4 Ways to Change Organizational Perspective on Customer Experience

by Jeannie Walters

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Much of what I do is centered around walking in the customer’s shoes, thus the Customer Experience Investigation™ tagline. And yet so much of this is related to the internal processes and procedures of an organization.

Change your organizational perspective on customer experience.I heard some speakers at a conference talk of their roles within the organization within the organization. Yes, that’s right, they spoke of the organization within the organization. Usually, it sounded something like this:

“In the marketing organization, I lead the analytics team.” Or: “I am responsible for the customer communications for the sales organization.” It’s very clear this is not the company.

Customer-focused organizations talk the talk.

I don’t really have a problem with the fact large organizations need departments, divisions or even small companies. It’s the way they speak of it that bothers me. No matter what you call this, these orgs within the org are creating divisions and silos. Think about the companies you know who are revered for their customer experiences: Apple, Zappos, etc. You don’t hear them discussing their organizations like they are a bunch of smaller organizations. No way.

Every single company’s success is dependent on lots of little things going well. If each individual thinks of how he or she is responsible JUST to the department (or organization or division), the customer will suffer.

Don’t let your people speak in those terms. If you look around and realize your employees are really just employees of their departments, it’s time for a change in the organizational perspective on customer experience. How? Here are some ways:

1. Correct the language publicly, but respectfully.

It’s not their fault. It’s the culture. So next time someone says something like “this will serve the marketing organization,” stop them and ask, “how will this serve the customer?”

2. Tie the company name back to the overall goal.

If a goal is listed as “Increase new revenue by 10% for the sales team,” try tying this back to the bigger goals. “Gain 10% more revenue via new delighted customers of XYZ Brand.”

3. Understand how your employees are asked to deliver outcomes.

If each and every “major responsibility” or “performance outcome” is single-minded, then your employees will be, too. To get my next raise, I’m looking at what I’m expected to deliver, not what might be best for the company.

Success means encouraging recognition of teams and teamwork.

4. Encourage recognition of teams and teamwork.

Too often, marketing and sales get into a schoolyard brawl (corporate style) because they are fighting for recognition, which leads to a bigger budget, which leads to better tools, teams, and raises. Recognize success of the WHOLE and you’ll encourage focusing on the big picture.

If you truly care about the customer experience, don’t let your internal language ruin it before it even has a chance.

What other internal phrases and lingo damage the customer experience? I am betting there is a long list!

Photo Credit: John ‘K. StockMonkeys.com via Creative Commons license

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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