Learn The Power Of Your People - December 10, 2015

Some companies seem to have it naturally and some don't. When I mention names like Southwest Airlines, Nordstrom, Ritz-Carlton and Amazon, there is a thread that connects these famous brands. They are known for their culture, which centers around customer service.

Having a customer-centric culture doesn't happen by accident. It takes a lot of work and concentration to create a deliberate customer experience from all the parts of your organization.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we'll share these tips from author Colin Shaw. His book, Revolutionize Your Customer Experience, reveals key steps for moving your business from being "naive to natural" in the way you focus on the customer.

In his book, Shaw refers to a customer experience assessment model called Naive to Natural to look at where parts of your organization are on the journey toward being "natural" when it comes to putting customers first, and he says it starts with your people.

Happy employees tend to be fulfilled by their work and feel like they are making a difference. When you have this type of emotional connection with your employees, your organization can become the most naturally customer-centric organization.

Well that sounds simple, but how do you develop happy employees? He suggests this four-part formula:

1. Recruit the right people with the right emotional quotient (EQ). Being Natural in your Customer Centricity requires an emphasis on recruiting the right people. Many organizations that are considered "naive" tend to focus on people who have the right skills and product knowledge as well as a familiarity with the industry. But these things are not enough. The best candidates should also have innate skills to evoke positive emotion. He suggests using tools like a psychometric test to identify those candidates with a high emotional quotient.

2. Develop their natural ability to deliver the experience you've created for your customers. Now that you have recruited the right people, train your employees on specific phrases and techniques to evoke these emotions from customers. In addition, employees should focus on the customer's body language, as well as focus on displaying proper body language to customers. Employee training should also include instruction on how to identify different types of customers and adapt their customer experience in a way that best addresses the needs and expectations for those specific types of customers.

3. Define your desired employee experience. It is crucial that you define your employee experience. Much like creating a customer experience, the employee experience should be aligned. Identify key areas of concern for your team and ways to measure employee satisfaction about those areas, and then measure your employee's satisfaction regularly. Compare your results over time to make sure you continue to improve.

4. Empower employees to make decisions and get out of their way. Employees who are happiest are those who feel empowered to do their jobs and feel a sense of greater purpose. In the most empowered cultures, there is a sense of trust between management and employees— that everyone has the company's best interest at heart. Employees feel they can contribute directly to the organization and have the power to make decisions on behalf of the organization to optimize the experience for customers. In addition, they have regular access to social media and can contribute to its content. Management grants this access and gets out of the way.

Source: Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world's first organizations devoted to customer experience. Shaw is an international author of four best-selling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

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