This week we feature an article by Doug Bell who writes about how leaders can optimize their company’s customer experience. It is important to have a plan in place for managing the customer experience and having a customer-focused culture. – Shep Hyken
A Simple Playbook for Managing Customer Experience
Every team inside a company impacts the customer experience. Each of these teams is in constant motion to manage the customer interactions for which they are responsible. But when a team makes changes to their plan, how do their changes impact the overall experience? The coordination required between teams is a major challenge. The challenge becomes much greater when teams are dispersed across geographies and the world is changing faster every day. On top of this, there are new team members joining, and existing team members unplugging and plugging back in all the time.
Here is a step-by-step playbook for leaders to optimize their company’s customer experience:
STEP #1: Create a simple experience plan by answering three questions
- Who is the customer for your experience?
- The first step is to make sure everyone on the team knows exactly who your customers are. Don’t take anything for granted. Unify your team around how you define your customer.
- What is the goal of the experience?
- Experience management is no different from any other type of management. Start by defining the result. Paint a clear picture of what you want the outcome of your experience to be. The easiest outcomes to measure are based on customer behaviors. It’s easy to track repeat purchases, referrals, feedback and other behaviors that your company can observe. If your goal is simple, it will be easier to focus your team on producing that outcome.
- What are the key interactions that need to be managed?
- Your customer’s experience is their story of interacting with your company. From the first moment they learn about your solution, each interaction shapes their perceptions and drives their future behaviors. An amazing interaction – or magic moment – can seed thousands or millions of future sales. The first step in creating magic moments is identifying the opportunities you have to create them – your interactions. Start with the interactions that you recognize as mission-critical to your operation: marketing, customer service, sales, service delivery, product features, etc. Over time, you can add or subtract interactions as your experience design evolves. The key is to have a clear, top-level vision for how your company plans to interact with your customer.
STEP #2: Name your experience leaders
Identify the individual that is responsible for the success of the experience
- Every operation has a leader and so should every experience. Select one person that will be responsible for coordinating efforts across departments to optimize the experience for the customer AND the company. It is the experience leader’s responsibility to align the experience with the goals and overall mission of the company.
- Identify the individual that is responsible for the success of each interaction
- The experience leader should then assign responsibility for each interaction to individuals they trust. With every interaction assigned, the team will be focused on 100% of the customer experience.
STEP #3: Measure the experience outcomes
- Measure the outcome of the experience.
- Observe the customer behaviors resulting from your experience. Are customers coming back? Are they referring others? Are you getting positive feedback? Whatever your experience goal is, observe whether or not you are achieving it and track your success rate.
- Measure the outcome of each interaction.
- Observe the customer behaviors resulting from each interaction they have with their experience. Are customers engaging further or pulling back? In which interactions are your company building relationships and in which interactions are you not? Optimize your interactions and you’ll optimize your customer’s experience.
STEP #4: Improve the experience outcomes
Make it easy for team members to share ideas and success stories with the people responsible for the experience
- At a very minimum, create a dedicated email address for ideas. You can create incentives for the ‘idea of the day’. Be creative in engaging every member of your team to share their perspectives and ideas to improve. You never know who that next game-changing idea is going to come from.
- Create a system for implementing the best ideas and making improvements
- Approve the best ideas you receive. Create a plan to initiate the change. Show your team that you won’t let a good idea go to waste. How fast can you turn their amazing ideas into improvements in your experience?
- Provide a channel for communicating experience changes
- For the front line team responsible for producing the experience, it’s necessary for everyone to be on the same page. A dedicated communication channel for experience will enable you to make changes in real time.
Now share the plan with every member of your experience team. In addition to changing the paradigm for experience in your industry, you will have a new way to effectively measure employee engagement and performance, find out who your experience leaders are, and turn everyone on your team into idea generators and experience producers.
Doug Bell is the CEO of The Experience Manager which helps companies unify their customer experience approach. For more on implementing this experience management process into your business and other valuable insights visit www.theexperiencemanager.com or contact Doug directly at theexperiencemanager.com.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes Article: National Customer Service Week Is Approaching — How Will You Celebrate?