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“Customer Experience is not just about

passion. It is about profitable results.”

~Lior Arussy

Are Your Customer Experience Enablers Sabotaging Your Customer-Centricity Efforts?

Posted: Sep 25, 2014 by Steve Cohn

Who is responsible for the customer experience? Everybody.

I had an experience not that long ago with my local cable TV/phone/internet company. We had decided to go from using different companies for each service to bundling them all with one company. The deal was great, the promise of installation timely, and we looked forward to faster internet and clearer phone service.

The first installer came to the house and said he there to install the TV box (which we already had) rather than all three services. I sent him away and promptly left a 140-character, somewhat-nasty remark on Twitter that generated an immediate response instructing me to call the “Executive Customer Service Center.” I was put in touch with a woman who became my concierge – and a great concierge she was. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for me.

Sadly, nobody else was nearly as competent as she was. Installers came without the proper work orders, trucks without the required parts for installation, incompetent phone installer contractors who couldn’t get my two-line phones working (or didn’t know I had two-line phones) and more. Each time something happened, I contacted my concierge and she sent somebody else.

When the installation was finally complete, she called me one last time and asked if I would like to take a survey. I said “sure,” and she put me through to an automated voice, which asked about her performance … and nothing else.

They asked the wrong questions. She was fantastic. Everybody else was awful. This told me one thing: the company thinks that the only people who matter to CSI are those who speak directly to the customer, and the only behavior that mattered was whether she was nice to me. There was nothing about the “people behind the scenes.”

Customer experience takes an organization-wide effort. At Strativity, we believe employees fall into two categories: Customer Experience Creators – those who touch the customer directly, and Customer Experience Enablers – those whose work enables the creators to do their jobs in a customer-centric way. The customer-centric effort starts at the top (the very top), moves down through the organization and then back up again. EVERY employee needs to be part of the customer experience effort. However, this customer-centricity often gets backed-up right where the experience enablers sit, leading to messed-up processes, broken promises, missed expectations, and very unhappy customers.

Why is this? Because in most companies, customer experience enablers are not built into the customer experience strategy. The enablers’ priorities and measurements have more to do with processes and procedures than the customer’s happiness. When defining their jobs, the definition is more often, “I am the person who puts the box of medicine on the truck” than “I am the person who helps the patient become well because the box of medicine is on the truck.” As I travel around doing customer experience workshops at various companies, I find that people in enabler positions don’t always know how their work affects other departments, how it affects the customer experience, and too often, have no idea how it affects the bottom line.

 

It’s not their fault. Leaders have to help merge the creators and enablers into a powerful force with one view of the customer and the experience he or she expects.

Do you know the TV show, “Undercover Boss”? It’s the one where CEOs and presidents go undercover in their own companies to see what’s really going on. They get to do another job while incognito. The results are startling. This year, in a similar effort, General Motors Canada began a program to send engineers to their dealers. The engineers talk to customers and interact with salespeople and service technicians. GM has received a new perspective on what customers need, both internally and externally. In an article on AutoNet.ca, Michael Bailey, a Corvette chassis systems engineer said: “This program has taught me how important our dealers are to our customers. It gives me new perspective on what I do every day, like things I need to put more focus on that can help our dealers and improve the customer experience.”

To make this happen, we must put a priority around customer experience training for these experience enablers. Enabler training usually focuses on “Internal Customer Service” but this is about more than that. It’s about their knowing the integral part enablers play in the complete customer experience. When customer experience is practiced organization-wide, the CSI results can be astounding.

Steve Cohn is Director of Learning at Strativity Group. You can connect with him on Linkedin here.

Read more on the Strativity blog: 

Flipping the Pyramid: How to Become Customer-Centric

Georgia on My Mind: What Georgia’s Small Businesses Can Teach Big Corporations

Personalizing the Experience: Lessons From a Coffee Shop

6 World Cup Lessons Applicable to Every Customer Relationship

What Taylor Swift Doesn’t Know She Knows About Customer Experience

The No. 1 Enemy of Customer Experience Transformation

The Journey to Excellence or Excellence as a Journey?

The Top 3 Company Culture Fixes That Don’t Work

A Tale of 2 Companies: Contrasting Customer Experiences