Create Change Through Customer Experience Heroes

What gets measured may get managed, but what gets celebrated gets repeated.

Improving your customer experience requires you to use every tool at your disposal.  Voice of the Customer research is obviously critical.  Understanding your existing Customer Satisfaction Survey or Net Promoter Scores is also important.  But while they monitor your status, these alone will not create change.  You need to find those bright spots in your organization where your customer is being well-served and promote them as much as possible.  You need to create customer experience heroes.

Customer Experience Hero

Heroes define a company, showing what is important.  When a company celebrates sales, they sell more – but perhaps at the expense of delivery issues.  When it celebrates product management, new products come out quickly – including those without customer demand.  But companies with great customer satisfaction use the Voice of the Customer data to understand their level of customer satisfaction, and then celebrates those who engage customers at a superior level.

As a Customer Experience Leader you need to find those bright spots in your customer experience and make heroes out of them.  Get your CEO to visit the call center and personally thank your best call center rep who solves customer problems after a mistake.  Find your account manager who retains 98% of her clients year after year, and have the entire company applaud her at your next big conference.  Look for the delivery driver who truly understands your customer needs and finds internal resources to solve them, and buy her family a night on the town.

If you want people to understand and use the Voice of the Customer in their decisions, you need to recognize and celebrate those who do.  As Strativity argues in their eBook Exceptional Service, “Organizations can illustrate this principle through stories and examples that demonstrate how employees can emotionally engage customers during every  interaction.”

What stories are you telling?

I’ve had a few negative posts about Best Buy, but this is an area where they have traditionally excel.  Once when the top 100 Store Managers were brought to corporate, we had hundreds of corporate employees line the entrance, applauding and hollering.  What better way to show why you are in business?  Best Buy also puts their associates in their TV ads, and has photos all over the corporate campus.  They celebrate those who are their connection with customers.

Some further resources to help you think more broadly about celebrating your customer experience heroes:

  • In this post, Michael Schrage discusses how celebrations helped employees to share great results.  It’s not about the customer experience, but it does show the power of celebration
  • Here’s another good post by Mary Jo Asmus on creating culture, including celebrations as part of the mix
  • Annette Franz Gleneicki discusses celebrations as a part of Creating a Service Culture
  • Lastly, Bruce Temkin discusses Celebration as one of the 6 C’s Of Customer-Centric DNA

Customer Experience is a team game.  Celebrate those who are leading your team, and over time you’ll find you have more of them.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Christopher Frawley January 3, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Jim,
Your piece combines two very powerful concepts – the power of story and peer modeling. Often we think of infections as bad, but spreading the good news (idea virus) can be a welcome epidemic. Great job.
Chris

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Jim Tincher January 4, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Chris,

Thanks for the note! And I love the infection analogy – customer centricity spreads best when we all share it.

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rod butcher January 4, 2013 at 5:59 am

nice, but also, i think the challenge is to make the HEROIC “ordinary ” – the problem with hero’s is that if it is perceived as extra-ordinary, then it may get “dismissed” and treated as a one-off exceptional case. So, how to make the extra-ordinary become ordinary!!

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Jim Tincher January 4, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Rod, I agree that making a great customer experience ordinary is the challenge.

You don’t have to start with extraordinary. Start by recognizing those who have the same tools, but bring that customer focus to their role. Once the change begins, you raise the bar on what you celebrate – what you celebrate on day 1 might not be even considered a year later. But the first challenge is to get the team moving.

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