How Leadership Impacts the Customer Experience

Jul 6, 2018

Have you ever had a CHEERS experience? If you know the TV Sitcom Series “Cheers” then you understand what Im talking about. Yes, that’s the one – “where everybody knows your name”.

We all seek out that place, that experience where we feel like we belong, we feel welcomed, cared for, special, and part of a “family”.

I had an experience recently where I could see my relationship and ongoing experience becoming one just like that, and I got this from my very first welcoming experience as a customer.

The Customer Experience – Welcome and Connection

I bought a new car a little over a month ago, and at the time, I felt really good about my purchase.  I was well taken care of by the dealership, and got great follow up service. That was my first touch – it was a pleasant experience, and I liked what I was feeling, which was best described as “well looked after”.

My first complimentary service rolled around really quickly, and I rocked up for my service expecting that my car would be well taken care of, but what I didn’t expect was how welcome, special and taken care of I would feel, by everyone.

I got escorted to the Service Department and a comfortable waiting lounge where I was invited to wait with complimentary access to free flowing high quality machine coffee, homemade baked cake, free wifi, and comfortable seating.

The friendly staff were quick to connect with me and assist me with the coffee machine, engage in conversation and make sure I had everything I needed for the duration of my stay.

In that short window of connection I learned that ‘Sally’ (not her real name) made the best cake and I should be sure to try “a piece or two” before I leave. At this stage I was starting to feel like I may never want to leave!!!

Throughout my visit, each team member I connected with treated me with genuine care, making me feel like a VIP, and that I was indeed a part of their “family”. From the Service Lounge to the Service Workshop. Even though I didn’t see the people who serviced my car, I could see and feel the level of care. My car was washed, and kept clean by the workman who diligently covered my seats, laid mats and completed my service book.

This experience goes beyond the surface level friendliness of the individuals and reflects a much larger organisational culture.

The Culture – The way we do things around here

 The overall sustainable customer experience is a result of an organisation that has highly motivated, engaged, empowered and valued staff. Staff that embody the organisations values of ‘customer care’.

It says to me that it has leadership that values its people and have invested in making the connection between their mission, people and customers and created an environment where this has become an ethos, a way of doing business.

Richard Shiparo, Founder and CEO of The Centre for Client Retention and author of “The Endangered Customer – 8 Steps to generating repeat business”, captured this when he said “new customers become return customers when they make a connection with another human”.

The way in which you develop and lead your people will directly impact the customer experience, the connection your people have with your customers.

The organisation that creates a welcoming human to human connection will be the one that will create the greatest customer loyalty, particularly in this growing digital and AI invested economy. Shiparo reminds us that “AI will always be smarter than people, but they will never have a heart”.

Creating the Connection – a place where everybody knows your name

Leaders can achieve this by creating team unity, building their organisational culture and behaving in alignment with their values.

Start building a better customer connection where everyone enters as strangers, leaves as friends and want to come back, with these three steps:

  1. Understand the correlation between how you engage your staff and the overall customer experience.

 How much you care about and value your customer is a reflection of how well you care about and value your staff.  If you want loyal customers, look after and connect with your staff. Their level of motivation, commitment and satisfaction is demonstrated through their customer relationships.

  1. Connect people to your values – Values clarity attracts and repels the ‘right’ people in your tribe. And by ‘tribe’ I mean staff and customers. Your culture has its foundations in its lived values.

How strongly are you and your people aligned to the business values? Is there a genuine connection? How do you know?

  1. Equip yourself and your team with the ability and power to impact and make a difference in a way they can genuinely connect to each other and their customers.

Each team member has a unique value they bring to the business, help them tap into and express the values through their talents in a way that makes for a positive customer experience. Just like Sally.

Sally’s talent for supporting and giving to her team and customers was demonstrated by her care in baking the cake for customers and staff to enjoy – a small but significant act of care. We all have our unique way of contributing and connecting.

My car dealership did those three things, and it was reflected in my customer experience.

I’m now looking forward to my next car service, coffee and cake. But mostly, Im looking forward to feeling cared about, looked after, and like Im part of the family. Soon enough everyone there will know my name.

**enjoying the coffee, cake and wifi while I wait**

I help people unleash their inner Leader so they can connect with others and have a positive impact. Let me know if I can be of service to you. You can ring me on 0411 035 308, email or schedule a time to chat on the link below:

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