This post was originally published on The Pioneers Blog.
Imagine you’re competing in a round the world sailing race. The race will last at least 74 days and almost from the moment you cross the start line your opposition will be out of sight. You can either race blind with no idea of your position until you cross the finish line, or you can sail with a real time performance dashboard displaying where all the boats in the race are at any point in time.
Which scenario would you prefer?
In which scenario do you think you would perform best?
If you’re like me, your preference is likely to be for knowing how you’re doing all of the time. Not only does this give you a sense of progress, it also allows you to adjust your tactics in response to the feedback to improve your performance.
What would happen if businesses gave their front line teams access to real time customer experience data so they could review and respond to this feedback on an ongoing basis?
At The Pioneers, we believe giving front line teams access to good performance data is valuable for three reasons:
1. Front line teams have an opportunity to experiment
Most businesses collect performance data at a global level, analyse this data to find insights, then design central solutions aimed at ‘correcting’ problem areas. This data is often used to assess the performance of customer facing teams and either reward of support/punish them as is seen fit. Instead, providing front line teams with good performance data, such as a high volume, high quality and timely customer feedback, gives these teams the opportunity and autonomy to test new approaches. Having good data readily available on the front line allows teams to judge the results of their ‘experiments’ for themselves and respond accordingly.
2. Front line teams can respond to customer feedback quickly
Providing front line teams with live customer experience data allows team members to intervene to turnaround a poor customer experience or complaint they might otherwise not have known about. Similarly team members can choose to build on their relationships with highly engaged customers converting these into more valuable customers.
3. Front line teams can continue to be responsive over time, adapt and improve
Combining access to good performance data at the same time as training new behaviours and ways of working delivers ongoing value over time. As a result of a central analysis of performance data, you may choose to invest in customer service training to embed a new process and develop new behavioural skills. In this scenario, initial improvements in customer experiences will likely wear off over time. As memories of the training fade, only some of the behavioural skills will stick, new recruits may not have the same skills and the once new processes won’t necessarily be fit for purpose as customer trends change. Front line teams with access to good performance data, including customer feedback, can respond to insights from customers (and team members) by continually testing new ideas and experimenting with new ways of working.