Who's Responsible for the Customer's Experience?
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Who's Responsible for the Customer's Experience?

Once while speaking to a group regarding attributes necessary to deliver a great customer experience, one of the attendees mentioned the difficulty he experienced when attempting to renew his driver's license. "The employees seemed unconcerned with how long the lines were and the resulting customer frustration." Now I can certainly understand how this might be an unpleasant situation for the customers, but are the employees totally at fault? Who's really responsible for the customer's experience? Here are several points I asked that attendee to consider.

Is Leadership Actively Engaged? - In the above scenario, here are several questions that come to mind: How does leadership respond to the situation? Are they actively engaged with the daily business operations? Are they in tune with the front line employees? Are they open to input from the front line? Is there commitment to providing adequate operational resources - not necessarily additional employees, but updated technology or improved processes? Do leaders regularly service customers themselves to stay in touch with the "real world"? Does leadership regularly review customer surveys? Are leaders required to contact unhappy customers to ensure they remain a customer?  All of these are crucial in leadership's willingness to be actively engaged in creating positive customer experiences.

Does Leadership Exercise Positive Motivation? - While it's the responsibility of customer facing employees to create great customer experiences, it's also the responsibility of leadership to utilize positive motivational incentives. It does not have to be extra money (this might be nice though!). Make a big deal out of the reduction in customer complaints. Did someone offer an idea that resulted in cost reductions? Celebrate that! When a customer offers a compliment about an employee's performance, let the whole company know! Who doesn't want to be recognized for a job well done or the extra effort taken to ensure a customer's satisfaction with the product or service? Provide positive reinforcement as this helps in creating the right atmosphere for providing great customer experiences.

Does Leadership Encourage Teamwork? - In order to create great customer experiences, teamwork is a necessity. Is leadership encouraging teamwork within the organization? Do performance standards include an element relative to teamwork? Is the importance of serving one's internal customer well communicated on a regular basis? Is leadership encouraging cross functional communication between departments or functions? Can employees communicate how they impact others within the organization? How well can employees identify the product they create within the organization? How well does their product meet the standards of their internal customer? Is anyone accumulating data on internal customer complaints? Leadership's willingness to make teamwork a major ingredient in the organization's culture is crucial to creating great customer experiences.

Is Leadership in Tune with Customers? - It's always amazing what one can learn from personally servicing customers. What the customers like and prefer. What service delivery processes are effective or may need some improvement. Is leadership in tune with the customer? Do leaders regularly spend time with customers and or service providers? Can leadership actually deliver the services themselves? Are leaders able to effectively communicate the features and benefits of the company’s products and or services? Do leaders set the example for other employees on how to treat customers? Are the leaders seen interacting with and or resolving customer issues? When leaders set the pace for the organization in regards to creating great customer experiences, a boost in morale is more than likely to follow.

When determining who's responsible for the customer's experience, I say hands down it's leadership! Leaders should be Actively Engaged, Exercise Positive Motivation, Encourage Teamwork and be In Tune with the Customer.

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Topics: Culture & Morale, Customer Experience

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