Customer interactions are only the tip of the iceberg to achieve world-class customer experience. If you fail to shore up your internal practices, your external communications will struggle to meet expectations.

You have a variety of channels to meet customers along their journey. You know they are reading your emails. They are actively downloading information and filling out forms. They even had conversations with your representatives and are “very satisfied” with your company per your NPS results. However, are you doing all that you can to provide a world-class experience?

 

As the Customer Experience leader, you should be asking yourself the following questions about your customer journey:

 

  • For every satisfied customer, how many are dissatisfied? Do you know?
  • How many dropped out of their journey before we even knew they were on one?
  • At what point in the journey did we fail?
  • Where did we not meet their expectations?

     

If You Are Focused Only on Customer Interactions, You Are Just Scratching the Surface

 

World-class Customer Experience organizations have a customer-centric foundation that they are continually refining. What are the necessary performance conditions to optimize your customer experience organization?

Start with and build upon these three:

 

  1. Processes
  2. Skills
  3. Culture

     

Implement the Right Processes Throughout the Customer Journey

 

Your interactions enable customers to “feel” something about your brand, but the process ensures that each interaction is consistent and high quality.
When you have a process in place, you know the journey through the customer’s lens. You know when and how the journey begins. You are better able to identify areas of drop-off or roadblocks to advancement. You equip your internal team to “listen” for specific indicators that help make the journey smooth and successful. You eliminated all interactions that do not add any value to the customer.

 

And of course, the process is not static. Modify the process as you use new channels, engage with new customer types, and understand their pain points.

 

Use this tool to make sure that you ground yourself in the shoes of the customer when designing your process.

 

Verify That the Right People Have the Right Skills in Your Customer-Facing Roles

 

Skimping or taking shortcuts on sourcing, hiring and training your team is a mistake. It can undermine your business and devalue everything else that you are doing to drive growth. One dissatisfied customer can be explained. Multiple dissatisfied customers with the same unaddressed complaint cannot.

 

Imagine this: after months of searching, you find the perfect car online, head to the local dealership and ask the salesman to order it in silver. When you go to pick it up, it’s red. The salesman shrugs it off as a “misunderstanding” and advises silver isn’t an option. You escalate your concerns to a manager who informs you to call a 1-800 number to get your deposit back. After spending ten minutes in an automated call abyss, you finally reach someone who promises a written response in 30 business days. With no response by day 35, you call and finally hang-up after being on hold for 25 minutes.

 

Sound familiar?
The above illustrates not only the flaws in the process, but it is also clear that the individuals along the process lack the skills for each interaction.
What skills matter?

 

Here are the most important to assess during recruiting:

  • Patience
  • Active listening
  • Empathy
  • Use of positive language
  • Adaptability

     

Read this blog post to learn more about how to source top talent and the tools to help you identify A-Players.

 

Skill development doesn’t stop once you hire. Investment in your people is an investment in your brand. Create continuity among your team, develop your next level of leadership, and educate on the most recent iteration of your strategy. As your process aligns to strategy, so does your learning and development program. Your investment will pay for itself.

 

Employee Satisfaction Is as Equally Important as Customer Satisfaction

 

Why do you ask? You may have the best process and the best people, but if your culture fails at employee engagement, your customers will notice. Your employees, an extension of your brand, should be listened to the same way you hear from your customers. An open culture where honest communication is welcome creates a positive atmosphere that naturally overflows to customer interaction.

 

Building a culture where employees have the freedom to drive world-class customer engagement need not be a daunting strategy. Invest in their development, genuinely listen to them and value what they do. Live and breathe your values, and if they aren’t working or they’re stale, rethink them.

 

An output of a healthy organizational culture is happy employees, and happy employees have delighted customers.

 

Here are some things to consider when evaluating if you have a culture where employees can thrive:

 

  • Do you recruit and hire those that exemplify your values?
  • Do you have an environment of objective decision making in line with your values?
  • Have you created a platform for employees to share feedback, ideas, and concerns?
  • Do you invest in the growth and development of your employees?

     

Bottom-line: Great customer interactions do not singularly define excellent customer experience. Building the right internal foundation is the key to driving world-class customer experience.

 

Download the Customer Experience Design Framework Tool to guide your organization for building a world-class customer experience capability.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Murphy

Accelerating revenue growth through improved productivity and designing marketing strategies that develop quality prospects who become loyal customers.

Julie is a change agent. She has repeatedly proven she can build successful business development and sales organizations. Sales excellence is her passion. Across multiple organizations, Julie has instituted best practices, deployed key performance indicators, and developed strategic growth initiatives. Her specialties include: revenue generation, short and long-term business strategies, sales operations, sales enablement, business development, marketing automation, and operational excellence.

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