Chris Bell Customer Experience Coach

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1 Chris Bell Customer Experience Coach

2 Index Introduction The 3 Must Haves 7 Customer Experience Development Steps Step one - Commitment Leadership Different Cultures The Customer Experience Formula Step two- The Vision Step three- Customer Experience Statement Step four Touch Points Step five Service Standards Step six Measurement Step seven The Generator The Rewards Summary Added Bonus - 2 -

3 Congratulations and thank you for taking the first step in what will become your sustainable competitive advantage. Enjoy the journey Chris Bell Introduction A recent survey in the USA highlighted the fact that most organisations understand the value a customer experience strategy can add to a business. However, only 13 percent knew how to develop such a strategy. What we see most often is that organisations have made an attempt to develop only some of the steps and have become frustrated because they have not seen the results from their endeavours and in many cases give up. At Customer Experiences we get to work with a broad range of organisations. The strategy we are about to share with you is relevant no matter what business you are in or the size of the business. However, what we are acutely aware of is that no two businesses are the same and therefore flexibility and the ability to tailor the seven development steps is important. Having said this there is one constant and that is the sequence in which these seven steps are implemented. In our experience leaving one step out or getting the steps out of sequence has always come back to bite in terms of time, money and ultimately results. So, if there are two pieces of advice I can give you right up front, its stick to the sequence and treat the process as a journey. There is no end to this process, only a constant flow of ideas that will see your customer experience improve, driven by continually asking just one question how can we add even greater customer value? - 3 -

4 The Three Must Haves- If there is one reason organisations shy away from implementing a customer experience strategy, it would be because its people reliant and despite rapid advances in technology and the influence this will have on processes, systems and future customer buying behaviour, this reliance is not going to change anytime soon. 1) Leadership that is committed long-term to providing the vision, motivation, resources and recognition. 2) A culture that is totally focused on your team, your customers and is continually seeking ways to improve the experience for both parties 3) The right people in the right seats with all they need to deliver their magic Leadership Culture MUST HAVES Right People - 4 -

5 The Seven Sequential Customer Experience Development Steps 1. Leader lead commitment Create a customer focused business culture The team creates the competitive advantage 2. Customer Driven Vision Clear vision in place Continually communicated to the team Inspired, motivated and empowered organisation 3. Customer Experience Defined Customer experience defined Physical exchanges and emotional experiences conveyed 4. Customer Touch points Customer contacts identified Manage impressions created Understand the customer s perspective 5. Measurable Service Standards Agreed Define what you will deliver at each touch point Consistency is the key Skill development opportunities 6. Measuring your customer experience performance What is measured gets done Measure the contribution your customer experience strategy makes to your financial performance 7. Continuous Improvement Plan Exceed customers expectations Encourage creative ideas Reward team performance - 5 -

6 Step One Commitment Step one includes: The importance of leadership Different cultures and their impact on the business and customer experience Key questions & priorities The Customer Experience formula I frequently get a chuckle when I launch into this step, mainly because most people would see it as a no brainer. They clearly see that without total commitment within an organisation no strategy will enjoy total success. However it continues to amaze me how many business leaders give things a go with very little commitment. There is very much a short term give it a go and see what happens attitude out there that is having a negative effect within many organisations. People in these organisations view any initiative that comes from the leadership with comments like let s see how long this lasts or here we go with another flavour of the month idea. When this attitude exists within an organisation, gaining long-term commitment becomes increasingly difficult. Leadership From leadership comes the culture of an organisation. In many cases we can determine the quality and style of an organisation s leadership and the resulting culture by the experience and service we receive at the front counter. leadership culture the right people - 6 -

7 Different Business Cultures There are many different business cultures and these influence how leaders and their teams operate. Below are examples of some of these cultures. Which one most closely resembles yours? a) Inside out Culture An organisation s needs are put before the customers Impact on the customer experience: Customers are forced to follow processes and systems that have been designed for the business not the customer resulting in customer frustration and annoyance. The focus is just on making the sales not what s best for the customer The business measures its own customer experience performance without any input from their customers Impact on the business: High Customer churn Costly customer complaints Stressed front-line employees High employee disengagement High staff turnover b) Cost cutting Culture Cutting costs even though it affects the quality of a customer experience. Impact on the customer experience: A lack of investment in development resulting in a deteriorating customer experience. Communication is difficult due to limited call centre staff. Waiting times increase at the front counter. Calls are not returned due to people under greater pressure. Staff turnover increases due to growing employee disengagement Impact on the business: High work pressure High staff turnover Frustrated customers Low customer loyalty Negative customer word of mouth - 7 -

8 c) Blame Culture People looking for scapegoats when something goes wrong Impact on the Customer Experience: Staff won t take risks for fear of being blamed for mistakes. Lack of initiative to resolve problems Processes and procedures are rigidly stuck to Its easier to say no to a customer than stick your neck out (and get it bitten off) Impact on the business: Customer frustration High employee disengagement High staff turnover d) Political Culture A greater focus on politics than the customer Impact on the Customer Experience: Customers see lots of change due to empire building Management are not interested in customers because they are spending so much time on politics Impact on the business: A lack of employee loyalty Stressful work environment Low productivity e) Dictator Culture You are told what to do and when to do it Impact on the Customer Experience: It s what the company wants to deliver, not necessarily what the customer wants Slow decision making, everyone has to wait for the dictator s decision The dictator s decision is final, no flexibility Impact on the business: High customer churn High employee disengagement Low customer loyalty High Staff Turnover - 8 -

9 f) Outside in Culture- A total focus on the team and customers Impact on the Customer Experience: The customer sees a very customer focused organisation The customer receives a consistently high quality customer experience Customers are encouraged to give feedback The customer experience continually improves Customer loyalty and word of mouth increases Impact on the business: High customer & employee loyalty High employee engagement Easy to attract the right people High levels of creativity g) Empowered Culture Encouraging decision making by those delivering the experience. Impact on the Customer Experience: Front-line people make decisions on the spot Customers see greater flexibility Customers see greater follow through Customers see team initiatives Impact on the business: High loyalty High productivity High growth & profitability To a large degree an organisation s culture determines employee engagement, customer focused systems and processes, loyalty and many of the other vital elements that make up a customer experience strategy. So when making the decision and committing to a long-term strategy that will impact the entire business, a few questions need to be answered and the quality of those answers will determine just how committed you are as a leader

10 Key Questions and Priorities: Why am I making this commitment to develop our customer experience How will my leadership style need to change to ensure a total employee and customer centric culture? Should I engage a coach to help me undertake the customer experience strategy? Do I see this as a long-term commitment? Once these questions have been answered and your long-term commitment confirmed there are a two more areas you will need to be acutely aware of- 1) As leader, your people are not listening to what you say they are watching what you do. Your actions are far more powerful than your words and when making a commitment that you want everyone else to make, it s vital that your actions are aligned with the rhetoric. 2) Recognise that EVERYONE within the organisations plays a key role in the eventual experience your organisation delivers to both your people and customers. For some, the following priority will need to change, for others it will need to be reinforced but this must be the priority if this strategy is to work Key Priority Your people are number ONE Your customers are number TWO You will never deliver a consistently high quality customer experience unless your people are having the same. It s your people that will be the difference between the customer experience you are delivering and that of your competitors. If that difference is going to determine where a customer does business next time they need your products or services, then your priority must be your people. If your people see that they are your priority, they will ensure that your customers are their priority. 67 percent of New Zealand employees go to work everyday disengaged according to research undertaken by Auckland based workplace research company JRA. This is the prime reason New Zealand s productivity rating is near the bottom of the OECD. Employee disengagement is also the number one reason you and I as customers have very few high quality experiences that encourage us to recommend a business. So let s link this back to commitment and step number one. Successful customer experience strategies require total commitment from everyone within the business. It s the responsibility of a committed leadership to gain that vital buy in. In organisations that do look after their people this will not be difficult. For those that have high employee disengagement, low productivity, high staff turnover and little customer loyalty the process is going to be a little more challenging and in most cases you will need some outside expertise to assist

11 Starting the Process: Tips: 1) Engage a customer experience coach. You need someone who can look at your performance from both an employee and customer perspective. A coach that can work with you to make the adjustment, form the habits and change behaviour so that you are clearly reflecting the change you would like to see inside the business. If the experience doesn t improve within the business it will not improve for your customers. 2) Launch the customer experience strategy. Your people must fully understand what, why, when and how and the vital role they will play in the process. To gain commitment your people will not only need to have a total understanding, they will need to see and hear how important this is to you, your business and your customers. They will also need to hear how important they will be, the part they will play and how this strategy will enhance their professional development and workplace satisfaction. If you see this as a big deal your people should see it as the same. 3) Quickly identify people within your organisation that are highly unlikely to make a commitment. There will be many possible reasons for this but ultimately if a commitment is not forth coming, action will be necessary to change them or their role in the organisation (including possible termination). You may have people on your team that are not the right people and in many cases were never the right people certainly not for a customer focused culture. What we find is that if everyone else within the organisation is motivated and committed, they very soon become the odd person out and feel uncomfortable in this new culture. In most cases they will start to look for another job with an organisation that better suits them. You may have people that are sceptical about your direction and therefore are not going to commit immediately. That s ok, they will need time and you will need to ensure your actions match your words. If they are the right people in the right positions then some patience will be required. When the priorities of an organisation change and your first priority is your people, this very quickly has a positive effect on attitudes and behaviour, as long as it is genuine in the eyes of your people. Most people want to work in an environment and culture that fosters happy people and happy customers. In many cases the job becomes easier and more enjoyable and as a result engagement and productivity increases. To follow is a formula to shows how this change occurs

12 The Customer Experience Formula Involvement = Engagement Productivity = Growth Engagement = Commitment Loyalty = Productivity Commitment = Loyalty Involvement = Engagement The more involved your people are in the development and delivery of your Customer Experience the more engaged they will be in the role they play in that experience. Involve everyone because everyone ultimately plays a part in your Customer Experience. Engagement = Commitment The more engaged your people are in delivering the very best experiences to your customers the greater their commitment to the on-going development of that experience. This strategy will only be successful once you have total commitment. Commitment = Loyalty The commitment of your team drives customer loyalty. Real customer loyalty is about building strong relationships. Trying to do it with gimmicks doesn t work. From loyalty comes word of mouth recommendation, the most powerful form of advertising

13 Loyalty = Productivity A loyal team does things more effectively and efficiently without compromising the quality of the customer experience. Capitalising on the creativity of your team is today s most powerful competitive advantage. Increased Productivity = Growth/Profitability/Cost reductions. Once an organisation s focus changes it s important that change is followed up with action. That action results from feedback, ideas and suggestions that are now flowing from within the organisation It s important that you have the systems and people in place to capitalise on this flow of information. Step Two The Vision Step two includes: What does a vision look like The crucial role it plays Linking the vision to the strategy In our experience there are two scenarios here. 1) An organisation does not have a vision and the people within the organisation have little idea where the organisation is going or wants to go. 2) An organisation has a vision but very few know what it is. The vision is just a need to have rather than an inspirational statement defining what the organisation wants to be. A vision is a company s purpose -it s what a company aspires to be. It s difficult to motivate and excite your people if they are just turning up to work to complete yet another day. We are much more motivated if we are part of an organisation that clearly knows where it wants to be and we understand the part we will play in helping to get there. A customer experience strategy plays a vital role in moving an organisation towards its vision. This is why a vision has an important role

14 Here is how it works: A vision comes from the leadership of an organisation. The leadership continually communicates the vision to the team. When an organisation adopts a strategy like customer experience, it must be clearly communicate how the strategy will help to move the organisation towards its vision. There must be a clear link between the strategy and the vision. A vision must motivate and inspire, a vision plays an important role in the development of a dynamic culture, a culture that has everyone contributing ideas and effort that consistently move an organisation towards its vision. Tips: It s clear that just having a vision in front of people does not inspire. The vision must be a working statement. When contemplating a new strategy or idea, one of the first questions that needs to be asked is how will this idea move the business towards its vision. If there is a clear answer to that question, what s being proposed should be adopted; if there is doubt then more discussion should take place. If people aren t convinced, the idea should be either dropped or looked at from another angle. Suppliers and others that play a role in an organisation s customer experience should be aware of the vision, especially when their performance is impacting negatively on the customer experience. A vision must be bold, specific, concise and consistently communicated Example Our Vision: To be the leader in building successful organisations through the development of high quality employee and customer experiences. Everything we do is directed at establishing Customer Experiences Ltd as the leader in our field of expertise. That focus is totally dependant on organisations we work with becoming more successful as a result of our input in the development and implementation of their customer experience. Everything we do from articles we write, speaking engagements we accept and clients we work with is linked to our vision. Any new products we add to our range must pass the vision test first. That is we must be able to clearly show how a new product will move us towards our vision

15 Step Three -Customer Experience Statement Step 3 includes: What is a customer experience statement? How is it used? The development process Customer experience statement example What is it: A customer experience statement defines the experience an organisation will consistently deliver to its customers. It s very common for us to ask several different people in an organisation to define the experience they deliver to their customers and get several different versions. This is one of the reasons customers are receiving inconsistent experiences, It is this inconsistency that impacts a businesses ability to grow customer loyalty and enjoy the rewards of customer recommendations. A customer experience statement puts everyone on the same page. How is it used: Everyone in the organisation has a copy of the customer experience statement. It is referred to when discussing anything to do with your customer experience and contemplating any changes to your current customer experience. The Development Process: The best way to develop your customer experience statement is to start at the end and work back. Start by thinking how you would like your customers to feel once they have had your customer experience. Capture key words that describe feelings, emotion and start to put those into a statement. Here is an example of a statement that was developed by one of our clients

16 Customer Experience Statement Example We want our guests to have a unique and memorable high country experience. We will achieve this by creating a warm, friendly and welcoming environment where guests feel relaxed and at home. All guests will be respected and valued. They will have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of activates and learn more about this amazing area. In everything we do we will aim to exceed guests expectations and we will be proactive in anticipating guests needs. The result will be, guests leave feeling refreshed and appreciated and will become loyal advocates. This example is the statement that was developed for a South Island high country resort. It was developed by a customer experience development team made up of representatives from administration, reception, bar and restaurant, housekeeping, management, grounds staff and guides. The guests that visit this resort have in many cases visited other high country and alpine resorts around the world. This resort understood that their guests expectations were in general very high based on previous experiences. The team wanted to deliver a unique guest experience. Unique based on location, on service, on atmosphere, on the number and types of activities available. They also wanted to create a relaxed feel so guests felt at home. This is the statement they agreed on. It was introduced to all other team members and each person received a statement card

17 Step Four -Touch Points Step 4 includes: Defining a touch point Prioritising touch points A touch point, sometimes referred to as a moment of truth, is any point where a customer comes into contact with an organisation and as a result forms an opinion of that organisation. As you can imagine there are many possible touch points, some more important from a customers perspective than others. The key is to start putting a list together that will prioritise touch points from the customers perspective and then categorise each touch point into one of three areas - people, systems and processes or equipment Some touch points will end up in more that one category. For example the telephone is still the most important communication tool for many organisations. As a category the telephone fits into two. People and their telephone skills and equipment as in having the right telephone system to maximise the effectiveness of this important touch point. Touch Point People Process/System Equipment Telephone Website Store parking Window display Store frontage Staff presentation Store presentation Tips: When coming up with your list of touch points always focus on the experience from the customers perspective. This exercise is valuable to get everyone in the business thinking this way long-term. Ensure that all the development team contribute. Some team members will think only about touch points from their perspective of the customer experience, however we are continually surprised how effectively team members from other areas of the business,

18 especially areas that have no or little direct customer interaction can identify key touch points. Once you have your list, focus on the top ten and continue to work your way down. In most organisations the top ten will make up the bulk of the experience. Ensure the priority and categories are correct Step Five Service Standards What is a service standard How to develop a service standard Service standard example We have spoken about the importance of consistency in terms of building customer loyalty. Service standards are the way we ensure consistency across all touch points. Starting from the top of your touch point list and using our 8 stage service standard development system and your customer experience statement as your guide write a measurable service standard for each touch point. Eight Stage Service Standard Development System Stage One: Select a Touch Point Stage Two: Desired Customer Experience Describe the experience the customer should receive at this touch point Stage Three: The Actual Experience Describe what you believe customers actually experience at this touch point. Stage Four: The Experience Gap Identify the reasons for the difference between what should be the experience (Step 2) and what is being experienced (Step 3) Stage Five: The Service Standard Decide on, and write a measurable service performance standard, for this touch point. Stage Six: Skill Development a) What skills, knowledge, attitudes and systems does the team require at this point to enable them to meet the standard established in Step 5? b) What levels of skill, knowledge etc exist at present? c) Describe the gap that is evident from comparing a) and b) of Step

19 d) Therefore what needs to be addressed as a priority to enable staff to meet the standards set in Step 5 Stage Seven: Action Plan Develop solutions, select methodology or format for closing the gap identified in Step 6 Identify the possible factors that will reflect any resistance to the change. Stage Eight: Measurement Decide on a measurement for the standard and confirm how these results will be evaluated and communicated to the team Then describe the Activities / Actions needed to meet the objective along with time frames and responsibilities. Activity or Action Required Resource / Approvals Start Date Finish Date Who will do it? Let s work through an example- Touch Point Handling Customer Telephone Enquires Desired Experience- The telephone is answered promptly by a customer service person in a professional, friendly and welcoming manner. The customer service person listens carefully to the enquiry, asks any clarifying questions and provides quality answers. Once the enquiry has been addressed the caller is thanked for their call and farewelled in the same friendly manner. The Actual Experience Due to a lack of telephone skill development, telephone enquiries are not handled consistently or professionally The Experience Gap- A lack of skill development around the telephone

20 Service Standard- All telephone calls will be answered promptly and as per our skill development programme All team members answering customer calls will be required to complete a telephone skill development programme before taking live calls. Stage 6 Skill Development There is currently a lack of phone system knowledge and inconsistency of telephone skills. All team members taking customer calls will attend a telephone skill development programme before this standard is introduced. Stage 7 Action Plan A number of skill development programme dates will be confirmed. The standard will be introduced at the start of this programme. Once all front-line team members have successfully attended the programme a date will be set to introduce the standard. Person responsible for this action is - Stage 8 Measuring performance Re Telephone Service Standard Measurement- Ten telephone calls will be randomly recorded each week and reviewed by the person responsible for the service standard. Any follow up skill development required will be scheduled. The timeline to be consistently delivering on this standard is one month after introduction

21 Step 6 Measurement When introducing a new strategy based on a defined customer experience, it s important that we know how we are performing against the standards. It some cases fine tuning maybe required. What looks and sounds great in a meeting may not turn out as good in reality. Everyone must understand that this strategy development is an ongoing process of measurement, adjustment and further improvement as we continually look for ways to do even better. There are many different measurements that can be used to monitor a service standard and the overall customer experience performance from a simple internal daily check to a continuous NPS customer experience performance survey. This step includes: Why measuring your experience is important The methodology used to measure your customer experience performance How to use measurement results to continually improve the experience Measuring your customer experience performance is a critical part of the programme. Without measurement you will never know whether you have reached the standards you set for your employees and the company. The key to successful measurement is to keep it simple. Long surveys of customers are as offputting for the staff as they are for the customer. A starting point is to implement the Net Promoter Score methodology. The survey is based on measuring the level of Recommendation of your business that a customer is willing to give

22 How Well Did We Do Please complete this very short survey form regarding your visit to. Your feedback will help ensure that.. continues to deliver on your expectations 1. Based on your experience of, how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend or colleague Please tick only one circle Not at all Likely to Recommend Extremely Likely to Recommend 2. What is the most important reason why you would or would not recommend us to your friends and family? Please continue on the back of this form if there is not enough room here 3. Please tell us a little about yourself: Male Under 18 I live in Female Suburb and over 4. May we contact you to talk about your experience today? Yes Contact details No Phone or e- mail Depending on your organisation the surveys can be completed online by providing a link to your website, onsite through a computer terminal or by way of a paper copy completed while at the business location. Having asked the question and received the responses, an analysis and interpretation of the data is required

23 How the three scoring categories impact on your business are: Promoters (score 9 10) are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and recommending others, fueling growth Passives (score 7 8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings Detractors (score 0 6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word of mouth The aim is to obtain as many Promoters as possible and as few Detractors as possible Promoters Passively Satisfied Detractors NPS = % Promoters - % Detractors Passively Satisfied are ignored The best international businesses score around 70% or better. The aim is to keep improving your score. Where the business has more than one branch, it is possible to compare scores and identify which ones are performing at a higher level. At this point it is the comments that customers include that become most important. The comments will identify why the score was given and identifies areas of the customer experience that can be improved. While the main target is to achieve as many Promoters as possible, turning Detractors into Passively Satisfiers is a positive result as they are less likely to talk negatively about your business than Detractors. The key to more loyal enthusiasts, however, is to turn Passively Satisfiers into Promoters as they will generate more customers for you through positive word of mouth. Please note:- We suggest you talk with us re setting up your first survey regarding the number of surveys, when is the best time and how often the survey should be undertaken

24 Step 7 Ongoing Customer Experience Developments This step includes: Why continual development is vital Introducing the generator programme Tips Assembling the development team Professional development opportunities A mistake that many organisations make once they have reached step six and have started to measure their customer experience performance, is they think that the development process is complete and all they need to do going forward is to maintain a consistent delivery of their customer experience. There is another step. It s important that everyone understands that there is no end to the process. This is very much a journey. Recent history has shown that those organisations that stopped at step six only maintained their competitive advantage for a short time before their competitors started to lift their customer experience performance levels. If we take a look back before the customer experience concept was introduced, the focus was on customer service as a point of difference and a competitive advantage. But what happened? One business witnessed another gaining market share due to the quality of its customer service and everyone began to focus on the quality of their customer service. The result was the quality of customer service improved to the point where there was very little difference between competitors. Welcome to the World of Sameness We call this the world of sameness and this is exactly the situation we have now, very little difference between the quality of one customer experience over another, resulting in a focus on price as the only competitive advantage business can think of with the inevitable impact on margins

25 The Generator Programme The way we have addressed this is with a programme we call The Generator The Generator is designed to capitalise on ALL the creativity within an organisation. It s well known that customers will normally tell you what you are not doing right or as well as a competitor but they will not tell you what you should be doing in the future and rightly so, it s not their job it s yours. We believe that business creativity and the ability for businesses to encourage and capture ideas from within their organisations is one of the areas that is lacking in most businesses. We have become a community of copiers and followers rather than leaders. A strategic approach to the development of a customer experience has changed all this and the customer experience formula is the reason for the change. The culture of your organisation along with key priorities has changed, your people are now your number one priority and their involvement in the development on- going is paramount to its success. We all have the ability to think creatively. The challenge is that most of us work in environments that don t stimulate or encourage creativity. By following the Generator programme and starting small you will find that this changes and not only contributes to the on-going development of your customer experience by keeping it fresh, surprising and exciting for your customers, but builds greater engagement and loyalty within. The Goal: To continue the development of your customer experience in a way that will grow customer loyalty, word of mouth and keep your competitors guessing 1) Place an ideas box/s to capture ideas from ALL the team All ideas must have the person s name on them 2) Put in place a system to capture customers ideas/suggestions and feedback, by making available an ideas form and invite customers to share their ideas and suggestions or ensure that all front-line team members are recording customer suggestions and those suggestions are being passed on and discussed at your monthly development team meetings 3) Your suppliers could have ideas. Ensure they are aware of the Generator process 4) Once a month the development team will go through all the ideas Ideas will go into the following categoriesa) Great idea- lets do it put together an action plan b) Don t fully understand the idea could the person who submitted the idea give us more detail

26 c) Great idea, not sure how we can develop it let s throw it open so that everyone can have some input d) Great idea, may not fit now let s look at it again in xxx months time The goal is to develop as many ideas as possible. The Rules: Tips: 1) Everyone s ideas are important, no matter their position or the length of time you have been with the organisation. 2) There are no bad ideas just ideas that can be developed more quickly than others. As long as everyone is focused on your customers and are motivated to deliver the very best customer experience and add as much value as possible, the ideas will flow. 3) All idea contributors will be recognised. This is vital for the on-going success of this programme. Genuine recognition of those contributing ideas ensures motivation remains high and encourages others to participate. 4) When asking for wider input for an idea ensure that you make it clear who s idea it is and don t limit or put boundaries around suggestions. Developing a culture of creativity can be challenging and it can take time. Once again leadership is vital to this process. The key is to continually motivate and encourage people to contribute. Start small. Take small ideas and develop and implement them as quickly as possible so everyone can see you are serious and committed. Don t back away from the wild and wacky. In many cases they are the start point for some of the very best ideas. In fact in some cases it s important that you throw a couple of these ideas into the box early on, just to get people focusing outside the square. Keeping the momentum going can be a challenge. This is the responsibility of the development team. Competitions, team and customer feedback and recognition all play a part in keeping the momentum going. However, you can t beat the smile on the face of a happy customer. Recording and circulating testimonials will be important. A competitor snooping around is also a good motivator

27 Assembling the Development Team This is the team that has the responsibility of driving the development and implementation of the strategy. To follow are the key aspects of this team. The team is made up of representatives from every part of the organisation. Not just those that have direct contact with the customers. Spending time on the customer experience development team is a professional development opportunity. Ultimately everyone within the organisation should have an opportunity to spend time on the team. Your first team has some important challenges, so choosing this team is vital. The criteria for picking your first team members includes: - They must be committed to the Customer Experience Strategy -They must have good communication skills - They must have the respect of their colleagues Once the team is assembled and a leader is chosen, an agenda, schedule and a term for member s involvement is put in place The team should meet preferably away from work and work distractions in a relaxed environment where thoughts and ideas are encouraged to flow freely. Tips Be aware that people joining the team may take some time to settle in. New members should be invited and encouraged to play a part in the process Time served on this team must be given priority especially in the initial stages. Ensure that members are given support so as not to add to their other responsibilities Ensure that team members are encouraged to share information regarding the teams activities with colleagues and where possible gain feedback and suggestions Professional Development Opportunities Team leadership Idea development Presentation and speaking Communication

28 The Reward Let s be clear the development of a customer experience strategy is not just about being nice to your customers. It is about the long-term growth and profitability of your business as a direct result of the quality of your employee and customer experience. The rewards from the efforts that you commit to this strategy are many and you can rest assured they all will in some way reflect the health of your balance sheet. To follow are some of these key benefits. A sustainable competitive advantage: Today we compete in a highly commoditised world where there are few sustainable competitive advantages. The three key components of a customer experience strategy leadership, culture and the right people are difficult for competitors to copy, almost everything else is not. Employee and customer loyalty: Both are on the decline however we are all aware of the importance of both. It s difficult to grow customer loyalty without employee loyalty. Loyalty, real loyalty is about building strong relationships. Relationships that will increase the size of your sales force many times through the resulting positive word of mouth Reduced business costs: Marketing costs, staff turnover costs, customer complaints, are all significant business costs in today s competitive market. Reducing these costs will have a significant impact on your bottom line. The ability to attract the right people: One of the challenges we hear employers talk about is the difficulty they have in finding the right people, especially the people they need to deliver their customer experience. The employee and customer centric culture that results from the adoption of this strategy will change that. The right people are looking for and want to work with organisations that are living and breathing this culture, rest assured they will find you, just another advantage of strong positive word of mouth. Capitalising on all your creativity: There is no doubt that creativity will be a key competitive advantage in the future. Your people have ideas on how to improve the performance of your business. This strategy will ensure those ideas are shared and your business capitalises not just as a result of the development of those ideas but the recognition they will gain as a result. Increased revenue and profitability: Organisations with a total customer focus are continually coming up with ways to add value other that reducing margin. These same organisations have teams that are also focused on doing things smarter and as a result increase productivity and reduce costs. In a recent media release it was reported that some customers were paying 2-4 times more due to the quality of the customer experience. The bottom line is that if you are continually coming up with effective way to make a customers life easier, more convenient, more productive, more exciting and more satisfying, the focus on price will reduce

29 Conclusion The strategic approach to the development of a high quality customer experience is one of the few options an organisation has in an increasingly competitive, technology driven economy. The key elements to this approach are strategic and long-term - two elements that are missing from many SMEs today. One other motivator for starting your customer experience development journey is that very few are and even less have the knowledge that you now have to move ahead. As customers we are all too aware of quality of the customer experiences currently being delivered. As customers we are also very aware of just how many options we now have if a business is not meeting our expectations. On the other hand we as customers do have a desire to belong and when we do find an organisation that consistently delivers a high quality experience and does take the time to build a relationship that focuses on us as an individual, we very quickly not only return that effort with our loyalty but also our ability to recommend to others. Business is only starting to understand how powerful customer recommendation is and will continue to be in the future. The team at Customer Experience wish you all the best with your customer experience development we know your customers will appreciate your efforts and reward you with their loyalty and powerful recommendations. Added Bonus- For every business that downloads this manual we are offering a free one hour consultation with the author- customer experience coach and Managing Director Chris Bell. Just - to arrange your free one hour consultation Copyright Chris Bell. All Rights Reserved

Chris Bell. Customer Experience Coach. www.customerexperiences.co.nz

Chris Bell. Customer Experience Coach. www.customerexperiences.co.nz Chris Bell Customer Experience Coach Developing Your Unique Customer Experience Introduction As more and more business leaders start to understand what a customer experience strategy is all about and more

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