“Customer Experience is not just about

passion. It is about profitable results.”

~Lior Arussy

Timeless Tuesday: Creating a Culture of Employee Delight

Posted: Sep 01, 2015 by Brianne Spinelli

Final Timeless Tuesday


Timeless Tuesday is an opportunity to highlight classic Strativity expertise. While the methods of delivering exceptional Customer Experiences are ever-evolving, the core ideals, messages, and concepts behind them will be relevant for years to come.

As published in Customer Experience Strategy, 2010 

Support the results of experience-oriented recruiting and decruiting practices by immersing your employees in a culture of delight. Employee experience is the sum total of the supporting environment enabling employees to perform. Building the right culture is difficult– like that smile you expect of your employees, it must be authentic.

Designing employee experience is not a matter of slogans and empty pats on the back and cheery thank-yous in an internal newsletter. Employee experience is a matter of building a truly nurturing environment in which to perform and to exceed goals and expectations. Employee experience utilizes a combination of obstacle removal, inspiring tools, and education for success.

Focus on executing extraordinary experiences and not on merely completing the ordinary tasks. Raise the bar from executing everyday performance to devotion to excellence. An employee can come in with the proper attitude, but be worn down by continued managerial focus on tasks. 

Empower employees. In your company, is the power to act independently a concept or a mode of operation? Empowerment is one of those odd concepts that ever manager claims to deliver,but no employee feels they actually receive. Managers claim that they delegate and that they never micromanage, but most employees roll their eyes when they hear such boasts, knowing full well that this empowerment has never reached their desks. Authority to execute is crucial. If you don’t trust your people, don’t hire them. If you hire them, don’t tie their hands and disable them from doing their job.

Educate– and teach the right things. Do you train or do you educate? Traditional training is about controlling employees and holding them responsible for executing procedures. Education is about teaching them them business ground rules and then allowing them to use common sense to delight customers. The former approach sends a message that the employees’ primary focus must be on following the rules, while the latter approach bestows your staff full responsibility to solve customer’ problems, and to care.

Invest in passionate employees. Consider investment in passionate people as important as an investment in research and development or in the quality of your products. Consider it as important as investment in top talent. 

Continually celebrate devotion. Share stories of excellent performance in your organization. Publicly reward those who deliver such performance. At centers of exceptions, companies align employee performance with incentives that appropriately reward desired performance and encourage other employees to strive to obtain these incentives.

Leave incentive programs for functional motivation, not fueling passion. Don’t fool yourself into believing that you can incentivize creativity, caring, and leadership. Such qualities can’t be instilled if people if they’re not there already. You can reward for exercising those qualities, but passion won’t follow a carrot on a stick. In informal term,s you can’t throw a plasma TV at employees and get caring in return. You can get faking, but not caring.

Set WOW goals to fuel WOW passion. At the InterContinental in Atlanta, all employees are instructed that if they don’t get an unsolicited compliment from the customer, they didn’t do their job. For the purposes of definition, “Thank you” is not a compliment. A compliment is, “You surprised me. This was unexpected. This was WOW.” Right then and there, management is setting the bar higher than that of the rest of the industry. 

Innovate your employee evaluations. When dealing with passionate employees tasked with delivering delivering delightful customer experiences, you’ll very quickly realize that your evaluation form today is a template for parity. And if you evaluate for parity, who do you expect employees to give you more than that? Do employees understand how high you’re asking them to jump? Are you willing to judge them on the highest level, or are you compromising the level?They goals you demand of your employees and the questions that you ask of those employees will determine whether you will get to the WOW.

Surround passionate employees with passionate employees. Let’s consider two hypothetical employees: Jenny, who is consistently excellent at her job, and Richard, who is consistently mediocre at the same set of duties. Customers interacting with Jenny will raise their expectations, and when those same customers speak with Richard, the resulting disappointment dips their satisfaction level below where it was before speaking with Jenny in the first place. You don’t want to subject customers to such rapid rises and falls. If you have only a few heroes, you’ll give customers a heart attack. 

Allow passionate employees to help shape the experiences themselves. Walk the road less traveled and approach your operations people before making brand promises to customers. The questions should be: What can we do or change to become a more customer loving organization? What processes should be changed? What impact should we have on the way we produce and deliver our products and services? What else can we do to delight customers? Operation and execution are at the core of the challenge of becoming customer-centric. There is no point in raising customer expectations through over-promising communication if there is no organization to back up those promises.