Some days ago, I started on what will end up being a four-part series on innovative power, one of the fruits of Enterprise 2.0 or Social Business. You are more than welcome to check part one and part two if you have not yet had the chance to do so.
Most company leaders would agree that a happy customer is more likely to become a returning customer, but how can a company expect a happy customer to become a brand evangelist if the company has not first understood the real value of its own employee experience (EX)?
1. Create employee experience (EX) first and customer experience (CX) will follow.
Some time ago I called Zappos’ Customer Service in Nevada. I asked the person on the phone if she was happy to work for Zappos. An enthusiastic and enchanted voice answered: “… Oh …. thank God I am working here…!” Let’s stop for a second. Would your employees say the same thing about your enterprise? If they were to be asked the same question, would they answer with the same positive attitude and with such a gregarious outburst of enthusiasm?
2. Improve your company reputation and internal set of values
Ask a few friends to run a quick “popularity check” on your business around town and find out what locals are saying about you. Pick up some outgoing and outspoken testers. Let them go to bars and places where the locals meet and find out directly from them what the real deal is. Who knows, the outcome might surprise you, and such an experiment could be an eye-opening attempt, right? Employee experience (EX) is serious food for profound business evaluation since customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) will never precede employee experience (EX). CX and UX will only kick in if an enthusiastic crowd of co-workers and employees are passionately standing behind your company’s products or services. Remember Martin Luther King? He did not say: I have a “to do list”, but “I have a dream”, which was his personal call for rallying people’s emotions and passions thus creating a relentless support for his cause. Do your employees know your company values and dreams? Can your workforce regularly see the ratified vision of your enterprise? Is your company vision straightforward and inspiring enough for everyone to see and understand? Are you moving the passion and emotions of your workforce for your cause the same way Dr. Martin Luther King did?
3. Grant your employees the right to make decisions that are right for your customers
It is often a leitmotiv (repeated theme) here in Europe, to have a shop attendant tell you: “I am sorry Sir/Madam, but I am not authorized to make such a call!” Why? Why on earth isn’t she authorized to make such a decision? For crying out loud, is she not the one dealing with customers on a day-to-day basis? Why does it so often fall to the hierarchical manager, sitting behind his desk all day long (and mostly cut off from day-to-day sales reality) to make that particular call?
4. Focus on your employees and their needs
Many businesses focus primarily on Customer Experience/Service and this is absolutely mandatory if companies expect to raise their service level, and positively influence customer satisfaction and customer retention. However, find out first about the working conditions and environment of your own workforce such as sitting comfort, IT equipment satisfaction, dining facilities and amenities. If you do not know, genuinely ask them in a personal way.
The unsung heroes employees at Disneyland are the folks carrying the brooms! “Sweepers are actually frontline customer representative with brooms in their hands”. “Scholar John Boudreau and Peter Ramstad have shown that the sweepers who continually tidy up the park and often answer guest questions are vital to Disney. The caliber of these workers and their ability to solve problems are crucial to the holistic ‘magic’ Disney aims to create for visitors.” Is your management striving to transform every single employee into a self-declared brand ambassador and evangelist? Tony Hsieh and the Zappos folks certainly do. How about you?
5. Create and build a company culture that inspires and unleashes creative power
Study companies like Zappos and Starbucks. This will give your management lots of valuable ideas on how to create a culture that is right for your business and workforce. Pass on your vision to your employees, share with them proper business confidentiality. Be transparent and give! To expect any kick backs would not be a genuine altruistic way of shaping your business gospel, would it? Your workforce needs a business dream, the drive and passion to reach for the stars, while management humbly keeps ts feet on the reality grounds of modesty. Leadership should inspire, motivate and consistently foster initiative, engagement and creativity. In Jacob Morgan’s wonderful book: The Collaborative Organization, there is a quote from Carl Frappaolo (a leading practitioner of emergent collaborating strategy): “Culture is the single greatest potential asset or detriment. A culture conducive to collaboration will compensate to some degree for awkward processes and inadequate technology. In contrast a culture not conducive to collaboration will ignore or in the worst case sabotage, even the most advanced technology and process approaches to open transparent sharing.”
What are the ways your company fosters creativity and innovation? How do you define your business culture? Looking forward to your comments and suggestions.Please follow me on Twitter at: http://Twitter/BrunoGebarski – Five Additional Ways Social Business Can unleash Outrageous and Innovative Power (2/4) – Five Ways Social Business Can Unleash Outrageous and Innovative Power (1/4) – Three Fundamental Macro Trends Transforming Our Society, the Way We Live and How We Work – The Evolution of Big Data: From Descriptive via Predictive to Prescriptive Business Intelligence (BI)