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Creating organisational excellence through customer experience

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4th Mar 2008
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The average call centre employee handles 40 calls a day and 10,000 calls annually. These calls represent some of the thousands of daily choices this employee has the opportunity to make every year. Top-down decisions from the CEO have little if any impact on this employee’s daily choices.

For the average call centre, with 20 employees, there will be at least two million daily choices for excellence every year — two million choices that will make the difference between excellence and mediocrity. If two million decisions are made at the call centre for excellence, the company’s performance and reputation will be strengthened; if they are made for mediocrity, the company will be diminished. The total value of the company is equal to the sum total of all the daily choices made by all its employees.

The strength of the bank and its customer relationships does not lie in the competitiveness of its interest rates, but in the performance choices its employees make, every day.

Using an example in another setting, the results are the same.

A bank teller may handle 30 customers a day, on average, which alone accounts for 6,500 daily decisions that he will make each year. If we assume ten employees per branch and 1,000 branches per bank, this amounts to at least 65 million daily choices a year. No advertising or branding campaign will be able to alter the results of these choices — they will cause the bank to be perceived as excellent, mediocre or worse. The strength of the bank and its customer relationships does not lie in the competitiveness of its interest rates, but in the performance choices its employees make, every day.

Daily choices take place in front of external and internal customers every day. They are dominant in interactions with other people, including staff meetings, email exchanges, phone conversations and in any situation where an individual is in a position to help someone else. Any time there is a recipient on the other end of the action, there’s a daily choice involved.

The real power of organisations is their ability to create excellence, to differentiate themselves and, as a result, to build strong customer loyalty, earn repeat business, and charge a premium for their goods and services. This power (or lack of it) is directly linked to the quality of millions of daily choices made by employees. The bottom line is that a company’s overall excellence is equal to the sum of the total excellence-seeking daily choices delivered by its people.

The quality of choice

There is no better way to measure the strength of a company than by the quality of the choices its employees make every day. The more excellence delivered, the stronger the customer’s commitment and the greater the amount of business and profits generated. The weaker its employees’ commitment to excellence, the weaker its overall performance. This is a new way to view the power and strength of organisations, and it requires a different way of leading and motivating people in order to generate daily choices for excellence and exceeding customer expectations.

There is no better way to measure the strength of a company than by the quality of the choices its employees make every day.

This bottom-up organisational definition runs contrary to the way most organisations define themselves today. A top-down organisation views its power, strength and brand as an abstract entity, loosely connected to its people. The employees are subservient to the larger organisational definition. According to this line of thinking, even if all the employees leave the organisation, the brand will remain strong; the brand makes the people and not the other way around. In a bottom-up organisation, the organisation is defined by the character and performance of its employees.

The people in the company make the organisation what it is. They are the one creating the assets of the organisation. Although some management and marketing theories claim to have an organisation based on assets other than employees such as brand strength and reputation, those assets are dependent on employees and their choices for excellence. Missing one excellence-oriented employee will make the company weaker. Poor performance by just one employee will make the company weaker. The company does not exist without the people who, through their daily choices, breathe life into the company’s mission statement, values, objectives, strategy and overall definition.

One employee at a time, one daily choice at a time, a company’s strength is actually created. This company’s definition is not an event or a milestone that, once achieved, always remains valid. It is, rather, an ongoing process that can reach new heights (or lows) depending on the daily choices made by employees. The company’s success is not measured by some annual study of corporate brand strength, but by the daily performances of the individuals who are the company. Most companies declare their total commitment to their employees and tout their initiatives to promote employee welfare on the pages of their glossy annual report, while relatively few companies truly understand what it means to treat employees as your most important asset.

Join Lior at the Customer Experience Management Certification Program.
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Recent articles by Lior Arussy

Lior Arussy is the president of Strativity Group and the author of several books. His latest book is Passionate & Profitable: Why Customers Strategies Fail and 10 Steps to Do Them Right! (John Wiley & Sons, 2005). To learn more about customer strategies, sign up for Lior’s newsletter at www.StrativityGroup.com

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