CxP Law #5: Employees do what is measured, incented, and celebrated

 

Some executives struggle to understand why their company doesn’t deliver better experiences to customers. But it shouldn’t be such a big mystery. It’s all about how you deal with employees, who tend to conform to the environment that they’re in. What are the key elements to the corporate environs? The metrics that are tracked, the activities that are rewarded, and the actions that are celebrated. These three items collectively drive how employees behave and how they ultimately treat customers.

Here are some implications of this law:

  • Don’t “expect” people to do the right thing. While employees may want to treat customers well, you can’t just expect them to do it. Why not? Because companies want their employees to do a lot of things. But organizations often hone their measurements, incentives, and celebrations to achieve short-term growth and profitability targets. So without any explicit intervention on behalf of customer experience, the environment will push employees to focus on just about anything except customer experience.
  • Clearly define good behavior. Before you just adjust the environment, it’s important that you define/describe the type of behavior that you want from people in every role. Do you want customer service reps to spend whatever time they need to on the phone to solve a problem or do you want them to cut down the average handle time on each call? The measurements, incentives, and celebrations should be adjusted to reinforce those behaviors.
  • Watch out for mixed messages. You can only get consistent behaviors from employees when all three levers (measurements, incentives, and celebrations) are working together. If you celebrate things that are different than what you measure, for instance, then employees aren’t sure which signals to follow.

The bottom line: Don’t blame employees, fix the environment.

P.S. Here’s a link to all 6 laws of customer experience.

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile: www.linkedin.com/in/brucetemkin

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