How to bring your client experience vision to life

From

Karen Gately

Here are six essential ways you can influence the client experience through your team.

What’s it like doing business with your team? Do your clients come away feeling confident in your organisation and happy with the service they received? Contemplate for a moment the extent to which certain members of your team influence the quality of those experiences.

The simple reality is client experience is directly tied to the depth of talent your team offers and ultimately how they choose to behave. No matter how capable your people are, if they behave badly, your clients are unlikely to return.

Among the most important steps you can take to bring your client experience vision to life through the attitudes and behaviours of the people on your team include the following six steps:

1. Define what success looks like

Clearly articulate the behaviours needed to create the quality of client experience you want. Work with leaders across your business to build a clear view of what client service excellence means in your organisation and how the team can collectively deliver on those outcomes.

2. Get it right from the start

Take a planned, disciplined and somewhat uncompromising approach when looking for new members of your team. All too often, leaders hire people for their technical strengths alone, with little priority placed on culture fit. Look for people who bring values aligned to those of your organisation, irrespective of whether they are in a client-facing role or not.

3. Build awareness

Don’t assume everyone on your team understands how they impact on client experience and loyalty. While it may be plainly obvious for teams, such as client service or reception, others may find it harder to recognise the extent of the impact they can and do have.

Build understanding of the touch points between your clients and business, and the opportunities people have to make a positive difference. Create awareness of not only who your clients are, but also why they come to you and the expectations they hold.

4. Enable collaboration

Help people to understand the role they are expected to play, both directly as well as in support of the rest of the team. Expect that they work in partnership to deliver on the total client experience you want.

Take deliberate steps to break down silos by bringing teams together to agree on areas of collective accountability for success. Focus on the interdependencies between roles and teams in the delivery of the best possible outcomes for your clients.

5. Ask for and share feedback

Listening to the voice of your client is essential to your ability to continuously improve and ultimately, achieve excellence. Don’t wait for things to go spectacularly well or indeed wrong to find out what your clients feel about dealing with your team.

Encourage your team to ask for feedback at every opportunity and establish formal processes to regularly tap into the insights of your clients. Share feedback received with not only those directly involved but also other people across your business who can benefit from the information gained.

6. Address issues

It’s unfortunately common for leaders to set behavioural expectations and yet do little to hold people accountable to them. Creating a client-centric culture demands that decisive steps be taken to address misalignment. Put simply, if you observe behaviour that is a threat to client experience or relationships, you need to do something about it.

Engage in honest conversations that allow people to see how their mindset or actions have a flow through impact to what your clients experience. Be fair and respectful, but equally firm in delivering the feedback people need to hear.

By Karen Gately, founder of HR consultancy, Ryan Gately

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