6 Ways To Create a Consistent Customer Experience
Does the level of experience your customers receive depend on which employee they encounter? Are there certain employees on your team you hope your best clients will interact with? If so, then you have what is known as employee roulette. Employee roulette is a problem most organizations have.
There is good news: You can significantly improve your customer experience with your existing group of employees. Here are six ways to do it.
1) Tie your employees’ job to the overall purpose
If I asked 25 different employees what your Customer Service Vision Statement (CSVS) is, how many different answers would I get? Two is too many. You must create a crystal-clear North Star that every team member can articulate in their sleep. A great exercise in helping develop your CSVS is to ask your team members the following two questions:
- After encountering you, how do you want your customers to feel emotionally every time?
- How do you want customers to describe their interaction with you?
2) Remove personal interpretation
If you tell 50 employees to deliver genuine hospitality, you will get 50 interpretations based on their life and past work experiences. You must remove personal interpretations in all aspects of your customer experience deliverables. For instance, clearly define what you mean by the following:
- Genuine hospitality = The Five E’s – Eye contact, Enthusiastic greeting, Ear-to-ear smile, Engage, and Educate
- Service recovery = LEAST – Listen, Empathize, Apologize, Solve, and Thank
- Make a connection = FORD – Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dreams
3) Create a signature experience
A signature experience is a distinct customer experience your customers can receive consistently only from you. It must be realistically achievable, manageable, and affordable to be delivered consistently. To create a signature experience you need non-negotiable standards at every stage of your customer journey to ensure that every team member is delivering your signature experience every time, no excuses. You must also create a “Never and Always” list that ensures anyone who represents your brand knows there are certain actions you never do or always do when those situations occur.
4) Train and re-train
Everything launched to existing employees also must be put into new-employee orientation. Employees must be trained repeatedly on what your signature experience is, and why it is so critical that it is delivered consistently. Every story has a villain and a hero. The villain is what’s wrong with the way it is currently being done. The villain may be the competition, the status quo, price cutters, or the pain customers are experiencing. The hero is easy: the hero is your initiative and how it will change the company, the industry, your customers’ lives, and solve their problems. You must be able to sell the purpose of your initiative to all your employees and get them to rally around it, to rise up to defeat the villain. You also must make sure 100% of your employees partake in the launch, either at the live presentation or by watching it online within a certain time frame.
Just because your employees attended live or watched the presentation online doesn’t mean they retained anything. There must be a certification component. It is important to test each employee to ensure they learned and retained the information. There are many ways you can do this. One of my favorites is gamifying it, making it a competition between teams, departments, or locations. This makes it fun and a team-building activity.
6) Audit and measure the execution
Just as the project leader needs to lose sleep at night over its success, now every department, manager, and employee must know the key metric that measures the success of this initiative (e.g., retention rate, number of referrals, resign rate, closing ratio, conversion rate, customer satisfaction score, or NPS). Not only must they know what the key metric is, but also what it has to be – and they must see it daily and know exactly what affects it. Management and employees need to obsess over this metric. The ones hitting the goal need to be celebrated loudly. The ones who are underperforming must be coached and convinced that this is the way you are operating now and forever. Live it, love it, or leave it.
- Measure who is doing it consistently and recognizing and coaching until it is 100% consistently being executed.
- Measure that it has an impact on the customer. Do they recognize the value and is it affecting satisfaction levels and affecting the key metrics (e.g., average tickets, conversion rates, retention, referrals, resigns, Net Promoter Score).
John R. DiJulius III, author of The Customer Service Revolution, is president of The DiJulius Group, a customer service consulting firm that works with companies including Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Ritz-Carlton, Nestle, PwC, Lexus, and many more. Contact him at 216-839-1430 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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