To score high in customer satisfaction, it takes more than just good products and services. The way your organization provides those products and services is equally important. In both cases, your employees have a vital role to play. Which is why we in our People Excellence Lab develop methods, tools, and training to enhance the qualities of people. Read on below for the theory, practice, and examples.
Operational excellence has to do with what is needed to deliver a product or service. This naturally includes the products or services themselves but also the structure and processes in an organization: the ‘hardware’. It just has to be excellent. And from a cost and quality perspective, it also needs to be designed and implemented as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Service excellence has to do with how a product or service is delivered to customers. This largely determines how the customer experiences the quality of a product or service. Employees are essential for operational as well as service excellence. This is why we combine them both in people excellence.
If operational and service excellence are in balance, your organization will score high in what is called the Empathy Index. And that, in turn, leads to improved performance in all areas. Customer satisfaction and, therefore, customer loyalty increase, employee commitment and satisfaction rise, you become more attractive as an employer, and that boosts your position in the labour market and your financial performance.
People excellence is not a matter of chance. Some people do have a natural talent for it, of course. They can sense what customers want, are empathetically inclined, and have a keen eye for what is needed. But it takes more than chance alone. Or a course on communications skills. That only scratches the surface of the problem.
P5COM is at the forefront of expertise on people excellence. And to continue doing that, we have brought together a group of professionals who continuously develop operational and service excellence within organizations and combine them for the long term. It all happens in what we call the People Excellence Lab.
Empathy, a keen eye: they are often seen as the people sides of the profession, leading to a relaxed way of working which may lack the necessary call to action. P5COM does this differently: we help employees to contribute as best they can to the organization’s objective and, in so doing, obtain greater pleasure from their work. This usually calls for improvements in the organization itself. That can be at strategic or tactical level, to clarify goals and responsibilities. Or at team level: if an employee is struggling under the pressure of work because of impracticable staff rotas or constantly having to run around to find what he needs, something must be done about that as well. This is why we always combine operational and service excellence – to bring about fundamental change.
For housing associations, we developed a way of working to wow customers and boost satisfaction in a relatively short space of time. How? By getting management and staff to work with customer enthusiasm in mind. One way is by taking a customer journey. Together, we look into the points of contact between tenant and organization. What are the tenant’s expectations? That brings us to the purpose of the organization. And we determine what that means for the management and for the teams…but also for each individual employee.
Employees learn from theory and practice how they can actively influence customer expectations, and that this can have a positive, reciprocal effect. It works both ways: not only do customer-enthusiastic organizations experience greater pleasure but they also put their resources to more effective use.
Revealing areas for improvement: that’s the point of going undercover, sometimes even with the help of our ‘scan gran’. We ask for tours, wait around at the reception, conduct some admission interviews, or go investigate in casual jeans and rucksack. What we see is often shocking to the staff and management: medicine chests left open, food left out in the open, three clocks that all give a different time, a cold draught from a window that does not close properly, and the fact that we can charge about for hours without anyone asking what we are doing. We make videos and photos and report back on what we see – not to rub it all in but rather to show that the solution needs to be fundamental and go to the core of the processes. Together, we get excited about finding a solution.
In our lab, we have developed a variety of tools and training programmes to enhance personal leadership. Because making a real difference for an organization requires employees to do more than just what the management says. It calls for intrinsic motivation, skill, and discipline. In other words, it calls for personal leadership.
Whether you want to boost customer satisfaction or team performance – and whether you work for a local authority, in healthcare, education, or the building trade – P5COM’s People Excellence Lab is here to help.