Recently, I was sitting on an airplane next to a woman from Bain
Consulting. She told me about a study that revealed 81 percent of senior leaders believe
their organization delivers superior customer service while only 8 percent of their
customers agree. The study refers to the problem as a “Customer Service Gap.” I call
this the “experience gap,” whose root cause is a lack of employee engagement.
The largest opportunity to improve sales and increase productivity (lower costs),
which leads to better profits, is to engage the workforce in the delivery of WOW experiences.
WOW experiences require employees to understand, commit, and take action to behave
the branded experience. Ask yourself: Where does my workforce, team, or department
fall on the Employee Engagement/ Customer Experience Continuum?
Level 1: “I‟m not engaged.” Level 1 employees typically have an “I don’t care”
attitude, distrust management, provide inconsistent customer service (usually due
to lack of process and training), and do not see how they make a difference every
day at work. They are unhappy at work and regularly act out their unhappiness.
Customer Experience Result: Bad experience; low retention; no consistency = no
Level 2: “I‟m somewhat engaged.” These employees may have some understanding
of your organization’s purpose, brand, and promise made to customers; however, a lack
of appreciation and recognition for a job well done helps fuel uncertainty regarding
whether or not the workforce as a whole is really committed to taking care of customers.
These employees may not leave your organization voluntarily, and in fact, many of
them “quit and stay” (ouch!).
Customer Experience Result: Unreliable experience; not satisfied or loyal;
Level 3: “I‟m engaged.” Employees at this level begin to understand how their
actions make a difference on the organization’s overall success. They understand performance
expectations and have walked a mile in the customer’s shoes, yet they still distrust
management somewhat and lack confidence in the organization’s ability to deliver a
consistent customer experience.
Customer Experience Result: Inconsistent experience, which sometimes leads to
frustration; somewhat satisfied, but still not loyal
Level 4: “I‟m very engaged. (I think, speak, and behave the brand.)” Employees
here clearly understand the brand of the organization and the experience being promised.
They are focused on what to do for customers and are becoming more committed to behaving
the brand and delivering the desired experience. These employees feel empowered (properly
trained) on how to do the right thing.
Customer Experience Result: Consistent, above average experience; sense of
belonging that leads to loyalty
Level 5: “I‟m extremely engaged. (I am an experience stager.‟)” These are your
star performers who are passionate advocates of your organization’s brand. They love
working for your organization and tell people about their experience. They feel appreciated
for their efforts and are confident in their ability to provide consistent, above
average, and sometimes even WOW experiences to customers.
Customer Experience Result: Extreme brand loyalty, which leads to increased
referrals; customers here feel as if they are “members” of your brand, i.e., a part
of your cult following.