When I think about leadership, John C Maxwell’s quote “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way” comes to mind. I mean that’s what leaders should do. A leader is someone who should be knowledgeable and experienced. A leader should have a clear vision of where they are going. They should be able to connect well with others. Leadership is about influencing others not intimidating them to do what needs to be done. A leader is someone who knows how to be in the trenches with you but also someone who understands that they need to avoid getting bogged down in the day to day because they need to stay focused on the bigger picture. They understand there will be times when they will need to pitch in and help but they also know they must stay focused on the big picture and achieving company goals.
When it comes to the customer experience, the leader sets the tone for how their employees handle customers. Leaders who place emphasis on creating the type of culture that keeps employees happy about contributing to the success of the organization will have a greater measure of success than those who are mostly focused on the bottom line aka profits. Don’t believe me? Check out Google and Facebook; both of these companies provide some serious employee perks and offer cultures that foster creativity and allow employees to function in areas of their strength. Goggle & Facebook aren’t the only companies that understand the value of people. Progressive, Apple, and Nike are also named as companies with the best corporate cultures. As a matter of fact, Chik-Fil-A & Twitter top the leader board for companies with best cultures. The leaders in these organizations must know the way, go the way and show the way. The results – customers feel appreciated, valued and respected. What does this mean for your business? LOYAL CUSTOMERS!
Employees who are trained, recognized, rewarded, empowered and valued willingly contribute more to the success of the organization which has a direct impact on the customer experience. In reality most people want to feel like they contribute; a good job is more than a salary. They want an environment that incorporates fun not all stressful and demanding. This is LEADER LED. Leaders determine how the culture develops and the culture impacts the customer experience.
When you consider how much your leaders impact the customer experience, you must also consider the fact that it doesn’t stop with them. The impact is far reaching. They lead people who touch customers directly. Poor leadership is one of the major reasons for lack luster and substandard customer service. According to a Gallup survey www.gallup.com/businessjournal/106912/turning-around-your-turnover-problem.aspx, “At least 75% of the reasons for voluntary turnover can be influenced by managers”. Now that is a huge impact. Employees who are led by poor managers become disgruntled and unhappy. Unhappy employees equal unhappy customers. Unhappy customers result in loss of customers. We all know it is much more costly to find new customers than it is to retain a current one.
And so yes, having highly visible leaders setting the pace and creating a culture where employees want to contribute should be your goal. This will drastically improve the Customer Experience of your organization. Leadership will make or break your organization and will have a tremendous impact on your customer experience ratings directly and indirectly. It’s as simple as that.