The highest level of customer experience goes hand in hand with customer retention. Admittedly this might sound like a no-brainer. Yet—despite it costing 5-10x more to gain new customers than to get more business from current ones, and that current customers spend a whopping 67% more, on average—companies often focus more on customer acquisition than on pleasing their already loyal customer base. So, where to begin? Creating consistently world-class CX across locations starts with supporting your employees.
Setting Your Team Up for the Greatest Success: How is Your Internal Culture?
More to the point, are you experiencing employee roulette that has you scrambling to keep up with turnover? Whether or not that is the case, it’s always a good time for an epiphany.
*Related – A Leadership Epiphany on Workplace Culture
Numerous factors are involved in creating the best experience for your employees and becoming the type of business that great employees find:
- As leaders, we choose the people our employees spend the most time with. Happy employees tend to stay where they feel most engaged, supported, and valued. Unhappy employees, on the other hand, don’t just quit leaders, they quit co-workers. And top talent won’t endlessly tolerate feeling drained by the people around them. They will look elsewhere unless their leaders ensure they have co-workers who are similarly enthusiastic and committed to the company’s mission.
- Employees are also stakeholders, and their feedback is valuable. In modern Stakeholder Theory, for a company to experience health and success long-term, employees must be considered and satisfied. And while everyone wants to be paid a competitive wage and have benefits most also want to feel they are part of something bigger. Employees want to feel inspired. Consider conducting Stay Interviews with your current employees to learn why they stick around. Inviting feedback on a regular basis will strengthen employee engagement, and ultimately their ability to provide excellent customer service.
- Great leaders get to know their teams. Employers typically know a little about their teams’ families, and sometimes what they do for fun outside the workplace. But for the highest level of trust, employees need their leaders to also understand their aspirations and dreams, in the company and beyond. The best business performance is always built on this foundation. By using the FORD method leaders can improve relationships and establish greater trust between management and teams both within and across locations.
- Great leaders care about their employees on all levels. Team members need to know that their mental wellness matters to their leaders. They function at a higher level in general when confident that management cares about them and their families. To combat the rising levels of workplace burnout, companies have begun offering mental health resources (both proactive and reactive) and mental health days as well as providing workplace-specific mental health training for leaders. As for leaders who are vulnerable with their team members, sharing their own struggles? They tend to engender the strongest loyalty from employees who feel more at ease sharing their own mental health issues, with less fear of being stigmatized.
- Great leaders help their employees reach their full potential. Employees should be made aware of professional development opportunities throughout their employment, starting on day one of their customer experience training. Continually offering in-house examples of employees who are rewarded for their efforts encourages both new hires and current team members to chart and own their career paths.
Additional Factors That Help Employees Work at Their Highest Capacity
Some factors are solely within your control as a leader or business owner, and your employees have no choice but to roll with whatever you have put in place. For equally excellent employee and customer experiences, standard operating procedures and systems are essential.
Regarding communication: is team member communication within, and across locations seamless? Even in just one company location, employees leaving each other messages in multiple places (voicemail, email, etc.) can lead to miscommunication, missed information, and resultant lower morale. Add multiple stores into the mix and chaos can quickly ensue! Having one central method for messaging keeps everyone informed and ultimately leads to predictable, higher-level customer service.
What about payment processing? Do your internal systems work as smoothly as possible? Are accepted payment types, refund, and return processing (particularly if selling products) standard across locations? Can a customer return an item at your store if they purchased it at a different location?
If cloud-based tools are used in your business, or you are thinking about integrating them, be sure to choose systems that will seamlessly communicate with and transfer data to each other. This will mitigate the need to enter information multiple times, freeing up your customer service representatives to develop stronger emotional connections with your Customers.
Post-pandemic Customers Expect Greater Consistency Across Locations
It used to be that the Customer hoped for a great experience with your business. No longer are they content to cross their fingers. They are now expecting, even demanding one. As PwC shares, 17% of American consumers will quit a company they love after only one bad experience. (And many are willing to vent publicly via customer feedback, online review sites, etc.) After several bad customer experiences, the quit number jumps to 59%. And with current inflation numbers, competition couldn’t be much keener.
Can your Customers count on finding what they need, every time? If your business sells products or is service based with products as a sidebar, items must be well tracked. Do you always know the location of all inventories, including what is in transit? Inventory optimization means customers nearly always find their desired items in stock. World-class customer service includes being able to check other locations for availability, or, if it’s on the way to your location, arranging for the quickest, easiest delivery—whether that means they receive it at home or pay another visit to your store.
Creating a Sense of Community Across Locations
The most successful companies balance multiple locations with consistent brand experience. Previously mentioned factors such as store policies should be written in stone but there is greater flexibility when promoting services, and stocking and displaying products. Each individual store needs to appeal to and ultimately feel like an organic part of the environment in which it is located. This happens when Customers experience a local vibe in a business, seeing their neighborhood reflected in its offerings.
That said, best-selling products or services in one location may not necessarily translate to another. Closely monitoring inventory and sales company-wide makes ordering more consistent and provides real-time information to team members across all locations, supporting the best level of service.
Looking for an “Outside” Opinion About Your CX? Ask a Secret Shopper
Secret shoppers are nothing new, and they can sometimes offer a more impartial evaluation of your business. Factors to have them be on the lookout for:
Were your team members welcoming? Was the Secret Shopper greeted upon entering the business?
Were your team members knowledgeable, and if unable to answer a question, did they attempt to find someone who could?
If more than one location was visited, was your brand experience consistent?
If applicable, how was the product selection?
Beyond Consistency: Personalizing with Secret Service
The good news is when a Customer rates your CX as “very good” they are 94% more likely to be a repeat customer. Businesses that keep up with their Customers’ evolving pain points and preferences along the customer journey leading to Customer retention.
Secret Service is personalizing the Customer experience in ways that create an emotional connection. As shared in my first book Secret Service: Hidden Systems That Deliver Unforgettable Customer Service, it is the system we used to build John Robert’s Spa, known locally in Northeast Ohio, into a brand with superior customer service as the single biggest competitive advantage. It is next level, and it sometimes still happens without the Customer realizing it. For example, in some fine restaurants, napkin colors offer visual cues to waitstaff; red for new Customers, black for repeat guests, and gold for the top 50. Service protocol hinges on those napkins, with the entire staff knowing how to greet every Customer and continue to provide the most appropriate level of information and service throughout their visit.
Here, the Secret Service is all about Customer intelligence, that is, how smart we are about gathering data about our Customers (e.g., personal preferences, where they work, family). This intel enables team members to build strong bonds which leads to Customer loyalty. Offering a salon client a bottle of spring water and asking how their work life is going is nice but expected and somewhat impersonal. But bring a Customer their favorite caffeinated beverage and inquire about their recently married daughter who now lives in another state, and suddenly…in addition to being a best-in-class customer experience, it feels like a conversation between friends.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Your mission should be to have your client not be able to fathom how
they could get along without you.”
CX VIDEO CLIP OF THE WEEK
Are you waking up before your alarm goes off, throwing the covers off, and jumping out of bed because you are so excited about your workday, your career, and the impact you are having? Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who do feel like that. Maybe it is time you became one of them.
Save 15k on Licensing fee! *Register for the next Coach Camp May 16-18
The DiJulius Group holds CX Coach Camps, training passionate CX (Customer Experience) Coaches. These entrepreneurs will be licensed to train businesses on the exact same methodology used with the best customer service companies from all over the world, to start their own six-figure coaching businesses.
If you can answer “Yes” to the following, becoming a CX Coach may be perfect for you:
- Are you ready to make a difference in the lives of businesses?
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- Are you seeking financial independence?