When employees take ownership for the customer experience, you are much more likely to achieve consistency. But to foster true ownership you need to ensure that every person feels empowered to act. And that takes more than a decree from administration. It requires that leaders are consistent in encouraging and recognizing employees for stepping in to resolve customer concerns before they become complaints.
Just this week I experienced the impact ownership can have on customer satisfaction when I needed to return a faulty GPS to Best Buy. First of all, you need to recognize that my GPS is an essential, life saving device as I have absolutely no sense of direction. I take it all over the country moving it from one rental to another as I navigate to and from countless healthcare campuses.
The Best Buy warranties ensure that I am never without a fast replacement. But on Sunday I was given a store credit that was only a fraction of the cost of any of the devices in stock. Seeing me standing flummoxed in front of the GPS display, Michael, an appliance salesman stepped in to assist. Instead of telling me that he didn’t work in that department and leaving, he proceeded to explain the options of the various devices. When I told him that last time I needed to make an exchange, I was given a comparable model rather than a store credit, he offered to assist me in making a comparable exchange and would take care of the paperwork. He stuck with me through the selection, ringing up the exchange and even walked me to the door to ensure I had no difficulty with security. That’s ownership. And it’s what has created a raving fan of the Best Buy customer service.
Compare that to a recent visit I made to a large medical complex where I had to navigate on foot between a half dozen buildings and twice as many entrances. Three times I stopped employees to ask directions. (This is why I need a GPS). None of them could help me and ended each encounter saying, “Sorry, I have no idea where that is,” rather than assisting me. It left me frustrated but clear that my new client clearly needs assistance in creating a culture of ownership.
In my experience, organizations can only create a consistently positive patient experience when they have a culture that fosters ownership. Every single employee has to see his connection to the customer experience and have a sense of duty.
What are you doing to foster ownership in your organization? Do you have service recovery training? Are staff encouraged to resolve issues immediately? Are they given the resources and reinforcement to do so? If you want a culture that creates raving fans, make sure your staff know how to think on their feet to resolve customer concerns.