Apr 29 2017
Aspirational Purpose is Important, however…
Having a solid understanding of why your organization exists and what gets you up every day to serve your internal and external customers is the foundation for any successful leader and organization. It’s important to remember, as Simon Sinek has taught us, “people don’t buy what we do, they buy why we do it.” This adage rings true for our internal and external customer. If you don’t have an aspirational purpose that drives employees to work every day with passion and excitement, then how can you expect your external customer to be passionate about your organization or be excited to do business with you? Although we need to have a larger than life purpose to get us up every morning we also need a ‘North Star’ that we can strive for with every customer, every time. My advice, perfect why your organization exists, ensure your employees know this, can recite it and believe it, then set that beautiful aspirational purpose on the shelf and start working on a Customer Service Vision that can be actionable by every employee, with every customer, in every interaction.
A Customer Service Vision = Measurable, Observable, Trainable Action
The first Commandant of The Dijulius Group Methodology is Customer Service Vision, and with good reason! Without a ‘North Star’, what are we striving for with each and every customer interaction? Without a daily focus, how will an organization realize their aspirational purpose? It is essential that organizations have something to rally around that can be easily measured, observed by leaders and fellow team members, can be trained, and most importantly can be executed with every customer, every time.
When I work with clients, I explain the importance of a Customer Service Vision, Pillars & Sub-Pillars, and Non-negotiable Standards as a “World Class (WC) Customer Service Triangle” (diagram above) .
The base of the WC Customer Service Triangle is the aspirational foundation, an organization’s why or purpose. Unfortunately, an aspirational purpose is not actionable with daily interactions. It is, however, achievable over a longer period of time, the mark an organization will leave and continuously strive for.
On the opposite end of this triangle is the ‘North Star’, an organization’s Customer Service Vision. A Customer Service Vision is WHAT your employees strive to achieve in each and every interaction with your internal and external customers.
A Service Vision should be:
Easy to understand
Simple, concise, & memorable
Actionable & empowering
Measurable, observable, & trainable
The supporting structure of the WC Service Triangle represents HOW your organization and team members achieve the North Star and bring an organizations aspirational purpose to life over the long run.
The support structure on the right represents the Pillars & Sub-Pillars of the Customer Service Vision. These are actionable points that outline HOW to achieve quality service, personalized customer interaction, and ways to go above and beyond for the customer.
The support structure on the left represents an organization’s Non-Negotiable Standards and Never & Always. The Non-Negotiable Standards ensure that no matter how busy, large or small the organization is, every customer is experiencing world class service from all levels of the organization, with each touch point, in every interaction.
Each part of this WC Customer Service Triangle plays a part in setting an organization up for success in executing World Class Customer Service, just like every team member plays a part in the execution. However, it is the Customer Service Vision that drives action and gives employees something to be accountable to.
Every Customer, Every Time
If you haven’t picked up on it yet, consistency is key to successfully providing WC Customer Service and executing a Customer Service Vision. Every Customer, Every Time has been a mantra of mine for years now. I often have our clients chanting it by the mid-morning of day one in any workshop I conduct! New research shows that it now takes 90 times to make or break a habit; this is why repetition and consistency are so important. Without consistency, there won’t be synthesis of your Customer Service Vision, without synthesis nothing will operationalize and your customers won’t realize the experience they deserve. Try it; chant it with your team. It feels funny at first, but I can promise it sticks!
What are you Waiting For?
If your organization doesn’t have a North Star yet, it’s time to create it. Give your organization’s purpose new life with an actionable, observable Customer Service Vision that can be executed with every customer, every time.
Apr 27 2017
Our CX Experts at The DiJulius Group Share What Your 2017 Focus Should Be
Do you have a solid Customer Experience strategy for 2017? The experts of The DiJulius Group share some of their insights for what they believe will be key for this coming year.
The following is by Dave Murray, Senior Customer Experience Consultant for The DiJulius Group.
How To Prepare Millennials To Be Our Next Generation Of Leaders
So much has been made of the Millennial generation. There have been countless articles and even books published on how to manage and lead this generation in the work force. This is nothing new. Every new generation brings change and new technology with them as they take their first positions. The primary difference now is that technology changes so much faster then ever before, with smart phones leading the way. The technology that Millennials were raised on is now making its way in to offices and storefronts. Change can be difficult, but change can also be very good.
For me, the next challenge with the Millennial generation is not how to manage and lead them, but rather to ask how do we begin to train them to be the managers and leaders of the future? So often, promotions are granted to an employee based on the work they have done in their role, and does not take into consideration one’s desire or ability to manage others. I think the great opportunity with the Millennial generation is not only to keep them engaged, but also to be the leaders of the future.
What Are Your Service Standards?
The first few weeks of the year are a time to focus on what is important. Prioritize and create goals for the coming year. Is the experience you are delivering part of those goals? If your answer was no, here are some things you can easily do with your team to re-focus on your experience and improve it at the same time.
First, what are your current service standards? How quickly do you ask your team to respond to voicemail and e-mail messages? Is this fast enough? You may have to look outside of your industry for the answer. Companies using social media and other tools are having real-time conversations with their customers. How does that stack up with your current standard? Remember, a consumer compares experience-to-experience, and not just within that industry. Being the best in your industry with today’s tech savvy consumer may not get you very far.
The following is by Katie Mares, Customer Experience Consultant for The DiJulius Group.
Create Your Followers
It takes progressive leadership for the vision of World Class Customer Service to come to life and make it stick with team members. However, it takes the first follower to make this vision translate to customers.
“A leader without followers is a person taking a walk…”
2017 will bring a new focus to how we lead our people through the Customer Service Revolution. It will no longer be about systems and processes that are mandated. Our core group of employees are Millennials, who need to be a part of a bigger purpose, who want to believe in what they are told to do and who want to have the confidence in those they follow.
Leaders who are brave enough to take on the challenge of creating a World Class Experience for their customers will need to create a World Class Experience for their teams…they will need to dedicate time and resources to create followers and brand evangelists in order for the customer to realize the shift in the experience and for the leaders of organizations to realize the upside.
World Class Service starts at the top with a strong belief, commitment, and strategic plan, but most importantly it takes leaders who are willing to commit to serving their people and in turn cultivate a culture that lives and breathes by the customer.
Leaders in Customer Experience understand that every customer is unique. They also realize that in order to keep their customers coming back for more, the experience they provide needs to be tailored to suit the unique needs of each customer. This seems like an impossible task…creating a personalized experience for each customer we come in contact with.
2017 will be focused on using the information that is at our fingertips and creating ways to translate the information into a personal experience for customers. According to Accenture, 73% of consumers prefer to do business with retailers that use their personal information to make the shopping experience more relevant. It is no longer about what we think the customers’ needs are, it is about the actual needs of the customer, and they expect just that!
With customers’ expectations of a personalized experience on the rise, it is vital to focus on gathering the unique information about each of your customers and using it to create a personalized experience that connects them to you emotionally. Technology allows employees to create a personal database on each of your customers. Role-play with your employees to teach them how to collect these nuggets of gold; then create processes they can follow to effectively use the information you have on your customers. This will allow your employees to create an emotional connection with your customers. This will have the customer wanting to interact with you over the competitors.
Apr 20 2017
Hospitality Is Not Just For The Hospitality Industry | Don’t Trust Your Customers | Uber Is Systemized Hitchhiking
The DiJulius Group Welcomes Katie Mares, CXC
Due to our rapid growth in Customer Experience consulting, The DiJulius Group (TDG) has added another Customer Experience Consultant, Katie Mares. A former Customer Experience Executive of multiple TDG clients, Katie has been working with the X-Commandments methodology since 2011. She is also an instructor in the CXE Academy.
*The following is written by Katie Mares, CXC
Who is Your Competition?
Our customers have multiple interactions all day long on a daily basis. In fact, businesses are competing with all of the experiences people have from the moment they wake up until the moment they have the privilege to interact with that customer, sell to them, and convince them why they have the best product, food, or service there is to offer. As a result of this, a great deal of businesses put a focus on improving their customer experience. Emphasis is also put on developing the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the Return on Investment (ROI) for initiatives like this. One of the most popular KPI that businesses look at is whether or not the customer is likely to recommend them. This particular KPI uncovers those customers that are ‘likely to recommend’, but it also sheds light on those customers who are ‘not likely to recommend’. Studies show that news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience. This is a pretty compelling stat. Understanding this, it would be in the business’ best interest to focus on perfecting the customer experience to reduce the number of ‘not likely to recommend’.
If this isn’t reason enough to focus on establishing a World Class Customer Experience, here are a few more statistics that might sway some away from the dark side:
It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner
3 in 5 Americans (59%) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience. Source: American Express Survey, 2011
Customer churn is attributed to the poor quality of customer service. (Accenture Maximizing Customer Retention Report)
The Bottom Line
The list of reasons you should have the customer on the forefront of your mind goes on and on. Let’s try this reason on for size. What if providing a World Class Customer Experience created brand evangelists and generated referrals all while increasing your profits? A study conducted by American Express shows that 7 in 10 Americans say they were willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service.
I learned early on in my career that providing a World Class Customer Experience plays a major impact on the bottom line. Because of this, I have spent the majority of my career focusing on people and the experience we provide the customers we interact with. I had the pleasure to work with The DiJulius Group at the beginning of my career (in retail) and together we successfully created and rolled out a World Class Customer Experience program that raised our ‘likely to recommend score’ from 64% to 77% across a fleet of locations yielding 13% organic growth year over year.
Hospitality is Not Just for The Hospitality Industry
As I transitioned out of retail and into the dental field I got to thinking, if retailers, restaurants, and other services put a focus on creating a World Class Customer Experience (and rightfully so), why aren’t we putting the same emphasis on the Patient Experience in a dental practice (or any medical practice for that matter)?
Let’s face it; visiting the dentist is not something many of us look forward to. Ultimately, it is a grudge buy. We have to go to the dentist to maintain our oral health. Don’t get me wrong, caring for your oral health is extremely important, but it is expensive, sometimes painful, and you don’t leave the practice with something tangible that you can hold and show off (like a Kate Spade handbag or the newest Apple gadget). Knowing that most of your patients are already hesitant to book an appointment and have a variety of dentists to choose from, it is important now more than ever to establish a World Class Patient Experience. Remember, you are not only competing with the dentist down the street but with every interaction your patients have before they commit to an appointment or booking treatment.
Here’s the silver lining. If your patients leave your practice feeling cared for by a team that creates wow moments seamlessly throughout their entire visit, they will recommend you to a friend and they are far more likely to say yes to treatment.
When I realized the importance of a Patient’s Experience in the dental practice, I made it my mission to pull from my customer experience knowledge in retail to create a World Class Patient Experience for the dental practices I was working with across the country.
Where Do You Start?
Going from good to great in Customer Service is a major project and can appear to be overwhelming. Where to start? Eat that elephant one bite at a time. I was working with a rather large group of practices spanning across the country. Before I began developing any processes or programs, I needed to better understand what the buy in would be from the field to carry this initiative to fruition. So I surveyed these practices and asked the following question: “What is the one area in your practice you wish you and your team had more training on?” The options given were as follows:
A. Clinical Knowledge
B. Treatment Coordinating
C. Administration Processes
D. Patient Experience
An overwhelming 87% responded the need for more training on providing a better Patient Experience! We had buy in! Having teams committed to providing a World Class Patient Experience is half the battle. Now I needed to better understand what a World Class Patient Experience looked like in a dental practice. My advice, start off small. Buy in is critical, top down and bottom up. Without this, synthesizing the Patient Experience is next to impossible.
Observe: Understand the Needs of the Customer Through the Customer’s Eyes
With countless hours of observation in different demographics, I came to the conclusion that:
There are seven stages in the Patient Experience Cycle, each as equally important as the next.
The team has to work together seamlessly to ensure that the patient moves effortlessly through each stage in the experience; they all play an important role.
If one team member drops the ball and another team member doesn’t step in to help recover from the situation, then the patient’s perception of their experience is easily tarnished.
And fourth, more than in any retail or service setting, the ‘Secret Service’ component of the customer experience is most critical to the Patient Experience. Why? Because the patient wants to feel like the team, the hygienist and the doctor are interested in them as an individual and that all the Oral Health Education and Treatment Plans presented are tailored to them.
Remember, patients are people and not a set of teeth. Someone once told me “treat others the way they need to be treated.” Ultimately, we need to understand what they desire from their time with you in the practice in order to truly make an impact on the Patient Experience.
After a year of development and implementation, the impact on the KPIs set out were better than expected. First, patient attrition was reduced by 20%, internal referrals increased by 27%, and treatment acceptance doubled. Second, the greatest impact this journey had was that teams started to work together! They were more engaged and felt great about coming to work and doing their part in providing a World Class Patient/Customer Experience.
The impact of establishing a World Class Customer Experience?
Increased team engagement
BRAND LOYALITY- from your team and your customers/patients!
An industry Revolution
Don’t trust your Customer
Listening to your customers is a good practice for understanding what your business is currently doing right and wrong. However, the customer is the worst resource to determine your Customer Experience strategy. Revolutionary companies, the ones that totally disrupted and transformed their industries, did not use focus groups. It is hard to design by focus groups because most of the time, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.
Customers didn’t ask for an iPhone, Zappos, or Uber, but today they can’t live without it.
“The only way to come up with something new—something world changing—is to think outside of the constraints everyone else has. You have to think outside of the artificial limits everyone else has already set.” -Steve Jobs
*Only 3 spots left for the 2017 CXE Academy Class contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Uber is Systemized Hitchhiking
Think about this. 10 years ago, if someone would have asked what you would like in a cab experience, no one would have responded, “I would like to be able to stand on any street corner, at any time, and within minutes some stranger in an unmarked car will pick me up.” Watch this 75 second video on how Uber is systemized hitchhiking.