Where A Customer Experience Initiative Should Begin

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Embarking on a plan to optimize your customers’ experiences regarding the products and /or services they purchase from your company cannot begin without a thorough examination of the way you engage all your employees.  If any of the associates in your company see themselves as being focused on the overall business strategy, but do not see their role as being connected to the customer then no amount of “focusing on the customer” will yield the desired level of success.

All the employees working for your company have one thing in common, they have all been chosen and choose to invest their talent with your company.  Given that reality, how your business develops and involves its human resources speaks to the dedication the firm has for its customers.

Many business leaders like to claim that their company’s philosophy is to put the customer first, however, in actuality they defer the ongoing support of their customers to a group of employees who are part of a Care function so that only those folks have the responsibility of fulfilling the company’s premier goal.   Simply stated – this does not work.

You cannot claim to maintain a company-wide goal of making the customer’s needs and desires your primary focus while assigning only a segment of your associates with the responsibility of achieving that objective.    Consider the likelihood of a basketball team winning if only one member of the five-man team plays defense against an opposing five-man squad.   A car comes with four wheels, and if only one of the four is working properly you are not going anywhere.

The only way to ensure that your customers are the focus of your business every day is to make everyone who works for the company aware that their number one job is to put the customer first. If any of your employees does not see a link between their job and your customers’ satisfaction, you have a problem.

Senior management team members often state that the primary goal of their company is “to maximize shareholder/investor ROI”.  The way to drive shareholder ROI is to consistently grow the business in a profitable way. Being successful at reaching that goal requires sustaining the paying customer base while continuously adding many new customers.  Employees who are fully engaged together will consistently provide excellent service to pleased customers who are likely to refer their friends to purchase what the company offers.

Therefore, the first step to ensuring that every customer’s extraordinarily memorable experience is the most important goal of the entire company means establishing that everyone in the firm from the CEO to a clerical intern understands this goal and how their job is directly connected to it. The customer support function has responsibilities to handle escalated problems in a timely manner, however, their ultimate success requires the awareness of everyone in the company.    Employee understanding that their role with the company is directly associated with customer success should result in creative collaborating, building teamwork, and improving morale, all of which lead to customers recognizing they are the number one priority of the company.