TUESDAY 7 MAY 2019 9:43 AM


The inaugural Internal Communications and Engagement Awards are taking place in London on 13 May. Synergy Creative has been shortlisted at the awards

Start with your people; it’s something we like to talk about all the time at Synergy. As consumers, we expect a lot. We expect to order now and get it today. We expect an immediate response to our query. And we expect brands to provide a consistent, frictionless experience across all channels and touchpoints.

But it’s gone beyond simply needing to react to consumer demands. Brands are now expected to intuitively know what their customer needs and deliver it, instantly and seamlessly. Research from Ombudsmen services found bad customer service costs UK companies a whopping £37bn a year, and almost 80% of customers would stop shopping with a brand if a complaint was treated badly. 

Your company mission needs to have the customer at its heart if you’re going to create a customer-centric culture. And this needs to be role-modelled from the top. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos always left an empty chair at board meetings, meant for their most important person, the customer.

Hire people on attitude and culture fit; those who put the customer at their heart. Again, Amazon is a great example of this. Its 14 leadership principles inform everything they do and are based on how employees need to think and behave in order to ‘be Earth’s most customer-centric company.’ Each employee needs to know how their role contributes to the overall purpose of delighting customers. Make sure job descriptions include this.

Don’t confuse ‘consistent’ with ‘identical.’ Delivering identical customer experiences doesn’t match up with what makes us human, that’s when artificial intelligence can make a real difference. Of CX professionals, 67% are getting value from AI, not just to create efficiencies, but to create more meaningful relationships with consumers, and free up employees to spend more quality time with customers.

Rally teams around a shared vision. Break down silos and encourage teams to collaborate, share ideas and learnings from their own interactions with customers. Does your contact centre employee know about the types of customer queries coming into the social team? Are your employees at the frontline of customer comms aware of any changes in your product or service offering? Can they react to customer demands and are they informed enough to proactively surprise and delight customers? If not, get collaborating. 

Understand your customer journey. Map it out from brand perceptions, through to purchase and beyond. Analyse every touchpoint to ensure each delivers on your promise to customers. Getting your employees involved in making suggestions is a great thing to do here too.

Give permission and reward empowered behaviour. Ask employees what empowerment means to them and create small interactions fuelled by accountability to bring empowerment gently into the day-to-day. When employees take on this additional empowerment to deliver a better customer experience, make sure their efforts are rewarded and recognised. Start with managers. It is crucial for managers to understand that factors like trust and experience affect how their behaviours are perceived. Is there a culture of empowerment throughout the organisation? 

Employees are consumers, too. Align your employee experience to what they expect in their life (think media use, channel use, technology use). Although a recent study suggests that 73% of firms are considering mobile in their internal comms campaigns, there is still a long way to go to get internal comms on the same page as external comms. 

Segment and provide for different audiences. Remember that this may differ for different generations and audiences. With five generations now working together, you’d be mad to assume one size fits all. Keep it simple. Make it easy to understand, use plain, relatable language. Provide an opportunity for employees to give feedback, acknowledge it, and show progress where possible.

Chris Giddings is the head of marketing at Synergy Creative