Autospeak-Straight Talk contains articles covering digital and social media marketing social communities and events marketing

Customer Experience vs Enterprise Interest

(Posted on Jun 20, 2015 at 05:47AM by William Cosgrove)

Here I am with another edition of “Straight Talk Saturday”- That’s right I am coining a phrase. But in my defense, I have been publishing “Straight Talk” for over two years now at OneBigBroadcast (OBB) thanks to an invitation from Steve and Mimi Arsenault two very talented and visionary people who have Webcasters of which OBB is a division.

Until last week when I published A Business Model That Is Just Plain Bad For Business, which you may want to check out to get a snapshot of how the automobile franchise is structured, I was absent for about a month because as I was busy doing things that actually allow me to buy groceries.

In college I studied creative writing (fiction) and even had visions of becoming a writer until I realized that sooner or later I would need to buy groceries and writing these posts has given me an outlet to satisfy that vision-at least for now.

Money often gets in the way of doing things that you may want to do and the desire to make lots of it often gets in the way of doing the right things. This article is an attempt to explain an unfortunate contradiction that has been occurring in our digital ecosystem that you may have thought about, even realized or like many find it hard to keep up with the pace of change. I wanted to put it in Black and white because this a serious subject that must be discussed an thought about because-

-The tide is turning and “If you think that you shouldn’t be looking for viable alternatives to current marketing methods you are MISTAKEN.”

"And I have a special gift for those of you who actually finish reading this post at the end"

The Push Back

 More and more people blocking ads of all forms, the spreading of the dreadful banner blindness disease and the government  passing stricter regulations in the name of privacy, the push back is real and gaining momentum and the effectiveness of  many outbound marketing tactics are and will continue to diminish.

 Verizon has finally given in to letting consumers opt out of its supercookie on fears of lawsuits and government intervention.

The supercookie is used to track everything you do on your phone including your email, everything you browse including everything you click on. Others were experimenting with these like AT&T but they abandoned their project-I wonder why?

 By the way if you want to opt out just visit this “Supercookie” link to find out how “How to Opt Out Of Verizon’s Supercookie

 The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday passed a proposal from chairman Tom Wheeler, supporting consumers' ability to opt out of robocalling through their wireless carriers. FCC rules for carrier robocall blocking.

 However as long as agencies can realize recurring revenue streams with this type of marketing it will continue and the cost for you will to reach fewer people will rise.

 Is this Customer Experience or Smart Marketing?

 But advancements have also provided us with effective low cost alternatives that would diminish the need for such tactics as you will read. But because they not as profitable they are ignored by agencies and in turn ignored by the companies that are being conditioned by them to keep spending $$$$$$$.

 This push back will eventually make going after fewer consumers more expensive. Figures show that these new forms of push marketing are successful but fail to point out how many people that are offended by it are lost by the companies using these methods.

 Studies also show that many consumers are fed up with these invasions on their privacy. Even Google is testing a fee based opt out of being exposed to ads-This should tell you something.

 If these are thing that consumers want, Why are so many opting out?

 The Tide Is Turning

Again, the tide is turning and “If you think that you

shouldn’t be looking for viable alternatives to current marketing methods you are MISTAKEN” and you:

* Are losing potential customers who are offended by retargeting and geolocating

*Going to be paying more to reach fewer consumers.

Ad Blocking in a Big Way

Ad blocking software is working hard to help users avoid viewing online advertising, writes David Glance, director of UWA Centre for Software Practice at University of Western Australia according to David Glance in his article “Will ad blocking deal the final death blow to already failing online advertising?

Apple said last week that it will introduce an ad-blocking feature to the Safari mobile browser for iOS 9. Apple tries to kill mobile Web advertising

Google launches tool to keep you opted out of personalized ads on the Web.  Keep My Opt Outs is a Google Chrome extension that is being introduced as a response to a problem with existing opt-out programs – they’re reset whenever you delete your cookies. By running permanently within the browser, not as a cookie, you’re opted out permanently.

And What About Privacy Issues?

 In this article by Sharing Data-But Not Happily by NATASHA SINGER  Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, voiced doubts about data mining. Many Americans share those concerns, a new poll shows.

“You might like these so-called free services,” Mr. Cook said during the event held by EPIC, a nonprofit research center. “But we don’t think they’re worth having your email or your search history or now even your family photos data-mined and sold off for God knows what advertising purpose.”

“Now a study from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania has come to a similar conclusion: Many Americans do not think the trade-off of their data for personalized services, giveaways or discounts is a fair deal either. The findings are likely to fuel the debate among tech executives and federal regulators over whether companies should give consumers more control over the information collected about them.

In the survey, which is scheduled to be made public on Friday, 55 percent of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that “it’s O.K. if a store where I shop uses information it has about me to create a picture of me that improves the services they provide for me.”

About seven in 10 people also disagreed that it was fair for a store to monitor their online activities in exchange for free Wi-Fi while at the store. And 91 percent of respondents disagreed that it was fair for companies to collect information about them without their knowledge in exchange for a discount.”

However as long as there are technology companies developing applications that they can realize recurring revenue streams with and then disguise these push marketing tactics with terms like retargeting and geolocating it will continue. “

But Wait

Advancements have also provided us with effective low cost ways that would diminish the need for such tactics that are not as profitable for marketing agencies and therefore ignored by them and ignored by the companies that are being conditioned by them to spend more $$$$.

This push back will eventually make going after fewer consumers more expensive. Figures show that these new forms of push marketing are successful but fail to point out how many people who are offended by it and lost by the companies using these methods.

Studies also show as you have seen here that many consumers are fed up with these types of advertising. Even Google is testing a fee based opt out of being exposed to ads-This should tell you something.

If you adjust for people who are blocking, ignoring or business that you may be losing using these methods-the adjusted cost would be staggering. And ad blocking is growing at an increasing rate. There is an alternative, non-intrusive and low cost way to reach your audience and that is through onsite communities.

 Growth Hacking Through Community

Remember that paid advertising is fleeting in that it is only there as long as you are paying$$$$$. Communities are a permanent addition to your marketing strategy that will PAY YOU $$$$$ benefits now and into the future.

Growth hacking through onsite social communities has been providing a lot of success and gaining a lot of attention lately and for good reason. They are an inexpensive and non-intrusive way to maintain relationships with existing as well as potential customers to engage with and nurture from one central platform-your website. The versatility and economy that these communities can offer cannot be matched in any other way especially when you consider the long term benefits that they provide. Actually a recurring revenue stream that reflects on your bottom line not on someone else’s bottom line. .

Also, onsite social communities, if structured properly, offer an effective way for you to communicate and nurture in ways that they will welcome your contact by engaging with them in ways that do not intrude on their privacy which as you have just read is becoming a legitimate concern.

Onsite social communities are an inbound marketing, customer service and support concept that not very long ago was the recommended way to market until new technology brought us new forms of push technology for big enterprises to generate huge new recurring revenue streams with and all of the sudden pull or inbound marketing was no longer trending.

Using your own social channel (community) on your website to connect with your offsite social channels and (key word here) “our”digital ecosystem can make for a winning addition to your marketing strategy while at the same time reducing your overall costs and increasing your revenue. What a novel concept!

Not only can it provide a multitude of benefits that cannot be realized through any other marketing initiative, you will not be subject or impacted as much by the constant flux of others' changing marketing policies and popularity that are in a constant flux of change.

There is no more transparent way of connecting with your existing and potential customers and employees than having an onsite social community. An onsite social community allows you to partner with your customers and employees to bolster your marketing initiatives and project your customer and employee centric culture through organic search and across all your paid and social channels.

By building your own branded community of fans and followers you will have a central location with an organic reach of 100 percent on your real estate (your website) with which to form lasting relationships and a community of fans and followers who can help you broadcast your message across the digital spectrum.

Although it is important to maintain a presence on other social networks an onsite social network gives you the opportunity to market better, smarter, more economically and more secure.

Your onsite community provides the means for Socialcasting of which community plays a key role that in its many forms can boost page ranking and drive traffic in ways that no other form of media can. This can provide a base from which to launch all of your marketing efforts to positively impact your overall marketing efforts. Technology is constantly providing us with new and creative ways of centralizing our marketing to make it more efficient, beneficial and cost effective.

Maybe others who more concern about their own bottom(s)-lines $$$$[no pun intended] don’t want you realizing this-but you should and now you need to.

By taking advantage of your existing customer and employee base you can easily and cost effectively have a powerful platform of brand advocates from which to build on. New customers can automatically become members of the community as part of the benefit of doing business with your company and site visitors can be invited to join to enjoy member benefits as a way of nurturing new business.

Depending on your type of business you can give community members permanent savings on products and/or services, discounts on warranties, maintenance Contracts et. and have drawings and special offers to keep them engaged. This is how you will foster an army of devoted customers who will help you broadcast your customer centric culture and drive more traffic to draw many more devoted customers to your business.

All of this will have many positive effects including bolstering your SERP and feed on itself to give you a platform from which to launch all your marketing initiatives.

“While the idea is still new and new ideas often take time to be fully shaped inside organizations, in the future it is quite likely that consumer-facing companies will no longer outsource social platforms, but rather look to integrate, partner, and build their own niched platforms that are tailored specifically to what their consumers want.”Jennifer Wolfe stated in this article Think It’s Too Costly to Build Your Own Social Platform? Think Again

Recently, Nate Elliot, vice president and principal analyst serving B2C Marketing Professionals speaking at the Lithium Technologies LiNC conference in San Francisco told the audience that you don’t build a community on social or have any meaningful customer relationships on Facebook. Elliott’s advice to brands looking for real, measurable results through social media: integrate social aspects into a platform you own, such as your company’s website.

Although I didn’t agree with everything he said I do believe that having an onsite social community is a viable and cost effective alternative that will benefit you, your existing and potential customers in the short as well as over the long term in many different ways and overall at a fraction of the cost of other forms of online marketing.

We have been and continue to develop new ways of pulling people in for years through onsite social communities that can take many forms, instead of pushing your marketing on consumers at the risk of alienating them.

Also read 11 Ways To Score Customer Relationship Touchdowns for a more in-depth look at how an onsite social communities might be structured AND for those of you who actually read this far I would like to leave you with this Customer Experience Infographic courtesy of Direct Marketing.

Growth hacking image courtesy of Positionly. Privacy image courtesy of Privacy

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Existing customers should never be "out of site, out of mind" online

(Posted on May 4, 2014 at 03:55AM by William Cosgrove)
It’s understandable for businesses to be excited by the prospect of new customers. Promotional emails, social media marketing and search are all effective ways to find new business and help a company grow. That being said, it always pays to make sure existing clients don’t feel unappreciated. Social platforms are a great way to do this, but many companies haven’t fully embraced the tactic.

Past business can fall by the waysideAccording to a recent survey by Socialbakers, 61.7 percent of businesses consider customer acquisition to be a very important goal for social media in 2014. However, only 28.9 percent feel the same way about customer care. Gaining some new prospects but losing dedicated clients is a lot like taking two steps forward and one step back, so companies may consider the trade-off a net positive. Unfortunately, not every business is able to weigh these costs effectively.

As part of a study of marketing styles, the authors of Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance discovered that the probability of making a sale to a new prospect is between 5 and 20 percent. Conversely, companies average 60 to 70 percent success rates when it comes to existing customer sales. The smaller a company is, the more tightly it needs to cling to existing clients, so this kind of retention is extremely important.

Keep your friends closeDon’t outflank yourself by building a marketing house on quicksand. Use every channel available, particularly social media, to both bring in new business, while maintaining close ties with existing partners. You can do so by:

  • Offering rewards. To encourage social media follows and shares, let current fans and connections be the first to hear about discounts, promotions or contests.
  • Sharing news. The people who have done business with you in the past are the most likely to want to know about the inner workings of your business – and their distribution of this news will provide invaluable coverage.
  • Customer service. People increasingly turn to social media to lodge complaints or make inquiries because the audiences on these channels hold companies accountable. Encourage this kind of activity and respond promptly to make sure existing customers stay happy.
Companies aren’t necessarily interested in digital marketing in and of itself. Instead, they see themselves as marketing products on what happen to be digital platforms. That means following the rules and protocols of these networks and channels. Strike a balance between constant outreach and connection maintenance to keep growth steady and sustained.

by Brafton Editorial

Relevant Content:
It Is Time To Look Within

Businesses Lose $41 Billion from Bad Customer Service: Here's what to Do

(Posted on Feb 12, 2014 at 04:26AM by William Cosgrove)
This article by Noreen Seebacher  gives undeniable evidence for having  onsite social community. Bring your customers close and your employees closer and stay close to them and stop losing business to perceptions of bad customer service or employee apathy.

There are so many ways to utilize onsite communities to benefit the customer and your company that cannot be duplicated elsewhere - that it is a one time cost effective addition that you need to think seriously about for 2014.

William Cosgrove


Featured Guide: Web Content & Customer Experience Management Guide (Download a Sample)

The US is a nation of "serial switchers" — and that lack of loyalty is costing businesses an estimated $41billion a year, according to research from NewVoiceMedia, a cloud contact center vendor.

Blame it on bad customer service: 44 percent of customers leave because they feel unappreciated, fed up, frustrated and convinced no one really cares about their problems.

You can read more about the study here (registration required). 

But you don't need to dig deep to understand that better customer service can have a big impact on a company's bottom line. So what should you do? For advice, CMSWire turned to customer experience expert Shep Hyken, a best-selling author, motivational speaker and Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations.

Just Amazing When you have a title like "Chief Amazement Officer," people listen. Or at least they should. Hyken works with companies and organizations that want to build better relationships and loyalty with both their customers and employees.

"Keeping customers long-term is key to the success of virtually every business, " Hyken said. The reason is simple:  It's much more expensive for a business to attract new customers than to keep existing ones — anywhere from four to six times more, depending on which research you consult."

4 Essential Strategies So how can businesses build customer loyalty and get a customer to come back again and again?

Be better than average: A company doesn't have to "wow" its customers each and every time. It just has to be a little better than average, consistently. "Two basic things need to be in place before any customer service strategy can be executed.  First, there has to be a clear vision of what it is about.  Second you have to have good people who can execute on that vision.  From there you communicate the vision, train to it, recognize the effort and celebrate the success," Hyken said.

Encourage every employee to act like an owner: Employees who care as much as the person who owns the company put customers first. " You can encourage and ask everyone to step up and act like an owner, but you have to support the behavior.  Empower employees.  Recognize them for their success.  Use mistakes as learning opportunities," Hyken said.

Strive to create totally loyal customers: Even loyal customers may still buy from your competition. The ultimate loyal customer is a repeat customer that buys what you sell — only from you and not from your competition. "Loyalty is created over time, one interaction at a time.  It is the predictable consistent experience that a customer receives that gives them the confidence to want to come back next time.  So, loyalty can be broken down into smaller parts.  It’s really about what you’re doing right now that will get the customer to come back next time.  It’s about the next time, every time," he said.

Create a customer service culture: Treat your employees the way you want the customer treated, maybe even better. " Before you can be a customer focused organization, you must become employee focused.  Leadership initially models the behavior, but then all employees must do their part as well.  The 'Employee Golden Rule' is to treat employees the way you want the customer treated.  That’s a lot different than the way you would like to be treated.  To be the best place to buy from, you must be the best place to work," Hyken said.

Additional Tips
  • Pay attention to details: Little things can make a big impact.
  • Analyze compliments as well as complaints: Don't just learn from your mistakes. Learn from positive experiences, too.
  • Get social: Use social media to send value added messages, develop community and monitor what people are saying about you.
  • Be consistent: You generate trust among your customers by delivering consistent service experiences.
  • Keep your customer service people-focused: Customers should want to do business with you because of you and your employees.
  • Sample your own customer service: See what it's like to be on the receiving end of the service you provide, through first-hand interaction.
To read more click here:
Know These Must Have Social Media Marketing Tools
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The Secret to Delighting Customers? Put Employees First

(Posted on Feb 1, 2014 at 03:19AM by William Cosgrove)

This is an article recently co-authored by Disney Institute and McKinsey & Company. It explores the connection between companies that are good at both making their customers happy and making their employees happy. Below we explore four of the most important activities customer experience leaders do to make their employees happy. What other activities have you found that are effective?

On a visit to a Disney theme park, a little girl and her mother came to a fenced-off construction site. To her mother’s dismay, the little girl threw her favorite Disney doll, Belle, over the fence. When park staff retrieved the doll, it was in a sorry state, spattered with mud, dress torn, hair bedraggled. Attempts to find a replacement in the shop proved futile: Belle had been replaced by a newer model. So the doll was taken first to a makeup artist, who washed her and styled her hair, then to the wardrobe department, which made her a new dress, and finally to a “party” with other Disney princesses, with a photographer in attendance. 

Good as new, Belle was returned to her owner that evening, along with a photo album that showed what a great time she’d had during her “makeover.” Later, in a thank you letter, the girl’s mother described the moment of Belle’s return as “pure magic.”

What motivates employees to go above and beyond the call of duty to provide this kind of a memorable customer experience? It’s not magic, but method. The theme park team didn’t consult a script or take instructions from their manager. They did what they did because Disney has created a culture where going the extra mile for customers comes naturally. 

Such devotion to customer service pays handsome dividends. Companies offering an exceptional customer experience can exceed their peers’ gross margin by more than 26 percent. Emotionally engaged customers are typically three times more likely to recommend a product and to repurchase it themselves. 

Delivering an exceptional experience consistently is especially important in a world where customers interact with a brand at many different points – in person, through social networks, online. Analyses reveal that performing well across these customer journeys1 is linked with greater market success than individual touchpoint performance. Companies that had a 1-percentage-point lead over their peers in key customer journeys typically enjoyed a 2-percentage-point advantage in revenue growth. In addition, companies that deliver excellent customer journeys increase employee satisfaction and engagement by 30 percent. 

Yet corporate initiatives to improve customer experience struggle to make a tangible difference where it matters most: at the front line. Call center agents read from rigid scripts and get paid for keeping calls short rather than for resolving complaints. Websites try to drive upsell rather than help customers find what they’re looking for. 

In our experience, the best way for companies to create emotional connections with their customers is by ensuring that every interaction delights them. To do that, you need more than great products – you need motivated, empowered people at the front line.

Great customer experience and how to create it Creating great customer experience comes down to having great people and treating them well. Looking after your people makes them feel more engaged with your organization and more committed to your service goals. But how do you put principle into practice? We’ve found that the best companies adopt four habits.

1. Listen to your employees 

If you want your employees to take good care of your customers, start by taking good care of your employees. Treating them respectfully and fairly goes without saying. But go a step further, and get personally involved in tackling their issues and needs. Ensure you have formal mechanisms for employees to express their concerns, either at regular open meetings, through anonymous channels such as internal surveys, or via an ombudsman. Then take action. Communicate what you are doing and how long it will take, and involve the employees themselves in the solution. 

When the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort first opened in 2005, for example, its cast members – Disney’s term for employees – had to pick up their costumes from attendants before starting their shifts. With up to 3,000 cast members arriving at once, waiting in line created delays and frustration. Leaders responded by introducing self-service kiosks, where cast members could simply pick up a costume, scan the tag and their ID, check the screen display, and walk away. Having a smoother start to their day enabled them to focus their energy where it belonged: on guests. So effective was the new approach that Disney subsequently rolled it out to all its theme parks and cruise ships. Not only does it make cast members’ lives easier; it has resulted in significant savings in inventory counting and maintenance. 

Or take BCI, a Chilean bank that acts on its belief that happy employees take better care of customers. It holds regular meetings for staff to voice their problems and needs. More importantly, having listened, it acts. When auditors complained of stiffness and eyestrain, the bank commissioned an ergonomic assessment of their workstations. When new recruits in the legal department said it took them a while to find their footing in their new positions, BCI set up additional briefing sessions. 

Clearly there are limits to what management can do, but by taking tangible action to address employees’ concerns, you demonstrate the strength of your commitment to your front line.

2. Hire for attitude, not aptitude – then reinforce 

If you want friendly service, hire friendly people. Put another way, you can train for skill, but you can’t train for attitude. JetBlue, a perennial leader in customer satisfaction, has embedded this conviction in its front-line hiring process. To recruit individuals with a natural service bent, it uses group interviews. Watching how applicants interact with each other enables the interviewer to assess candidates’ communications and people skills to an extent that wouldn’t be possible in a one-to-one setting.

Best Chevrolet, a large auto dealership in Massachusetts, is another believer in “hiring for nice.” Since adopting and sustaining this approach over several years, it has seen a rise in employee retention and a flow of testimonials from satisfied customers, not to mention a customer-satisfaction rating more than 10 percentage points above the industry average. It also racks up a 69 percent retention rate of customers who still return for services five years after purchase, compared with an industry average of 40 percent. 

Having hired people with the right attitudes, leaders need to ensure they reinforce the behaviors they want to see. Although Disney hires people to pick up trash, everyone in the organization knows that they share responsibility for maintaining a clean and pleasant environment. Asked why he was picking up paper in the restroom, one leader replied, “I can’t afford not to.” Leaders’ actions are visible to all, or as Disney puts it, “Every leader is telling a story about what they value.”

3. Give people purpose, not rules 

To ensure consistent execution across all their operations, large corporations need to define standard operating processes. However, rules and guidelines go only so far. Front-line employees participating in infinitely varied customer interactions won’t always find the answers in manuals. Besides, mechanically following a script saps interactions of authenticity. Instead of detailed lists of process steps, the best companies supply front-line staff with common purpose backed by clear quality standards.

Common purpose – a succinct explanation of the customer experience you are trying to create at an emotional level – motivates employees and gives their work meaning. They choose to go that extra mile through personal passion, not passive compliance. At Disney, for example, common purpose – “We create happiness” – figures in the first day of training for every new recruit at every level. When cast members rescued Belle the doll from a muddy puddle in a construction site, they knew their organization’s purpose was to make her owner happy; their job was to do everything they could to bring that about. 

When BCI was defining its common purpose – developing trust-based customer relationships that last a lifetime – senior leaders kicked off the process, and then cross-functional teams stepped in to craft it, in a collaborative effort that built ownership across the business. 

Defining a common purpose is one thing; living it, however, is another. The bank’s leaders like to tell a story about a lottery winner who was looking for a bank to entrust with his prize money. When he visited a BCI branch, he was impressed to find that employees didn’t just try to sell him products but made an effort to identify and satisfy his needs. Explaining why he chose BCI, he said its employees struck him as genuine. By living the company’s values, they had earned his trust without even realizing it.

After aligning on a common purpose, an organization needs to make it concrete through a set of quality 

standards: priorities that guide front-line staff in delivering the desired customer experience. BCI employees follow four quality standards: safety (fulfill commitments with transparency and competence); closeness (get to know your customer and connect emotionally); diligence (promptly advise and execute responsibly with agility, ease, and simplicity); and image (project the values of BCI in each action and location). 

When people are trusted to do their job and given clear expectations rather than an instruction manual, they feel more valued and empowered – qualities that can’t help but show in the customer experience they provide. In the first year of BCI’s program to improve customer experience, satisfaction among its retail banking customers rose by 33 percent.

4. Tap into the creativity of your front line 

Giving front-line employees responsibility and autonomy creates a sense of ownership that inspires them to do everything they can to improve the customer experience. When they see a problem, they fix it without waiting to be asked. 

The best companies recognize that front-line staff are also a rich source of customer insights. They can help leaders understand what customers want – and how to provide it – without the time and expense of market research. To get the most value from these insights, organizations need to build good “plumbing”: robust channels to get information up the hierarchy to leaders who can act on it. 

Consider Wawa, a U.S. convenience-store chain based on the East Coast. Knowing that its store managers understand local customers’ needs better than any desk-bound analyst ever could, it grants them considerable latitude over what they sell.

One enterprising manager decided his customers would welcome a coffee bar and more fresh food options. When customer traffic and profits soared, head office noticed and quickly dispatched a team to investigate. On their return, the team explained how the manager had boosted sales and presented a plan for rapidly replicating the innovation across other stores in the network.

How do you do it? Show you genuinely C.A.R.E. So what does it take to deliver a consistently top-level customer experience? Sadly, there is no short cut to becoming best in class. Most companies take years. But there are four things you can do to get off to a good start: 

Clarify. Before you embark on a customer-experience transformation, put as much effort and rigor into understanding your employees as you do into understanding your customers. Treat interviews, surveys, and suggestion boxes as important sources of information. Combine the input you receive with customer satisfaction scores, business metrics, and employee churn rates to isolate the issues that matter most to your employees and your business. 

Align. Define a common purpose that encapsulates what your organization stands for, and make it the emotional pivot around which all your employee and customer strategies revolve. Forget slick marketing campaigns; instead, use common purpose to rouse your people to action on the things that count. Make sure all your leaders are 100 percent on board. Without their commitment, communication and implementation will soon break down. 

Reinforce. Even the best customer-experience program is of no use unless leaders put their commitment into practice by being role models for the behaviors they want employees to adopt. Seeing leaders acting in a new way encourages employees to follow suit and makes common purpose a living reality within the organization. To help the changes stick you need a systematic reinforcement program combining training, coaching, and 360-degree feedback mechanisms. Develop metrics to track how employees are performing, and intervene when necessary. Training and coaching should evolve over time as the needs of employees and the organization change. 

Empower. Clarity about expectations plus freedom to act equals an empowered front line. Establish quality standards to ensure your people make real-time decisions that are consistent with your common purpose. Then support your quality standards with behavioral guidelines to shape your desired customer experience and enable your staff to measure, coach, recognize, and reward one another in their day-to-day work. Armed with this framework, they’ll be able to handle every customer encounter in a way that expresses your company’s vision and values.

Technological advances have made it much easier for business enterprises to understand customers on an individual basis. Even so, engaging with them is still largely done by people at the front line, through personal contact. The continuous relationship of trust with customers that companies seek to nurture is built one interaction at a time. That’s what your people are hired to do. So to create an emotional bond with your customers, start by engaging your employees.

Disney Institute and McKinsey & Company collaborate to provide customer experience transformations to a portfolio of global clients.

Authors: Fernando Beltran, Dilip Bhattacharjee, Harald Fandel, Bruce Jones, Scott Lippert, Francisco Ortega

Disney Institute and McKinsey & Company