This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post my colleague, Joe Sejean writes about how the customer experience can impact your sales. Your employees must be properly trained to give your customers an Amazing experience. Remember training should be ongoing – not a one-time thing. Training isn’t something you did. It’s something you […]
This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post my colleague, Joe Sejean writes about how the customer experience can impact your sales. Your employees must be properly trained to give your customers an Amazing experience. Remember training should be ongoing – not a one-time thing. Training isn’t something you did. It’s something you do. – Shep Hyken
What a failure.
I have been working on the customer experience in my company. The implementation is not working and sales are flat.
Meet Hugo, a customer experience manager I met at a Retail UK Convention and who was not in good shape.
Everything seemed to be in place – he had buy-in from his CEO and senior managers, a solid alignment across the organization, they had revamped their corporate values, built a great customer journey map and created fresh new training programs. However, sales were not picking up.
“We have even raised the staff’s monthly incentive, but the numbers are just not moving up. Worse, they’re dropping in some stores.”
Every sales associate in Hugo’s stores had clear front-line metrics: reach a certain number of items per transaction in order to get their incentive. In that month, each employee needed to reach an average of 2.5 items per transaction.
At the time, my team and I had been working hard on finding the right metrics in customer experience to understand how to improve it and impact the sales.
Listening to Hugo, something clicked:
What happens when people are asked to achieve figures in order to get their incentive?
They see customers as numbers, not human beings. So they focus on one thing: hitting their numbers to get their monthly incentive. In this dynamic, delivering an experience becomes secondary.
In Hugo’s network, customers who did fit into the store’s target market were rudely ignored and the others were heavily pressured into purchasing more. Things kept getting worse.
Traffic dropped, sales started decreasing and the noise on social media increased. A customer experience manager’s nightmare.
We were about to repeat the exact same mistake when it hit me:
Finding the right metrics can help improve both customer experience and sales in a big way. However, even with the best customer experience metrics in place, having the wrong front-line metrics will compromise it all.
It was time to do a 180 and focus on the metrics of our associates in the stores.
We told all the team members that we would stop incentivizing them on the achievement of individual figures. Instead we would link their commissions to the time they would spend providing a great customer experience.
From that point on, it no longer mattered how many items they sold each month. But rather how many exercises they would do to improve their competence, how much training they would participate in, the number of role plays they would do with their shop manager, and the extent of their brand knowledge.
In a matter of months, we started seeing a progress in our customers’ experience. Our sales didn’t take long to pick up. In 6 months, we had a trend showing that our approach worked.
My coffee break with Hugo had triggered a radical shift and shed light on a blind spot:
We were using our front-line metrics the wrong way. Front-line metrics should be fueling your customer experience not killing it. Employees on the front-line should be driven towards achieving better competence rather than hitting a sales target.
Asking our team members to become better at what they did and rewarding them for that helped liberate their energy, unlock barriers for a successful implementation of a new customer experience culture and, ultimately, achieve much greater figures.
So, to recap, if your sales are not taking off despite your efforts in improving your customer experience:
Joe Sejean is a Senior Guest Experience Manager at one of the biggest Retail Groups in Dubai, UAE and the author of the Guide “Why Comparing Your Customer Experience With Your Competition’s Is Killing Your Business.”
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes Article: Five Super Bowl Strategies To Win Over Your Customers
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