CX (Customer Experience) starts at the grassroots level, well before the actual hands-on face-to-face experience of the customer begins. One must look at the sub-structure, the support columns, the processes, the foundational aspects well before the frontline customer support people are asked to smile.
The 1st one is about the what: ensuring everyone speaks the same language, understands the minimum requirements and is on the same page. The entire team works in unison as a standardized structure is put in place.
The 2nd one is about how it would all be assessed: The metrics need to be understood by all the stakeholders. These metrics would form the basis upon which their efforts would be judged and rewarded accordingly.
The 3rd one is the Management of this entire setup: Ensuring performers perform with transparency. Clarity of process, expected outcomes
The 4th one is the “What’s in it for me” syndrome: The reason for the efforts. The driver, the motivation. Personalized reward & recognition schemes, engagement initiatives, timely acknowledgement and credit of wins etc.
The 5th one is ensuring the people are aligned to the organization: Its values. Its direction and its purpose. Belief in the organization and what they stand for, belief in themselves and the products they market.
The 6th one is all the components that support effective implementation/delivery The myriad perceptions and viewpoints (VOC, employee surveys, mystery shopping etc. plus workload assessments, complaint management systems, inter departmental SLA’s etc. Putting the icing on the cake could be CSR initiatives that resonate with your target audience and dove tailing it with CX and sales success, marketing and sales teams alignment etc.
The 7th one is about collating all the previous ones into a vehicle of change:If all the components are in place, it ensures a consistent and sustainable experience across the multiple channels on offer. Simply empower them (Easier said than done), provide all what they need to succeed and step aside.
But, one can do so much and no more. The other components play a huge part in the overall experience of the customer and they are not under one’s control. One such component is the service chain itself. The front end is dependent on the back end doing their job effectively. The front end could be doing a stellar job but without the efficient workings of the back-end team, it all falls apart.
Every opportunity that the customer has, to interact with the brand, creates an image, an impression. All these micro interactions start creating either a positive image or a negative image. The entire chain requires attention and not simply the front line.
Thus my contention to work backwards on it.
Not starting with frontline and their training, but putting all the things behind it all into place. Starting with the Service levels manual (Standardization and clarity on what is expected) and ensuring it is hard-wired into the people utilizing it. There are many approaches to ensure this but that’s for another article. For now, suffice it to say, this is key, given that individuals have different perspectives on service quality. Ensuring they are on the same page, clear on what is expected and consistently achieve success, is critical.
Once this is achieved, we should provide the team clarity on how they would be judged (Assessed) and what is in it for them. We also need to put in structures that support their efforts (Mentioned in the first diagram above). We can only provide them the platforms and support to achieve success. Driving that vehicle is their domain.
Lastly, empower them and get out of their way.
Opinion Piece: Uzair Hassan, 3H Solutions Group, Dubai. (firstname.lastname@example.org)