The Organization of Customer Excellence Service-Ghana has hosted crème de la crème practitioners of customer experience and over 20 organizations from the private and public sector to a dialogue dubbed Ghana Customer Service National Dialogue which focused on building a solid customer service culture and attitude within the national psyche.
The theme was “Positioning Ghana as Continental Trade Destination- a call for a national customer service agenda.” In attendance was the nationwide customer service advocate Hector Wulf, the host and moderator of the event, chaired by Ms. Yvonne Ohui MacCarthy, the Customer Service Professionals Institute president, guest speaker Mr. Jerry Halm, a customer experience expert, Mr. Muniru Muktar of GCB Bank, and Madam Amita Siromoni.
In my submission as a speaker and lead discussant during the dialogue, I focused on the new phase of customer experience practice and how it is changing businesses worldwide. I made the fundamental introduction to the observation of how the world has shifted from a mechanistic view of the first to third industrial revolution.
That era was power generation, mass production, and mechanization, where men were trained or programmed to act or behave in the corporate and societal space just like modeled machines. Used and replaced, no say in decision making, simply obeying like robots. Such reality gave birth to customer service that is about how an employee must act or behave without considering how inauthentic the person feels within. Interestingly, in a sharp departure from the earlier industrial revolution, machines or bots are being programmed (artificial intelligence) to feel or exercise experience and not just for logical responses.
It is ironic because, in the same era of artificial intelligence and robotics, the way of being “human” through neuroscience, quantum physics, diversity-inclusion-equality, empathy, emotional intelligence, and the first phase of philosophy, which is called ontology, are also gaining roots in the human way of managing and coordinating with people. The mechanistic era gave birth to welfarism and unionism, but now it has become all about wellbeing and work-life balance.
All these bring to bear that customer experience is no more about acting or transacting in a specific manner as trained, but it is about relatedness and fluidity. It is “away” of life than just “doing.” CX is the beingness of all employees rooted in the “why/purpose” of a company; this evokes a pattern of attitude and behavior. This beingness is what is offered as value behind products and service which customers buy into as loyalty. Loyalty of customers is what brings a return on investment (ROI). Customer experience is not figures but the exposition of a company’s work philosophy, employee and customer centrism.
Below are some seven essential points to aid in re-engineering and maximize the new phase of CX, which some fortune 100 and FTSE 100 global companies deepened, especially during the lockdowns and loss of jobs due to the covid-19 pandemic
- The era where humans were trained or programmed to act is over, hence the need for mind-shift and repositioned mindsets for human-centered behavior and attitude.
– CX in this future and beyond is about the experience we offer both internal and external customer of every business
- Humans are not robots; we feel.
– We are beings, so we don’t just act or do. Companies must stimulate the corresponding being within for the desired or projected outcome
– Relatedness and empathy are core in customer experience now; policies and strategies must revolve around these.
– Companies must cultivate the feeling, need and value behind services or products they offered
- There is cancerous customer service nationally, and an honest admission of its reality is the first significant step towards finding a power solution.
– But what we can do about it depends on what we see the situation to be.
– Either as an opportunity to create our desires or as a problem that grows our despair
– Public and private sectors must engage CX consultants and practitioners to support the identification of a womb (possibilities/opportunities) in the wound (challenges of customer experience confronting the nation and service sector.
- Hiring of CX consultants, trainers, and practitioners
– Chief HRs, Managers, and CEOs must perform due diligence on who they contract to run training and consulting services.
– Do not just expend budget; check the track record, consistency, brand positioning, and legitimacy of the service industry
– Engage experts with depths of practical insight on CX, work philosophy, relatedness, neurolinguistic programming, ontology, ecology, human behavior, emotional intelligence, diversity-inclusivity-equity-equality, etc.
- Customer service is not a case for the customer department
– Serious businesses must create space for the chief customer service head at the C-suits level.
– Every employee must go through CS and CX training as part of continuous professional development
– CX must be integrative in brand building and rebranding
– Don’t limit CX to sales and marketing; it must be all-inclusive but spearheaded by the customer service department.
- Build or create a Work Philosophy for companies
– Orientations for new employees and refreshers for existing employees on the company’s vision, mission, change management, work philosophy, etc., must be an intermittent exercise.
– Get consultants and experts to offer such essential services
– Such must count for continuous professional development.
- Engage and invest in training, development & deployment of CX-focused strategies, reprimand and punish breaches in customer service.
– Invest in CX training for all staff
– Develop a collective strategy
– Reward and incentivize excellent Customer Service
– Punish when strategies developed are flouted
The writer is a Transformational Coach | Certified Corporate Trainer | Lead Facilitator of Zoweh Global Consult
Contact: +233243085932 Email: [email protected]