I’m a marketer, yes, but I am also hung up on the client experience. I guess I have always been obsessed with walking the talk. You know… meaning what you say. Saying what you mean. Being truthful. Being open.
Fortunately, it turns out that markets reward these behaviors in the form of more, and more loyal, customers. So, for example, when I am working on a campaign strategy to introduce a new product, I really care about the performance of that product. After all, my (company’s) word is my (company’s) bond. There is a lot at stake.
But it doesn’t stop there. It’s not just about the product or service. It’s about the infrastructure and the people that deliver and support it. Think about it. Whether you are dining out, buying a car, choosing a financial advisor…you name it, your experience extends well beyond what you bought. In my book, people are the key.
Well-intentioned, well-trained people make so-so products good and great products even better. By paying attention to the three principles below, companies can enhance the probability of success while preserving and polishing the brand.
Make sure everyone in your organization knows she or he is in the customer service business.
It doesn’t matter if they are customer facing. Everyone is involved in activities built around one thing – delivering something customers want and keeping them happy with it. In this kind of environment, “that’s not my job” is heresy. Everyone owns the success of the customer’s experience.
Give Power to the People
Your company’s mission, vision and values should be forefront in your employee orientations. They should be reiterated and demonstrated frequently by all levels of management. When behavior doesn’t align with the company’s values, everyone should feel safe pointing it out using forums you provide and publicize. Don’t just tell your employees what. Tell them why. Share success. Analyze failure. Truly be all in it, together.
Praise with Purpose
It turns out there is a lot of science around praise and recognition. To optimize the effect, the experts say, you need to be precise with the praise. Instead of simply saying “good job”, you can promote right behavior by saying “Thanks, Rachel and Dan, because you stayed late to finish the clients’ paperwork, they were able to complete the transaction on schedule. I know the clients were happy, and we are grateful for your teamwork and initiative.” Be specific.
Company events and honors are a great way to energize and inform your people. As with praise, use the occasion to specifically describe the qualities, attitudes, behaviors and outcomes you want to promote. Make it crystal clear what the company cares most about and be sure it aligns perfectly with your values. If that’s not the case, then you have a lot more work to do.
It’s a big topic, but by consciously including your entire workforce in the customer service business and celebrating excellence you are building an army of brand ambassadors. Imagine the impact that will have on your business.
Where are you most impressed with the treatment you receive as a customer? How has poor service affected your impression of an otherwise good brand?