Are you making THIS mistake with your Customer Experience?
‘The effective executive builds on strengths — their own strengths, the strengths of superiors, colleagues, subordinates; and on the strengths of the situation’.
So wrote Peter Drucker in perhaps the greatest book on management of all time, The Effective Executive.
Yet fast forward to today and it’s surprising to see the bias among so many organisations is to ignore Drucker’s advice!
Nowhere is this more clear than in company’s customer experience – now regarded as the defining factor in business success.
The Customer Experience really = wow me!
One of the reasons businesses are unable to deliver an outstanding customer experience is because they start out with a mindset based on eliminating weaknesses.
Instead of selecting and motivating frontline staff with a minimum of clear and compelling ways to woo and wow their customers, so many companies still give their employees manuals of processes and behaviours, many of which tell them what they mustn’t do.
It’s like asking an actor to go on a stage, and giving them a script with a list of things not to say. Does it help? You bet it doesn’t!
Yet companies continue to do it. This ‘script’ is often called ‘competencies’ though comes under a number of different guises.
Folks, it just ain’t that way!
Take a look at the image below. Here we see the four key elements that form a customer’s reaction to his or her customer experience.
First of all, we have the Basic elements which include core functions of a customer experience. For example, if you go to a restaurant, you may expect to have salt and pepper on your table.
Next, we have Expected elements. This may include ‘service with a smile’ and your steak to be cooked exactly the way you want it.
Both of these elements may include dozens or even hundreds of features and it’s amazing that many companies can’t even get these right on a consistent basis.
They are both below the ‘red line’ in the image above, and essentially, non-value add items. Getting these right consistently won’t ensure your customers will be advocates, loyal, or spend more money with you (Say, Stay, Spend – the only three behaviours you want your customers to have).
The elements above the red line, however, certainly will create these behaviours in your customers if you can perform them consistently.
The Desired elements are those that a customer would like in an ideal world. In a restaurant, this could be a sensational recipe, or service personnel who makes the customer feel just great.
The Unanticipated elements are those that really do add a lot of value. These happen when you pleasantly surprise a customer. For example this could include a welcome drink and a serenade, or it could be something as simple as hearing a kind of music that you didn’t expect, but is really ‘you’.
Yet here’s the rub: while companies can achieve the Basic and Expected elements by managing away weaknesses, they can only achieve the Desired and Unanticipated elements by building strengths!
Satisfaction is for losers!
This is why studies have found customer satisfaction to be so ineffective. By chasing customer satisfaction, companies are really saying that they do not want to differentiate themselves, as we saw in a previous post here.
Instead, companies need to be focussing on creating outstanding customer experiences. The most successful companies realise they can only achieve this through their people – and by building on strengths, not minimising weaknesses.
The customer experience is, in other words, something created at every touchpoint, as opposed to an approach where customer service is simply a process of avoiding complaints from happening. It is proactive, not reactive.
What we can learn from Nordstrom
Nordstrom is America’s most successful high-end retailer where the sales staff regularly earn over $100,000 p.a. in commission alone.
When the sales staff are so well remunerated, you can be sure that a company that has been in existence for over a century is onto something.
When sales staff join, they receive a grey card that simply tells them this:
Welcome to Nordstrom
We’re glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.
Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use good judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.
Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.
And that’s it. No long-winded procedure manuals, no competencies, no rules and regulations with ‘Dos’ and ‘Dont’s’ written in great detail.
The point here is that Nordstrom is able to deliver an outstanding customer experience by building on the strengths of its people – by actively creating each customer experience to the best of each employees abilities rather than trying to manage away their weaknesses.
As that company’s bottom line profits show.
What you can do now
If you would like to simplify and maximise your customers’ experience with your company, then why not ask us about how Customer Experience Maximisation can help you… simply follow the link below and we will send you an information pack.