Unless your internet has been offline for the past decade, every business knows the importance of the customer experience, or CX as it’s more commonly known.
Having your customer receive the experience you want them to have, and indeed the one they are expecting, requires you knowing and understanding your client’s journey.
And, just as the client journey comes before a customer experience by design, there is another critical factor to create the optimum CX, the team experience or TX.
The experience a leader creates for their team, both personally and environmentally, is a critical factor if you want to create a CX that delivers those elusive repeat and referral clients.
“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” – Stephen R. Covey
YOUR CULTURE IS YOUR BRAND
So, if CX is the responsibility of the team, then TX is the responsibility of the leaders.
I would dare to say that the leader’s top obsession should be their team and the experience they have under their leadership.
The team often amplifies the leaders’ vision, including the desired customer experience.
A TIMELESS CHALLENGE
It may sound overly simplistic, but you can’t deliver a remarkable TX unless you have the people.
The age-old business challenge seems to revolve around attracting, recruiting and retaining the best people.
We hear about the best places in the world to work including Google, Apple and Zappos, who attract an excessive amount of the talent pool.
What do they do differently?
Yes, they may have a bigger budget, but the best workplaces are more than pingpong tables and chill-out rooms.
THE COMMON THREAD
During more than three decades in the industry, I’ve had the privilege to lead and coach teams within small businesses, marketing groups, franchises and corporate boards.
What I’ve discovered is that there is a common thread of traits, characteristics and essential elements that the great organisations cater for when it comes to building their teams.
Sense of belonging with like-minded and hearted people.
- Sense of contribution and collaboration towards a common goal.
- Sense of purpose, passion and belief in what they are doing.
- Sense of autonomy and control over daily tasks.
- Sense of progress and growth both personally and professionally.
The businesses that can create a work environment that ticks all of these boxes, typically have a team that sticks around, that performs at their peak and are passionate about what they do.
In simple terms, they are loyal and perform at their peak because they feel fulfilled.
When a person feels fulfilled, they will more likely stay in the environment that is meeting and exceeding their internal and external needs.
In Daniel Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,
he explains that the next level of human motivation, 3.0, occurs when a person has a purpose they believe in, can work autonomously and they are progressing towards mastery.
FULFILMENT BUSINESS CASE
Now don’t be fooled, although the attributes above may sound soft and not very commercial, fulfilment has a genuine business case.
In a world where economic times are driving and demanding cheaper services, there are two exceptions.
Customers will pay more for goods and/or services for two reasons:
- Amazing customer service
When you consider that an amazing customer service experience is more than likely being delivered by a team whose working conditions and culture mirror that CX, there are some real and positive commercial realities about delivering a fulfilling team experience.
THE BIGGEST IMPACT
A common frame that I coach leaders and managers on is that we lead people, manage processes and coach for performance.
By far the biggest impact you can have on your TX is developing your people.
As humans, we crave a sense of progress and growth, and considering we spend most of our waking life in the workplace, it makes strategic sense for leaders to leverage this knowledge and create a competitive edge by providing a learning and growing environment.
More specifically, when leaders provide training for new learnings, then back that up with coaching, the team’s performance, sense of progress and significance increases, making for an enhanced experience, compared to a workplace that provides neither.
Plus, when the team attends training sessions and workshops together, they further develop their relationship, as they embrace new ideas and settings, without the awkwardness of doing it alone.
There are many different leadership styles.
The one which has served me well and that the new generation workforce most calls for is a leader/coach who is focused on developing their team.
Coaching doesn’t have to be a one-off major event or take up great amounts of time.
It can be an in-the-moment, 10-minute impactful conversation that frees up a person’s thinking, unlocks their potential and enhances performance.
The conditions or vibe of the working environment has a big influence on the team experience. If workers feel they don’t belong or feel isolated, this can impact TX.
Every second our brain’s flight, fight or freeze instinct is assessing if this situation is safe or not.
We use the acronym TERA to list the four key areas our brain is assessing.
Tribe – our brain is asking: are these people (both the leaders and the team) on my side or not?
Expectation – can I predict what the outcome of this situation is going to be?
Rank – are these people taking my power or empowering me?
Autonomy – do I have a choice in what is happening here?
An amazing TX can be achieved if TERA is applied, creating an environment where:
- The individual experiences a tribe of people who are on their side.
- There is transparency and regular communication so everyone knows what to expect and is on the same page.
- Respectful working conditions where everyone has an equal say.
- People can make choices in how they apply themselves and get the job done.
When people are lead, processes are managed and individuals are coached, the foundations have been laid for an amazing team experience and therefore a remarkable customer experience.