As busy leaders and business owners, you are faced with a seemingly endless list of things to do to keep your business operating and an ever-increasing list of ideas on how to improve your business. However, you are encouraged to throw out the hundred-plus to-do items and ideas; instead, focus on the experience you deliver and start with these three fundamental steps:
- Define the Promise
- Measure the Gap(s)
- Share the Stories
But, before unpacking the steps to improving the experience to transform your business, let’s clarify a couple of important elements.
Firstly, the term “experience” in this context means the customer experiences, the employee experiences, the experiences that you promise and, ultimately, the ones you deliver. You may even make experience promises about your brand and products, but, for now, focus on customer and employee experiences. Also, as you will quickly understand, the singular experience, the transaction, is just as important as the plural, collectively, experiences.
Finally, before you get to the three crucial steps to focus on, let’s be clear the customer and employee experience does not mean hugging your haters, nor does it mean surprising your customers and employees with champagne and caviar.
Each of these steps applies to customers and employees equally. If you don’t know where to start, start with your employees’ experiences. Investing in improving your employees’ experience will undoubtedly result in increased productivity and improved customer experiences.
Step 1: Define the Promise
OK, step 1 actually comes in two parts and starts with defining what you mean by the words “customer/employee experience.” Defining what you mean by the term(s) and ensuring every team member understands it is crucial. Part 2 of step 1 is to define what you promise to deliver for your customers/employees.
Every day, people check in to 2-star hotels and fly low-cost airlines, while at the same time people are checking in to 5-star hotels and flying first class. In both instances, there are companies that make a profit and those that don’t; the difference is clear. Some companies compete on price, and others who win do so by delivering consistently on the experience that their ideal customers are drawn to and are willing to pay for.
So, don’t be afraid of defining your promise and sharing it broadly. There are customers who will choose your company and your promise over your competitors if you deliver on your promise consistently.
But, beyond prospects and customers being drawn to your promise, the superpower of defining your promise is that every team member will understand that, above all else, their priority is to deliver on the promise.
Step 2: Measure the Gap(s)
So, you’ve defined what you promise to deliver to your customers. There may be multiple promises, and now is the time to measure the gap between the promise(s) and the reality. To get started, just measure the gap between one of your promises. Your main promise.
For example, if you promise to deliver your product within 24 hours, start measuring how often you actually deliver within 24 hours. If you deliver within the promise100% of the time, then start measuring the gap of the next promise.
However, if you aren’t delivering on your main promise, then your mission is to focus on closing the gap, every day being 1% closer to delivering on your promise.
If you are wondering where to start to measure, it is as simple as asking your customer/employee, “Did we deliver on (insert your promise)?” Then follow up by asking, “What was the impact of us delivering or not delivering as expected?”
Step 3: Share the Stories
Companies worldwide send out surveys, and you probably will, too, as you measure the gap. But don’t be one of those companies that send out surveys and then keep all the data locked up.
The power of step 3, Share the Stories is in sharing with your team and celebrating the impact of delivering on your promise. The celebration of delivering on your promise reinforces what great looks like and the behaviors required to achieve success.
However, it is also important to share, just as broadly, the stories and the impact on customers when you fail to deliver on your promise. This not only reinforces the value of delivering on the promise, it provides a clear coaching point — an opportunity to identify, and fix, what processes, systems or tasks create the break in delivering on your promise.
By following these three steps, you will build a business that has loyal, raving fans; a business that continues to evolve, stays relevant and grows.
Jason S Bradshaw started his first business at the age of 14, differentiating himself by the service he provided. For the past three decades, he has worked with some of the world’s most recognizable brands, improving the experience to transform the business. Bradshaw is a best-selling author and is considered a global guru on customer experience and a leading authority on experience management.