This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post my colleague, Tema Frank shares her term PeopleShock and how it can destroy a business. I love her three P’s: Promise, People and Process. These are keys to any successful business! – Shep Hyken Clothing retailer American Apparel was riding high in the stock markets […]
This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post my colleague, Tema Frank shares her term PeopleShock and how it can destroy a business. I love her three P’s: Promise, People and Process. These are keys to any successful business! – Shep Hyken
Clothing retailer American Apparel was riding high in the stock markets in mid-2013, but by October 2015, with its shares having fallen to pennies, it filed for bankruptcy. It was brought down by a number of things, not the least of which was the appalling behaviour of its ultimately-fired CEO, Dov Charney, which got magnified on social media to the point where the board had to fire him.
In fact, it had been hit by PeopleShock™. PeopleShock is what crushes businesses that don’t get the three key elements of customer experience right at a time of:
The only way to compete sustainably in this era is by truly understanding people, what motivates them and how to deliver what they want, when and how they want it.
Most companies claim to understand this and believe they do provide great customer experience. But a lot of their customers disagree
Usually they’ve gone wrong in one or more of the three key P’s: Promise, People and Process.
American Apparel seems to have messed up on all three.
Powerful brands stay powerful because they make an appealing promise to their customers that they deliver consistently.
Underlying the brand promise are core values that are central to everything they do. They affect who gets hired, how they are trained and rewarded, and how the business is run.
American Apparel billed itself as being an ethical manufacturer, hiring American immigrant workers to sew its clothes and paying them well. But they couldn’t square that with a CEO who was allegedly sexually molesting female employees.
Think about it: what promise do you make to your customers? What values underlie it? Are your living those values?
Next, look at how you hire and train your staff. Are your staff aware of your company’s core values? Do they buy into them? Do the company’s leaders and managers show a real commitment to them? Do your salary, promotion and other reward systems encourage behaviors that are consistent with those values?
But wait, there’s more! People doesn’t just mean staff. There’s a whole range of people outside your organization who influence its success. Apart from prospects and customers, there are the people who work for your suppliers and distributors, the politicians and civil servants who make laws that affect your business, the public and media who influence them, and the people who finance you. How are your relationships with all of them?
You can have the best, most empathetic, friendly front-line staff in the world, but if they keep having to apologize for mistakes in the back end, ultimately customers will give up. And these days, they’ll likely vent online, so the spin-off damage can be huge.
This is where many organizations run into trouble. Review all your processes to see if they are consistent with your promise. The best way to do this is from the outside in (customer perspective) and the bottom up (front-line staff perspective). Find out:
Then start moving up the chain. What would we need to change internally to fix the problems that have been identified? What could we change to give front line staff the freedom and safety to do memorable things for customers? What blockages in our system slow things down? Where do things fall through the cracks?
Every business has its own approach to systems and processes. But to make sure you consistently deliver service that customers will rave about (or even just not complain about), you must:
Promise + People + Process = Profits
This article is based on Tema Frank’s new book, PeopleShock: The Path to Profits When Customers Rule. International speaker, author and omnichannel customer experience consultant, Tema Frank also hosts the weekly Frank Reactions podcast on customer experience. Find her on Twitter @temafrank.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
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