One of my current assignments is working with a maturing start-up FinTech. They’ve got a strong management team, a great product, genuinely engaged customers and excellent customer-facing people. The challenge they presently face is that of scaling the business, and with extremely ambitious growth plans, there no time to dilly dally. Documenting the customer experience, automating manual processes, refining systems and using a better mix of subjective & objective measures to help understand behaviour will all help towards their goal, and although I invariably say there’s no silver bullet, their success team is pretty close to it. With a bright bunch of passionate and engaged people, you can achieve anything, so as we make improvements in the aforementioned areas, a critical task for me is to engage and empower the success team to drive forward the customer experience. So where to start?
I recently attended an excellent coaching session from Will Ord, where he walked through a simple model to help drive people engagement during a period of change. Will walked us through Kotter’s 8-steps process, which reminded me that before you can drive greater engagement (and thus a shift in behaviour), you need to create momentum, a rallying call if you will, to draw attention to a vision. The vision in this case is empowerment of the success team to manage a portfolio of customers from sign-up through retention to advocacy. Having run a couple of workshops to warm up the troops and defined a change plan, it’s time for the next step, share the plan, highlight their role in the plan and how much they will influence its delivery and outcome.
For me, this part is easy, even liberating, but some leaders baulk at the prospect of handing over the reigns to the troops. If you’re one of those people, you’ll always struggle to achieve your engagement goals. Carol Dweck summarises this brilliantly in her explanation of “fixed mindsets” versus “growth mindset” – ironically written for school children, but equally applicable to all of us grown-ups. Take a few moments to watch her TedTalk!
Back to engaging your success team, explaining the grand plan, sharing the components to achieving collective success done, I want them to focus not on the WHAT we do (the customer journey map), but HOW we do it (the soft skills side). I’ve previously discussed how a business has values and a vision delivered through behaviours, (you can read them here, here here & here, but this is the time to bring it to life. Giving your people something to focus on as a mantra can really help maintain the focus. Metro Bank have AMAZE, a simple acronym that their customer facing teams live by every day. It’s habit forming, and if you ask anyone at Metro Bank what it means, they’ll tell you with much gusto. So as part of instilling a sense of ownership and coaching the teams on HOW to deliver, coming up with a simple mantra keeps this focus top of mind.
On the matter of coaching, I’m sure I’m preaching to the converted, but clear team and individual objectives, regular coaching session and a career development plan will encourage your bright stars to shine brighter, and I’m certainly planning more workshops to ensure we’ve bedded down the ownership of the customer experience and a renewed vigour on how we deliver. So 6 workshops, defining the plan, their role, the customer journey, the behaviours”, and plenty of role plays to practice the re-discovered skills, and for very little spend in a rather short time frame, you can get your customer success (or service) people engaged and owning the customer, both WHAT they deliver & HOW!