Think about the last time you had a great experience as a customer. What made it stand out to you? Perhaps it was the way you were recognized and regarded as a valued customer or maybe the experience was personalized just for you. Or it might have been that the whole experience was so pleasant and seamless.
Usually the most memorable experiences are those that feel so natural that you hardly even notice you’re participating in a “customer experience.” You’re simply swept away and everything happens so smoothly and organically that you’d almost wonder how the organization makes it seem so easy.
Culture Contributes to Positive Customer Experiences
Organizations that do this really well have one thing in common: a strong culture that enables consistent behaviors from employees that shape positive customer interactions. More than likely, there’s a carefully considered and well-strategized service model in place with specific behaviors that guide employees to create experiences that accurately reflect the brand and fulfill the customer promise. How do you create behaviors that will deliver a smooth and natural experience for customers?
Here are five tips to get you started:
- Tie them to beliefs that are continuously reinforced. It’s tempting for organizations to take shortcuts and focus on the tactics rather than the foundation of desired behaviors. Likewise, employees will oftentimes express that they just want to be told what’s expected. If you resist the urge to jump right to behaviors and start with a foundation of beliefs, behaviors are more likely to stick and be successful long-term. Without beliefs in place, behaviors run the risk of becoming robotic and mechanical because there’s no context to make them meaningful. Employees will simply go through the motions, and they may start to abandon the behaviors altogether. Think about your own life. How often do you stick to particular behaviors if you don’t have a fundamental set of beliefs to back them up?To keep behaviors alive, the beliefs should be continuously and consistently reinforced. They become like the mantra of the organization. You’re never finished teaching and re-engaging employees on beliefs that are fundamental to your culture and serve as the backbone to the behaviors of every associate.
- As few as necessary and as simple as possible. There’s no magic number for behaviors, but fewer will definitely contribute to long-term success. By limiting to only a handful that are most critical, employees will more easily learn, remember, and successfully execute behaviors. Likewise, behaviors should be kept simple without too many layers or steps that can breakdown and complicate delivery.
- Specific, measurable and observable. By making behaviors measurable and observable, the organization and the employees will know if they’re being successful. If behaviors are too general, then it’s challenging to determine if they’re being achieved. When they’re measurable, you have a valuable way to assess and develop employees, and it provides more openings for leaders and managers to coach their teams.
- Applicable to everyone. Front-line employees obviously have the greatest influence when it comes to creating a consistent customer experience, but there’s no reason behaviors shouldn’t apply to everyone in the organization. As behaviors are being created, think about how they might be appropriate for the broad employee population. How can you use them to guide decisions and interactions within and between teams? It may be that the context and training of behaviors is slightly different for non-customer facing employees, but the intent is still the same and so are the beliefs that back them up.
- Keep them natural. Resist the urge to script the behaviors. Frame them in a way that empowers employees to make them their own while staying within the guardrails of your brand. When you do this, the behaviors will likely be invisible to customers yet they will definitely notice a certain “something” that makes your organization different and creates a memorable experience that fulfills their expectations.
Creating behaviors that support a brand-aligned customer experience involves collaboration with leaders and teams from across your business. Kennedy Global can provide guidance that will make this process successful by synthesizing the needs and opinions of various stakeholder groups, leaders, and employees. Contact us today to get the process started for your organization.