Do your employees have a clear line of sight to your customers?
First, what does "line of sight" mean? In a nutshell, it's the straight line between you and your target. In this case, the target is the customer and the customer experience. When employees have a clear line of sight, they...
- know how they contribute to the customer experience
- know what it means to deliver a great customer experience, and
- they have the tools and training - and are empowered - to do so
I saw this quote the other day, and while it's not specifically about organizational alignment, I think it sums up nicely what I'm trying to say:
Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance. -Brian Tracy
Think of your employees as that car: they will work more efficiently and more effectively if their goals, values, and purpose are aligned with those of the organization.
That target, ensuring employees have a clear line of sight to the customer, seems clear and straightforward to frontline employees, but the customer experience isn't just created at the frontline. How do we ensure that everyone has their sights set on the right target?
The following six tools are a good place to start.
Vision: An inspirational and aspirational statement, your vision not only outlines what the company is trying to achieve near-term and long-term but also guides decision-making processes and your subsequent, resultant course of action. Presumably, your vision will (a) draw the line between what you're doing and for whom you're doing it and (b) create alignment within the organization.
Values: Your core values are beliefs that guide you in identifying which behaviors and actions are right and which are wrong, both for your employees and toward your customers. Everything you do must be aligned with your values, and they should be integrated into everything you do. When in doubt, ask: "Is this the right thing to do? Does it fit with our values?"
Brand Promise: A brand promise is the expectations you set with your customers. It’s a combination of the brand purpose and the reality of what the brand can deliver. It defines the benefits a customer can expect to receive when experiencing your brand – at every touchpoint. It's meant for both customer and employees, as employees at all levels, frontline and behind the scenes, must deliver on the promise.
Voice of Customer: Listening to customers and ensuring that their feedback is shared (and acted upon) throughout the organization helps connect the dots for employees - they hear how what they do relates to, and translates into, what the customer experiences.
Customer Journey Map: A customer journey map is the ultimate tool to help connect all employees to how they contribute to - and impact - the customer experience. The map is the backbone of the customer experience, and while it details what the customer experiences as he's trying to complete a task with the company, it's important to add a section to the map that shows when, where, and how employees contribute at each touchpoint along the way.
Communication: Last, but certainly not least, is communication. This is perhaps the umbrella tool over the other five. It's important on its own, but it must also be used in conjunction with the other five tools. What gets shared and communicated is viewed as important to your employees. And communication lends clarity, which is critical to a clear line of sight.
When employees know the target and know how their work contributes - and matters - to the end game, they...
- Feel a sense of pride
- Display a sense ownership
- Are more productive
- Are less likely to leave
- Recommend the company, which attracts talent and customers
- Defend the company and its reputation
- Make suggestions to improve the business
If you are not working toward something, your life will end with nothing. -Habeeb Akande