Category Archives: Leadership

Easy For You But Not Easy For The CX

What if you called a company to disclose a complaint with a product or service and you found yourself in the following conversation:

“Sorry, you’ll have to talk to your customer success manager.”

“But this is the number the website instructed me to contact.”

“I’m sorry, but the person in charge of your account will have to contact you regarding your concern.”

“Well, could you transfer me over to them?”

“They’re on vacation but I can put you through to their voicemail.”

“Isn’t there anyone who can help me in the meantime?’

In this scenario, no one else in the company took ownership for the customer’s experience. Unfortunately, thousands of transactions like this occur every day. And not all of these conversations are like the one mentioned above.

Some of the poorest customer experiences are because companies, and many times individuals or teams within those companies, choose to make things easier for themselves rather than the customer.

Make the CX a great one by making the experience about the customer.

Here are a few examples of poor excuses that get in the way of great customer experience:

  • Your website is designed because it’s easier (and cheaper) for the IT department to maintain, rather than be simple for the customer to shop and navigate.
  • Your staff are trained to hold fast to a black-and-white policy because of the impact to financials rather than make decisions closest to the customer to resolve the situation.
  • An employee is allowed to continue with poor behavior to your customers because a manager doesn’t want to make waves and avoids the conflict of addressing the issue.
  • Business integrations are made for the ease of one company but neglect the reporting or end user needs of the other parties involved in the transaction cycle.
  • Customers are directed to buckets or silos (departments) when a complaint is brought up without giving them a chance to explain their concern to someone first because the main contact is not from the customer service or customer success team.
  • Safety concerns are ignored in product development because of the time and money it would take to halt production and correct the issue.
  • Companies choose chatbots, augmented reality and/or AI technology because it is easier and cheaper while customers continue to ask for more real-time, real-person and/or in-person experience to hear their concerns and help their experience.

It’s no wonder that the best and most recognized companies for their customer experience hold that as the chief core value above all else they strive for.

It’s due to a strong culture of the customer experience that a company will apply every procedure, every hire, every policy and every touchpoint against the CX in order to ensure their customers are not neglected but in fact positively impacted in their interactions with the company.

The spread across any industry from lowest to highest NPS scores shows that there is a wide gap between those companies that make things easy for the customer and those that make things easier for themselves.

Making the CX easier always takes some extra time and money, but the net result from that investment should pay off each and every time if your company manages everything else correctly.

A strong culture of customer experience drives a company to apply every procedure, every hire, every policy and every touchpoint to always positively impacts their customers.

As customers tend to have more access to information on who and where to do business, and the trends shows that they are more willing to switch after a poor experience than ever before, it’s a good idea to audit your CX to ensure everything the customer touches benefits them.

Because if it doesn’t, they will most likely leave and your company won’t benefit either.

Make the CX a great one by making the experience about the customer.

(image: pixabay)

Where Developing Weak Areas Can Benefit

When it comes to training and developing others, we can often avoid someone’s weak areas.

Much of this can be unintentional as leaders seek to leverage a person’s strengths or may not necessarily have the time to spend on extra training hours.

But the most challenging area might be believing that the person you’re developing may actually grow in an area where they are weakest.

Take for instance Rob, a young manager who had poor organization skills but otherwise had some key talents that complimented his team. His manager decided to place Rob in charge of coordinating all marketing materials for the bi-monthly promotions. When others on the management team questioned the decision, the manager reassured everyone that Rob would do a solid job. And while Rob did shine in his new responsibilities, he also started to show better planning and prioritizing skills.

Another example is Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Lindsay Gottlieb. The former Cal women’s basketball head coach was hired to the NBA and her first major presentation was to scout the Boston Celtics team for the upcoming game.

She was asked last minute by the owner and head coach to present how to match up against their opponent. Gottlieb, who was skilled at conducting film sessions at Cal, made her scouting report of the Celtics into a film session on how to break down their game. After her presentation, all present said she killed it.

While scouting at the pro level was something she had really done, her mentor knew that she could grow in this area and placed Gottlieb into an area that she could learn and grow. And it worked like a charm

These two examples show a variety of reasons why it can be beneficial to place your people into situations they may be weak or inexperienced at as key development strategies.

Instead of shying away from challenging training opportunities in favor of putting their “aces in their places,” leaders should always scout events where they can create strengths out of their people’s weaker areas. Or at the least, help someone get better in a lesser skill so that they can be more well-rounded and more confident in their abilities.

Every interaction and situation is a chance to grow and build your team. Don’t ignore an episode because you don’t believe someone won’t get better.

You have the keys to making your people shine, so open those doors that otherwise might be shut for them.

(image: pixabay)

How A Servant-Leader Mindset Can Give New Leaders Instant Rapport

Gene was a new area manager and part of his new territory was to oversee the team at the largest revenue store in the company.

His first day was to tour each store for a few hours and introduce himself to the management and team members there. The store had great potential but the team was struggling and had new supervisors assigned in the last few weeks.

One of the key supervisors, Sherry, was on duty that day. As they were talking, Sherry who was very skeptical on the new management changes, asked Gene point-blank “So what changes are you going to make?”

Almost without thinking, Gene responded “Not sure, Sherry. What changes would you like to see?”

Instantly, Gene could see Sherry’s defenses drop. Her face became relived and her eyes opened with hope. She immediately and enthusiastically gave him her thoughts. Gene eagerly wrote it all down then proceeded to follow-up on her ideas over the next couple of weeks.

What Gene exhibited here was being others-aware in his servant leadership. He knew that while he had ideas and those whom he reported to had ideas, he needed to consult those closest to the customer and find the best solutions to allow all parties to be aligned.

But the most important thing Gene did, and quite consciously, is give Sherry a voice for her ideas. Many times, leaders in a new role or assignment will impose changes first to right the ship, then work on building the relationships afterwards. In this case, he made the team first by asking Sherry and each of her colleagues about their thoughts then immediately started to act on them.

Many times, leaders in a new role or assignment will impose changes first to right the ship then work on building the relationships afterwards.

By creating a priority of hearing, and acting, on the voice of their people, a leader can gain instant credibility of their team to ease the transition process of their new role and better align everyone by building trust.

It’s a simple, effective and proven principle of servant leadership. Serving your people with their best interests will allow a leader to develop a strong sense of teamwork and rapport.

Once a leader does this, they also set the stage for consistent action along these lines as well. People will see through the leader who is receptive at first then changes color afterwards (kind of a bait-and-switch style of leadership) and that will decimate a leader’s effectiveness and reputation quickly.

A leader who is resolute in displaying and continuing a servant leadership style will start out with strong alignment, a high degree of trust and a more engaged team of performers that will enable them to attain better levels of achievement in the organization. It sets a delicate balance for the leader in which their true colors and agenda will be measured to the baseline they set. Servant leaders at their core will be able to measure up while others will struggle.

A leader who is resolute in displaying and continuing a servant leadership style will start out with strong alignment, a high degree of trust and a more engaged team of performers

While I believe people can overcome a bad first impression, that first interaction with a new team can be an essential step towards success if handled with the correct mindset.

With Sherry’s help, Gene was able to guide the team to understand their opportunities for development which enabled them to meet their goals consistently for the coming years. He realized it was that team-first mentality that got the team committed to him to make the changes that were asked for. The store’s sales and sense of pride soon became the model for the organization as a result.

Handle your new role and/or new team with care. If done correctly the results can be tremendous in creating a company or department of deep trust and commitment.

(image: pxhere)

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