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Many customer experience strategies focus on process and technology but they don’t take into account the people required to pull it off. This can lead to marketing or sales departments getting frustrated by the operations side of the business not delivering on the brand. The difference between businesses that have true customer engagement and advocacy and those that do not is the human element. It’s a key ingredient and I believe it’s required to win customers over and achieve advocacy.
Things like technology and process that interface with the customer generally don’t lead to customer satisfaction. They avoid dissatisfaction. I’m not saying technology and process aren’t important, but in order to deliver a true customer experience, the human element is absolutely crucial. As technology becomes more accessible for everyone, we start to become more and more alike in terms of what we deliver. There aren’t as many ways for businesses to differentiate themselves in terms of technology but what they can differentiate on is the human element.
At the heart of it, I believe that when people thrive, businesses thrive. That is the motto of Human Tribe which stems from my background in the learning and development aspects of human resources. My team is made up of human performance specialists who partner with people and businesses to reach their highest potential and purpose. We have three streams in our business: coaching, measurement and alignment. We believe in human beings, not human resources and so we work to create and provide people management solutions that deliver great customer experiences.
Building a culture where CX can thrive
Building the right culture within your business comes down to everyone in the organisation having – and living out – the belief that what is best for the customer is what’s best for business. It always comes back to a cultural issue and that’s why we start with measurement.
One of the tools we use is MarketCulture’s MRI or Market Responsiveness Index. It measures several key things: customer insights – how well does everyone in your organisation know your customers? Then, what is the customer foresight? What do you not know yet about your customers? How well do you know your competitors and what is your competitor foresight? In addition to this, the MRI measures peripheral vision to explore what’s going on that’s not even on your radar that could be impacting your business. It also measures collaboration and empowerment as well as strategic alignment. It’s all well and good to have visions and marketing strategies but is that actually aligned to what everyone is doing every day?
Generally, there are blind spots. Often there are differences between what senior management thinks and what the front line staff thinks. There’ll be differences between departments. This is all really valuable information but it can be extremely confronting. Still, this gives you a starting point.
Once the measurement is complete, we work through solutions. Not everything can be tackled from a culture and people perspective. When it comes to the competitor insight, competitor foresight and peripheral vision, we recommend seeking advice from marketing experts. Our key focus is in the areas of strategic alignment, empowerment and collaboration and what that looks like is dependent on that organisation at that moment in time.
Turning a culture around
We’ve had some great success stories for businesses that turned the internal culture around. One example is a large, established family-owned business we worked with. There was a very dominant culture led by old-school management. While they were quite successful, they recognised the success couldn’t be sustained with the existing culture. We began the transformation by looking at the leadership capability of the business and employing engagement tools to work out how the employees felt about the culture.
Then we took it a step down to look at the management capability. Following coaching programs, we started to see a shift in the culture. So far we’ve focused on five senior teams within the business to get them working at a high-functioning level. This has been ongoing for the past three years.
The results have been tremendous. There was only one month of the calendar year last year where they did not meet or exceed budget. Every month so far this calendar year, they have significantly exceeded budgets.
Today, this business is looking beyond measuring financial results as a key to success. On their dashboard, they use NPS as well as ENPS for employee data. This has completely changed their culture in terms of what they measure and what they define success by.
This work is ongoing. The moment you think you’ve got it sorted is a very dangerous moment in time. This business certainly saw results in that first 12 months, but the results have compounded and continued to improve since then. It’s a work in progress. You can’t hang up your boots on this one.
Making a culture change
Making a change like this to your business may be simple but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s confronting and challenging. If a business is currently performing, it’s easy to be complacent. Businesses need to be thinking about what the future holds. We only need to consider examples such as Kodak or Nokia, businesses that were performing incredibly well at a certain point in time but look at what then happened down the track. We all need to be thinking like that. Ask yourself, what is it that I can’t see now? What should I be focusing on to be doing better, to be the best at what we do so we don’t become the next Nokia or Kodak? Do you want your business to be good or do you want it to be great?
It’s easy to get caught up trying to get your head around the all of the advances in technology impacting your business. That can push people and culture down the order of priorities, which I completely understand. I’m not saying that I don’t have empathy for that decision, but if you want to be a market leader, that’s not going to cut it.
Nicole Wales will be hosting a roundtable on Achieving a Customer-Centric Culture in Your Organisation at the Customer 360 Forum. Secure your place now.
Nicole Wales - Founder & CEO
Nicole Wales is the Founder and Managing Director of Human Tribe, a Human Performance Specialist company. Human Tribe partners with people and business to reach their highest potential and purpose through coaching, measurement, alignment and inspiration.