Over 80% of executives today believe that improving the customer experience will help their business. Nearly all executives have increasing customer loyalty as a top five priority. Proactive and effective managers will have a game plan on how to help their company improve in these areas, wouldn’t you agree? So where do you start?

Assess the Situation
Every day you need to view your team with two perspectives: short-term and long-term. Short term you need to be involved with and available to them. Your role is unlike a football coach who is involved in the game but is on the sidelines. Business is too fast paced and competitive to be off the field. You are more like the quarterback who calls the plays and is engaged in the actual game. You have to ask yourself, who is hustling today? Who needs to pick up the pace? What can we do better-now? Then you need to act on it. At the same time, you need to think strategically. What are our major obstacles? What do we need to improve as a team that will make the biggest difference on results-skills, processes, tools? Never wait for your manager to tell you these things.

Plan for Improvement
You also need a daily game plan, and a longer term plan (quarterly) for improvement. Each of these should be in writing so you and your team are committed. Your daily plan involves scheduling, training, meetings, handling customers and keeping your team upbeat and positive. Your longer term plan will involve projects that selected team members help you with. For a sales team this might be gathering customer intelligence. For a service team this could be reorganizing the work flow to better serve the customer.

Lead Effectively
Every day you must walk the talk relating to taking care of the customer. If you don’t your team won’t. Coach your team informally and formally as well. Informally this means short employee interactions on the phone or in person. You praise them for improved or excellent behavior or you counsel them when they need to improve or do better. Yes, you will have some social engagement but your primary priority at work is to reinforce or redirect their customer experience activities and actions. If you are in retail, get on the show floor with your employees. If you are in IT get out of the office and see what’s happening. If you are in sales get in the field and see customers with your reps.

Execute Brilliantly
This is what separates the winners and losers. 75% of efforts to change and improve in the workplace fail according to change master John Kotter. You have to follow-through on your plans, commitments and expectations. This requires a plan as identified and good time management. Your #1 priority has to be your employees. Make sure they have the bulk of your time. If they don’t do a good job your customers’ experiences will be mediocre or poor. This is a reflection on you.

Also, schedule time to work on your actions steps for continuous improvement. Most companies and managers are busy enough that if you don’t there will always be something else to do. The tyranny of the urgent will take over. Finally, communicate upward to your boss about plans, wins and challenges. Do this regularly, be forthright and ask for input as needed.

Exemplary service can be achieved one team or department at a time starting with yours. Remember, the best business strategy of all involves building customer loyalty which is the lifeblood of your organization.

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