What in the world does servant leadership have to do with customer experience?
The short answer is everything.
But if you’re wondering what in the world “customer experience” means in the first place, a brief intro might help.
“Customer experience” is the total of all experiences a customer has with an organization. It starts with your expectations before a purchase (marketing), your initial experiences at the point of purchase (sales), all of your follow-up experiences with the product or service (customer support) and every other encounter throughout the relationship.
Customer experience is an emerging discipline – as much science as it is an art. As a discipline, customer experience evolved out of “customer service” and now includes customer relationship management (CRM), social media, and brand management. Customer service is increasingly recognized as a profession; scholarly research on customer experience is finding its way into the top business journals; and professional organizations now support the field. The leading example of the latter is CXPA, the Customer Experience Professionals Association. Attend a meeting of CXPA and you may hear new terms like “journey mapping” and “experience design”.
In the midst of all of the new ideas of ways to measure, monitor, and maximize the customer experience, let us offer a timeless idea that is tried and true and when embraced — guaranteed to improve the customer experience.
Here are three ways servant leadership enhances customer experience:
1. Servant leadership creates, supports, and sustains a culture of service — where serving others comes first, every day. Great customer service is second nature to servant-leaders. The best customer-focused organizations have servant leadership in their DNA.
2. Servant leadership minimizes infighting among departments over the age old question, “Who owns the customer?” As servant-leaders, we see that no individual or department “owns” the customer. Instead, collectively we steward the customer relationship. Customers are free to leave; but those well stewarded rarely do.
3. Servant leadership focuses on the front line, not the corner office. In a servant-leader organization, those at the top of the org chart see themselves in service to the customer and those who serve them most directly. Those most responsible for the customer experience are empowered and allowed to be their best.
What do you think? Do you see other links between customer experience and servant leadership? Please add your comments below.
To learn more about customer experience, please visit CXPA.