The other day I went for coffee with a very frustrated marketer.
She had been hired by a manufacturing company that claimed they had decided it was time to invest in marketing.
Unfortunately, they didn’t really mean it. She’s been stymied at every turn. Nobody is seriously interested in changing what they are doing.
Why Mess With Success?
Their business is doing well. Still growing. No obvious customer dissatisfaction. (At least not more than normal.) And everyone is busy, so rethinking their haphazard (or non-existant) approach to marketing just isn’t a priority. Today’s guest, Roger Pugsley, Director, Service Excellence at Oxford Properties Group, faced the same situation with some of his company’s managers. Although overall the company is clearly committed to improving customer service and customer experience, there were some managers who had a “why mess with success” attitude. They were doing well. Why change?
Customer Service Improvement Strengthens The Bottom Line
The answer, which Oxford Properties has now been able to demonstrate, is that those units that have adopted a more customer focused approach have been even more successful. They have higher levels of employee engagement and are more profitable. Roger also knows that the world isn’t standing still. Customer experience (CX) is a crucial competitive battlefield these days. “There are so many examples of organizations that have sat still and then been killed by competitors,” he notes. “We can’t stop. If we do stop, we’ll get overtaken.”
Oxford Properties’ Customer Experience Initiatives
In today’s interview we discuss how this diverse, global company, which owns and operates office towers, shopping malls, residential apartment complexes, industrial complexes, and high end hotels, approached changing to a more customer-service focused culture. This included:
- A senior executive who came to realize how important consistent customer service is, and how delivering that relies on engaged & empowered employees.
- The Oxford Commitment Cube, which pops up on every employee’s desk to remind them of the core service principles.
- An ongoing system of facilitated meetings between managers and groups of no more than 20 employees at a time to discuss CX ideas. Having an outside facilitator seemed odd at first, but it turns out that it really helps.
- The surprise discovery that employees wanted to serve customers better, but didn’t feel empowered and supported in doing so. (I hear all you employees out there saying “Duh!”)
- Their inclusion of outside contractors and suppliers in their customer service programs. They even include them in a program that gives every employee & contractor $500 to use at their discretion to make things better for customers.
- The highly successful O-Positive platform, which combines Pinterest and Facebook-type features to showcase employee initiatives that have helped customers. This has proven to not only be a great way to share successes, but a gold mine of ideas that can be transferred to other areas of the organization.
Would your company trust employees and contractors with $500 each to spend at their discretion to please customers?
Please comment below.