For example, customers of a particular adventure travel company have a reputation for enjoying the challenge of helping to overcome the unexpected mishaps associated with overseas travel – no letters of complaint or requests for financial compensation. There is also a financial services firm which consistently and significantly outperforms competitors in terms of customer satisfaction, despite offering a less sophisticated range of products and services.
There are of course many more tales of brands and their devoted customers, and the people leaders of these organisations have an important role to play in maintaining this success - it’s a rare and fragile asset. Similarly, organisations wanting to join the club and really delight their customers may need to think and behave quite differently.
The secret formula is of course unique to each successful organisation, but in general terms, the workforce needs to be empowered to innovate, take risks and, from time to time, to fail. These three things are, unsurprisingly, hard to incorporate into a corporate ethos and ‘business as usual’. Innovation can divert resources from the task in hand, and encouraging risk taking and the acceptance of failure can be a hard sell.
In the same vein, changing how individual staff are managed and motivated can be really beneficial. Asking individuals what direction they would like their role to take and how they believe they can add the most value, is a significant departure from a traditional employer-employee relationship with a dialogue focused on roles and responsibilities.
However, as well as helping an organisation to allocate skills and resources more effectively, this approach could also help to build a team which is engaged and properly motivated to deliver outstanding customer service.
Turning customers into fans and ambassadors for a brand is a people agenda challenge – which can be tackled effectively, using the right insights and data analytics.
This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.