Delivering Exceptional Customer Experiences 8 key steps

Delivering Exceptional Customer Experience: 8 key steps

Introduction

Many organisations have run programmes that aim to deliver improvements in customer service. However, we find that these programmes can often fail to sustain the early benefits over longer time periods. So how can you achieve long-term, sustainable customer service improvement that transcends market changes?

In our experience, being able to sustain high levels of customer service requires the engagement of people at every level of the organisation – but it also needs much more.

Many champion the benefits of engagement, but for those starting out the path can be unclear; turning high levels of engagement into consistently high levels of business performance can seem idealistic and unattainable, but it can be done.

The key for business is to inextricably link the two; performance improvement with employee engagement. For Unipart, that means empowering and equipping employees with the methods they need to consistently drive high levels of performance that benefit customers, suppliers, the business and themselves.

Driving an effective long-term strategy

No matter what platform or initiative an organisation implements, none will truly deliver lasting, sustainable improvement to the customer experience without an organisation-wide drive to continually engage the organisation’s biggest asset – its people.

Short-run improvement programmes often deliver improvements to key performance indicators, such as customer response times and higher customer satisfaction scores, but upon closer review they have often only put the basics in place, while driving small increases in engagement as a by-product.

We find engagement will usually peak during implementation and then fall back to previous levels as time passes. For the organisation and the customer to truly benefit, it is vital to continue to invest and focus on engagement with a long-term view.

The importance of engagement

As the discussion on engagement has matured, the concept has transformed and taken on various forms: ‘employee empowerment’, ‘employee engagement’ and, additionally, ‘customer engagement’. Each iteration has brought the subject to a wider audience who have been able to note its significance and often, its absence from their organisation, with industry statistics showing that 69% of employees report engagement as a problem within their organisations.

High levels of employee engagement and attitude have been established as key factors in determining a customer’s experience. Engagement and attitude help to improve quality, throughput and productivity and lower costs; so it’s easy to see why they can have a big impact upon the customer experience, customer retention and in reducing price sensitivity – research by John Goodman highlights that customers who have been delighted by superior service are 10 – 30% more loyal than customers who were not. With such significant rewards at stake, it would seem imperative to have a robust engagement strategy in place.

Cautionary note – engagement in isolation will not ensure success

Service improvement will diminish over time if employee engagement is not supported by other important organisational elements. In our experience, a successful journey towards a customer focused culture of continuous improvement requires the development of four other integrated elements.

It is based on our own insights of more than 28-years of doing, research from hundreds of internal audits and several thousand employee engagement data points:

  • Having effective and committed leaders who are advocates of change and behave in a way that enables and engages employees to sustain a culture of continuous improvement;
  • Having the capability in the systematic use of tools; using the right approach to deliver measurable, sustainable benefits and to facilitate deliberate practice that will drive continuous improvement;
  • A support infrastructure that underpins the new way of working and enables your employees to deploy the right approach at the right time in a systematic and engaging way, in order to deliver value to the customer, employee and organisation;
  • A focus on delivering benefits from the outset, while recognising that the full advantages emerge over time.

8 key steps to delivering exceptional customer experiences

To help you on your journey, we have outlined eight steps that we believe should be considered when looking to deliver an industry-leading customer experience that can be sustained for the long term.

8 key steps to delivering exceptional customer experiences

  1. The importance of an end-to-end view of the customer journey;
  2. Deeply understand your customers’ experience and expectations;
  3. Enable and empower employees to identify all the opportunities for improvement;
  4. Simplify operations, reduce complexity and variations;
  5. Systematically apply new, standard and better ways of working;
  6. Make processes and performance visible and measurable;
  7. Train and coach people to ensure consistent and high levels of service;
  8. Continue to provide your employees with the support and environment to build continuous improvement into everything they do… every day;

 

You can find the explanation of each step and the full text of this paper in the attachment below

 

Delivering Exceptional Customer Experience: 8 key steps

Many organisations have run programmes that aim to deliver improvements in customer service. However, we find that these programmes can often fail to sustain the early benefits over longer time periods. So how can you achieve long-term, sustainable customer service improvement that transcends market changes?

Gary Tharme
    I am a member of the consultancy’s leadership team at Unipart Group responsible for building long-term relationships through selected strategic opportunities with existing and new clients, including targeted international expansion.I have operated in the UK, USA, Greece and Switzerland helping secure and manage enterprise-wide operational/process/performance excellence programs (Lean/Six Sigma) in transactional and service environments within Power and Utilities, Health, Financial Services, Retail and Public sectors. Furthermore, I have also built successful alliances with several of the world’s top Tax/Advisory firms.Since October 2013 I have been leading Unipart Expert Practices' USA operations with a mission to help Unipart clients create a sustainable and engaging culture of continuous improvement.

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