A few months ago I saw something on LinkedIn that disturbed me. The advertisement had been created by the internal recruiting team for a huge multinational manufacturing company and stated the following:
“Never show off hobbies or oddities on a resume. Employers do not need or want to know what you do with your spare time.”
As soon as I saw it my heart started to beat a little faster. I did not even realize it, but my hands had formed into fists. I was genuinely incensed by a few simple words in an ad shared on a social media platform. If you are not sure why I became so angry, you have the potential to be taken off my Christmas card list! You also need to keep reading to understand why!
As someone who spends a lot of time helping organizations across a wide range of industries become more customer centric, I see a lot of different attitudes towards people. There is no doubt that “people” rarely come at the top of the list of priorities for organizations and that is true all around the world. Despite the fact that no organization anywhere on earth can deliver their customer experiences without them, it is very uncommon to find even a reference to “people” in a business strategy.
I am always reminded of a brilliant quote from Simon Sinek – a quote that brings to life brilliantly the point that I am making in this post:
“100% of customers are people. 100% of employees are people. If you do not understand people, you do not understand business.”
If you have not heard this quote before, take a second to read it again; it is so very true. While boards of directors are conjuring up plans to increase revenue or maximize profits while appeasing shareholders, they have forgotten that it is not money that makes the world go ‘round. The best way to give everyone the things they want is to put people at the center of everything you do – and by people I mean customers and colleagues.
The most successful organizations in the world are ones where people quite literally make their organizations dance and sing. From Zappos to John Lewis to Ritz Carlton to Disney, organizations that care about their people deliver experiences that customers perceive to be that much better.
I have visited companies whose people have never seen a director before. Their people are like battery hens in cages – fulfilling tasks, but almost without the lights on. It is no surprise that customer perception of the experience these people deliver has been poor.
Have you ever tried rolling out your customer feedback survey with your own people? For example, have you asked your own people if they would recommend your business to others? If not, you should consider doing so…you might be surprised by the responses.
I recently did this with a large SME business in the UK. The business had a negative Net Promoter Score. When we ran the survey with their employees, the score was significantly worse than it had been with their customers. In other words, their own employees were even less inclined to recommend the business than their customers. These same employees were talking to customers every day – many of them in a sales capacity. If your own people do not like you, why should your customers?
I hope the company who ran the ad on LinkedIn reads this post. I hope they take heed of the message within it. People are the greatest resource any organization can have – above and beyond any system or product. Without people, you do not have a customer experience. People are not machines. They are valuable deliverers of your customer experience. They are passionate colleagues who need to be engaged in what you do and why you do it to the point where they are your greatest advocates. Understanding what makes them tick will make it easier for you to design and deliver an employee experience that makes their advocacy a reality.
That is why I got so angry when I first read the ad. People are rather important in the world of customer experience. It is people who make the world go around…and I will do whatever it takes to help organizations understand that fact!
I originally wrote this post for InsideCXM – InsideCXM is focused on bringing you the latest insights from the field of customer experience management (CXM). CXM is about using customer insights to create meaningful experiences — regardless of how or where customers engage with your brand, online or off — which help create satisfied, loyal brand advocates and ambassadors. You can read more fantastic articles from other CX experts here. I will be writing another exclusive article for InsideCXM very soon.