up. My employer, Schindler Elevator Corporation, demonstrated this perfectly. Company Executives literally served happiness at employee Thanksgiving lunch in the cafeteria. (See my Linkedin for photos)
culture starts with you! appreciate employees at all levels
“69% of employees work harder when they feel appreciated. 79% feel motivated when recognized.” (Work.com). See more statistics in the infographic below. Given the facts, why don’t Executives and Managers thank their employees more frequently? One study reveals that “51% of workers are recognized once a quarter.” I’ve been in organizations where it’s more like once per year. I’m challenging everyone to change that. Culture starts at the top but requires bottom-up actions too.
Doing CX Right Reminders:
- 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
- Employees are your heroes. If they don’t feel important, your customers will feel it.
- 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.
- Don’t overthink it. Thank employees everywhere i.e. meetings, cafeteria, parking lot.
- Be empathetic and sincere. Employees know when managers are “checking a box.”
- Get more ideas from my other article: 14 Ways To Celebrate CX Day
How do YOU build a customer-centric culture? Please comment below and join conversations on my Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn pages. Let’s keep the conversations going to humanize experiences and maximize happiness everywhere.
Want To Increase Your CX Skills?
Sign Up for DoingCXRight newsletter as you’ll receive actionable tips you can easily apply right away. When you subscribe, you’ll get instant access to my free whitepaper about going from CX Novice to CX Expert. Feel free to contact me any time at DoingCXRight@gmail.com
*All views expressed are mine & do not reflect opinions of or imply endorsement of employers or other organizations.
I'm constantly focussed on new ways to maximize customer satisfaction (beyond price factors) and increase employee engagement. Whether I am at my day job or on vacation, my CX hat is on. I pay attention to everything, including how employees communicate with customers as well as how employees interact with one another. My recent trip was no different when visiting The Lodge At Woodloch with my family. I could write a book about my Woodloch experience, however, there's a specific CX example that impressed me the most.
There’s an increasing amount of conversations about both customer experience (CX) as well as diversity in the workplace, 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 they may not have in the past.