4 Ways to Empower Employees to Rock at Customer Experience!

It is quite obvious that Bill Gates knew what he was talking about. The most direct way to impact business results is to empower employees to do their best work. This article describes four ways to empower employees to deliver great customer experiences, while positively changing business results.

How Do You Empower Your Employees to Deliver Great Experiences?


“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who inspire others.”

– Bill Gates.


It is quite obvious that Bill Gates knew what he was talking about. The most direct way to impact business results is to empower employees to do their best work. Below are four ways to empower employees to deliver great customer experiences, while positively changing business results.

 

1. Make sure they understand the “Why” for doing what they do and what you may be asking them to do


“All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.”

–  Simon Sinek.


One of the most important things that organizations can do to empower employees to rock at delivering great customer experiences is to clearly define the WHY, as Sinek states above.

No, I don’t mean, “Replace the toner, because I really need it done.”

Rather, inspire them with the story of the end results for customers if they do what you are asking. Better yet, have the customer tell them how it makes them feel when they do their jobs well. If the WHY is to be the world’s best service provider of XYZ widget by empowering your employees to think creatively and revolutionize the delivery of XYZ widget, then make sure to share this with employees often. Make sure that everyone is accountable to live this WHY every day and in every way. Point out every day when people live out the “Why” to keep it real and relatable in your employees’ minds.

Putting the WHY first will set your frontline up for success and inspire them to do great things for customers every day.

For example, I recently had the occasion to speak at a market research conference. One of the key messages was that emotions and the customer’s perceptions of their experiences are what drive their behavior. Researchers, user experience professionals and customer experience professionals use customer journey maps, focus groups, surveys, interviews and personas to drive a deeper understanding of customer emotions.

Assets like personas and journey maps bring customer views and journeys to life, and provide transparency into “moments of truth,” pain points, or missed opportunities in an organization’s customer experience. One of the key points during my talk was that the creation and sharing of customer insights drives up employee empathy for—and awareness of—what customers feel as they journey with an organization. Doing so elevates employee empowerment to new heights, because key customer information is no longer available to just the select few! Those powerful customer insights are available to the masses.

Personas are a way to show employees what customers really want, which explains the ‘why’ for certain decisions.

This way, your employees have firsthand knowledge about where exactly your brand’s customer experience is—or isn’t—delivering. They will get to see how customers want to feel vs. what they actually feel. This gives employees a sense of ownership and incentivizes them to keep customer needs top-of-mind. In short, sharing insights with your employees about your customers via personas and customer journey maps shows the WHY behind certain business actions and decisions.

 

2. Develop your employees, and get them to be customer-obsessed


“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.


The best leaders really do see beyond what people currently are to what they have the potential to be. Training and development continues to top the list for U.S. employee engagement surveys. Yet, those same development budgets are shrinking. There are many employees who stay with an organization, because they are challenged with new roles and new knowledge. Many leave for the opposite reason. I like to say that when it comes to employee experience, love is in the details.

One of the best ways to empower front line employees is to show them their importance, by investing in their skills. The more skills and confidence they have, the more value they can add to the organization. Hold training sessions with them to help them better understand your customers. Share customer insights by bringing your customer personas and customer journey maps to life. Some brands have created “customer rooms,” where they can show visual assets like journey maps or customer profiles to groups of employees throughout the year.

Word of caution: Don’t just train to train. Make sure that your offerings align with core values and your mission. Make sure your training and development offerings tell a compelling story that aligns with what you want from your future leaders. Be a revolutionary, which then will allow your organization to inspire employees empowered to make smart decisions for the organization and its customers.

3. Empower employees by recognizing their efforts to improve customer experience


“People may leave a job for more money, but they often leave it for more recognition.”

– Bob Nelson


It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day affairs, and forget to stop and take a minute to praise employees who are doing great work.

Recently, one of my clients told me that she works hard to recognize her direct reports and colleagues, because she used to have a very demeaning boss who only talked down to her. He just never had a positive thing to say to my client. She would not even say, “thank you.”

After staying with that organization for as long she could, she left, and was blessed enough to land the leadership position she has now. She admits that recognition never used to be all that important to her until she had a boss who didn’t believe in it.

Did I mention that she took a $15,000 a year pay cut to make this move?

This is the truth. Many employees are not looking for big trophies; they just want more recognition for the work that they do. In a 2013 survey, Glassdoor uncovered that four in five (81 percent) employees say they’re motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work.

empower employees through recognition

Recognizing employees when they do great work will go a long way in empowering employees.

Managers who clear away the fray from their daily tasks to take time to notice their team’s efforts to improve customer experience will receive great dividends. Don’t complicate it. Just say thank you and how much you appreciate their contribution to improving your customer’s experience.

 

4. Provide employees with modern applications that enable them to delight your customers.

For many years, I was responsible for rolling out and re-engineering CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools for organizations. As many of you might guess, getting hundreds of people to use the tool for its intended purpose was not an easy road. Nonetheless, I kept telling the customer’s story and created an emotional connection between using the CRM as a way to create a better experience for customers. If a customer could call anyone in the organization and we could all start off from where the customers ended their last call with the organization, the relationship would get stronger. They would know that we cared enough to “remember” their details. This type of insight helps employees get the full picture of a customer’s experience with their brand.

However, this means providing tools to employees that are actually usable. Old school intranet projects have left many firms with multiple internal sites that serve different locations or corporate functions. This makes it difficult for employees to provide clients with timely information, and creates governance challenges.

As Matt Straz, CEO of Namely said, points out,


“When tech suffers from clunky information, non-intuitive interfaces, and weaknesses in the configuration department, employees get frustrated by the complexity and poor design of the very thing they use to succeed at work every day. Plus, working with too many software platforms at work can contribute to information overload.”


Provide tools to empower employees

Corporate software can be frustrating to use. Supplying employees with the right tools will greatly improve their experience as an employee

Consider upgrading your internal employees applications, or introducing new solutions. These can be more sophisticated custom applications or customer portals. One idea is to provide your employees with a portal that works like the modern, consumer websites that your employees use every day. Portals provide a single source for customer information, and can encourage communication and collaboration across the company, while maintaining corporate governance standards. This investment will pay off by enabling employees to provide better service to your clients and improve your overall customer experience.

Equipping your employees with better tools and modern internal applications will go a long way in breaking down information silos created by many separate applications. It will ease employee frustrations, and lead to a happier, more productive workforce that is committed to serving the customer.

 

Conclusion

Optimizing the customer experience that your company provides is a transformation that starts with your employees. Providing the right tools, developing them the right way, and allowing transparency with critical customer data gives employees ownership of their projects, as well as a voice. This way, your employees will be motivated to provide a customer experience that rocks!

Happy empowering!

 

It is quite obvious that Bill Gates knew what he was talking about. The most direct way to impact business results is to empower employees to do their best work. This article describes four ways to empower employees to deliver great customer experiences, while positively changing business results.

How Do You Empower Your Employees to Deliver Great Experiences?


“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who inspire others.”

– Bill Gates.


It is quite obvious that Bill Gates knew what he was talking about. The most direct way to impact business results is to empower employees to do their best work. Below are four ways to empower employees to deliver great customer experiences, while positively changing business results.

 

1. Make sure they understand the “Why” for doing what they do and what you may be asking them to do


“All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.”

–  Simon Sinek.


One of the most important things that organizations can do to empower employees to rock at delivering great customer experiences is to clearly define the WHY, as Sinek states above.

No, I don’t mean, “Replace the toner, because I really need it done.”

Rather, inspire them with the story of the end results for customers if they do what you are asking. Better yet, have the customer tell them how it makes them feel when they do their jobs well. If the WHY is to be the world’s best service provider of XYZ widget by empowering your employees to think creatively and revolutionize the delivery of XYZ widget, then make sure to share this with employees often. Make sure that everyone is accountable to live this WHY every day and in every way. Point out every day when people live out the “Why” to keep it real and relatable in your employees’ minds.

Putting the WHY first will set your frontline up for success and inspire them to do great things for customers every day.

For example, I recently had the occasion to speak at a market research conference. One of the key messages was that emotions and the customer’s perceptions of their experiences are what drive their behavior. Researchers, user experience professionals and customer experience professionals use customer journey maps, focus groups, surveys, interviews and personas to drive a deeper understanding of customer emotions.

Assets like personas and journey maps bring customer views and journeys to life, and provide transparency into “moments of truth,” pain points, or missed opportunities in an organization’s customer experience. One of the key points during my talk was that the creation and sharing of customer insights drives up employee empathy for—and awareness of—what customers feel as they journey with an organization. Doing so elevates employee empowerment to new heights, because key customer information is no longer available to just the select few! Those powerful customer insights are available to the masses.

Personas are a way to show employees what customers really want, which explains the ‘why’ for certain decisions.

This way, your employees have firsthand knowledge about where exactly your brand’s customer experience is—or isn’t—delivering. They will get to see how customers want to feel vs. what they actually feel. This gives employees a sense of ownership and incentivizes them to keep customer needs top-of-mind. In short, sharing insights with your employees about your customers via personas and customer journey maps shows the WHY behind certain business actions and decisions.

 

2. Develop your employees, and get them to be customer-obsessed


“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.


The best leaders really do see beyond what people currently are to what they have the potential to be. Training and development continues to top the list for U.S. employee engagement surveys. Yet, those same development budgets are shrinking. There are many employees who stay with an organization, because they are challenged with new roles and new knowledge. Many leave for the opposite reason. I like to say that when it comes to employee experience, love is in the details.

One of the best ways to empower front line employees is to show them their importance, by investing in their skills. The more skills and confidence they have, the more value they can add to the organization. Hold training sessions with them to help them better understand your customers. Share customer insights by bringing your customer personas and customer journey maps to life. Some brands have created “customer rooms,” where they can show visual assets like journey maps or customer profiles to groups of employees throughout the year.

Word of caution: Don’t just train to train. Make sure that your offerings align with core values and your mission. Make sure your training and development offerings tell a compelling story that aligns with what you want from your future leaders. Be a revolutionary, which then will allow your organization to inspire employees empowered to make smart decisions for the organization and its customers.

3. Empower employees by recognizing their efforts to improve customer experience


“People may leave a job for more money, but they often leave it for more recognition.”

– Bob Nelson


It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day affairs, and forget to stop and take a minute to praise employees who are doing great work.

Recently, one of my clients told me that she works hard to recognize her direct reports and colleagues, because she used to have a very demeaning boss who only talked down to her. He just never had a positive thing to say to my client. She would not even say, “thank you.”

After staying with that organization for as long she could, she left, and was blessed enough to land the leadership position she has now. She admits that recognition never used to be all that important to her until she had a boss who didn’t believe in it.

Did I mention that she took a $15,000 a year pay cut to make this move?

This is the truth. Many employees are not looking for big trophies; they just want more recognition for the work that they do. In a 2013 survey, Glassdoor uncovered that four in five (81 percent) employees say they’re motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work.

empower employees through recognition

Recognizing employees when they do great work will go a long way in empowering employees.

Managers who clear away the fray from their daily tasks to take time to notice their team’s efforts to improve customer experience will receive great dividends. Don’t complicate it. Just say thank you and how much you appreciate their contribution to improving your customer’s experience.

 

4. Provide employees with modern applications that enable them to delight your customers.

For many years, I was responsible for rolling out and re-engineering CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools for organizations. As many of you might guess, getting hundreds of people to use the tool for its intended purpose was not an easy road. Nonetheless, I kept telling the customer’s story and created an emotional connection between using the CRM as a way to create a better experience for customers. If a customer could call anyone in the organization and we could all start off from where the customers ended their last call with the organization, the relationship would get stronger. They would know that we cared enough to “remember” their details. This type of insight helps employees get the full picture of a customer’s experience with their brand.

However, this means providing tools to employees that are actually usable. Old school intranet projects have left many firms with multiple internal sites that serve different locations or corporate functions. This makes it difficult for employees to provide clients with timely information, and creates governance challenges.

As Matt Straz, CEO of Namely said, points out,


“When tech suffers from clunky information, non-intuitive interfaces, and weaknesses in the configuration department, employees get frustrated by the complexity and poor design of the very thing they use to succeed at work every day. Plus, working with too many software platforms at work can contribute to information overload.”


Provide tools to empower employees

Corporate software can be frustrating to use. Supplying employees with the right tools will greatly improve their experience as an employee

Consider upgrading your internal employees applications, or introducing new solutions. These can be more sophisticated custom applications or customer portals. One idea is to provide your employees with a portal that works like the modern, consumer websites that your employees use every day. Portals provide a single source for customer information, and can encourage communication and collaboration across the company, while maintaining corporate governance standards. This investment will pay off by enabling employees to provide better service to your clients and improve your overall customer experience.

Equipping your employees with better tools and modern internal applications will go a long way in breaking down information silos created by many separate applications. It will ease employee frustrations, and lead to a happier, more productive workforce that is committed to serving the customer.

 

Conclusion

Optimizing the customer experience that your company provides is a transformation that starts with your employees. Providing the right tools, developing them the right way, and allowing transparency with critical customer data gives employees ownership of their projects, as well as a voice. This way, your employees will be motivated to provide a customer experience that rocks!

Happy empowering!

 

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2017-10-18T11:56:37+00:00