Sometimes I’m a glutton for punishment. Let me explain. Whenever I execute service transformation projects, the first item on the change agenda is leadership training for managers and supervisors. My favourite question to this group is, “How often do you hold team meetings?” Invariably I hear answers that range from fortnightly (rare answer), to monthly (more popular), to “as and when needed” (most popular). Why am I a glutton for punishment? Because I know the answers that I will get to the question, but I ask anyway and I am aghast at the answers, every time.
I won’t even bother to go into the reasons that are shared for not having regular team meetings. Way too unacceptable coming from individuals at management level. I am a proponent of productive meetings that are held regularly. As a matter of fact, I’m a believer in daily meetings that are used as motivational, priority-establishing and employee engagement opportunities. However, not everyone is a fan of this frequency. So, whenever I suggest daily meetings, the groans kick in immediately. These daily meetings are cheap and cheerful opportunities for harmonizing teams and don’t need to last for more than fifteen minutes. They’re also a unifying way to start the work day.
These daily meetings are cheap and cheerful opportunities for harmonizing teams and don’t need to last for more than fifteen minutes. They’re also a unifying way to start the work day.
In the same way that these daily huddles help teams to plan the day, they have cousins called progress meetings that are tacked onto the end of the week, to review the performance effort of the team. These are weekly opportunities to identify where balls were dropped, to fix what’s broken and to elevate to new standards of performance for the ensuing week. As far as I’m concerned, every self-respecting manager and supervisor should be holding a progress meeting weekly. The problem is that they are not considered to be a standard tool in the suite of essential managerial practices.
Progress meetings are critical to the successful acceleration of the customer’s experience. Popular questions that revolve around service performance should include, “What did we do well?” and “What did we do poorly?” as well as, “What must never happen again?” Can you imagine the sustained improvement to the way in which customers’ affairs are addressed, handled and resolved, just by adopting this routine?
Progress meetings are critical to the successful acceleration of the customer’s experience.
I am delighted when clients adopt both the huddles and progress meetings enthusiastically. It allows departments to discover service delivery blind spots that enable course correction, week on week. I can see complaint prevention in the future of any business that owns this practice.
A major challenge with achieving great customer outcomes, is that businesses fail to convert what is unknown, into what is known about their customers. I’m going to sound like a broken record here. When a manager asks all team members on a weekly basis, to share what they discovered about their customers, this opens a whole new world of customer discovery and can present insights that can now be used to fashion stellar customer experiences.
Progress meetings should be solution and metrics driven. First of all, every department in the business should be aware of how customer success will be measured and how respective departments contribute to the achievement of these metrics.
When done well, the progress meeting is a mechanism for ensuring that all customers have a cohesive, rather than disjointed experience, when moving along their respective journeys.
This of course, clears the way for teams to question how they are contributing to outcomes that include reducing bureaucracy, reducing friction during contact with the customer and improving the user experience whenever customers interact with their department. When done well, the progress meeting is a mechanism for ensuring that all customers have a cohesive, rather than disjointed experience, when moving along their respective journeys.
On a human interest note, it’s no secret that many employees are struggling to manage unprecedented levels of overwhelm in a hybridized workspace. Given the scale and intensity of the balancing act between keeping customers happy and maintaining one’s sanity, it makes sense for managers to ensure that progress meetings are not only solution-driven, but also engaging and uplifting to the human spirit.
In short, these meetings can be an opportunity for managers to catch two birds with one stone. Answering the call of assessing customer wins and fails, as well as celebrating small victories as team mates.