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One of the biggest challenges with customer experience (CX) programs is how to go beyond tracking a net promotor score (NPS), collect data, be able to take action and change behaviors that impact customer experiences. That’s because it requires your teams to understand how exactly their behaviors lead to the result, and it requires them to care enough and be motivated to change on their own.
Here are six ways to enable behavior changes and boost results.
1. Targeting the right opportunities
From many years of running CX programs, I’ve found there are six to seven key behavioral drivers that will make or break the customer experience. When we know what they are and do them consistently, we find there is a direct link back to NPS, sales results, staff confidence and engagement. We often call this the “perfect experience.”
Let me give you an example — in retail, desired soft skills will be focused on greeting, engaging and understanding needs, as well as treating customers as valued clients. The more challenging (but key) selling skills will be around closing the sale and selling the full solution (like add-ons).
From your program results, you must identify the most critical behaviors, and then when one or more is missed, you can identify what the No. 1 priority for improvement is for each team member — is the reason that they are missing this skill, or are they missing the will to learn it? Does the employee know how to understand customers’ needs, or are they just unwilling to listen to them? By targeting the No. 1 priority over the coming quarter, you will see the greatest change and can link to e-learning and other development resources.
2. Coaching and training
Assess the patterns of behavior for every person in your team based on CX results. Managers are often too late to discover the problem and provide training in time. You must provide the coaching at the time the problem is happening — we call this coaching in the moment. So your CX results should be sent to managers in real-time so they provide coaching straight away, then track progress on a weekly basis.
3. Understand the why
So far we’ve looked at CX data being able to identify our No. 1 priority and the behavior patterns to apply to coaching. Now we need to understand the context.
Review customer comments for every experience and understand why they felt the way they did. We call this understanding the “story” behind the results. You might find issues related to the sales experience, or perhaps out of stocks, pricing or lack of staff on weekends vs. weekdays. Just tracking an NPS score will not tell you this — you must get to the detail and understand the why.
4. Action plans
Teams should be meeting to review their results and discuss how they can improve. You need an action plan linked to results. Teach your team leaders how to set targets, commit to action-based plans and ensure their managers review the plans, provide any feedback and are held accountable for the implementation of that plan and measure the impact. We find the best results occur when you take the time to focus on one thing and commit to improving this over the coming quarter — keep it simple, but highly focused.
5. Reinforce the right habits
Provide real-time updates. As results improve, celebrate the team members who are improving, show what has changed and prove the impact that behavior has on customers. Then, use real-time alerts when any of the key behaviors are missed to build urgency around coaching. Remember, to get the greatest impact, coaching and celebrating (or discussing problems) must be done in real-time. Waiting until the end of the month to provide feedback is too late — doing it as close to the customer experience as possible works best.
6. Proving the returns
I’ve found in pretty much every case there’s a direct link between the key behaviors and sales results. Take the time to explain the impact of missing key behaviors to your front-line teams. As their skills improve and you achieve the ideal experience more frequently, you will see a direct link to results — by proving the return on effort and investment in people, you will inspire them to care and take ownership. One key point here is if you are not seeing results, then refer to the quality of the action plans — your managers might need to provide more training on how to set targets, create winning action plans and support them in how they are being implemented.
So to wrap up, go beyond chasing NPS scores. Identify the behaviors that will have the most impact on results, provide coaching and planning and place the focus on driving the improvement rates for each team. Support and inspire your teams. As you help them become more successful they will love your customers and you will boost results ASAP.