One of the most transformative questions that a business can pose to itself is, “What do we need to do to become customer-centric?” This question only cracks the glass ceiling that prevents businesses from achieving greatness in customer experience success. A second question that should be asked if a business aims to shatter the ceiling would be, “How can we ensure that we remain customer-centric?” This second question, of course, is both a question and a goal.
To me, breaking a glass ceiling has to do with challenging and/or overturning beliefs, systems, behaviours and persistent patterns that may be imposing unfair, unjust or indefensible limitations on a person, a group or community. The operative element in this explanation is about the limitations being imposed by the glass ceiling. Any effort at eradication, should create a gateway to success.
Many opportunities exist for businesses to break their own glass ceilings, so that the gateway to customer success, a great customer experience and ultimately, service excellence, can be achieved. One such glass ceiling is the need to overcome “wobbly goal achievement.” I’ve found that the businesses that adopt a laser-like focus and don’t vacillate in achieving their goals, set themselves up to be good candidates for overall success.
To me, breaking a glass ceiling has to do with challenging and/or overturning beliefs, systems, behaviours and persistent patterns that may be imposing unfair, unjust or indefensible limitations on a person, a group or community.
If nothing else, the pandemic has magnified the need to not be tardy in executing goals. When the pandemic unleashed itself, I was working with a client in the financial services sector that had two transformation projects underway, both of which were at advanced stages of maturity. A digital transformation and a service transformation project.
When the pandemic became full blown, this client’s level of digital enablement and elevated state of service delivery became the scaffolding that prevented a steep decline in service delivery. Two years earlier, when they decided to undertake the projects, they didn’t vacillate on executing the goal and reaped the benefits.
Another breakthrough that is essential to service excellence, is the need to deter behaviour slippage, by connecting behaviour change to the human resource systems of a business. Again, whilst working with another financial institution, it was a joy to have their Operations manager take the lead in imbedding the new standards into the existing performance management system. She did this as soon as the training component was completed, for two reasons. One, to ensure that employees understood that the company was serious about sustaining the new behaviours and standards and two, to protect the return on their financial investment.
Many opportunities exist for businesses to break their own glass ceilings, so that the gateway to customer success, a great customer experience and ultimately, service excellence, can be achieved.
A critical glass ceiling that needs to be shattered, is the dearth of communication associated with service transformation journeys. Unfortunately, for some businesses, launching the project with great fanfare is seen to be an act of sufficiency. The business goes silent after this event and from time to time, one hears employees bemoaning the fact that they are in the dark about the progress of the project. Not good for employee buy-in and engagement, two critical factors in achieving project success.
The grand launch should telegraph the start of a multi-pronged communications strategy that will present interactive platforms for sharing updates from the business and welcoming feedback from employees and stakeholders. In fact, no transformation project should suffer from a lack of communication with its beneficiaries on the question of “What’s in it for me?”
A natural question that comes to mind is, of course, “What holds businesses back from shattering these, as well as other glass ceilings associated with service transformation?” One of my thoughts on the matter is that few businesses have encountered a serious “service pandemic,” where the threat of customer boycotts, patronage withdrawal and a launch of sustained social media attacks, have converted into reality. So, having been spared, many businesses become comfortable with being unremarkable.
Another breakthrough that is essential to service excellence, is the need to deter behaviour slippage, by connecting behaviour change to the human resource systems of a business.
But then, we come across a regular business that gets a whiff of the winds of change happening in the customer’s universe and wants to become a unicorn in its market. What should this unicorn-status-seeking business do?
A good start would be to launch an attack on mediocrity, to stop accepting its “un-remarkability” and to challenge itself to “think and act” differently as a way of life.
By the way, this does not have to be a massive start, just one that follows a “small wins strategy.”