Many CX champions complain that their colleagues "don’t get it" or "don't care" about the customer.
I challenge this mindset. If we cannot convince people to care, this only means we haven't been convincing enough. After all, I've never seen anyone get out of bed with the intent of upsetting customers. Well, there was this one guy. :-)
While I haven't got any magic bullets, I hope you'll find some use in the suggestions below to make your colleagues care about the customer.
1. Show people how they impact the customer experience
In my Reebok days, one of my colleagues ran a programme to create the perfect order for sports retailers. It was a company-wide initiative, also affecting the warehouse.
During one of the many workshops, a breakdown occured. One of the warehouse workers wanted to leave the session, as he felt it was a waste of his time. After all, all this customer b**lsh** didn’t apply to him. He worked with boxes and had no influence on customer satisfaction.
Now luck had it, that on this day the CEO of a major retailer was visiting that particular warehouse. He overheard this employee.
In a friendly way, he joined the conversation and asked the employee about his job at the warehouse. The man explained that he worked on picking and packing. He had to seal the boxes before they went on the truck.
The CEO continued with a rhetorical question. "So you are telling me, that you are the last person to see and touch my product before it comes to my stores? And that you have no influence over my satisfaction as a customer?" The point didn't need labouring further.
ACTION 1: Explain to each employee of the company how they add value to the final customer experience. After all, if they don’t know what it is that they are contributing, it is hard for them to get excited about it.
2. Make the customer voice actionable.
Customer voice programmes can be a great source of honest feedback. They can help you pinpoint what you are getting right and what you are getting wrong. But if you're unfamiliar with the way these programmes work, you may struggle to see their value.
For example, if a customer complains about the price she needs to pay, billing may not be the issue. Sales or marketing may have created the wrong expectation. Service delivery might have been sloppy. The invoice might be unclear.
Yet, if you work in marketing, service delivery or IT, you may not immediately see these aspects. After all, the bill is too high is unrelated to with the job you do.
ACTION 2: Complement your customer voice programme with regular root cause analysis. Translate customer feedback into a language that resonates with the different departments in your business. Once colleagues see how they can contribute, the chances of them doing so vastly increase.
3. Humanise your customers.
Every business and employee wants to look professional. Tools of this trade include PowerPoint presentations, jargon and complex analytical models.
While these are useful, they can dehumanise customers. What used to be people and individuals, becomes units-in-use, policy holders or PAX (does anybody even know what that abbreviation means?).
Unfortunately, once someone becomes a number, our ability to care as humans diminishes. Bringing back the customer as a human can inverse this process.
A few years ago I saw a brilliant example at a global telecom operator I worked for. Like any other operator they had clients that suffered from bill shock. Especially when confronted with their post-holiday roaming charges. Like in every operator, these customers were numbers on a spreadsheet. Until one of their CX champions singled out the story of Johan.
Johan was a single dad who had been on holiday with his two children. Upon returning home late August, he found that his bank account was empty. He had inadvertently blown his data-plan and faced a bill of several thousands of Euros. Through automatic debit, this amount had disappeared from his bank balance. At the start of the school year, he didn't have the money to buy his children the books and materials they needed.
Suddenly, these numbers on a spreadsheet, seemed a lot more actionable.
ACTION 3: Replace your cold customer reports with human accounts. Give people the opportunity to relate to you customers as individuals. Make them care. Once they do, they'll be ready to help. Not because KPI's say so, but because it's in our nature.
As always, the above three actions will not transform your business on their own. It may not even get your people to act. For that you need business cases, process overhauls and the right KPI's. But they can help your colleagues to become more willing to make these changes a reality. That's a start :-)
Image credit: (cc) Mike Wilson
About this blog
Whenever inspiration strikes, I use this space to share my thoughts on customer experience management, storytelling or what ever else crosses my mind.