In part 1 of this two-part series on the future of delivering excellent customer experience, we explored how to form your team to be poised to deliver great service in uncertain times. In this second part, we will share how to execute with that exceptional team to great experiences for the customer or client journey every time.
Once you have decided on the purpose, plan, and direction, here are some steps that will help you energize your team and create a customer centric culture:
1. Know your people - especially the leaders and key go-to persons. These people have and will ”walk the talk” and not just “talk”. These are the ones your team looks to, trusts, and are willing to follow. Know the informal leaders and coach them into line with what has to be accomplished.
2. Take the time to profile your people into groups based upon their strengths. I have often used a skills matrix process to identify key strengths and weaknesses. Then make the investment in shoring up those weaknesses to assure the skill set to carry out the change exists.
3. Prepare a series of communications to introduce the direction, detail the transition to the new culture, and define the qualities of the energized organization. Map the path. Typically, I approach the achievers and informal leaders with this plan early on for input, so they understand their roles. We may even rehearse the next steps. They have a great amount of influence over others, so it is essential they understand and buy in and can deliver what is being expected of them. A well laid out plan on the qualities and character of an energized take-charge team and the new culture is critical. And, the strategy, purpose, objective, and expectations must be communicated with clarity and then repeated, and repeated.
4. Empower your team to move forward. This includes providing the other two legs of the stool (of people, process, and technology/tools).
5. It is absolutely essential that you have a communication loop in place and that it will come full circle. This is a must for feedback and strategy revision and alignment. Tools I have used in the past are Town Hall-style meetings, internal surveys, and small group luncheons. Use what works best for you but be sure to do it. You can never overcommunicate, nor overlisten.
6. Check and recheck for alignment. This is critical. Rely on those people you chose to trust to be objective. As painful as it can be at times, we need candid evaluation about how the transition is evolving. Also, do not hesitate to adjust. The worst thing you can do is to recognize the need for a modification and then not execute. Ignoring a problem is rarely the proper approach to take in solving it. It usually just makes things worse and perpetuates a defense mechanism or feeling of denial that creates unhappy employees and ultimately unhappy customers.
7. Continue to digest your customer data. Validate what you find. Continue to check on what is of value to your customer and how effective the new culture and energized team are at meeting these expectations.
This is your mantra for delivering value in these continually uncertain times. You have begun to change your culture. You have an energized team in place. There will still be new “moments of truth,” but you will be better prepared to deal with them. Understand what I have discussed and excite and energize your team, and you and your team will be prepared for whatever the next “defining moments” happen to be.