The increased focus on delivering an optimal experience is leading to what Bruce Temkin, managing partner of Temkin Group, recently described as “a tipping point” in customer experience. The Future of Customer Experience, a report released this summer by Temkin Group, noted that North America has entered the era of “customer experience professionalism,” with more than 100,000 people employed in full-time customer experience roles. Further, the research found that 59 percent of large companies want to become customer experience industry leaders within three years.
But, ambition alone isn’t enough. Organizations need to embrace the fact that Net Promoter® is a corporate change initiative, spanning every single level, from the top echelons of the company to customer-facing employees. However, while many organizations have invested in voice of the customer strategy and enterprise feedback technology, many ignore the crucial, and perhaps the most difficult, step of enlisting the support of frontline employees who define and shape the experience for their customers.
So, how can companies gain employee buy-in and support over the long haul? There are six important steps to achieving alignment from the frontline:
- Valid Metrics: Creating a score with the right statistical validity and consistency is the foundation since it gives employees the confidence that the score against which they—and the company—are being held accountable is a valid measure of customer experience performance.
- Invest in the right processes: Organizations cannot stop at gathering NPS®, but must also close the loop with customers, assess the performance of employees, and provide the right feedback to help staff members improve their performance.
- Establish a long-term training strategy: Learning isn’t a one-time occurrence but a continuous process. Business leaders need to develop a continuous learning strategy. At TeleTech, for example, we worked with Satmetrix to create Satmetrix University, an e-learning version of the company’s sought-after NPS certification. This training platform helps employees become familiar with key NPS concepts and gives them the skills they need to make an immediate impact on the customer experience.
- Develop the right coaching techniques and processes: Beyond training, companies should develop a periodic coaching regimen, which allow supervisors to benchmark employees, determine performance gaps, and address specific issues with the employee.
- Recognize and collaborate: An important step gaining support is to develop both monetary and non-monetary ways to recognize employee achievements. TeleTech created a social collaboration system to reward high NPS performers with virtual currency. Further, these stars are encouraged to contribute to internal blogs and share their techniques with their colleagues.
- Listen to employees: Organizations should consider introducing a voice of the employee component within the NPS program. This would allow them to gather feedback, directly from frontline employees, on company practices and processes that could have a negative impact on the customer experience.
Finally, while failure is disappointing, business leaders should not give up. Instead, they need to persevere in their attempts to improve the customer experience, by auditing their current program versus NPS best practices, and harness the hidden power of their frontline employees.
Net Promoter and NPS are registered trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld. Net Promoter Score is a trademark of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld.