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piece of research that’ s ever gone on in the correlation between eff ort and loyalty and, of course, it proved that a high eff ort service experience drives detraction while a low eff ort one drives loyalty. T at may sound like common sense, but the eff ortlessness of the customer experience – so important to a generation brought up with apps and algorithms – is rarely given the emphasis it deserves. T ere are many more scientifi cally

backed insights like this that are changing the game, and the companies that are designing their service strategies and principles around them are the ones that are really seeing their customers come back for more.

Visible demonstrable actions

T e second step asks leaders to start taking visible demonstrable actions, or VDAs. T ese are things that leaders regularly do in customer-focused

cultures which are visible to people within the organisation and demon- strate a commitment to being human in the way they approach service. For example, in one organisation,

everyone – irrespective of role or level – takes customer calls every month. In another, the higher up the organisational food chain someone is, the further away from the building they park, reinforcing the principle that those people who need to be ready to serve customers – the frontline staff – need access to the building more quickly than anyone else. Others are adopting an ‘open board member’ ap- proach where everyone in the business can claim a seat at the boardroom table, with exactly the same voting rights and access to information as the rest. T e American clothing company

Zappos is a master of the art of the VDA. Zappos’s leadership team has identifi ed ten brilliant core values, but

rather than leaving them to languish on a nicely designed PDF, they ensure that they’re brought to life by highly visible, company-wide habits. Every single new starter in the business, from interns to leaders, goes through the full three-week frontline induction programme, because understanding the customer lies at the heart of everything they do. Every month, their fi nance division walk around the organisation committing random acts of kindness, because in Zappos, their people are always their priority – not to mention the fact that the fi nance team get to demonstrate that they are human too. So what symbolic demonstrations

of a commitment to customer and people go on inside your company? If you have to hesitate to think of what they are, they probably don’t exist. T irdly, once they’re clear on what

good looks like and busy practicing their VDAs, leaders must focus

38 | November 2016 |


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