Customer focus is mostly about the employees and the management
If you only focus on what is important for the customer and ignore what is important, difficult, or decisive for the employees who deliver the experience, you will never be able to drive any kind of behavior change. In other words, CX expert, Stine Ringvig Marsel explains that you must understand the employee as good as the customer to get them on the journey and create lasting changes.
Be unambitious, dose the effort over time to gain success
With over 15 years of experience with implementing customer focused transformation in three of Denmark’s biggest brands in the adventure industry; Zoologisk Have, The Tivoli and Copenhagen Airport A/S, Stine’s experience is that the customer experience projects that creates lasting change to benefit the customers and the bottom line is the ones where the effort is being dosed in such suitable doses so the effort can be maintained in the long-term operation.
Use the valuable (and free) knowledge about the customers' experience that you already have
The most efficient way to create changes is letting the customers voice and experience be a lighthouse that leads the way contemporary with that the work with the customers experience solves the everyday problems for the employees.
Focus on all the sources of information about the customers that you have, for example the employees’ input about difficult situations, customer surveys or complaints etc. Turn against the biggest challenge first. Prepare and implement a proposed solution and then move on to the next. Small steps. One at a time. That is the road to success.
Don’t drown the organization in data
To become wiser on how the employees experience the situation you can ask the ones that meet the customers; “What is the most difficult situation you experience when in contact with the customers?”, “What is the most frequent situation which is hard and perhaps appear 3-5 times a week?” When you ask continuously then make sure to solve one challenge at a time.
In Copenhagen Airport they measured twice a year with NPS look-a-like questions on the passenger experience of the security. It does not sound like much but in this context it was enough. Stine explained: “Why use time and money on collecting data and drowning the organization in data when it nonetheless can be transformed into change? Why collect data today when it will tell the same as the data from yesterday because you have not launched and completed transformations initiatives?”
What is right for other firms must be assessed from firm to firm, Stine explains. But do you need to drive change in an operation that drives 24 hours with 500 employees where no one can attend courses, then it takes time to create changes. Therefore, two measurements a year combined with the employees’ input, overview of complaints and customer feedback are enough to kick off workshops and initiatives that create the wanted change.
Work with the reason for the NPS score – not the score
Way too many drowns their organization in data and for example looks continuously on a NPS that does not create any value because there is not being worked with the comments and reasons for the responses. If used correctly and in combination with other data types, for example qualitative interviews, NPS is a strong tool to create change for the customer which will create value for the firm.
But used incorrectly and focusing only on the score, it is irrelevant noise.
The tools must be created by the employees
When Stine worked in Copenhagen Airport as Service Excellence Director the focus was the employees and she used their knowledge and experience as the foundation for creating the right tools. She established a work group consisting of seven employees. Based on customer satisfaction surveys, NPS, observation of behavior, input from the employees about difficult situations they developed proposed solutions. This becomes the best practice behavior and sentences which could refute the challenges the passengers faced.
Make the work concrete and close to practice
Instead of fluffy cases like: “Give extraordinary customer experiences” or “Smile and be polite” the employees developed concrete and close to practice sentences and guidelines for behavior which were easy to test and implement. And best of all it did not only create better customer experiences but also improved the employee experience.
Below you can read Stine’s guide and practical implementation on creating better passenger experiences with Copenhagen Airport as starting point:
- Understand the goals and challenges the employees and managers have in relation to the customers. Solve their problems and challenges with the customers first
- Look at several data sources
- Use customer and employee feedback in your proposed solution
- Make the solutions concrete and close to practice
- Incorporate the management in collaboration with the employee in your proposed solution
- Plan a marathon not a sprint. Stretch the implementation over time
- Make the customer experience a part of what is being talked about in the organization at regular intervals in all relevant meetings
- Make it fun and inspiring to work with the customer experience. Seriously. Otherwise, no one wants to.
Take everything with a pinch of salt – and do not believe any books that have “the recipe”
“The right way when working with the customer experience is different depending on what type of firm, employees and customers you have.” That is how Stine Ringvig Marsal introduce her eBook (NB in danish) “Gode kundeoplevelser der giver bedre bundlinje”. Stinge elaborates: “There are many who think they have “the recipe” on how to do it, but such does not exist. You must always assess what works from organization to organization.
Be patient or buy a confetti bomb
Do you want to work with Customer Experience Management that strengthen your bottom line you have to work with management, customer understanding, management, the right customer insights, management, employee understanding, management, knowledge about change management, behavior, habits, culture and … management. The point as you probably caught is that you cannot work with Customer Experience Management and have success unless you collaborate with the management. Habits must be created, which become part of the culture, and it is the managers who is in charge for both.
Stine Ringvig Marsal is a sociologist specializing in behavior and organizations, she has plus 15 years of experience from Zoologisk Have, The Tivoli and Copenhagen Airport with Customer Experience Management and implementation of customer focused change. Stine is CEO and founder of Experience Management Community a forum where managers who work with creating better customer experiences sparring with each other across industries about how implementation and lasting change best is being created with the customer in focus.
Read Stine’s eBook “Gode kundeoplevelser der giver bedre bundlinje” here (NB in Danish) and her Airport Security Case here.
Stine Ringvig Marsel e-bog.pdf
Stine Ringvig Marsel Airport Security case.pdf