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INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER – VOLUME 47, NUMBER 7
BY GEORGE F. BROWN JR
The responsibility to create good experiences extends beyond your customer-facing teams
A manufacturer in the building products industry recently concluded that his company needed to attend more to the quality of its customer’s interactions with his business. He had just gotten an earful from a major national homebuilder who had a less-than-pleasant experience. His idea was to start with a through round of interviews with key customers. Then he would get all of his customer-facing people together to hear the results and come up with actions plans to solve the reported problems.
Such a survey is a good idea, as three are always surprises about what customers remembered from their interactions with supplier. But the idea of assembling customer-facing teams likely would yield less positive results. The men and women on his sales and customer service teams were good, solid professionals who already were attentive to customer experiences. They now their jobs and successes depend on how customers feel about them and the company. It’s a good bet that with very few exceptions, they work hard to deliver positive customer experiences.
Three steps to positive customer experiences
- The first focus is on the company’s culture
For some organizations, creating positive customer experiences is part of the culture, something given attention every day by every employee during every interaction. But for most businesses, that isn’t yet the case, so ongoing senior management attention is necessary to reshape the culture and make customer experience an important part of it.
- The second required change involve planning
To illustrate, take a company that provides construction management services to its customers. It has exceptional processes in place, ones that deliver with respect to quality, budget and schedule. The project managers and engineers involved meet at the start of every project and frequently thereafter to plan actions that affect those dimensions in fine detail. These processes resulted in a track record of success.
- The third change that is required involves institutionalizing the concept
We’ve all learned that if it isn’t measured, it doesn’t matter. We all know that the company’s processes typically are followed and that they are assumed to include all of they steps and considerations. And we’ve learned that what is featured in performance reviews and incentive plans is what gets attention.
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