Focus on these areas to strengthen your customer experienceMay 18, 2022
(Part 6 of the 2022 Multi-Unit Franchising Conference)
During the past weeks, I’ve been sharing the takeaways of what I experienced at this year's Multi-Unit Franchising Conference, an annual event dedicated to helping these business owners make their companies stronger and more profitable.
In this is part six, we’ll review John DiJulius's keynote. He is a guest experience expert and his organization focuses on helping franchisors and franchisees develop specific customer service expertise and focus.
John pointed out how in the past 15 years, the level of satisfaction the customers have had in their experience with businesses, in general, is at a 15-year low. A lot of it is being driven by staffing issues and high-cost problems. He urged business owners to act against this customer service recession by building and offering a strong and positive customer experience because then, they’ll do better than anybody else in the market.
Your attention in that area will be very important for the success and the health of your business in the long run. Take note of these key areas you need to focus on to accomplish this excellence in your customer experience.
Price vs. experience
The specialist opened the session by saying that regardless of the state of the economy, the job of the franchisee is to make the price of the product or service irrelevant to their customers. What they experience with our offer and how they feel about it is what matters the most.
The consumer knows they have to pay to obtain a service or a product, but they're going to choose you over somebody else based on the experience they have in your business. If they have a unique, special, and better customer experience with you, the price you charge will be irrelevant (within certain parameters, of course!)
Your staff, key when delivering customer experience
In the day-to-day operations, your personnel is the one that’s interacting with your customers and fulfilling their needs and expectations. They are the link between your operations and the final users. That’s why the hiring process is critical, as well as the training one, to make sure they can properly deliver the right customer experience.
Aside from the labor shortage issue the industry is facing, there’s also the turnover challenge. John advised the business owners to focus on this matter also, developing strategies not only to bring in new people but to keep the talent they already have.
Create a customer experience action statement
This document has to be given to your employees so that they can deliver the same experience over and over again. Thus, it has to clearly detail all the aspects of how that experience should be, what emotion you want to generate, and the steps they have to follow to create it in every interaction with the customers and even with fellow employees.
You can be as detailed as needed, or even write a script so that the staff can actually use it. But you can’t just hand it over, you have to train or teach them how to do it to truly accomplish the purpose.
Mind the business culture
Beware: a lot of the things that have to do with the retention issue are related to the company culture and you cannot hire your way out of a bad culture.
Culture is part of the employee experience and the people they are surrounding themselves with. They get immersed in whatever culture and team you or your managers have built, and they’ll either become part of the family or leave if they're not a good fit.
That is why it is so crucial to take the necessary time to hire the right people for your team, do everything within your power to retain them, and create a positive culture for your organization.
Be in the certainty business
This means that business owners have to make sure their customers know what to expect from their experience, even if it's bad news.
For example, if you’ll give them a slow service or, for any reason, you can’t meet their needs, you have to let them know from the get-go. That way, they will know what to expect from the beginning.
But if you try to hide it or give inaccurate information, the customers will be disappointed, angry, and you’ll lose their trust. This can be fatal because getting it back is going to be very hard. Think of all the businesses that have let you down and how long it took you to give them a second chance! And if you did and they let you down again, the chances of you returning are minimal.
Care about the ROX
To John, instead of focusing on the ROI (Return On Investment), the language of leaders should be about the ROX (Return On Experience). The outcome will be the customers giving you more money and more revenue based on the experience that you provide.
One thing he suggested to have this change in the mindset is to create your signature experience and make sure it is delivered consistently by every employee every time they come to your business. This will give them a sense of familiarity and trust in your organization.
It also has to generate positive micro-moments for your clients that they will remember for a long time. But don’t worry, it doesn't have to be very fancy or too elaborate, as John pointed out. In fact, it should be easily achievable so that all team members can do it every single time.
Create connections with others
For this expert, the illiterate nowadays are those who cannot build meaningful connections with others. There’s some truth in that because as a business owner, your job is not to tell people what to do. Being a leader is truly about connecting with the people that execute the systems and processes day in and day out, not just as workers, but as individual human beings with thoughts, feelings, aspirations, and hopes.
The best leaders truly show interest and care about their people and the things that are important to them.
To generate these meaningful connections, John advised remembering the word FORD. It is the acronym for Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dreams and it refers to the things that you can inquire about and learn about to have those connections.
Just having a question about those elements will automatically open a meaningful and personal conversation and people will remember you for it. Think about it! Everyone has something they would like to share about their families, their jobs, what they love doing, and their dreams.
Any of those conversations will help you learn a lot about the individuals and have meaningful relationships with them. The best part is that this strategy can be taught to all of your employees.
Help people find their purpose
John also reminded us how employees are looking for a purpose. They want to define what is their role in the world and what are we here for. If you can give them insight into that, within the context of your business, they’ll increase their enthusiasm to be part of your organization because they’ll be able to connect their hopes and dreams to their job. That’s very powerful.
If you can communicate to your employees how the purpose of your business makes a difference in people's lives, they’ll understand that they're not just doing a job, but having a positive impact on the customers. That way, you’ll be able to inspire and motivate them.
Don’t forget about the PXS
Yes, your organization has to be CXS, which means Customer Experience Strong, but it also has to be PXS, which is People Experience Strong. What John meant by that is that you should spend as much effort on your employee experience as you do on your customer experience because one will serve the other.
I agree with that 100%. If the latter is not as good as you need it to be, how can you expect your customer experience to be any better?
The advice is that you focus on the customer and the employee experience. Also on having retention on those great people that you have so that they can help you build a great culture in your organization. This will bring a positive experience for your employees that eventually will turn into a positive experience for your customers.
John DiJulius's keynote was a great reminder of many truths and principles of businesses. I hope you enjoyed them. If you want to acquire more business tips and resources to elevate your leadership as a business owner, subscribe to our YouTube channel and give us a thumbs up on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Until next week!
- How unique, special, and consistent is the customer experience you are offering?
- Are you just selling products and services or making meaningful connections with your consumers?
- What strategies are you implementing to retain your best talent?
- Do you know how is the employee’s experience in your organization?
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