This is the #1 Principle in the series, Core Principles for Delivering an Exceptional Customer Experience.
Even with the right team in place, great customer experiences don’t just happen. They are the result of deliberate effort and consistent focus. One of the reasons that some organizations are able to consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences is simply that they work harder at it.
If you want to deliver a world-class customer experience, you first need to have a clear CX vision. Think about what an ideal customer experience would look like for your organization, and then consider how your department can contribute to that. Defining the CX vision is not as easy as it might sound, but there are some ways to get to the heart of the matter.
- Consider your own best service experiences, what made those interactions memorable? How can you replicate that in your department?
- Look to the best service experiences you have seen within your own organization. This is a particularly powerful tool in areas like the contact center, where you have a huge pool of interactions from which to find the ones that really stand out. Wading through thousands of calls might seem a bit daunting, but there are some shortcuts you can take. Look to your quality team; they have a pool of calls they have already scored which can be a great starting point. You can even turn directly to your representatives and ask them to identify their own best calls. Getting your whole team involved in this process will also help build engagement (more on that next week) and reinforce a service culture (which will be talking about in two weeks).
- Look to the competition. Don’t feel like competition in your own industry is good enough? Then look to best-in-class providers in other industries.
- Turn to the independent experts (warning, shameless plug ahead), like your friends over at Dalbar, who know what a best-in-class experience looks like across a host of customer touchpoints and service channels.
The customer experience is the sum of all of our service interactions, which is why it is so important that you provide a superior standard of care across channels and touchpoints. But it is also more than that, since the customer experience also includes the path or the journey that customers travel. A smooth, seamless transition can make the experience more than the sum of its parts whereas a disjointed journey or barriers between types of interactions can have the opposite effect.
By actively managing customer journeys you can ensure that all service channels, all departments, indeed, your entire organization, are all pulling in the same direction.
Once you have your CX vision in mind, the next step is to break that experience down into its component parts. These are the items that you can measure and coach to align your actual performance with the lofty goals that you have set. Don’t be afraid to get into the weeds here. Remember, specific = actionable. A phone representative will struggle if you ask them to connect better with customers. But if you ask them to be sure to greet every caller in a friendly manner and to use each and every customer’s name during the conversation, that is something which they can easily understand and act upon.
Now that you have a clear CX vision and specific performance criteria in place you can begin working to make it happen. Measurement is the key here.
If you do not know where you are, it is impossible to tell if you are getting better.
Now coaching can focus on aligning performance with the ideal that you have identified. You need to accept that you will not meet that ideal each and every time, but striving for it will only make you better – if we don’t aspire to be great, we can never be more than mediocre.
- By Brendan Yeager