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How to Level Up on Customer Experience

By : Carolyn Muise

November 16, 2018 08:00 AM

At NCR, we believe our customers are at the center of everything we do and our employees are iNCRedible. In fact, we call them iNCRedibles because of the work they do every day and the quality service they deliver to our customers in every interaction. Quality service sells, and that’s what gives us the right to earn their business today and in the future.

 

I recently joined NCR to enhance the customer experience and help create happy customers for life. My plan is to launch an expanded Customer Experience Council, focused on a corporate Customer Advocacy and Experience (CA/CX) strategy. One of my first orders of business is to build a coalition of like-minded employees to help drive the strategy across the enterprise to embed customer centricity into the fabric of the company. The primary goal of this program is to innovate how we grow and serve our customers. Industry research shows that 81 percent of companies expect to compete mostly or completely on Customer Experience within two years so it’s important that we continue to find ways to serve them better.

 

Part of serving customers better includes increasing employee engagement. NCR has broad employee engagement programs designed to inform and engage employees in our vision, strategy, purpose and brand, demonstrated in their everyday jobs. We’ve created a wide range of employee engagement activities – from hosting Fun Thursdays at our global headquarters campus to engaging in local community-building projects in the places where we, our customers and partners live, work and play.

 

So what does all that mean for the customer?

 

Engaged employees work harder to make customers happy. Happy customers create more business.  Every time one of our iNCRedibles engages with a customer – whether it’s a customer-solutions support specialist in our Centre of Excellence in Serbia, an account representative in Middle East and Africa who goes the extra mile for a customer, or a customer service representative who invents and installs a diagnostic app on NCR self-checkouts that monitors product health and helps keep commerce running – above all else our goal is to create a memorable customer experience.

 

Employees are empowered with cultivating the customer experience each time they interact with a customer. Companies that have high employee engagement achieve two-and-a-half times more revenue versus the competition. Engaged employees are three times more likely to do something good for the company and 87% less likely to leave a company. Every employee plays a role; every connection counts. Strong employee engagement impacts innovation, revenue, retention, and overall CX.

 

Over the years, I’ve discovered five key actions companies should take to bridge employee engagement and customer experience. They are:

1. Listen

 

Leverage your employees’ feedback about customer insight and expertise to empower them to engage and enhance their roles and functions in a way that matters to our customers.  Every employee wants to be heard, and management needs to listen. Create a variety of feedback mechanisms at your company -- from virtual suggestion boxes to annual engagement surveys and even interim pulse surveys. Employees are a company’s most important asset, and oftentimes can share customer insights with us that we wouldn’t have otherwise.

 

2. Inform

 

Your employees should understand your company strategy and vision and be able to confidently restate it. They also need to know how they fit into the strategy and how the work they do every day aligns and enables the company to be successful. It is critical to communicate and educate our most important asset -- our people. At NCR we recently launched a communications strategy using a cascade approach that starts with our CEO and flows to the rest of the leadership and company. This method enables us to communicate our company vision and ensure every iNCRedible is informed and engaged.

 

3. Engage

 

We shared our vision on the importance of top-down and cross-company communication and engagement. Passionate customer advocates are the essential ingredient to successfully define a customer-centric culture. It is important to create opportunities to celebrate employees and customers through awards, social events and   quarterly business reviews. At NCR we celebrate Customer Service Week in our service operations centers globally, and we host an annual CX Day to celebrate our employees and customers.

 

4. Empower

 

Employees who feel empowered tend to have better performance, increased results, and longer tenure. That said, it stands to reason that those employees can also serve as some of your biggest customer advocates who can help increase CX. It’s important to invest in them. Seventy-five percent of companies with strong employee engagement deliver an above-average customer experience.

 

5. Sustain

 

It’s important to put as much energy into sustaining employee engagement that drives customer experience as it is to build it. You must continue to reap the benefits of the investment you’ve made in the first place and look for ways to build upon the foundation and successful programs to extend the life. We have peer-to-peer recognition programs to recognize those who go above and beyond to deliver optimal results for our customers and employees. Establish face-to-face programs, interactive websites, videos and collaborative workspaces to share compelling customer stories. At NCR, we share customer wins across the company through various channels, such as the intranet, infographics, collaborative workspaces and digital signage.

 

Customer experience and employee engagement matter. Both are linked and essential for company success. Seventy-two percent of businesses name improving customer experience as their top priority. For your CX efforts to pay off, you’ll need to establish a customer-centric culture fueled by passionate and engaged employees.

 

Today, optimizing the customer experience is not an option, it is a business imperative. Be willing to take that first step and LEVEL UP.

 

 

Carolyn Muise headshot

Carolyn Muise

VP, Customer Advocacy & Experience

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Carolyn Muise is VP, Customer Advocacy & Experience at NCR, where she serves as the lead customer advocate and drives the customer experience strategy across the enterprise. With more than 25 years of customer advocacy experience, she is a frequent driver of industry conversations about CX, having served as a speaker at many related industry events around the world.