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Friday, July 26, 2013

10 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience

By John H. Fleming, Ph.D., Gallup Chief Scientist, and Dan Witters, Principal

Few employees are aligned with or empowered to deliver the core elements of their company's brand identity and promise. This is according to a Gallup study of more than 3,000 randomly selected workers, which also found that only 41% of employees felt that they know what their company stands for and what makes its brand different from its competitors. This suggests that too many companies are failing to help their workers understand what makes their company different and better than the rest.

Executives must start by engaging their employees and then taking these steps to help their workers become effective brand ambassadors:

1. Acknowledge that all employees play a key role in bringing the brand to life. Successful branding is not just a marketing or sales function; it is an essential activity for human resources, management, and leadership.

2. Audit your internal communications to ensure that they are consistent with your brand identity and promise. Invest in making employees aware of your brand promise, and empower them to act on it.

3. Articulate what your brand represents and what you promise to your customers. Inject the core elements of your brand identity into the workplace constantly and consistently across time, locations, and channels. Use these elements to define not only how you treat your customers but also how you manage, coach, and treat your employees.

4. Deploy simple processes to ensure that you highlight and discuss the core elements of your company's brand identity every day. Use minute meetings, lineups, or staff gatherings to provide specific examples of how to deliver the brand promise.

5. Use simple tools, like a small card that fits in a wallet, as ready references to the brand, and require employees to memorize the key brand elements.

6. Regularly assess how well your employees know and understand your brand promise. All employees -- especially those in customer-facing roles -- should believe in and feel they have the resources and permission to deliver your brand promise. Provide additional support in areas that fall short.

7. Ensure that new employees understand your brand identity and promise. All new employees should be able to articulate what your company stands for and what makes you different within their first 30 days of employment, and your managers should reinforce this message every day.

8. Make sure that every employee understands how his or her job affects the customer experience. This is particularly important for roles that are not customer-facing. Constantly connect the dots between what employees are paid to do and what your organization stands for.

9. Recognize employees who deliver your brand promise to your customers. There is an important psychological need for recognition. Employees who know that they will receive recognition for acting on the brand promise will have a strong incentive to do so.

10. Regularly solicit opinions from your employees on new and better ways to deliver your brand promise. Convene town hall meetings that allow employees to share their ideas and feedback. Demonstrating an authentic commitment to alignment is the best way to embed it in your company's culture.

For more advice on how to equip employees to win and engage customers, read the State of the American Workplace report and “Getting the Most Out of the Employee Customer Encounter” in the Gallup Business Journal.

Follow @Gallup on Twitter to get more research and insights to help your organization.

These tips were originally published in the article, "Your Employees Don't 'Get' Your Brand" in the Gallup Business Journal.


caitlinhoward said...
July 26, 2013 at 1:45 PM  

Could not believe that 41 percent of employees felt that they didn't know what their company stood for. This reminded me on an article I posted on my blog where research indicated that job clarity is one of the most important elements of employee engagement, and driving high performance and employee satisfaction. It seems that if companies would ensure that their employees knew more about the company and their role, then employees will become more effective.

Shep Hyken said...
July 27, 2013 at 10:27 AM  

Excellent ideas on how to improve the customer experience. Implement any of these ten “ways” and you, your customers and your employees will be better off for doing so.

Anonymous said...
July 29, 2013 at 11:38 AM  

Employees also need to be paid and receive benefits like the employer values them.

If an employee is paid minimum wage (or close to it), receives no benefits and works part-time hours they're not going to feel particularly engaged no matter how many pep talks they're given.

Barney said...
July 30, 2013 at 5:27 AM  

In my opinion the best way to improve the customer experience is the quality treatment for the customers and for that there is need of management software, so that employees attending the customer remains updated about the customer like what is the name of the customer and his personal details.

DK said...
August 1, 2013 at 8:42 PM  

#1 should be: articulate your brand identity in a way that removes ambiguity and enables action. Avoid terms like "superior customer service" or "empowered" or "high quality..." unless you provide specific examples of what that means.

Anonymous said...
August 10, 2013 at 9:45 AM  

I disagree with after study shows pay and benefits below relationship with boss, appreciation, etc as reasons why people leave a job for another. If what you say is accurate, then turnover for jobs paying six figures would have zero turnover.

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