Workplace, Managing Customer Experience
Summary: Managing Customer Experience in your workplace is assisted by your perspective of two types of issues customers bring to you - problem & appreciation
Making Customer Experience Decisions Requires You Become Adept at Adopting New Ways to Deal with Managing Customer Experience Issues
It’s likely, at some point time along your entrepreneurial customer experience-management journey, you’ve heard this insightful quote from Heraclitus, a Greek Philosopher (c. 535 BC - 475 BC)
“You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.”
And, if Heraclitus were your customer experience mentor today, his simple message would be “Shift Happens!” His insight is true, more so than ever, as you manage your customer experiences. You’re dealing with shift on minute to minute basis. The issues you encounter, the decisions you make about those issues happen quickly, sometimes in the moment!
This issue-decision relationship is at the heart of managing customer experiences. Issues are the situations from which you make the majority of your day to day customer interface decisions. And equally, your decisions raise new issues.
Like a two sided coin. You cannot have an issue without a decision and a decision without an issue.
Issues range from singular and specific to overlapping and complex. This range is highlighted by how you frame the issue and the experience from which you draw to make your decision.
Two Types of Issues
There are two broad types of issues. First are problems and their associated concerns. That is, something is not working and is hindering the work. Resolution inquiry is needed to solve these issues. Two examples follow.
- Your customer involvement is decreasing with higher customer acquisition costs.
- You arrive at the plant to find broken machinery affecting customer orders. Both of these problem issues require your attention and solutions.
The second type of issue are appreciations surrounded by joy. That is, something is working well and is helping the work. Appreciative inquiry is used to expand this type of issue. Two examples follow.
- You have two janitorial staff who created a time saving approach to clean floors in your franchise restaurant. Now, you see the value in expanding their approach to the other two franchise restaurants to ensure cleanliness for customers and employees.
- An executive assistant in one branch office downloaded customer relationship management (CRM) software and found it helpful to improve customer retention. Now, you see the value in using the CRM software in a new business you're starting.
Paradox of Managing Customer Experience Decisions with Issues
However, there is a catch in the decisions you make from the issues you experience.
Implementing an expansion to an appreciation may incur a problem. While the use of CRM software worked with one business, it does not mean it will work in another business. A best practice in one area does not mean it is usable in another. Often, edits are required to make it work elsewhere.
Conversely, implementing a solution to a problem may incur an appreciation. Fortunately, fixing the employee-customer interface at the parts counter in one branch resulted in new customer service procedures helpful to all branches. Next steps are prepping the new procedures, writing job aids, and training the staff.
About The Decisions You Make
It becomes apparent from these issue examples, yesterday’s decisions are different than tomorrow’s decisions. Each day when you arrive at work is like stepping into the river anew. You decide today into tomorrow. You are creating tomorrow's business today.
When your past decisions are experienced in the present, you draw from best practices you’ve identified. A warning, however! While helpful, practices were best then, not necessarily now. Though, there are elements of the best practices helpful for tomorrow. You’ll find those gems through reflection and conversation with others.
For your present decisions to be useful for the future, utilize the creative process. It means a measure of vagueness and tolerance for risk is woven into your decision making. You strive for ‘performance over perfection’ as an individual and ‘production over perfection’ with the organization. Even with failure, deep learning occurs. Such learning is helpful to your creative process and brings the best of yesterday’s practices forward.
Useful Insights for Managing Customer Experience Decision with Issues
Whether the issue is a problem or an appreciation, accomplishing the desired outcome is a balance of patience, flexibility, and discretion experienced through simplicity, humour and commitment. The patience, flexibility, and discretion help you meet the organizational level frustrations and political agendas of others. The simplicity, humour, and commitment help you engage from where you are, with what you know and do so as to improve performance, increase productivity and reduce waste.
At the core of managing customer experience decisions is to recognize “Change surrounds every Challenge."
- Remain vigilant to how you deal with issues and make decisions.
- Remember, your issues/decisions often whirl together at the same time.
- Use your creative process and draw wisely from your best practices.
- Challenge yourself in what matters.
- Demonstrate your customer experience excellence.
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