The Way to a Tech-Driven Customer Culture
Updated: Dec 22, 2020
For the Connected Organisation the link between employee experience and customer experience is inseparable.
Photo by Jase Bloor on Unsplash
Poor customer service has, unfortunately become common. Hours spent on the phone to customer service — being transferred from one person to another; endlessly repeating our details and being identified at each point have become ‘normal.’ This experience is neither pleasant for the customers, nor for the frontline staff dealing with frustrated, angry consumers. Ultimately, a poor customer experience occurs because organisations do not adequately equip frontline staff.
Happy Customers = Happy Staff
Frontline staff and customers are rarely put together to design solutions. It’s more usual that customer service staff inherit new initiatives without any input along the way. Head Office staff don’t spend enough time at the pointy end of business actively learning about the behaviours and need of customers and frontline staff.
The friendliest customer service officer will still disappoint if they cannot find customer details, or spend time the majority of the call time accessing multiple systems.
Equip frontline to deliver, and you’ll have better customer service.
A Systems Approach
Customer experience and employee experience are inextricably linked. How back-office employees deliver services to their internal customers ultimately impacts what is provided to external customers. All the way through the organisation, staff need to be aware of the essential role they play in delivering to the customer.
All staff must be adequately equipped to deliver to clients, customers or patients.
When developing customer systems, there are two things to consider:
Impact on staff, specifically how will this effect delivery of a fantastic customer experience?
Impact on the customer
The connected organisation consciously balances both sides of the equation.
In addition to balancing the see-saw of needs between internal staff and the customer, a two-way flow of information is needed. Processes and communications pipelines must be decluttered if feedback from the frontline is to be received and acted upon. This means cutting through hierarchical layers, removing bureaucracy and being bold in the slimming down of organisational fat.
The Six Principles of the Connected Organisation
The following six principles work together to bring about the Connected Organisation:
Direction is defined by frontline staff and customers.
Leadership comes from all levels in the organisation and is distinct from management.
Culture is a tech-driven customer culture valuing connection, boldness, action.
Support is employed with a systems thinking approach to ensure all requirements are catered to.
Outcome is highly engaged staff equipped to deliver to the customer consistently.
Accountability occurs by measuring, looping back and acting upon all areas of the business.
While the investment for organisations to employ the six principles is high, the pay-off is higher, returning ongoing organic growth and profit.
They focus on both staff and customers when setting direction. The road forward is informed not only by the experience of team and customers but by open minds and broad research. Casting the net wider, allows organisations also to investigate ‘the enemy’ (competitor, inertia, apathy), the market, recession, growth, socio-political, tech, other trends and the organisational strategy.
Leadership is different and distinct from management. Connected organisations understand that leadership comes from all levels across the organisation. Whilst the education and orientation of Senior Management is essential, so too is the ability to plant and harvest the seed of leadership beyond senior management. Organisations will already have future leaders and influencers in the midst. Those organisations that excel enrol key people to share the vision and drive success.
The organisational culture and its personality are integral to the shape and the success of the Connected Organisation. A tech-driven customer culture that promotes an external orientation and engages with customers and partners to find new solutions is essential for success. The values are delegation over control; action over planning and collaboration over individual effort. Successful organisations are bold rather than cautious, and staff feel a sense of control and ownership.
The Connected Organisation requires ‘systems thinking’ for success. Success indicates an evolved ecosystem to support new ways of working. Support can take many forms including training, growing the requisite capability in people, creating new systems and processes, establishing measures for early feedback, and establishing the right data sets and ways to use these effectively.
The end-game relies on highly engaged staff equipped to deliver to the customer consistently. Excellent customer delivery results in ongoing customer satisfaction and a superior experience for customers whenever and wherever they need it. When customers have a good relationship with the organisation you have trust, you have service and price becomes a non-issue. Successful organisations experience continued growth and business momentum as the by-product.
Every aspect of the business needs to be measured, understood and acted upon as part of a singular framework. Customers, employees, teams, production, products, services — all require regular feedback loops that are easy to understand. Success indicates that both simple and more sophisticated measurements are in place around digital maturity, organisational agility, business continuity, satisfaction, revenue and profit.
A connected organisation is one where there is a conscious balancing of the customer experience and the needs of staff to perform their roles.
When flying, we are instructed to put our own oxygen masks before helping others. In a similar way, we must equip our staff before we can positively improve the customer experience that is delivered.
While the investment for organisations to employ the six principles is high, the pay-off is higher, returning ongoing organic growth and profit. The cost of no action and the risk to reputation through poor customer experience is untenable.
Understanding the link between employee experience and customer experience and is vital. The Connected Organisation is not a one-off project, but rather a continual journey.
As always, whether implicitly or explicitly, Amanda Broomhall influences and, has a part to play in creating these articles and blog posts.