3 Key Leadership Behaviors Driving Differentiated CX Performance
Aeritae’s Customer Experience Management practice helps clients deliver exceptional experiences for customers through people, process and technology expertise.
Below, we share insight on the three attributes of leaders who drive differentiated performance.
As a leader, have you ever found yourself wondering how systems implementations become more easily and readily adopted? More “sticky”? Or, maybe you’re pondering about how you can realize the full benefit of your investments in a way that not only impacts the customer experience, but also lifts the employee experience?
In other words, how can you achieve differentiated performance?
We find that leaders who consistently achieve these performance goals in service and transaction companies display three distinct practices (beyond mastering the soft skills of management).
Think in terms of journeys.
Differentiation begins with thinking and acting in terms of journeys, not silos or functions, and using an outside-in perspective. Start by defining the customer journey (or “external journey”) –the steps a customer takes and emotions they experience–to create a clear understanding of the business from the customer’s point of view. Then, create extreme clarity on how work gets done internally (the business process or “internal journey”) across functions and roles as it relates to customer perspective.
Let’s illustrate this using the example of an insurance claim. The customer may define the beginning of the journey as the incident triggering a claim and the end as the physical and financial remedy. Notice, the customer does not speak in terms of departments, functions, or silos. The internal journey takes the perspective of the incoming claim. It defines how the insurance claim moves from a request, to a decision, and on to a remedy. Imagine being glued to the incoming claim, then documenting it’s internal path. This will be helpful in defining the internal journey.
Thinking in terms of journeys is different. Journeys replace functions as the main focus, with the customer journey as the catalyst (functions retain administrative value, but functions have reduced operational value).
Manage the process, not the outcome.
Differentiation continues by thinking and acting like world-class athletes: they focus on the process and let the result take care of itself. Professional golfers often score practice rounds not by the number of strokes played (the outcome), but by fidelity to their pre-shot routine (the process). In other words, they score on their commitment to the process and let the outcome take care of itself.
In business, let’s take the tactical, hands-on example of a front-line leader who puts this into practice in a claims processing center. Rather than coaching her team to achieve a specific productivity measure (an outcome, such as, the number of claims processed per day), she focuses agents on the process of handling a claim that the leader knows will result in the desired productivity level. In fact, her team is not even aware of the outcome being measured (claims per day). The focus is on executing the components of the claims process flawlessly.
Like world-class athletes, leading operators achieve high performance through a relentless focus on the process. The result takes care of itself.
Solve problems before implementing solutions.
Too often we observe leaders in service and transaction operations jumping to solutions to improve business performance before fully understanding the issue. Truly differentiated leaders are astute problem solvers; they invest considerable time in understanding a problem, discovering its root cause, and identifying a process-based solution.
After the business solution has been proven to make a difference (usually through a working prototype, or pilot, and before a significant capital expense investment), these leaders consider how to change the enablers – the IT system, organizational roles, and new skills sets – to reinforce and sustain the change longer term.
Leading operators are problem solvers, and are sharp at problem framing, root cause analysis, and creative solution identification.
Leaders in service and transaction companies exhibit a transferrable set of core hard skills to achieve differentiated performance. They focus on journeys instead of functional silos, manage the process to achieve desired outcomes, and display effective problem solving prior to advocating for solutions.
What else should you consider?
- To what extent have we adopted the lens of the customer and internal journeys vs. holding on to a functional, siloed view of how we operate?
- In what ways do we need to shift our coaching and improvement focus from outcome-based to process-based?
- In our continuing effort to improve, where is there room to invest more energy/resources in robust problem solving prior to making an IT or organizational change to maximize impact?
We partner with CX leadership at Fortune 500 companies everyday to help them solve the tough challenges and drive exceptional results. Contact us to learn more about working with Aeritae.