“Delivering a great customer experience” has become imperative in business. Competition is tougher than ever and the Customer Experience, for most all of the companies I work for is a top strategic objective.
Of course that makes sense. When customers have great experiences with your company they are more likely to buy more, more willing to tell others and act as referral sources. This makes doing business easier and your bottom line more robust. An increase of only 5% in your profitable customers can drive 25% – 100% more profit to your bottom line.
These days I’m focusing more on helping clients remember that a customer’s experience is usually only as good as the employee’s experience. It’s simplistic to say a happy employee = a happy customer. We know it’s more complicated than that but we can say that an engaged and happy employee who is focused on creating a great customer experience is significantly more likely to achieve it.
Happy workers are up to 31% more productive than unhappy ones and they are three times more creative. Happy sales people sell 37% more, and companies with happy engaged people have happier more loyal customers – some estimates say up to 50% more loyalty! Wow. I’d like you to look within and ask some seriously tough questions about your internal environment to get you ready to improve the customer experience and build a more sustainable competitive advantage. It all starts with your people and the culture in your workplace!
In order for employees to provide the level of “caring” that customers want to experience, companies had better provide an engaging work experience that is rewarding, meaningful and fun (yes, fun!) to those responsible for consistently delivering remarkable customer care.
The bottom line: If you want to create more value in the marketplace, you must create more value in the workplace. If you’re ready to make that leap, and you want to get the most and the best from your workforce take my 21 Tough Questions to your next leadership meeting to raise the workplace issues that need a value-boost. They’ll also raise everyone’s consciousness about what is and isn’t working in your company culture. Are you ready?
- Is the level of trust in our organization high or low? If low, how might we improve it?
- How do we help individuals cultivate a feeling of pride in their work?
- When we delegate responsibility, do we delegate authority along with it?
- Is a participative process in place that encourages employees’ input in matters that affect their future?
- Knowing that creativity and innovation are critical in a competitive economy, is training and development an important part of our strategic plan?
- What methods do we use to show people we appreciate them and their work?
- What mechanisms are in place to reward the kinds of customer-caring behavior we want to see repeated?
- Do employees really believe that open and honest communication on their part will not damage their careers here? Do they feel emotionally safe?
- What are we doing to encourage people to constantly think about “continuous improvement”?
- What flexible work practices are in place to accommodate workers’ growing needs for family balance? Are people able to use these options without fear of recrimination?
- What are the five most important values in our organization? How are they demonstrated by our leadership and staff every day?
- On a scale of 1-10, how much real, honest-to-goodness fun are people having in our organization? How happy are they at work?
- What 5 things do we have in place to support wellness in our organization?
- What are we doing to foster “emotional literacy” in our leadership team?
- If we ask our employees to take risks, are we wholeheartedly accepting their failures (learning experiences) as well as their successes?
- Do we really believe our employees are capable of being “fully empowered”? If not, what’s missing?
- Are there negative consequences when someone makes the decision to please the customer rather then please the boss?
- Have we changed our corporate definitions of success to encompass non-monetary things like happiness, job satisfaction and individual growth? If so, how do we measure it?
- Have we recently surveyed the staff to find out how they really feel about working here, and whether or not they really have what they need to take “exquisite” care of our customers?
- Many changes have occurred over the past few years, both reactive and proactive; what are we doing to support the people who are upset by the changes? What system do we have in place to help people through the change process? And here is one more question to shake things up at your next leadership meeting:
- If the most important factor in gaining a customer’s loyalty is the “customer experience” – their perception of the value they received – what are we doing to coach our team to the highest level of skill necessary to consistently create that branded experience.
Contrary to what many believe, the challenge of leadership is to ask the right questions rather than have the right answers. My 21 Tough Questions should give you a good start. Remember, if you want to create more value in the marketplace, you must create more value in the workplace.
Go to it!
If you want to know more about becoming a positive leader, visit me at www.PositiveLeadershipCoaching.com You and your customers will be glad you did.