Your Secret CX Weapon: In Managing Customer Experience, Don't Forget Your Employees
by Cari Peek
The customer experience is as important as the products and services a company provides.Organizations spend millions of dollars to ensure their customers have positive in-store or online experiences. But any brand’s or retailer’s best path to an optimized customer experience is with its frontlines: their cashiers, waitstaff, store managers, installers, technicians, customer-service team members, etc. These are the people who interact with customers every day and can make or break a positive experience. Don’t ignore this important group when crafting experiences for your customers.
How can you ensure employees take an active role in optimizing the customer experience?
Don’t just train to do a job. Institute consistent, organization-wide training for all employees that aligns with the experience you want for your customers. It can be something as simple as saying, “My pleasure,” as Chick-fil-A instituted, or having procedures in place to diffuse irate customers. Employees need proper training to understand their importance in the overall customer experience, to know how to handle different types of customer issues, and, ultimately, to ensure a consistent experience for your customers.
When instituting a customer-experience strategy, businesses typically have regular goals or milestones that are monitored, such as reducing item returns or customer-service complaint calls, or incremental increases in customer-satisfaction measures. The milestones you are aiming for should be communicated clearly and routinely down the chain of command. Measurable goals help your employees understand what success looks like.
Listening to your employees is more than just having an open-door policy. It’s letting employees know executives’ email addresses. It’s visiting employees on location and talking with them to get to know what they do. It’s conducting employee- and customer-satisfaction surveys.
Just like your customers, your employees of all levels want to be heard. Your frontline employees observe customer actions, including highs and lows that those at headquarters don’t often witness and that your customer-service surveys may not always capture. What better way to gather customer feedback? Make it a common practice to communicate with employees regularly—they possess a gold mine of information. At the same time, allowing your employees to be heard will provide them with a sense of purpose and importance to the organization.
4Recognize & Reward
Whether it be a monetary reward, verbal recognition, or something else, finding ways to reward employees for improving the customer experience is the ultimate ROI. Consider a reward program that recognizes employees for being mentioned by name in your customer satisfaction surveys. Use KPI measurements to reward top performers/top-performing teams with excursions, cash prizes, or an extra day off. Whatever reward method you choose, you can be sure that acknowledgment of a job well-done will improve employee satisfaction while indirectly creating a positive effect on the customer experience.
To quote Richard Branson, “I have always believed that the way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers, and that people flourish when they are praised.”
At the end of the day, remember that your employees are your number-one brand ambassadors. Putting protocols into place to ensure they feel listened to, appreciated, and equipped with the information and tools they need will translate into happier, more effective, and more productive employees, which will ultimately help your bottom line.
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