The new year is a time of reflection for many of us. A review, of sorts. How did the past year go for us? How well did our business perform? And with this year marking the end of a decade, even more is reviewed and discussed.
As with many resolutions, wholesale changes never last. They may be effective for a few weeks while enthusiasm is high, but long-term change takes time to manifest itself–far beyond when the excitement for these new ideas begin to fade.
As the year continues to progress and the discussion shifts to what will be new and better, it is important to keep in mind that the foundation of a successful business is built on decisions informed by past experiences.
What experience do leaders want their customers to feel after they interact with their business and employees?
This point should be examined and reinforced during any reflection period or discussion about change.
Consumers feel their needs are important when reaching out to a business. As technology has increased speed and convenience, so has a consumer’s demands for better or personalized service. This means business owners must begin with the end experience and reverse engineer how they are hoping to deliver to customers.
A few key aspects to consider for all customer experiences should be:
- Was the process fast?
- Did they feel the employees focused on their needs?
- Did they feel they got value?
- Are they excited to talk about the product/service?
Once leaders understand and visualize this experience, the next step is to work backwards to build out the actions their staff has to execute to deliver this experience. This is key. What does the staff do? How do they greet the customer? Do they get out from behind their desk? Do they offer them a place to sit? What do they say? The list is endless, but it is important to focus on actions–not generalities.
Without this focus, a business may very well have the best product or service in their market, but if customers do not feel valued due to not getting the answers they need, or the information submitted online is forgotten when they interact with your employees, then the business’ reputation will be tainted in the customer’s mind and discarded from further consideration.
Next, the focus is on building out processes to support the actions. How does the customer journey flow from department to department or transition from one section of the transaction to another? All of this must be mapped out. It then becomes easier to hire employees that fit your vision of the customer experience, rather than trying to shoehorn employees that don’t fit.
Once you have employees that you feel are a good fit, the challenge becomes mapping out short term and long-term training processes. Lastly, designate someone to be in charge of monitoring the experience and holding the team accountable to the standard of performance you set.
Before any new resolutions or ideas are put in place, leaders should focus on what is currently in place and make sure it is being maximized. Once this is solidified, it is easier to identify areas of need in order to produce desirable results in the year ahead.