Are you trying to inspire a customer-centric culture shift with internal teams, and find yourself tapping the mike saying, “Is this thing on?”
It’s not enough to just announce to employees, “hey we have a new value proposition” or tell them to download your brand standards to understand how you’re all about customer experience. Your people are busy. Doing things the way they always have, to crank out deliverables and meet deadlines. If you expect to move the needle to improve your customer experience, you need to empower your employees to deliver delight — and that means applying a customer-centric focus to everything they do.
Here are four powerful strategies to get everyone on board to create customer experiences that help you win business, lower support costs, and earn loyalty.
Make it easy to understand the CX vision
You may think your customer experience vision or value proposition (whether it’s company-wide or within a line of business) seems self-explanatory. It may be something like, “Putting customers first.” But employees often hear it like a tagline, not something that may require them to change how they approach their work. You need to actively promote the vision or value prop in simple, engaging ways that demonstrate what it really means for customers and employees.
In a Top 5 bank, for example, several businesses increased retention by helping employees understand how to bring the customer-centric vision to life. Providing engaging training and tools was key to building buy-in and sustainability for their culture transformation. We helped them drive success with a brief workshop and Q&A session, and follow-up tools like quick reference guides, tips to share in team huddles, contests to gamify progress, and motivational pop-up signs to keep CX themes top of mind around the office.
Make it clear how to think like a customer
Even with best intentions and a CX vision, you could lose customers and your brand could take a hit if employees don’t know how to apply customer-centric thinking to their work. They may have a hard time shifting away from a product, function, or policy focused way of communicating. But if your efforts are not resonating with customer needs and concerns, it could cost you time, money, and business. Maybe it takes too many support calls to resolve issues, too many letters to manage accounts. And any negative customer experience could be the next viral story on the web or social media.
It’s critical to help employees think like a customer. Give them meaningful learning opportunities to practice new ways to identify with the customer’s perspective, so they can apply an empathy mindset to all they do. United Airlines is giving this a go. In response to a slew of negative press, the airline recently announced they’re sending some 30,000 employees to “compassion training.”
Make it ownable and relevant to their job
Just like customers, your employees will question, “What’s in it for me?” Buy-in and real culture transformation starts when your people see how they benefit when they contribute to delivering delightful customer experiences. Hands-on training to learn customer-focused approaches helps them build confidence and skills that make their work easier, more enjoyable —and drives positive outcomes. Be sure to reinforce what effective communications look like with best practice guides for common scenarios employees handle every day, to help them improve both written and verbal communications.
Once people see they’re making a difference, the paradigm shift and culture transformation accelerates. With our workshop series, we helped a leading HR and payroll services software company view their communications through a customer empathy lens. As a result, they were able to transform their tech-heavy content from product-centric to customer-centric. Yet another business helped build buy-in by showing employees how customer-centric changes could positively impact their performance reviews. We created handy reference guides that mapped pillars of their value proposition to their Key Driver Metrics (KDMs).
Make it believable
Success relies on walking the walk. If you expect employees to adopt your CX vision and customer-centric thinking, then leadership needs to set the example. If people see their managers embracing new approaches and behaviors that influence wonderful customer experiences, they will embrace that too. Recruit champions who will evangelize how to delight customers. Help them keep messaging clear and consistent using effective tools such as a roadshow deck, talking points, and elevator pitch that build alignment across leadership and employees.
Need help putting these strategies into action? Let’s talk! Whether it’s a quick boost with our Power of Empathy workshop, tackling key challenges with our customer-centric communications workshop series, or supporting a broader culture transformation journey — we can help.