Recently, I was talking with someone in a sales role for an enterprise company and I got reminded of the important role that people play in customer experience.
This person basically said to me, “I don’t have any interest in talking to my customer about [product] because I don’t get paid if they buy it.” By extension, they were also worried that the budget that a company might spend with his firm was limited–so suggesting anything else would take money out of his pocket.
At no point in their thinking did they even so much as ponder if the other product would be useful to the customer. Nor did they think about the potential trust gains they would develop by recommending something where there was nothing in it for them. (Side note: Charles Green wrote a great post about this recently. I might modify this a bit, because I don’t think it has to be a competitor, but simply “have you recommended someone/something significant that you don’t get anything as a result of them buying?”)
This is parochial, me-first thinking at its worst. And it is this type of thinking that puts a roadblock on customer experience efforts.
If customer experience matters, then the customer comes first. Yes, there needs to be value for your business (and ideally you) as well, but that value can come directly or indirectly. Indirect benefits of building trust can be significant. You have to get the balance right.
As you work on customer experience initiatives, be mindful of how personal motivations (and compensation) can impact those efforts. Some of your people will recognize the value to them and the company of working outside of their motivation/compensation zone. But many will not–without specific coaching and guidance (and sometimes changes to compensation models). If this is rampant, your customer experience efforts will fail.
Now is probably a good time to assess if this is happening in your organization, and start working toward a solution, if you are truly committed to delivering incredible customer experiences.
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