Many businesses don’t possess the skills to develop a truly customer focused culture
In 2008 we walked away from 37% of businesses that approached us about the development of a customer experience strategy.
The reasons for turning them down included poor leadership skills, lack of commitment to both the process and their customers, the reluctance to think about a long-term approach, and the wrong people in frontline positions. These organisations were not about to make any progress from an operationally focused business to one that puts both its people and customers first.
We know from recent surveys that 95% of executives in both Europe and the US believe that the customer experience strategy is the next big sustainable competitive advantage. We also know that customer loyalty and, it seems staff loyalty, are on the decline – a recent Hudson survey showed half New Zealand workers want or are actively looking for a new job.
Businesses need to develop a sustainable competitive advantage, which will ensure greater customer loyalty, lower marketing costs and lower staff turnover. Business leaders understand these advantages but lack an understanding of the process that goes along with a long-term commitment.
It is time to dispense with the marketing hype, the broken promises and the internal lip service that is out of step with actions. It is time also to stop treating customers as morons and focus on adding real value from the customers’ perspective, through the service you consistently deliver.
It will only be businesses that have a solid foundation in place that will be able to capitalise on an increasing focus on the quality of service they deliver to their customers.
This foundation includes a committed leadership, which has a clear direction for the organisation and understands the importance of a culture that inspires people to develop professionally and perform at their best to deliver a unique customer experience, regardless of the part they play in that process.
It starts by looking at your leadership style and flows through to the experience your people are having. Your frontline people will never consistently deliver great customer experiences unless they are having the same.
A customer experience strategy depends on three things:
• The right people delivering the experience
• Your ability to capitalise on the creativity that exists within your organisation.
Don’t ever doubt the creativity of your people. Most of us work in environments where creativity is not encouraged. If that culture can be changed, it results in an incredible transformation within the workplace.
As the economy falters, a focus on superb customer service experience becomes even more crucial. Putting in place a strategy that both management and staff are committed to can make the difference in customers doing business with you rather than your rivals down the road.