A new year is here and many of us are six days into executing the personal changes we’ve decided will make our lives better. There is a definite excitement about getting a fresh start, having a new day, beginning again–or whatever words you want to use to describe that feeling of renewal.
And for companies, something similar is happening. Often the strategic objectives hammered out in the fourth quarter become initiatives for the new year–typically at least one of these is about making the customer experience better. Slogans are produced and hung from every available surface. Meetings are held to keep the initiative alive. A customer appreciate day is scheduled. Managers talk about the customer experience a lot–for a year. These changes are all easy. After the initiative is over, everything goes back to the way it was before and employees say things like “Are we still doing that customer service stuff?”
The key to improving the customer experience is to take it out of the pile of strategic objectives and do the hard work of making it your culture. It requires beginning with a true belief that the customer experience matters. If the customer experience matters then changing the culture, although a challenging endeavor, is deemed worth it. Real change, sustainable change occurs over time. Typically, it’s not easy.