An Experience Driven Culture… What’s That All About?

In the wake of media coverage over shockingly poor Customer Experiences, such as the recent dragging of a passenger off an overbooked United Airlines flight, we have to ask ourselves: How does an organization get to the point where processes in practice are working against them? In this age of Employee Empowerment and accountability, did any of the airline staff truly condone the actions or did they shield themselves behind official policy thereby checking their empathy and customer experience at the gate?

Global companies now pride themselves on entire departments devoted to Customer Experience (CX) and this is a big leap for customer relations, but what about the rest of the organization? Frequently, customer feedback and complaints are redirected to the CR department even when the complaint stems from an entirely different area. Issues may be brought to the attention of the affronting department or representative(s), but actions often do not respond to the underlying behaviors or the mindset that set this in motion in the first place. Experience driven cultures need to have at their core 2 elements: a collaborative experiential approach, both internally and externally, and empowering staff to design sound decisions around those experiences.

True empowerment means allowing your co-workers 
to own the customer/guest experience and go above and beyond (A. Wiringa)

To build an experience driven culture, it needs to be imbedded in the culture as a way of doing and thinking. Each employee needs to feel like an instrumental agent in the experience creation process. Experiential learning is not just about individual expertise applied in new and resourceful ways. Rather, an impactful experience approach relies on the input of many levels of knowledge and practice that work together to challenge modes of thinking and outdated norms. By inviting your staff to be part of the solution and allowing them the freedom to safely contribute to the conversation, you profit from their direct customer insight and you nurture a customer experience mindset.

Cultures grow organically, but they are actively designed” (C. Thomas).

After all, no two situations are identical and no two customers are the same. A company culture that is ‘experience-driven’ allows employees to cross-collaborate and develop from the core – with their people working towards a common overall vision and ‘reason for being’. Now, negative customer feedback becomes a window of opportunity for improving the customer experience. It keeps the customer and his needs at the forefront and strives towards a solution that is right for each unique context… one that trumps good practice over policy with customer experience at its core.

Furthermore, by fostering positive staff experience as a fundamental part of the organizational culture, it also provides the freedom to act upon customer nuances and insight particular to each context. In this way, all employees become aligning agents to continually configure best practices and values across all touch points. Companies learn to adapt intrinsically employing their brand ambassadors as an integral and daily part of the customer experience. Ultimately, the employee experience coexists with the customer experience.

So how do you begin to cultivate an experience-driven approach into your organization? Start by giving your people a taste of experiential team activities such as Gamification, which not only gets them excited, but also doing and thinking in collaborative ways. You can also download these 7 Training Energizers & Icebreakers (free download). However, if you really want to cultivate experience from the core, you need to think from the inside out. By Reverse Thinking.

Try the Be(come) an Experience STAR program which will set you on a path where customer experience serves as your starting point rather than your end.

Photo Credits: Stephanie H. Neuhold | Senior Manager – Quality & Brand Experience Rove Hotels – Emaar Hospitality Group

It has been almost one year since the first Rove Hotels have opened, while more properties are still opening. During this rollout all of the “Rovesters” are exploring and living their Customer Experience Blueprint at different levels. Our Experience Engineer Matthew Lee Harrington re-aligned compasses with the leaders of Rove Hotels. To make sure that everyone is traveling in the same direction living their Blueprint Leadership Behaviours. The session was created and took place in an environment conducive to Rove: Exploring, Energizing and Connecting. Rove Hotels – exploring without borders…

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