When we first started our work in customer experience the focus, appropriately, was getting a new process accepted by employees, managers, and customers. It took some convincing. One of the things we urged clients to do was to think about the actual benefits to critical stakeholders when service improves.
What are the individual benefits for improving CX for your three major stakeholders?
1. The company
2. The employees?
3. The customers?
Addressing the benefits of the company is more natural than the other two groups of stakeholders. More loyal customers mean more repeat business, more referrals, and fewer customer defections, among other things. It also results in improved ease of doing business, jobs that get done right the first time, and equipment that gets delivered or repaired when promised.
For employees, working in an environment where the service experience is exceptional is a better place to work, as disputes are rare, customers are easier to work with, and working in such an environment is more fun. For employees, these are all important reasons to create better customer experiences.
For customers, excellent customer experience means they enjoy doing business with your company. It is not a chore to interact with your staff. They get what they need and receive clear and timely communication.
It is essential to continuously answer these stakeholder questions and not just when starting your CX program. Over time, these communications taper off, and with the employee and customer changes that happens in most companies, people either forget or may not be aware of the real benefits of improved customer experiences.
To take your CX program to the next performance level, you must continuously communicate with employees and customers.
Here are a few examples of things to consider:
Regularly let customers know what changes you have made to improve service, especially those changes not immediately apparent to the customer. In the case of one client, historically, they were not able to provide an invoice when the customer came to pick up a truck from a repair. They made changes so invoices customers could pay invoices at the time of service completion. The scores showed customers loved it, plus our client got their cash much sooner. This update and other changes were communicated to customers to show how their requests resulted in evolution by the company. This company consistently connected customer feedback with actions taken.
Take a similar approach with employees. If employees offer suggestions for improvement, act on the valuable ones, and communicate why you didn’t make changes on others. Also, employees may not always see the improvements made to serve customers better and may not hear how customers view the changes. Periodically, communicate critical actions taken to improve service as well as the customer feedback from the changes.
Look for opportunities to measure the impact of better CX on business outcomes. I know this is easier said than done but worth it. One OEM discovered that more loyal customers spent at least $35K more per year than less happy ones. Several other clients were surprised to find that the word-of-mouth referral rate was quite high, but more than 90% of the referrals came from customers that gave a 9 or 10 on likelihood to recommend.
Customers, employees, and business owners are, appropriately, selfish to a degree. If they are going to be a part of improving CX, they want to know how it benefits them individually.
To create a successful CX improvement program, and keep it thriving, address the “what’s in it for me question” clearly and continuously. It does matter!