Customer Experience Featured Article

Good Customer Experience Starts with the Employee

September 26, 2014

The job of a ship’s captain is a big one, as this person maintains the logs, details the ship’s course and speed, and keeps an eye on the weather for smooth sailing. But the captain is just one job, and without an able crew for support, it’s not a ship that is tightly run. Consider this metaphor for most businesses; while the captain (CEO) is at the helm, those on duty (the employees) know what’s going on below deck. It’s those people who have the better view of day-to-day operations. And, like the lookout crew, your employees are gazing into the horizon in the form of customers, and knowing what’s on that horizon will give you a better understanding of what customer-centricity means to your business.

Micah Solomon of Forbes delves into this topic and sheds some light on customer-centricity, saying that, if you really want to foster better customer service, consult with your lookout crew; your employees. While the CEO is steering the course, the employees are at the forefront of your business. They are the face of your brand. They are making the magic happen. It is these people who are supporting a vision and putting it out into the world. If it were just the captain, there wouldn’t be much of a voyage.

This is similar to employee engagement. Earning customer loyalty is similar to earning employee loyalty. At their core, both efforts depend on treating people with dignity and respect. Both require real-time learning. Both address the relationship in a human way, not just as a transaction or piece of data. By consulting your employees, you’re getting real answers and valuing them not just as employees, but people who do more than just jobs.

Customers and employees reinforce each other. Employees learn how to wow customers and feel great when they do. Customers love the experience. It’s a virtuous cycle, and it leads to great financial performance. The CEO can help foster this support by creating a real commitment to enriching customers’ lives by giving employees the tools and freedom to delight customers, and helping them see and hear the effects of their actions. Basically, employees would be happier simply because they were asked, and that sort of engagement makes them feel connected to their jobs and not just treat it as a 9-5 commitment for a paycheck. The customers are happy, and in turn become loyal customers, and the cycle continues on as business prospers.

So before you sit down to write out a bang-up business plan, consider asking your employees what customer service means to them. What is important to the customers? What do they know about your customers? Look beyond KPIs and data-driven surveys. The key to happy customers is far simpler than you think. 

Edited by Alisen Downey

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