Is it worth investing in growth and leadership development activity? Considering that it’s a proven way to lift one’s business above the competition through enhanced customer experience and a stronger, happier workforce, the answer is a resounding yes.
So where to start? The best way to find out what you need to focus on is to do some research, and to then plot the five or six top areas identified through your research on a graph. The graph is discussed with the relevant staff members (the action committee).
Work sessions should then be held to find ways to improve customer experiences and expectations. The leader of the group should approach these sessions with open-ended questions as this will encourage participants to come up with solutions and enhance their self worth in the process.
It’s advisable to display the actions and monitoring method in an action room that’s open to all for viewing, and to allow 15-minute sessions each week during which progress is monitored and management kept informed. It must be stressed that management needs to empower the action committee to resolve the areas concerned but the committee is duty bound to keep management informed in order that company values are adhered to.
This method of mentoring or coaching is hugely encouraging to staff due to their knowledge that they are adding value to the organisation and that management has faith in their ability.
This process contributes to the growth of individuals and creates a group of people who are more conscious of their surroundings and more aware that their actions are valued, which leads to enhanced individual performance.
Other positive spin-offs include the motivation of other staff in knowing that management is open to input. The entire team becomes conscious of the fact that progress, growth and improved profitability is up to them. Employee satisfaction levels are sure to increase through this feeling of belonging, while management will have a fresh way of identifying and assessing potential staff promotional opportunities.
Using this method of people development, one can challenge the organisation to build and foster a truly customer-focused culture from the strategic leader to the front-line staff. In other words, achieve real empowerment.
It’s import to share survey results and improvement strategies with customers and staff as this will demonstrate the management’s commitment to listening to customers and valuing staff members.
Customer experience levels are a driver for continuous business improvement, as well as a skills development tool – and enable business leaders to celebrate success with the entire organisation.
The end result of following customer experience input is recognising market information supplied by the customer to improve the profitability of the business, and committed happy staff who have a feeling of worth. Happy staff are more likely to be retained.Over and above the business focus of improved profitability, this process will result in customers experiencing unprecedented feelings of loyalty, thereby boosting customer retention and attracting a new customer base through word of mouth – with happier staff helping to raise the business out of the clutter of mediocrity.
Jannie Koegelenberg is passionate about promoting positive customer experiences in the motor industry. He has a 38-year track record in the industry, having worked at Mercedes-Benz distributor United Cars and Diesel Distributors, Ford Motor Company and Toyota SA Marketing, before becoming dealer principal of MAN Nelspruit. He then joined Scott Byers, supplier of services and programmes designed to help truck and road transport clients improve their customer focus.
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