Starts with Your People
We live in the midst of change, from technological advancements (think self-driving cars) to emerging fields of study (think genomic medicine). The impact of innovation on business at a macro-level is apparent, but what about the micro-level? Changes in the person-to-person interaction between retail employees and customers are happening too. Trends that have already affected the customer experience include cashierless checkout, chatbots, mobile experiences, and immersive experiences.
Recent headlines seem to suggest that in-person customer service will become less important as shoppers go digital: New York City has seen an increasing number of store vacancies recently, and top retailers like Barneys, GAP, Chicos, and Forever 21 announced closures in recent years.
But is this really true? A closer look at the research suggests otherwise. According to a PwC study on the future of Customer Experience (CX), American consumers recognize that people create the customer experience of a brand. The brands that survive won’t get rid of their people; they’ll help their people adapt and use new technology and experiences to engage with customers.
At TiER1, we believe performers (or employees) are at the heart of any brand, and that CX starts with your performer’s experience. This idea can be seen visually in our Performance Value Chain graphic:
As you train your performers to carry out your customer experience strategy, remembering the Performance Value Chain will be crucial. Here are five ways to put your performers at the center of your strategy:
Empower your employees to be your strongest advocates.
First, ensure performers’ personal values are aligned to the brand’s mission, vision, and values. Performers will only be strong advocates for a brand they believe in.
Identify “moments that matter.”
What are the experience differentiators? Where do your employees have the most interaction with your customers? How can the employee make the experience memorable (in a good way, of course!)?
To answer these questions and activate key behaviors in performers, identify “moments that matter” – the critical points in the CX. First, understand the customer journey of the experience. Determine when the customer will experience the “peak” (the difference-making moment) and the “last” (final impression) of the interaction. Then, identify ways the performer will impact those tangible moments. For example, employees might learn that combining warmth (key behavior) and proficiency (experience) is ideal in a situation where the customer is in a hurry. Helping performers understand the key moments of a customer interaction is critical for a successful outcome.
Craft stories that inspire.
Connect performers to the brand through story. Stories are powerful; they teach, influence, and inspire.
When we don’t have a way to relate to processes and statements, we tend to continue our existing habits. That’s because we don’t think in terms, processes or direct statements; we think in terms of meaningful stories!
Stories engage us and make us open to learning, building trust, and making content memorable. Stories connect us to the customer, the experience, the behaviors, and each other in a way that enables us to relate. Stories can come alive in a number of ways:
- Leadership communication
- Team huddles
- Right-sized scenario learning
- And, most importantly in CX, conversation
Build people leaders.
Leaders need to be armed with the communications and resources to inspire top performance in their teams. Learning a new skill in a fast-paced environment can be challenging. When performers are confident that their leaders can support them while they learn, they are more empowered to apply what they are learning.
Remember: People are the heart of your brand.
Even the most advanced technology can’t take away the impact of people on the customer experience. Your performers are the most important advocates and storytellers for your brand; if you remember to build your customer experience around them, the road ahead for your brand is promising.
If you’d like to connect with Cara or our team to create an exceptional client experience through your people, give us a call at 859-415-1000 or reach out through the form below.