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The Magic Circle of Customer Experience

Do you remember your last phone call to your favorite telephone operator, for a problem with your beloved communication “box”: every minute you wait is charged, 20 long minutes, during which you hear twenty times « your waiting time will not exceed 2 minutes ». As requested by the recorded message, you enter your phone number on the keyboard to be recognized more easily. And suddenly, you’re greeted by a disenchanted voice that tells you:

The call center agent: « Hello. What is your phone number? « 

You’re so happy to hear that question ! … and it continues with the following exchange:

The agent: « Turn off your box, then turn it on »

You: « but I already did it 4 times »

The agent:  » I tell you to do it, this is the 1st step in the procedure!»

And … you move from stage to stage, and your blood pressure is rising, your dissatisfaction is increasing vis-à-vis the agent, who, himself, is not ready to to let it go and enters in the “fight”: two solitudes that confront and push the adrenaline up … for a communication box!

Imagine the next customer who speaks with this specific agent: a time bomb, both in the relationship with customers and internally, vis-à-vis his colleagues, his manager. All the ingredients are there to develop a climate of demobilization for the agent and his colleagues, which of course will affect the relationship with other customers: we are at the heart of the vicious circle linking customer dissatisfaction and demobilization of employees.

Today, the long term sustainability of your business is mainly due to two things:

• The deep commitment of your customers, who need to be more than satisfied with the experience in the relation with your company: they must be delighted, fulfilled and why not overwhelmed! In short, they must live as often as possible this famous WOW that will make them “ambassadors” for your company and will be better than all the « loyalty cards » and media campaigns in the medium and long term (the WOW may also come from an accurate and appropriate response that exceeds customer expectations at a given time: a discreet but effective WOW!)

• The mobilization of your employees, who develop every effort to contribute to the success of the company and to delight customers, supported by managers who empower them and consider them.

This sustainable growth is based on « ambassadors » that inspire prospects to become customers, and on engaged employees that inspire their colleagues to stay in your company, candidates to join , and customers to remain loyal. This is what we call the magic circle of customer experience, which is supported by in a key attitude: « shared inspiration »!

The main challenge of today’s businesses, which « attract customers » (with promotions) or do what they can to retain employees (with financial benefits) is to put at the center of their strategy a fundamental concept, the inspiration … the desire: the desire to contribute to a collective project in his company, the desire to do the little extra that makes the difference vis-à-vis customers or simply the desire, for a client, to develop the relation with the company !

Finally, the good news is that this magic circle of customer experience does not just help to build a better world, with strong mobilization and customer delight: a study conducted by Gallup in 2007 (*) with 2000 companies in the financial sector, retail and services shows that companies where customer engagement and mobilization of employees are very high, grow in sales five times higher than other companies. So, just do it: inspire !

Pierre Daems

(*) Source: Adapted from « Human Sigma » – John Fleming, Jim Asplund