We all are quite aware that gaps in any process can inversely affect the overall outcome, and it’s no different when it comes to organizations and their customer experiences. These gaps usually occur as silos struggle to get a clear understanding of how they contribute to each "experience" the customer is being offered, which could be a result of a lack of communication, silo mentality, organizational culture, resistance to change and so on.
Customer experience professionals bridge gaps between diverse stakeholders delivering the product and customer expectations. They take initiatives to ignite the human side of all team players to guide them in creating an aligned purpose while keeping their individuality intact. It requires a mindset shift from a "silo mentality" to a "customer mentality" in order to deliver a seamless end-to-end journey. Based on my experiences, below are a few initiatives on how to get human buy-in to create those connected customer experiences that are tried and tested, they worked very well for me!
I’m so excited to share them with you, but always keep in mind that creating connections at a human level requires time, patience and perseverance with the right intentions and aligned purpose.
The Point: Why This Article Matters
- Improve CX. To improve customer experience, organizations need to break down silos and have open communication between stakeholders. This can be achieved through interactive brainstorming sessions, embracing vulnerability in the workplace and having a mindset of figuring things out rather than trying to fit in.
- Tap in. Build connections with colleagues is key to enhancing customer experience. This can be done by having open conversations, focusing on self-awareness and creating a supportive environment.
1. Conducting Interactive Brainstorming Sessions
Create a cadence for open communication that allows everyone to feel a sense of belonging and paves way for creativity to flow without any hesitancy. Implement this initiative by identifying the right stakeholders across diverse silos so you can learn their perspectives, pick a day which is relatively not too busy for everyone and send out calendar invites a couple of weeks in advance so they are prepared.
During the tenure, make an effort to interact informally with each individual to build a rapport before the brainstorming session which helps build interpersonal relationships. On the day, start the meeting with a fun icebreaker and make sure to embed a combination of individual and group activities so you can make the session fun. If it’s an in-person session, use a whiteboard, colorful markers and Post-its.
However, if you’re conducting a remote session, there are some incredible tools online. My personal favorite collaborative tools are Miro, Canva whiteboard and Figma. Creativity is a fun process, so remember to play some soothing background music as well to lighten up moods and ease out the stress allowing everyone to tap into their imaginative and emotional side.
Once the session is over, take a proactive effort in following up on some quick wins and preparing a roadmap for long-term projects. The buy-in from diverse stakeholder members will help steer the needle forward as they have just taken their first step toward bridging the bridge with you and as you see this activity working out for your business, set up quarterly sessions too.
Related Article: The Importance of Positive Emotional Connections With Customers
2. Embracing Vulnerability at Work
Vulnerability is a state of openness that helps to build a connection and growth, which is derived from the structure of an individual’s overall well-being. Building a space for you and your colleagues to express vulnerability and trust creates a human-centric mindset, which enhances productivity. Having a supportive environment that encompasses you wholeheartedly offers a sense of safety, which feels extremely comforting to the individual. Enhancing customer experience without employee experience will never yield successful results in the long term.
Creating delightful experiences starts by tapping into your own emotional state of mind as a stakeholder, which then leads to identifying emotions that you want to ignite in your customers. As a facilitator, the first step toward embracing vulnerability is acknowledging your own feelings; after all it starts with self-awareness. The more you know yourself and how you think the way you think, your triggers and reactions, the better you will be able to understand other stakeholders. Spend time knowing yourself and begin by taking a suitable self-awareness test.
Once you have crossed the self-awareness milestone, share your learnings with others as it builds confidence in others to open up with you. Dedicate time with your colleagues to spark deeper conversations over one-on-one chats or close group conversations, wherein you ask interesting questions and listen actively. These conversations will uncover so many aspects of your colleagues' lives, from their motivations, fears, successes, failures and so much. Bounding over diverse stakeholder’s human side is an extremely important element in creating experiences for your customers because you will be tapping into their vulnerable side, too.
Related Article: Create a Positive Emotional Connection for a Better Customer Experience
3. Don’t Try to Fit in, Figure It Out
Last, as a connector you just can’t fit in so use your self-awareness skills and build a strategy around what works for you and how you would pave way for your journey. This process would involve being open to experimenting and exploring new activities to evaluate what works well for your customers and how you would like to orchestrate activities internally to drive best experiences externally.
Once you have spent time understanding and breaking human silos one by one, start navigating your way toward back-end system silos. The stakeholders you started building bridges with will reciprocate to your CX activities by being more communicative after you managed to get their buy-in during your interactive sessions and helped them to bring their emotional side out at the workplace, too. It’s easier said than done, but as a CX leader, you have the super power to figure it all out with the right intentions and people around you.
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