I don’t want to discuss my next book too much, as we’re currently doing some planning and development work around it, but — as you would probably guess — the theme is customer experience. We’re going to spend a lot of time in the next book discussing the pros and cons of specific experiences, both good and bad. You may see a company one day go through a total customer experience/PR flame-out (United Airlines is a recent example, or Volkswagen) and wonder to yourself: How does that happen? How do companies allow that type of thinking to get through?
There are dozens of possible answers to these questions, and they’re deeply rooted in psychology — but also in organizational design and interpersonal interactions. I wanted to spotlight one article and quote of interest quickly here.
This is from an article entitled (good idea) “Putting Humanity First In Our Organizations:”
Organizational psychologist Nicole Lipkin said that humanity “is the crux of everything” in organizations, yet “we’ve gone against human nature in how we’ve designed them.” She said that excessive rules go against the “sticky culture” of a great team, one on which people appreciate one another and their respective contributions. Instead, these rules instill fear of stepping out-of-bounds. That stifles the willingness to treat people as people.
This is amazingly true. One of my hallmarks when working with clients (and in my writings) is “Kill A Stupid Rule.” I think so many rules get grandfather’ed or legacy’ed in, no one stops to question them ever, but meanwhile they’re hurting both your productivity and your culture. That’s way more common than we let on.
You may have also heard about landmark research from Google on what makes effective teams and managers. One of the biggest takeaways was the need for “psychological safety” on a team, which is reflected in the back-half of this quote. People need to be treated as people and feel they can mess up without excessive reprisal. This will allow them to be more creative, or at least feel as if they can be more creative.
What does this have to do with customer experience?
Employees need to be viewed as internal customers/stakeholders: This will get you more ideas, approaches, and innovations. Valuing employees simply for deliverable work just gets you drones. I don’t see many successful 2017 companies built on drones. (Make your own Amazon joke here.)
Customer experience is still a new field to many legacy executives: You will need a mix of “quick wins” and action plans as you transition into a CCO-type role. It’s impossible to do that level of work on your own. You’ll need a good team. The only real way, long-term, to foster a team like that is to bring humanity back to the workplace and to how your team members all interact.
It will make the customer experience better: If your employees are working with humanity and civility, wouldn’t it stand to reason that will rub off when they deal directly with external customers?
For those of you that have worked multiple places, I’d be interested to hear: in these supportive, humane cultures — was there more productivity? More growth? Or did command and control win out?