Research has long told us that customers trust the voice of employees over and above anything else, including marketing, PR or even the chief executive.
Here at PEN CX we’re passionate about helping companies tune into their people to improve the customer experience, and we believe the voice of the employee is just as important as that of the customer. I am a firm believer that to produce a truly great customer experience, you have to look within.
Practice what you preach
It’s important for any company expecting their employees to prioritise customer experience, that the leadership team leads by example. Doing so will inspire colleagues and give them the confidence to take ownership of the part of the customer journey they’re responsible for. You need to ensure the management team has the necessary skills and knowledge to motivate their employees to put the customer at the heart of their work.
Going a step further, actively asking leaders to coach their teams on being customer centric, and sharing commercial numbers which are more customer than financially focused, will prove that you really mean it.
Over and above
The fact is that people don’t get out of bed in the morning to help a company reach its profit target. But they will have a spring in their step if they feel they’re contributing to something they consider meaningful. Allowing colleagues to think bigger than their day job, expand their minds and exercise some creativity will not only bring a stream of continuous improvement to your business, it will also help employees feel more motivated and happy in their work. And as we know, this translates through to the customer experience.
So, encouraging a culture of ideas and innovation and ensuring colleagues are a part of developing those ideas into reality is important. Help employees feel invested in the growth of your business and part of your story.
Giving your employees a voice is so much more than just sending out an annual engagement survey. Someone’s job is often a huge part of their life and as such, it’s important they feel in control and listened to. Without that, they will become disengaged and it’s unlikely they will care much about the customer experience.
Setting up a focus group, and even nominating a team of champions, will do wonders for morale. It will also help you genuinely improve the working day for your employees and become a more responsible employer at the same time. But you should only do this if you’re prepared to act on what you hear. Ignoring suggestions could make employees feel it’s just a tick box exercise to you.
Tools for the job
It goes without saying that alongside encouraging your employees to deliver a great customer experience, you should also be helping them understand just how to do that. Ensuring that everyone is equipped with the right training is a basic but essential part of getting your customer experience right.
Be the best you
Once the other building blocks are in place, it’s then important to encourage your employees to develop and activate their own personal brand. They should be empowered to personally grow and evolve in their job, and add their own flair. The aim should be for your employees to be consistent, but not conformist, with your brand.
If you think about your favourite customer journeys, I’ll bet they were memorable because of the added sparkle brought by people. That was certainly the case for me at the Ritz-Carlton, with their mantra of “ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen”.
Just do it
Most businesses have a bucket of people projects which are on the ‘something we should look at soon’ list. And that’s understandable as these projects are amongst some of the most difficult to plan and the least measurable.
My advice here is to involve your people and jump in. Set up a culture collective, discuss some ideas and get the ball rolling with the best ones. More often than not, the best initiatives are the ones which come organically from within your business, but the key to success lies in creating a structure where those ideas are brought out and nurtured.
We find culture projects some of the most challenging and rewarding and they’re often where we see the most pleasing results. Whether it be designing and delivering a people project plan, or focusing on single delivery elements, we are always happy to get involved and help create a strong, emotional connection between your people and your customers.