Out with the old, in with the new. This is a central part of a customer experience driven approach to business. A business’ culture cannot become customer centric overnight, but once it does, the results are profound and positive.
“Changing to a customer centric culture is one of the most gruelling tasks any management team can undertake. All levels of the business need to be fully committed to the change and the entire team needs to work on the culture every day. The journey is not an easy one, but the rewards will be felt for many years after the effort of change is long forgotten.” – Andrew Cook, Smoke CCS CEO
The shift in focus from whatever came before to a customer centric mindset can be made easier through thorough planning and a strategically controlled rollout operation.
It’s important to begin with addressing obvious incongruencies within the workplace. Even after deciding to implement a CEM tool or system, many call centres still maintain targets, KPIs and objectives attached to a profit-driven model.
Far too often, customer centric assessments and goals are simply piled atop an already daunting checklist of expectations. The result is an atmosphere in which the focus on the customer is viewed with negativity and disdain.
If outstanding customer experience is truly the central aim, then all expectations need to be re-aligned to better compliment that decision. This will pave the way for the belief that high customer satisfaction and great experiences are the norm rather than unrealistic pipedreams.
Before consultants or call centre agents are expected to aim for a high customer centric approach, key measurables need to be evaluated and adjusted to reflect that new direction. Managers need to know how to lead the behaviours that achieve customer experience goals. Team leaders need to be briefed and employees at every level need to be inspired about the end goal.
Another often-overlooked step is being perfectly transparent about what constitutes a “bad score” from customers and how such responses will be handled. Enterprise feedback and customer experience management systems don’t ignore scores at the low end of the scale. Employees at every level know this.
What they might not know is that those scores will serve as pointers to highlight areas within the business that need updating and changing. They might not know that immediate resolutions are an important aspect of the customer centric goal.
The culture bred from an unclear process regarding negative results is one in which employees feel detached from the larger goal. They become apprehensive about who will be fired next rather than what needs to be done to assist the customer. This needs to be addressed long before surveys are distributed and reports generated or else businesses run the risk of unintentionally forcing consultants to cherry-pick respondents.
How to create a customer centric culture
Take time, especially in the beginning to reward customer centric behaviour. Change is hard for both new and seasoned employees alike, but there will be those who embrace the move and throw themselves at it with force and gusto.
These employees will prove to be your in-house customer centric champions. They will become the internal driving force that spreads the desired mentality to the rest of the work-force, regardless of whether they are brand new call centre agents or established line managers.
Acknowledge their achievements early and often, and leverage their passion as much as possible to show others what the expected attitude and performance looks like. This will assist massively in spreading the internal acceptance of a new customer centric culture through peer groups and employee circles.
Devote resources to training not only for upskilling employees into CEM system specialists, but also to bolster interest and confidence towards becoming customer centric. Remember that many employees simply do not see the point of focussing on customer experience because they were not encouraged to value or achieve it in the past.
Many training companies, like Smoke Customer Care Solutions, offer customer experience training that can supplement system deployments and drive cultural change throughout an organisation. Training programmes also serve as a platform that management can use to show how vested it is in the new direction.
Together with a trusted method of gathering customer experience data and feedback through multiple channels, these change management techniques will go a long way to engraining and securing a customer centric organisation-wide culture of aiming for continuously high customer satisfaction.
Author: John Dicks