While assisting a client with developing a customer experience strategy, a formula crossed my mind. Now I can hear someone asking - Errol, a formula related to customer experience? Bear with me on this - (CACV + CT + EFMP) + (GCE*C) = CR. Let's walk through this.
CACV - This component of the formula means the Creation and Application of Core Values. When any organization takes the time to create core values, that's a step in the right direction. What's even more important is the actual application of the core values. Actively practice your core values. Make sure that they are more than just a list posted on your website or in the company conference room. Incorporate core value indoctrination into your new hire training. If you contacted customers and asked if their experience with your company was a reflection of your core values, are you confident that they would respond positively? Yes - it takes time to develop a great set of core values. However in doing so, you're determining the future of your company. When making decisions, one should take into consideration how the outcome is aligned with the core values. Every department, every employee and every customer is impacted by your core values.
CT - Now this component is one that must not be overlooked. CT represents Comprehensive Training. Companies that practice this component have a higher potential to retain customers as well as employees. Properly conducted, comprehensive training provides employees with the tools necessary to provide a great customer experience. Comprehensively trained employees tend to perform their duties with the entire organization in mind. Having received a broad overview of the organization, their actions more often than not bring about positive results for both the customer and employer. Confidence in one's ability to successfully perform daily tasks is paramount to a new employee. Training criteria should include teaching the new employee the fine art of internal customer service. Make sure that they can identify who and what is impacted by the performance of their tasks. Help them to understand what services they provide within the organization. Place their finished product (whatever it may be - sales invoice, service ticket, purchase order, etc.) in their hands and compare it to the requirements of those who will utilize it next. Doing so enlightens new employees on the importance of realizing that someone will probably use what you create.
EFMP - according to Tom Peters, the famous leadership expert, the number one cause for employee dissatisfaction is the quality of the first line supervisor. The EFMP component of the formula requires an organization to Exercise Fair Management Practices. What must an organization do to ensure that this happens? Here's several ways to get this accomplished. 1. Develop job descriptions that accurately reflect the position duties. 2. Add performance standards which act as the barometer for measuring how well one is performing. Be careful with this one! Be sure to take all tasks into consideration when creating performance standards. I know from personal experience that this can be a major contributor to employee satisfaction. When employees feel that performance standards accurately reflect what they face on a daily basis, your customers are the beneficiaries. Should you leave this one out, shortcuts and mistakes are sure to follow. You can count on an increase in your rework rate. What does rework look like in your organization - a second phone call from the customer, a second dispatch of a field technician or perhaps an escalation to a supervisor/manager? There's a threefold effect of inaccurate performance standards - employee frustration, employee turnover and poor customer service experiences. 3. Utilize the job description and performance standards to conduct an objective performance review. It's important to discuss an employee's performance based on solid information. It's dangerous to solely utilize personal feelings to rate someone's job performance - that's why it's necessary to create accurate performance standards. 4. Provide management training, especially first time management training. One should not assume that because an employee is great in their current role, that they will make a great manager. This position requires one to wear possess multiple skills - coach, leader and mediator among others. Remember that employees are people - you have to be willing to deal with the whole person. Now I hear someone saying "I expect employees to be professional once they arrive for work." I feel the same, but the great leaders spend time understanding what motivates each individual for whom they're responsible. I think it should be mandatory for managers to regularly spend time side by side with their direct reports. This creates a better work environment as both persons can gain mutual respect for one another's role within the organization.
GCE - When an organization focuses on developing the first three formula components, the fourth - Great Customer Experiences - is sure to follow. Creating and applying core values, providing comprehensive training and exercising effective management principles trickles down to the paying customer. When employees receive the proper product/service training coupled with a comprehensive view of the organization and how their role contributes to the organization's success the paying customer is beneficiary. When fair management practices are in place, employees will more likely than not go the extra mile to create great customer experiences. When an organization sound internal interaction practices in place, it's almost a given that the paying customer receives outstanding service.
C - As I've said before, this component of the formula is the one that keeps the customers coming back. Consistency is necessary for any organization to be successful. Can you consistently provide a great experience? Will your customers receive the same level of service from all of your employees? Can they count on you to provide a great experience irregardless of the time of day they choose to visit or call your location? If your organization has multiple locations, will your customers receive at great experience at every location? When chatting online, will it matter which employee is providing assistance? No matter how often a customer chooses to do business with your organization, a great customer experience is what they expect to receive. What is the outcome (product) when you multiply Great Customer Experiences (multiplicand) by Consistency (multiplier)? Let's continue on to find out!
CR - This is the product of Great Customer Experiences multiplied by Consistency. Customer Retention will remain high as long as an organization consistently provides great customer experiences. How many of your customers are repeat customers. How many of your repeat customers refer you to prospective customers. Are you able to identify the revenue created as a result of your ability to retain customers? Customer retention drives the long-term business success. When one thinks of how much is spent to gain a new customer, it quickly becomes apparent that it's much more cost-effective to retain present customers. Should you feel that it's okay to spend more time seeking new customers vs. satisfying your present customers, think again. If one has a great product or service concept yet neglects the customer after the sale, that's not conducive to business longevity. You can have the best marketing campaigns to gain new customers, but what will your customers experience once they buy into your organization. Should your sales strategy not be followed up by great customer service, it's just simply a waste of marketing dollars. Customer retention is the key to long-term success.
Okay now, let's go over that formula again - (The Creation and Application of Core Values + Comprehensive Training + Effective Management Practices) + (Great Customer Experiences * Consistency) = Customer Retention. Make sure to include all of these formula components to get the best end result!