As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes you have to take a hard look at how you do things for the good of the Customer experience.
I also know that we all have a boss, and most likely there are policies, procedures, or guidelines that you are expected to meet for the good of the organization. I further understand that more and more often there is not an invitation to discuss or challenge these regulations as they become more and more prescriptive.
And that is all the more reason to do so!
There is no doubt that most organizations put rules and processes in place for a very good reason. That doesn’t mean that they are good for your Customers.
So the ask here is pretty straightforward (but don’t mistake that for easy). Ask of every policy: Does this make sense and does it benefit the Customer?
There is no reason to have policies in place that don’t make our Customers’ experiences better or easier. Honestly, if processes don’t meet that litmus test, then those rules need to be changed quickly – unless there is a legitimate risk to safety.
People change policies all the time. Restaurants used to be very rigid about substitutions, special orders, and vegetarian entrees – but things have changed as consumers voted with their wallets. Once upon a time Colleges wouldn’t allow students to attend class virtually or rent textbooks. Now a significant percentage of Higher Education takes place online. Finally, airlines once wouldn’t dream of letting folks keep their electronic devices on during take off and landing. Today I am writing this piece as we are leaving the ground.
So if these areas can make changes, you certainly can as well. Keep a close eye out for policies and procedures that make life easier for the team at the expense of the Customer experience. It could be a return policy or the amount of paperwork for a loyalty program or whether or not you can substitute the onion rings for the fries.
When you run across these types of things, best to examine them closely and engage your Customers and the Front Line to get feedback. Really listen, see what tweaks are needed to make it happen, and what is the financial or human capital impact. Craft your solution and how you will implement the change, then get ready to fight for it. Ultimately, if you answer to a large organization then you will need to take the time to respectfully convince the machine. Sometimes this isn’t easy and you won’t always win. Make your peace with the fact that you can present a most compelling case and still get shouted down. Take the loss gracefully and live to fight for your Customer another day.
But if you have your change effort well planned out, and if it makes sense, you have a high probability of success. Most organizations aren’t in the business of ignoring great, well thought out ideas. If they were, they wouldn’t be large organizations.
There is definitely a form to be followed to help your probability of success. Subscribe to my blog to be included in the mailing list for this great onesheet that will help you craft your message.
The good news is that every time you simplify a process for your Customer you are moving ever closer to building true loyalty that will stick.
Until next time, don’t forget to treat your Customers as cherished friends.
Tony Johnson -Customer Service Leader and Speaker-
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