Building a world-class customer experience team

by Marc Andre Morel CSP

Whether you have some online sales activity or not, your customer experience needs to be unique, memorable and exceptional.

More and more, no store owner can rest solely on a prime store location. Although it is most certainly to one’s advantage, in order to strive – not just survive – one must create a world-class customer experience. Even with the best concept, reputation and strategy, you are not going anywhere if you don’t build the team to deliver it.

Enjoy your role, enjoy your results. Even the most beautiful song if not sung by a singer who loves to sing won’t reach the hearts of those listening, therefore not accomplishing its purpose. Do you still love all that is involved with your store – except inventory maybe, that I'll give you. Do you love serving your customers? How about your staff? Do they love what they do or do they only come in because they kind of have to? The Marriott hotels founder best said it, “Happy employees make happy customers.”

Live by the Harvard Principle. What is it that makes Harvard University stand out so much? The quality of its programs? Its professors? The Harvard University brand comes from its reputation and its reputation comes from its graduates: world leaders, famous CEOs, entrepreneurs, some of the richest people in the world, etc. They choose people with extreme caution. The Harvard Principle is “garbage in, garbage out.” Hence, develop extra acute hiring skills and/or delegate.

Understand and accept what makes your store great. The customer experience makes the store. The store doesn’t make the customer experience. For example, Google receives 14,000 resumes per week on average. In applying, people feel that working for Google will help them become who they want to be. But it is the people who continue to make Google one of the leading multinational technology companies. Since its founding in 1998, Google has developed over 300 products. Had a totally different team of people been hired, they likely would not have achieved the same level success they have today. There are no great organizations, only remarkable teams made of exceptional people.

Give exceptional people what they want, not what you can. You may already have a good idea of what your employees want:

  • To be surrounded by other exceptional and competent coworkers
  • A positive and inspiring work environment
  • A chance to move up
  • Competitive salary
  • A clear direction
  • Regular appreciation

What you may not know is that employees are also looking for a boss that says these three things more often:

  • “I don’t know” – when you don’t, you don’t – tell the truth.
  • “I am sorry” – admit to your mistakes as soon as possible, empathetically.
  • “Thank you” – what is of the least cost to an organization is of the greatest value to an employee: recognition, validation, encouragement and appreciation.

Let your customer profile inspire your teams. Make sure at least one of your staff members speaks the language(s) of your store visitors. Your shop also needs to reflect your customers’ culture and age group. Try not to fall into the trap of hiring for youth, appearances or whatever archetype you have been holding on to.

Take a long-term approach to part-time stakeholders. Change your take on part-time staff hiring. They can make or break your business. As they are usually in the millennial age bracket, you first need to adapt your managerial style to each individual. Second, as they are preparing another career, make their position with you more than just another part-time/seasonal job. Go beyond the pay. Offer them some mentoring – something that they can use in their upcoming career path. With that in mind, you may want to focus your search on individuals who will benefit most from what you can offer.

An expert on personal and professional leadership, Marc André Morel is a trainer, keynote speaker, columnist and bestselling author. Raised in a business environment, he joined the sales teams of Xerox and NCR after earning his Marketing degree from Concordia University. His passion for sharing combined with his sales expertise motivated him to take teaching positions at the University of Montreal and the renowned Wilson Learning Corporation. Marc has delivered over 6,000 hours of training to audiences across Canada, the US and Europe.

Marc is presenting two seminars at the upcoming Spring 2018 Toronto Gift Fair.