True confession: until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t really thought too deeply about Customer Experience (CX).
I’m not saying that the customer experience isn’t a top priority for me and my Dion Leadership colleagues. As a service business, our success or failure directly connects to our clients’ experience. Our reputation is formed by every customer interaction. However, the discipline of capital C, capital E, Customer Experience is not the focus for the talent development professionals we typically serve. They request solutions to build leadership mindset, work-life alignment, and employee retention as well as the latest thinking and innovations in leadership development programs and executive leadership coaching. Rarely is there a goal to connection of these solutions to the organizations CX efforts.
Then I was invited to be a guest on the Be Customer Led podcast hosted by Bill Staikos.
Bill and I are members of the Fast Company Executive Board. I was intrigued to get to know Bill and his CX work better through this opportunity, and to give deeper thought to how CX related to our leadership development and culture-building work.
As I investigated Bill’s background, I realized that his expertise reached beyond the discipline of CX. He was also devoted to the Employee Experience (EX)—a passion we share. Bill’s mission is to bring the two disciplines together. “I started Be Customer Led to explore the intersections of CX, EX, and how companies develop leaders and cultures maniacal about the customer,” Bill writes on this website.
Now this is going to be fun, I thought to myself.
To prepare for the interview, I needed to study up on CX. Here’s what I found:
Customer experience (or CX for short) is your customers’ comprehensive perception of their experience interacting with your business or brand.”
CX is formed by each and every interaction customers have with your organization or business, from exploring your website to talking with your salespeople to using the product or service they purchased from you.
Everything you and your employees do has the potential to impact your customers’ perception and their decision to keep doing business with you or not.
When employees focus on delivering superior CX, customers are more loyal and more likely to recommend their product or service to other potential customer. This is so important to our business that we’ve started tracking Dion Leadership’s Net Promoter Score as part of our annual coaching study.
In short, good customer experience can be achieved if you:
- Make listening to customers a top priority
- Consistently gather and analyze customer feedback so that your employees gain an in-depth understanding of your customers, as well as their problems and needs
- Make it easy for your customers to choose and use your product or service to address their specific problems and unique challenges
I saw the connection. In that last section, I could easily replace “customer” with “employee.” Listening, feedback, solving problems… these were all important elements of strong EX. And I know that those things don’t happen without strong, caring leaders and healthy organization cultures.
Bill and I had a great time recording the podcast and I was able to share some insights with his listeners about how leadership effects culture and how they both impact CX. Our conversation explored how the direct managers of employees hold an especially important role today’s hybrid workplace. Managers need new skills to help navigate the emerging flexibility demands of employees. Without this need being met, customers will feel the impact through the care provided by burnt out employees struggling to find wellbeing. It’s time to get serious and get focused on teaching the best managerial behaviors and practices that will help employees stay engaged while supporting their work-life alignment.
Thanks, Bill, for giving me the opportunity to think in about leadership development in new and important ways.