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Bringing customer service to the Boardroom

It was the fourth day of Customer Service Week (08 October 2020). That day the theme was Leadership: Championing customer service in the boardroom.

people sitting round table with laptops

Customer service at Board level

How often is customer service discussed at Board level in your company from the point of view of the customer? Do you talk more in terms of “this is how we will do it”, “this is what it will mean for the company”?

Who’s in the chair?

Teddy bear

Try a new perspective. Have an empty chair. You could put a teddy bear in the chair. Name the teddy. Give him or her an age and decide about its family? Is there a partner? Is there a disability? What else do we need to know? When you have finished these types of questions have them written out with Teddy.

With each agenda item ask Teddy what they think. You could discuss what Teddy may think and the impact that has on your decisions.  You could have a number of Teddies. A different Teddy to each meeting, or more than one. Each one will bring you a different and unique perspective on how your decisions will impact on the customer experience and how they see you.

Who has a place in the boardroom?

Shop from a competitor

Have you ever sent someone to do business with a competitor or just another business in a “mystery shopping” exercise? Try it. Mentally log every part of the journey and write it up and try and purchase something similar in your company. What were the differences, what was better, what was worse and what could you discuss as possible changes to how things run in your company? Would Teddy prefer those changes?

Work shadow

Send colleagues in senior positions to shadow colleagues in customer-facing roles. When this happens they often report back some really basic things that they just didn’t realise. For example, when Dave Lewis started as CEO at Tesco he introduced Feet on the Floor. Staff from Head Office went out to the shop floor and learnt a great deal. Lewis recognised that he needed to find out what customers wanted. He needed to discover why customers had left Tesco and what would bring them back. This initiative was key in the turnaround of the supermarket’s fortunes. (See more of my work with Tesco and a consumer champion).

Floor to staff to the Board

Go one step further than Lewis. Bring staff up. Bring shop floor staff into the Boardroom. Ensure that you make them feel comfortable and tell them Teddy told you to bring them to the meeting! Because it is true. When I asked my followers on social media if they thought having staff at a Board meeting would be beneficial, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Staff know what is happening on the shop floor. They can support Teddy to say more too. Data has its place but so does real world recent experience. Ensure that you have systems in place for this that division is not caused.

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