Changes in Today’s Marketplace #13
Changes in Today’s Marketplace #13
This is the thirteenth in a series of what has changed in customer perceptions and resultant buying behaviors.
Change #13 – Consumers Expect Ongoing Improvement Both Experientially & Functionally
Even if you have a promise-driven business model and a distinct presence in the marketplace, consumers expect that you will constantly find and implement new and better ways to interact, support, and service them. A quick glance back only a little more than a decade ago illustrates this expectation. The use of the web, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn which is now nearly normal to reach and serve customers were only then just getting started.
To win more customers and retain existing ones requires the relentless pursuit of improvement in every aspect of your business. If improvement is not a priority and agenda item for you and your team, the risk of becoming mediocre is very real. Complacency leads to mediocrity which ultimately leads to disastrous results in business as well as in life.
To constantly focus on and deliver ongoing improvement both experientially and functionally requires the development of a culture of ongoing excellence in every facet of your business.
This culture of constant improvement and excellence internally and externally on the customers’ behalf is not something you simply install, rather it is an ongoing process. It must be seeded, nurtured, and developed. The Ritz-Carlton really is the model in this area. Every employee knows and is constantly reminded of the need for the ongoing improvement of services to their guests. They are constantly educated throughout their career on how to constantly elevate the Ritz-Carlton guest experience, and not with just one lesson. Areas to explore and improve upon are constantly integrated into every training component. Consequently, every team member really sees themselves and are “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” As a result, their culture and promise is one of an ongoing refined experience.
Every business has an existing culture of some kind. The challenge then becomes how to change or improve the culture of your business or team to consistently exceed the consumers’ expectations? No matter what your role, it begins with you! In a leadership role, it is paramount that the first step is to paint the vision and explain the organizational benefits of constant improvement on the customer’s behalf. You alone provide the ongoing inspiration and empowerment to continually raise the desire of your team to raise their own bar of performance. Make no mistake, as the leader you set the tone and reset the priorities.
Taking this step and then getting their tactical commitment to constantly improve on behalf of the customer has a profound effect on your people and their understanding of the importance of consistent enterprise-wide delivery of elevated customer experience. Whether you are a Fortune 50, or just you and your spouse, everyone needs to know and understand how constant improvement will affect the organization’s future and ultimately theirs.
In addition to vision and the resetting of expectations, there are many other components that inspire a culture of constant improvement. The appearance of your office, store, plant, or even the way you and your employees dress or are uniformed has an effect on a desire to improve. As does having a clear set of ethical principles by which you and your team operate every time. Principles that reflect your business values and promise of value even if it means turning down business. Is your team empowered to make real decisions on the customer’s behalf, or are they bound by the nebulous “It is our policy”?
When you are culturally aligned at every customer touch point with your promise of value and ongoing improvement of the customer experience, magic happens. Team members constantly and proactively find many, many creative ways to improve and reinforce the value your business delivers.