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How to Create World-Class Customer Experiences

Missing the mark on customer satisfaction? How employee development might be key to creating customer experiences you want the world talking about.

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BY Partners In Leadership - 12 May 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

By Mattson Newell (@MattsonNewell), Director at Partners In Leadership.

Customer satisfaction, or lack thereof, has been all the rage in the news the last few weeks. In in our day and age, everyone faces an array of online forces --from social media, Google Reviews, Amazon, Yelp and a host of others--waiting to pounce with bad-good-better-best experiences to be starred, told, retold, or forgotten. Now, more than ever, we are under a microscope. In this environment, how do we avoid the embarrassing "How did that happen?!" moments and instead drive the right customer experiences that you want people to talk about?

Talk the Talk, but Not Walk the Walk?

Three years after a large financial organization acquired another company, it still struggled to merge two cultures and optimize performance.

One Key Result the company focused on that year was improving CSAT (Customer Satisfaction). Unfortunately, their results were tanking. In frustration, the CEO spray-painted the words SERVICE & QUALITY on the main wall in the corporate office.

Predictably, this raised awareness in the short-term. They even saw an uptick that quarter in CSAT; but by the next quarter, the numbers dropped again. Why? Because they were focused on short-term activity, not long-term change. They were talking the talk, but not walking the walk.

To avoid this trap, try these two winning strategies that drive customer satisfaction.

Develop Your People

The great Edward Deming shared this cutting observation after working and researching across industries for a few decades:

"I hear people say they don't have time for development, yet they have time to solve for the same problem over and over again."

Too often, this is the misguided thinking behind customer satisfaction culture today. We ask for our people to be superstars, yet we give them little to no training and development to solve problems. We want our people to give our customers world-class service, when we aren't giving them world-class training and development.

CEO of Virgin Richard Branson shares this thought in keynotes around the world: "Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don't want to."

Reward Your People

See lasting, positive results after you develop and train your employees by aligning your systems to reward them for creating world-class experiences. Otherwise, if you ask them to give you quality, but you only reward quantity, you most likely get a lot of quantity with little quality to show.

Partners In Leadership recently surveyed an organization of 27,000 employees and asked them what they would like to see more of in the organization. Seventy-five percent of employees responded that they would like more recognition for their hard work.

Recognition doesn't always need to be monetary. Often acknowledging someone verbally and thanking them for their work can be enough to motivate an employee to go the extra mile.

World-Class Experiences

When you develop your people and align desired behaviors with meaningful incentives, amazing experiences can happen--like this one.

Shortly after checking into the Hyatt Regency in Chesapeake Bay, exhausted from travel and the norovirus contracted on my trip, a front desk clerk came to my room presenting a complimentary ginger ale, chicken noodle soup, and bottle of Pepto-Bismol. The next morning, he brought up another bowl of soup, a get-well card signed from the entire staff, and popsicles they had picked up from a local convenience store to help with the sickness.

What drove these employees to create this unforgettable experience? The hotel trained, developed, and rewarded employees with incentives that aligned its key results: improving the guest satisfaction ratings the property received. They understood the power behind thinking, "What else can I do to solve my customers' problems?" The result was magic: a customer experience that the brand wanted people talking about!

 

Mattson Newell works with leaders to create greater workplace accountability and facilitates enterprise-wide culture change as a Director at Partners In Leadership.