Implementing a Customer Experience Framework

Solid foundations aren’t the only thing that make a building stand. It is the things that you put on top of those foundations that need to be done correctly; otherwise the building will fall over. With customer experience management, these foundations have already been set, but we need to look at what it is we are doing to make those foundations worthwhile —in order to create a tall building that will last, not a small building that will fall over. There are four corresponding implementation parts to each coordinating foundation.

1. Employee experience for engagement

The question here should be —how do you create organisational attitudes for your customer experience? It is all through your team members. In order to make these attitudes noticeable to your customers, you need to spend time with your team members, continually refining them so that they are ingrained in the organisational culture. The focus here is all about the employee experience. Too often we spend time thinking customer experience is related to the outside of the organisation only, when it actually starts with the organisation on the inside. There are inputs required to get these outputs that are desired. The outputs in this case relate to employee engagement. Creating an employee experience will help organisational attitudes and those attitudes will be noticed by how engaged your employees are.

2. Customer care for improvement

It’s a term that’s been there from the beginning — ‘customer care’. It is through customer care that you display the desired customer service behaviours stemming from the organisation’s attitudes. Customer care is the traditional term for the way we look after our customers. Unfortunately, it also became the term to identify a department at a time where many people abdicated responsibility for providing exceptional customer service. The key with this focus area is to serve and care for customers with a view to improving their experience through a positive interaction, but also being on standby to improve their experience when things don’t go to plan. This now relates to the customer and is more outward facing, as opposed to the employee experience discussed previously, which is inward focused.

3. Customer feedback for intelligence

In order to know and understand our customers we need to learn more about them. The term used by government and the military is intelligence. It’s a term that is quite relevant for customer service; whilst there is no espionage involved, getting intelligence helps us make decisions and act on them effectively. We do this by setting up the capacity and ability to receive customer feedback. Now that doesn’t mean a post office box address or email account so the customer can write to us when they feel like it. It is about being outwardly active and customer focused to get this intelligence, not through spying, but being genuinely committed to finding the opportunities available to leave positive memories with them, but also to be empowered to take the personal action to make this happen.

4. Customer experience for innovation

The user experience, which is the more technical term, is the process for preparing for customers in the design process. Not just engineering design, but interaction design as well. Innovation is certainly a buzz word at the moment, but it is essential here. Being innovative in the way we develop the experience for our customers is the way in which we increase the value for them. Like the employee experience, this part is largely company focused, with inputs required from the teams. Customers are still the number one consideration as your organisation’s touch points are built around your customers so that they have a total experience with your brand at more levels than just their interaction with your staff.

Chris Smoje is a customer service speaker, trainer, facilitator and founder of the DIME™ Customer Service approach. Chris works with organisations and their people to develop a common interest and excitement about delivering exceptional customer service results:  www.dimecustomerservice.com

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