People interacting with people
Dr. Gero Decker, Mark McGregor, and Jim Sinur. In our upcoming books on Customer Excellence, we will explore a more holistic approach to delivering experiences that truly and constantly delight customers. However, for this particular article, we focus on just one aspect: People. No matter how much you research personas or map customer journeys, for most businesses it will be your daily operational excellence that decides your success.
While more and more business is being conducted digitally, via apps and the web, we are still at a point where people interacting with people is the norm in most organizations. Indeed, as a side note, many of the customer experience or digital transformation initiatives we read about are still targeted at B2C, while in B2B, the people dealing with ‘people issues’ can be a deciding factor in many deals.
So, if people dealing with people is a critical factor, just as it has always been, what’s different? Well, for a start, the technology we are so fond of makes it easier than ever to ensure everyone has the information they need, when they need it. Of course, the solution is not always technology...
The Disney approach to Customer Excellence
We recently met with former Disney executive Dan Cockerell, and discussed how Disney approaches Customer Excellence. We spoke a lot, not about the customer experience, but how important the people at Disney are in delivering those experiences.
He told us that Disney wants to ensure that visitors can ask any cast member a question about the location of attractions, food, or the timings of shows, etc., and that they in turn can answer those questions immediately. No surprise then, that the tech wizards jumped on the case and created a nice solution… the trouble was, cast members did not find it easy to use!
Instead, the cast members created a crib sheet, a single piece of old-fashioned paper, containing all the information they needed, in a form they could use quickly.
The people perspective
This story demonstrates the people perspective at so many levels. First, leveraging the wisdom of your crowd is likely more effective than relying on a small circle of experts.
Second, Disney and the cast members recognize that the overall guest experience will be excellent if people who interact with people are made to feel good—every time! Third, if you don’t invest time in your people, they won’t invest time with people either. Fourth, although obvious, Disney works hard to ensure that cast members know they have the power to fix guest issues on the spot.
For this last point, we purposely did not use the word “empower,” because the implication is that you’re being given something to be taken away. This is not about giving something to be taken away, but instead setting people free to do what they know is right.
As well as Disney, many hotel groups have found that when you ask employees to give out vouchers or discount bills when service is poor, they spend less than managers! It’s true a small amount given quickly, and without asking, is often enough, but managers often feel they have to offer and do more. Maybe it’s their way of saying, “I have power?”
Customer Excellence in your organization
In closing, think about your own organization. Does everyone know what the goals and objectives are? Do they understand what they do and how they do it impacts the customer? Do they have access to all the information they need to serve the customer immediately? And do they have the authority and ability to solve problems as they arise, without constant checks for permission?
If your answer to all these is "yes", then you are probably well on the way to achieving Customer Excellence. If your answer is "no", then chances are your customer experience efforts, like those of many others, are still too disconnected from your operational excellence efforts to be genuinely effective.
Further reading… and a chance to win!
For more information about Customer Excellence, consider our other blog posts:
- Customer Excellence set to become the new business imperative
- Organizations Have to Deliver World Class Customer Excellence
- Causing Your Customers Unnecessary Pain
Alternatively, click the link below for a chance to be among the first to get your hands on a free copy of our new book, How to Deliver a Compelling Customer Excellence Program.