Customer experience isn’t my job

customer experienceIs customer experience everyone’s job? Yes… and no.

It’s a little too easy to state that it’s everyone’s job because then it becomes way too easy for it to become nobody’s job. Without leadership, customer experience is a nice idea but never executed. The best organizations focus on customer experience throughout the entire enterprise, not just in traditionally customer-facing roles.

How can learning leaders help create a customer-centric organization? By ensuring learning involves CX ideas – and real data, skills and outcomes – for teams and individuals who sit outside the departments we consider customer-facing. Instead of customer service training for your contact center agents, think of customer experience training for your accounting team.

What if we could get everyone who works at your company to think about their specific role with the customer?

Here are three ways to help your non-customer-facing teams connect with their role in your customer-centric organization.

  1. Connect the dots of how their daily work connects with the customer’s actual experience.

“Customer experience doesn’t apply to me. I handle just internal tech support.” A well-meaning but misguided employee shared this gem with me. He was setting up the equipment for a workshop I was conducting with the customer experience leadership at his organization. I started asking him about some of the biggest challenges he faced in his role at a large, complex organization.

My new friend shared how he was the “Plan B” which meant 90% of his work was about fixing things when they didn’t work. He mentioned sales and customer support specifically, because they were impatient and panicked by the time he was called to help.

Why were they panicked?

Because a customer is there, waiting for them.

See where I’m going here? My friend didn’t see how his role in helping these teams respond to customers in times of crisis was vital in delivering a superior customer experience. He didn’t see how the work of his daily tasks – keeping technology updated, responding to challenges internally, actually helped the entire organization live up to their promise to customers.

It’s up to you, as a leader, to connect these dots on a regular basis.

Your accounting team needs to understand that by paying invoices correctly and on-time, they are protecting important partnerships and vendor relationships that ultimately serve the customer. This means responding to questions and answering emails from confused partners or suppliers means representing the brand promise to these customers, too.

  1. Customer experience is a business discipline, not a project.

It’s a discipline with real outcomes and measurements. Everyone in your organization is aware when your revenue numbers drop or you exceed your sales projections. That’s because everyone understands that without sales and revenue, there is no business. The same can be said for happy customers, and yet we act like these are a nice-to-have. Explain the important CX metrics in your organization to everyone. Make sure that the loading dock crew understands what NPS is and how it’s measured. Share those metrics throughout your organization so there’s an awareness of what matters.

  1. Communicate about CX like it’s trending.

Leaders often start a “campaign” about customer experience. Maybe there’s an article on the Intranet or a mention in the all-hands meeting. Perhaps a certain year has been declared “year of the customer” so there are posters in the hallways and a banner across the company homepage. But communicating without training is like yelling “cut down that tree” and expecting it to happen. CX is about so much more than promises. We have to know HOW to live up to those promises. CX should be woven into most communications internally. How will this affect the customer? Will this new process create more or less effort for our customers? These are the questions you must ask as a leader, and ask them over and over and over again. The best leaders create cultures where everyone in the organization is willing to deliver on the customer experience because there’s no doubt that it’s a priority. This means communicating about it like you do regarding the overall health of your brand.

CX only really works if your team is focused and willing to put in the effort needed to deliver on it. That is true for every team in your organization.