We see this all the time in our Customer Experience consultancy:
We come in with a Customer Experience program that we want to deliver.
We have detailed emotional outcomes that we have orchestrated deliberately and meticulously.
We give it to the customer-facing teams…
…and then, they carry on doing what they always did!
Why do they keep doing the same things? Because the employees have only been given the job description, what we want them to achieve in their daily work. We haven’t taught them how to deliver the Customer Experience we designed.
However, the surprising result is that when you do exactly that—teach employees how to provide the Customer Experience you design—you improve not only the emotional outcome for customers but also the emotional outcome for employees.
First, Give Employees the Goal
Customer Experiences should deliver a consistent emotional outcome for customers. It needs to be specific about the emotional outcome, too. When you are designing an improved Customer Experience, you start by defining what emotion you want your customers to feel.
We call this the Customer Experience Statement (CES). The CES is the goal of your desired Customer Experience program. It defines the desired emotional outcome for customers in no uncertain terms, whether that is surprised and delighted, or valued and important.
Then, Show Them How to Achieve the Goal…
The next step to fostering employee engagement is to give your team the tools todo what you identified by the CES through training. It sounds logical. However, we find that training in this area is insufficient.
For example, in one of our projects, we had the CES ready. They wanted to make the customers feel cared for and valued. We then rolled it out to our client’s customer-facing team in the call center. They were eager to make customers feel cared for and valued. So they went to work to do just that.
The only problem was they each did it in their unique way—hardly creating the consistent experience we desired. Some of the call center employees thought making the customer feel cared for was to do everything like they always had but to call them “Hon” or “Sweetie” while they did. Others thought that by being more professional and businesslike, they would create the proper effect.
Guide Employees Along the Way
Training programs in the soft skills should do four things:
- Explain why emotions are relevant to the experience
- Communicate the thinking behind the emotion chosen for the CES, i.e. why that emotion is important to your organization
- Teach how a person’s psychology contributes to the desired emotion
- Describe what the individual can do to encourage better emotional outcomes in specific actions that relate to everyday situations in the emotional experience
However, in our experience, these are not taught. In fact, very little is taught in most organizations regarding how to deliver a deliberate Customer Experience.
To remedy the inconsistencies inherent in a Customer Experience implementation, we have created guides for our clients that cover these four areas. We showed the customer-facing team how we wanted them to make the customers feel cared for and valued. We said how we want them to greet the customer, what questions to ask and when to ask them, as well as what questions not to ask and when not to ask them. We even told them what to say if they heard key phrases that communicated frustration or anger.
When a guide is used, the results are exemplary. The biggest improvements occur in advocacy section, which includes the illustrious Net Promoter Score®, the gold standard for many Customer Experience measurement programs.
However, more than the Net Promoter Score® goes up when the employees get proper training on how to deliver the Customer Experience. One of the other significant benefits of this approach is that the employee satisfaction scores improve also.
Why Employee Engagement Improves
When you implement a Customer Experience program improvement, having a guide that spells out what employees need to do makes doing it easier for them to be successful than without a guide (or any soft-skills training, as seems to be the norm). The customer-facing employee must behave differently to achieve the emotion defined by the CES. When employees understand what is expected of them in specifics, they can then align that expectation with their actions—and feel successful when it works.
Employees also respond to the benefits of positive interaction with customers. They enjoy their job. Your employees feel like they are helping people.
One of the hallmarks of employee engagement is that your team is inspired and active in their pursuit of the company’s mission and brand promise. But if they don’t know how to do it, they won’t be engaged for long. Instead, they will be frustrated and watching the clock.
If you want your employees to enjoy success with your effort to improve the Customer Experience, you must not only tell them what you want, but you must also show them how to do it. It creates a more humanized place to work, filled with happy engaged employees that are delivering on the Customer Experience you painstakingly designed.
Beyond Philosophy have just launched a new suite of online, interactive, certified training courses to help improve your Customer Experience, including The Secrets of a Successful CX Program with thought leader and author of 6 books, Colin Shaw. Register now for these limited places.
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Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.
Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter & Periscope @ColinShaw_CX